Virtue, in the context of philosophy, refers to moral excellence or the qualities of character that are considered morally good and praiseworthy. Virtue ethics is a philosophical approach that emphasises the importance of cultivating virtuous traits and living in accordance with ethical principles. Virtue is seen as an essential aspect of living a fulfilling and meaningful life, guiding one's actions and shaping one's character.

Key Aspects of Virtue:

* Moral Excellence: Virtue involves embodying qualities of moral excellence and demonstrating virtuous behaviour. Virtuous traits may include honesty, kindness, courage, compassion, integrity, fairness, and wisdom. These virtues are considered desirable and contribute to a flourishing and virtuous life.

* Habitual Behaviour: Virtue is not seen as an isolated act but rather as a habitual way of behaving. It involves consistently acting in line with virtuous principles and embodying those virtues in one's everyday life. Virtuous behaviour becomes second nature through practise and repetition.

* Eudaimonia: Virtue ethics emphasises the concept of eudaimonia, which is often translated as "flourishing" or "living well." Eudaimonia is the ultimate goal of virtuous living, representing a state of overall well-being, fulfilment, and human flourishing. Virtuous actions contribute to the development of eudaimonia.

* Practical Wisdom: Virtue ethics places a strong emphasis on practical wisdom or phronesis. It involves the ability to discern and apply moral principles in specific situations, making sound judgments about what is morally right or wrong. Practical wisdom helps individuals navigate ethical dilemmas and make virtuous choices.

* Character Development: Virtue ethics focuses on the development of one's character through the cultivation of virtuous traits. It recognises that virtue is not innate but can be acquired and honed through conscious effort, self-reflexion, and practise. Character development involves self-awareness, self-discipline, and a commitment to personal growth.

* Moral Exemplars: Virtue ethics often looks to moral exemplars, individuals who embody virtuous qualities and serve as role models. These individuals demonstrate the highest ideals of virtuous behaviour and inspire others to cultivate similar virtues in their own lives.

Cultivating Virtue:

* Self-Reflexion: Engage in self-reflexion and introspection to identify your values, strengths, and areas for improvement. Reflect on your actions and strive to align them with virtuous principles.

* Education and Role Models: Seek knowledge about virtue ethics and learn from moral exemplars who embody the virtues you admire. Study the lives and teachings of individuals who exemplify moral excellence.

* Practise and Habit Formation: Actively practise virtues in your daily life. Set specific goals for developing virtues and create routines and habits that support virtuous behaviour. Regularly reflect on your progress and make adjustments as needed.

* Cultivate Self-Discipline: Virtuous living requires self-discipline and the ability to resist temptations and act in line with virtuous principles. Develop strategies to strengthen your self-discipline, such as setting clear boundaries, practising mindfulness, and focusing on long-term goals.

* Seek Feedback and Accountability: Solicit feedback from trusted friends, mentors, or ethical advisors. Engage in discussions about ethical issues and seek different perspectives to expand your understanding of virtue.


Virtue encompasses a range of positive qualities, character traits, and moral values. It involves embodying virtues such as honesty, compassion, courage, wisdom, fairness, and integrity. Virtue is important for several reasons:

Moral Development: Virtue provides a framework for moral development, guiding individuals towards cultivating positive character traits and behaving ethically.

Personal Fulfilment: Embracing virtues can lead to a sense of personal fulfilment, contentment, and a meaningful life. Virtuous actions often contribute to one's own well-being and the well-being of others.

Ethical Behaviour: Virtuous individuals are more likely to make ethical choices and act in ways that promote the common good. Virtue helps to create a just and harmonious society.

Character Building: Virtue helps in shaping one's character and forming habits that align with moral principles. It contributes to the development of a strong moral compass and ethical decision-making skills.
The classical virtues, often referred to as cardinal virtues, were first articulated by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle. They include:

Wisdom: The ability to discern what is true, right, and valuable. It involves sound judgement and practical knowledge.
Courage: The strength and resolve to face difficulties, take risks, and act in the face of fear or adversity.

Temperance: The practise of self-control and moderation, balancing desires and impulses to achieve inner harmony.

Justice: The commitment to fairness, equality, and the recognition of rights and responsibilities.
These virtues were seen as foundational qualities necessary for leading a morally virtuous life.
Yes, virtue can be cultivated and developed through conscious effort, practise, and self-reflexion. Virtue ethics emphasises the importance of character development and the cultivation of positive habits. Some ways to cultivate virtue include:

Education and Reflexion: Engage in learning and self-reflexion to develop an understanding of virtuous behaviour and the values you want to embody.

Role Models: Seek out and learn from individuals who exhibit the virtues you admire and aspire to cultivate.
Practise and Habituation: Actively engage in virtuous actions, making them a habit. Practise acts of kindness, fairness, honesty, and other virtues in your daily life.

Ethical Decision-Making: Consider ethical principles and the virtues relevant to a situation when making decisions, aiming to act in alignment with virtuous behaviour.

Feedback and Accountability: Seek feedback from others to gain insight into areas where you can further develop virtues. Surround yourself with individuals who hold you accountable to virtuous behaviour.