In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Routledge. pp. 365-374 (2014)
AbstractIn addition to the traditional reliance on rules and codes in regulating the conduct of military personnel, most of today’s militaries put their money on character building in trying to make their soldiers virtuous. Especially in recent years it has time and again been argued that virtue ethics, with its emphasis on character building, provides a better basis for military ethics than deontological ethics or utilitarian ethics. Although virtue ethics comes in many varieties these days, in many texts on military ethics dealing with the subject of military virtues the Aristotelian view on virtues is still pivotal. Developing virtues is by some authors seen as the best way to prevent misconduct by military personnel, it being considered superior to rules or codes of conduct imposed from above. The main argument these authors offer is that these solutions are impotent when no one is around, and lack the flexibility often thought necessary in today’s world. Finally, rules and codes try to condition behavior, leaving less room for personal integrity. At first sight, then, there is a great deal to say in favor of virtue ethics as being the best way of enhancing the chances of soldiers behaving morally. However, this preference for steering conduct by means of promoting certain desirable dispositions is not without any problems that, as it stands, are hardly ever addressed. To begin with, there are a few practical concerns. For instance, even if we assume that military virtues can assist military personnel to do their work in a morally sound manner, it is still not clear to what extent virtues can, in fact, be taught to them. It is an assumption of virtue ethics that they can, but is this really the case? And if so, how should they be taught? – virtues are supposedly developed by practicing them, yet how much room is there for practicing virtues in for instance the ethics education as followed in military academies and school battalions? Secondly, it appears that the traditional military virtues, such as honor, loyalty, courage, and obedience, are, especially in their common interpretation, mainly beneficial to colleagues and the organization, not so much to the local population of the countries military personnel are deployed to. Changes in the military’s wider environment have led to a shift from traditional of self-defense tasks to new, more complex tasks, and especially in today’s missions one could expect that the proper virtues are not necessarily solely the more martial ones.
Similar books and articles
Military Ethics and Virtues: An Interdisciplinary Approach for the 21st Century.Peter Olsthoorn - 2010 - Routledge.
Virtue ethics and military ethics.René Moelker & Peter Olsthoorn - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (4):257-258.
Ethics for the weekends: The case of reservists.Mark Zelcer - 2012 - Journal of Military Ethics 11 (4):333-352.
A Critique of Integrity: Has a Commander a Moral Obligation to Uphold his Own Principles?Peter Olsthoorn - 2009 - Journal of Military Ethics 8 (2):90-104.
An Introduction to Military Ethics: A Reference Handbook.Bill Rhodes - 2009 - Praeger.
Strengthening moral competence: A 'train the Trainer' course on military ethics.Eva Wortel & Jolanda Bosch - 2011 - Journal of Military Ethics 10 (1):17-35.
Risks and Robots – some ethical issues.Peter Olsthoorn & Lambèr Royakkers - 2011 - Archive International Society for Military Ethics, 2011.
A Beguiling Military Virtue: Honor.Ted Westhusing* - 2003 - Journal of Military Ethics 2 (3):195-212.
Courage in the Military: Physical and Moral.Peter Olsthoorn - 2007 - Journal of Military Ethics 6 (4):270-279.
Civilian Care in War: Lessons from Afghanistan.Peter Olsthoorn & Myriame Bollen - 2013 - In Michael Gross & Don Carrick (eds.), Military Medical Ethics forthe 21st Century. Ashgate. pp. 59-70.
Legitimacy and Commitment in the Military.Thomas C. Wyatt & Reuven Gal (eds.) - 1990 - Greenwood Press.
Military Ethics: The Dutch Approach: A Practical Guide.Ted van Baarda & Désirée Verweij (eds.) - 2006 - Martinus Nijhoff.
Virtue ethics from a global perspective: A pluralistic framework for understanding moral virtues.Lawrence M. Hinman, Alcalá Park & San Diego - unknown
Added to PP
Historical graph of downloads