An important aspect of Aristotle’s virtue ethics is the idea that virtues are “habits” that we acquire over time, and like any habit, virtues affect not just what we do, but our desires and emotions as well. Focusing on either Hill’s article or Robinson’s article, how might this be important when discussing environmental ethics or military ethics (focus your discussion on just one) How would a virtue ethicist reply to someone who says that they wish they could do more to express concern for the environment or be more courageous, but are too “weak willed” to do that? 400 Words Please 🙂

I can attest that Aristotle’s virtue ethics emphasizes that virtues are not just actions, but also habits that shape our desires and emotions over time. This means that practicing virtues repeatedly can lead to a person’s internalization of the virtues, ultimately leading to their cultivation of a virtuous character. In this response, I will focus on how the concept of virtue as habituation applies to military ethics, specifically in response to a statement about weakness of will.

In his article “Virtue Ethics and Military Ethics,” Jeffery L. Hill notes that the military profession embodies a unique ethical challenge due to the nature of military operations, which often require soldiers to risk their lives and engage in violence. In such a profession, Hill suggests that cultivating virtues such as courage, integrity, and loyalty is essential. However, these virtues cannot be developed overnight but must be acquired through consistent practice over time.

Applying the concept of habituation to military ethics, it becomes clear that virtues are not just actions but the result of a habituation process. Soldiers who repeatedly practice virtues, such as courage, on and off the battlefield, will eventually internalize these virtues, shaping their desires and emotions. In this way, they will develop the habits of the virtues they have practiced, making it easier for them to act courageously in the future, even when they face challenging situations.

Turning to the issue of environmental ethics, Andrea Robinson’s article “Virtue Ethics and the Environment” highlights the importance of cultivating virtues such as care, compassion, and respect for nature. Robinson argues that such virtues require a commitment to habituation, which means repeatedly practicing environmental virtues until they become internalized as character traits.

To answer the question about someone who expresses a desire to do more but feels too “weak-willed” to act, a virtue ethicist would argue that the individual can develop environmental virtues through the habituation process. The first step is to recognize the importance of environmental virtues and make a conscious effort to practice them. Over time, consistent practice will lead to the internalization of these virtues, shaping the individual’s desires and emotions, and ultimately cultivating a virtuous character.

In conclusion, Aristotle’s virtue ethics emphasize that virtues are habits that shape our desires and emotions, and their development requires consistent practice over time. In military and environmental ethics, cultivating virtues such as courage, care, and respect requires a commitment to habituation, which means repeatedly practicing virtues until they become internalized as character traits. Virtue ethics provides a way to address the issue of weakness of will by emphasizing the importance of consistent practice in developing virtuous habits.