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Concept Of Value Virtue In Law

Virtues and values are commonly treated as synonyms, but there is a distinction � virtues are lived values, values in action, values which are achieved on a dependably regular basis, while values by themselves are ideals or goals which tend to be more aspirational and not uncommonly fail to be achieved on as regular a basis as desired.

Values are individual beliefs that motivate people to act one way or another. They serve as a guide for human behavior. Generally, people are predisposed to adopt the values that they are raised with. People also tend to believe that those values are right because they are the values of their particular culture. Ethical decision-making often involves weighing values against each other and choosing which values to elevate. Conflicts can result when people have different values, leading to a clash of preferences and priorities. Some values have intrinsic worth, such as love, truth, and freedom. Other values, such as ambition, responsibility, and courage, describe traits or behaviors that are instrumental as means to an end.

Still other values are considered sacred and are moral imperatives for those who believe in them. Sacred values will seldom be compromised because they are perceived as duties rather than as factors to be weighed in decision-making. For example, for some people, their nation�s flag may represent a sacred value. But for others, the flag may just be a piece of cloth.
So, whether values are sacred, have intrinsic worth, or are a means to an end, values vary among individuals and across cultures and time. However values are universally recognized as a driving force in ethical decision-making.

Virtue ethics is a philosophy developed by Aristotle and other ancient Greeks. It is the quest to understand and live a life of moral character. This character-based approach to morality assumes that we acquire virtue through practice. By practicing being honest, brave, just, generous, and so on, a person develops an honorable and moral character. According to Aristotle, by honing virtuous habits, people will likely make the right choice when faced with ethical challenges. So, virtue ethics helps us understand what it means to be a virtuous human being. And, it gives us a guide for living life without giving us specific rules for resolving ethical dilemmas.

Value and virtue both refer to the same thing � beliefs, principles, ideals, qualities, traits, properties, attributes, expectations, or characteristics of individuals or groups that are highly-valued, desired, admired, and prized in society, but the key distinction is that values are aspirational expectations, ideals or goals that are not always achieved, while virtues are those principles or qualities that have actually been achieved and can be directly observed and experienced in the here and now.

Scope Of Study
This article focuses on the concept of value virtue and deals with how this concept has influenced the world religions. I have followed a systematic approach starting with defining the value virtue and leading to its history and then its difference and finally its influencing power.

The scope of the study is limited to the extent of facts and studies that I could gather from the vast ocean of resource that was available for me. I have touched down on all relevant parts of my topic on the limited constraint that I have.

The limitation of my paper would be the vast flow of irrelevant information that is surfacing on the internet.

Research Methodology
A doctrinal method of research has been used in preparing this research paper which includes collection of secondary data from various sources such as books, articles, research papers, etc. The information collected from these sources form the crux and content of the research project so as to come to a valid conclusion. Important text books and study materials have also been referred for the same.

Review Of Literature
As we require a complete outlook on the topic chosen, various studies have to be referred to for a more enhanced understanding and information relevant to the area which is being researched. Similar researches have been explored by scholars. One amongst such research done is Nicomachean Ethics by Aristotle and Protagoras by Plato

In his work Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle defined a virtue as a point between a deficiency and an excess of a trait. The point of greatest virtue lies not in the exact middle, but at a golden mean sometimes closer to one extreme than the other. However, the virtuous action is not simply the "mean" (mathematically speaking) between two opposite extremes. As Aristotle says in the Nicomachean Ethics: "at the right times, about the right things, towards the right people, for the right end, and in the right way, is the intermediate and best condition, and this is proper to virtue." This is not simply splitting the difference between two extremes.

For example, generosity is a virtue between the two extremes of miserliness and being profligate. Further examples include: courage between cowardice and foolhardiness, and confidence between self-deprecation and vanity. In Aristotle's sense, virtue is excellence at being human.

In Protagoras, Plato when he wrote that people only act in ways that they perceive will bring them maximum good. It is the lack of wisdom that results in the making of a bad choice instead of a prudent one. In this way, wisdom is the central part of virtue. Plato realized that because virtue was synonymous with wisdom it could be taught, a possibility he had earlier discounted. He then added correct belief as an alternative to knowledge, proposing that knowledge is merely correct belief that has been thought through and "tethered".

Analysis Of Concept
Virtue is moral excellence. A virtue is a trait or quality that is deemed to be morally good and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. Personal virtues are characteristics valued as promoting collective and individual greatness. In other words, it is a behavior that shows high moral standards. Doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The opposite of virtue is vice.

Virtue Ethics: Virtue ethics is very often discussed by contrasting it to the prevailing tradition of principle ethics. Professionals are called upon to aspire toward ideals and develop virtues or traits of character to achieve these ideals[1]. It is the qualities of the person that have merit or work in some particular context; these qualities are often related to matters of right conduct or morality. Virtue ethics focuses on the agent or individual rather than o the action or decision made, as in principle ethics � not what shall we do? but rather who shall we become[2].

Virtue ethics has 2 general goals:
  1. Achieving and maintain professional competence
  2. Striving for the common good
To accomplish these ends, the professional should cultivate such virtues as prudence,intergrity and respectfulness.
Virtuous professionals:
  1. Are motivated to do what is good
  2. Posses vision and discernment
  3. Realize the role of affect or emotion in assessing or judging proper conduct
  4. Have a high degree of self � understanding and awareness
  5. Connect with and understand the mores of their communities and importance of community in moral decision making , policy setting and character development and are alert to the legitimacy of client diversity in these respects

Virtuous people strive to do what is right because they judge it to be right rather than being concerned about a particular outcome. Some authorities see virtue ethics as enhancing ethical practices in multicultural contexts. People are more sensitive in their conduct because they are rooted in a particular community�s wisdom and moral sense[3].

It is important to evaluate critically how virtue ethics can contribute to the ethical tradition of the counseling profession, as well as to consider related concerns. The communities that are a crucial medium for the development of a virtuous ethics can themselves be insular and ethnocentric, thus becoming harmful to others[4], also; the virtue ethics tradition is seen as irrelevant to the adjudication of ethics complaints by licensure boards and ethics committees[5].

Finally, the professional community has raised concerns that it may be impossible to teach virtues and that selection of virtuous individuals into the professional community may be the necessary approach. Nonetheless, many scholars believe that principles and virtues cannot be separated � neither is primary, but each serves to balance the other. Professionals are called upon to perform certain actions for certain kinds of people.

Religions And Virtues
  1. Christianity
    In Christianity, the three theological virtues are faith, hope and love, a list which comes from 1 Corinthians 13:13 are faith,hope and love . The same chapter describes love as the greatest of the three, and further defines love as "patient, kind, not envious, boastful, arrogant, or rude."

    Christian scholars frequently add the four Greek cardinal virtues (prudence, justice, temperance, and courage) to the theological virtues to give the seven virtues; for example, these seven are the ones described in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sections 1803�1829.

    The Bible mentions additional virtues, such as in the "Fruit of the Holy Spirit," found in Galatians 5:22-23: "By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit it is benevolent-love: joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, benevolence, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is absolutely no law against such a thing.[6]

    The medieval and renaissance periods saw a number of models of sin listing the seven deadly sins and the virtues opposed to each.
  2. Hinduism
    Virtue is a much debated and an evolving concept in ancient scriptures of Hinduism. The essence, need and value of virtue is explained in Hindu philosophy as something that cannot be imposed, but something that is realized and voluntarily lived up to by each individual. For example, Apastamba explained it thus:
    "virtue and vice do not go about saying - here we are!; neither the Gods, Gandharvas, nor ancestors can convince us - this is right, this is wrong; virtue is an elusive concept, it demands careful and sustained reflection by every man and woman before it can become part of one's life.

    Virtues lead to punya in Hindu literature; while vices lead to pap. Sometimes, the word punya is used interchangeably with virtue.

    The Bhagavad Gita - considered one of the epitomes of historic Hindu discussion of virtues and an allegorical debate on what is right and what is wrong - argues some virtues are not necessarily always absolute, but sometimes relational; for example, it explains a virtue such as Ahimsa must be re-examined when one is faced with war or violence from the aggressiveness, immaturity or ignorance of others[7].
  3. Islam
    In Islam, the Quran is believed to be the literal word of God, and the definitive description of virtue while Muhammad is considered an ideal example of virtue in human form. The foundation of Islamic understanding of virtue was the understanding and interpretation of the Quran and the practices of Muhammad. Its meaning has always been in context of active submission to God performed by the community in unison.

    The motive force is the notion that believers are to "enjoin that which is virtuous and forbid that which is vicious" (al-amr bi-l-maʿrūf wa-n-nahy ʿani-l-munkar) in all spheres of life (Quran 3:110). Another key factor is the belief that mankind has been granted the faculty to discern God's will and to abide by it. This faculty most crucially involves reflecting over the meaning of existence.

    Therefore, regardless of their environment, humans are believed to have a moral responsibility to submit to God's will. Muhammad's preaching produced a "radical change in moral values based on the sanctions of the new religion and the present religion, and fear of God and of the Last Judgment". Later Muslim scholars expanded the religious ethics of the scriptures in immense detail.[8]
  4. Jainism
    In Jainism, attainment of enlightenment is possible only if the seeker possesses certain virtues. All Jains are supposed to take up the five vows of ahimsa (non violence), satya (truthfulness), asteya (non stealing), aparigraha (non attachment) and brahmacharya (celibacy) before becoming a monk.

    These vows are laid down by the Tirthankaras. Other virtues which are supposed to be followed by both monks as well as laypersons include forgiveness, humility, self-restraint and straightforwardness. These vows assist the seeker to escape from the karmic bondages thereby escaping the cycle of birth and death to attain liberation.

Virtues are what makes a person a good man. Values are what makes a person a good citizen. Virtue concentrates on the character of a person. Virtue can stem from an individual's spirituality or moral compass. It serves as a guide to our consistent everyday actions. Virtue is what continues to drive us towards goodness even when no one is looking.

Values can be defined by mainly what society deems as good. It does not have to come from a spiritual place. Values are composed of what actions, characteristics, or traits an
individual can have or display that would be considered morally upright or commendable. It can be said that values can be taught or given, but virtues come from within. Some characteristics that can fall under the category of virtues are honesty, integrity, kindness, courage, wisdom, fairness, compassion, fidelity, and commitment (Pozgar, 2012).

Ambition, intelligence, experience, tolerance, attractiveness, adaptability, dignity, sense of duty, drive, cleanliness, and many others can be considered under the term values.

  1. Perry : Realms of Values (1954)
  2. Lewis : Knowledge and Valuation (1945)
  3. Deway : In Encyclopedia of Philosophy ( 1967) Vol. 6
  4. Ross : �The Right And the Good�. (1930)
  5. Nielson : Problems of Ethics In Encyclopedia of Philosophy Vol. 3-4
  6. Hiriyanna : Indian Conception of Values (1975)
  1. Meara,Schmidt & Day,1996
  2. Kleist & White , 1997 , p.129
  3. Ibrahim , 1996; Vasquez , 1996
  4. Kitchener, 1996
  5. Bersoff, 1996
  6. Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Matthew Black, Carlo M. Martini, Bruce M. Metzger and Allen Wikgren, The Greek New Testament, 4th ed. (Federal Republic of Germany: United Bible Societies, 1993, c1979)
  7. Klaus K. Klostermaier (1996), in Harvey Leonard Dyck and Peter Brock (Ed), The Pacifist Impulse in Historical Perspective, see Chapter on Himsa and Ahimsa Traditions in Hinduism, ISBN 978-0802007773, University of Toronto Press, pages 230-234
  8. Bearman et al. 2009, Akhlaq

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