The notion of virtue or excellence refers to reaching one’s highest potential. According to Aristotle, happiness derives from living a life of virtue.

There are two kinds of virtues:

  1. intellectual virtues: associated with reasoning and truth
  2. moral virtues: habits and dispositions formed through repetition (e.g. telling the truth)
    • not simply a disposition to act in a particular way, it is also a disposition to feel in a particular way
    • “We may even go so far as to state that the man who does not enjoy performing noble actions is not a good man at all”

A morally right action then, is a right action is an action that a virtuous person, acting in character, would do in the same circumstances.

Virtue ethics pays particular attention to the agent as well as the action and the consequences of the action. A good person does “the right thing at the right time for the right reason”

What are the virtues humans need in order to flourish and be truly happy? Commonly, they are

  1. honesty
  2. justice
  3. loyalty

A vice is the opposite of a virtue. It is a character trait that prevents a human being from flourishing or being truly happy.