This page features a collection of the best resources on virtue ethics. To get started, simply choose the type of resource that best suits your learning style.
If you want a comprehensive overview of the idea of virtue:
- Read the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on Virtue Ethics. However, you should keep in mind that the Stanford Encyclopedia in often quite technical and this article may be difficult for beginners. It’s also quite long at around 10,000 words. Here’s a short excerpt that introduces the idea of virtue:
“Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. It may, initially, be identified as the one that emphasizes the virtues, or moral character, in contrast to the approach that emphasizes duties or rules (deontology) or that emphasizes the consequences of actions (consequentialism). Suppose it is obvious that someone in need should be helped. A utilitarian will point to the fact that the consequences of doing so will maximize well-being, a deontologist to the fact that, in doing so the agent will be acting in accordance with a moral rule such as “Do unto others as you would be done by” and a virtue ethicist to the fact that helping the person would be charitable or benevolent….”
If you’re looking for a somewhat shorter and more engaging introduction:
- Read Laura D’Olimpio’s article: Happy days: virtue isn’t just for sanctimonious do-gooders [900 words]
If you’d prefer a video introduction:
If you prefer audio and podcasts:
If you’d like to read a short passage from a classic work of philosophy:
- Read Virtue as a Mean Between Two Vices: a short reading from Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’ [1800 words]
If you’d just like to casually browse a few quotes:
While these resources are a great starting point, there’s only so much you can learn by using free online resources. If you want to learn more, check out this list of the Best Books on Virtue Ethics
The Daily Idea collects and organizes the best philosophy resources from across the internet to help make learning about philosophy as easy as possible. You can find an organized collection of introductory readings and free philosophy resources here. Or get started below by signing up for a free philosophy quote delivered to your inbox each day!