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Paper Topic:

`Virtue Theory and Abortion` by Rosalind Hursthouse.

Rosalind Hursthouse , in her essay Virtue Theory and Abortion ' puts forth her theory of virtue by first introducing the mechanics of the theory and then applying it to the particular moral controversy of abortion . The introduction to the theory involves an explanation of and then contrast with deontological and utilitarian theories . She demonstrates the premise of deontological theory as declaring an action right only when it goes in accordance with a moral rule . She then demonstrates the plethora of explanations of moral rule ' that have been given throughout the centuries . These range

from definitions that show morality to issue from God , to ones that show morality to come from democracy and rationality . She contrasts this later with virtue theory as it considers virtue from a much different perspective than is seen in deontology 's morality

She then presents a view of utilitarianism and outlines its premises She chooses act-utilitarianism and shows that according to this theory an action might be considered correct only when it produces the greatest amount of good for the people involved . This can be realized only when happiness in maximized as a result of the action that has occurred . She then comes to the premises of virtue theory , and explains the first as showing an action to be right only when it is identical to what a virtuous person would do in the circumstances (Hursthouse , 249 However , she explains that this gives no guidance about how one should act unless one can determine the interpretation or of a virtuous person ' It is necessary , she holds , to thoroughly explain this so that one avoids the usual pitfall of defining the virtuous person as one who acts in accordance with the definitions of morality proposed by deontologists . On the contrary , a virtue (according to virtue theory ) is a trait that is necessary in to promote the wellbeing of the human . Literally , Hursthouse writes , a virtue is a character trait a human being needs to flourish or live well (249 She then goes on to identify a connection between virtue and the idea of eudaimonia (flourishing

Hursthouse then identifies some criticisms of virtue theory which she considers to be ill-founded and that have the effect of obscuring the true ideas of the theory . The first is that the concept of eudaimonia is too obscure for the theory to be a fully conceived one . Hursthouse admits the difficulty of the idea to grasp , but then she points out the greater obscurity of terms used in other theories (such as rationality and happiness . She then demonstrates that in comparison with those other terms , eudaimonia (flourishing , well being ) supports its theory as much as any other . The idea that virtue theory is more obscure than others in this respect , Hursthouse denies , offering a discussion of how these other theories have garnered disputation precisely because these concepts have been so difficult to grasp , explain , and agree on

Hursthouse also defends virtue theory against the criticism that it is intentionally and trivially...

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