We should act based on The Minimum Conception of Morality guide, through reason as well as regards to others. When it comes to ethics, there are three positive criticisms we should all know and be aware of, utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue.
According to Richard Kraut, Aristotle follows Socrates and Plato in taking the virtues to be central to a well-lived life. The virtue characteristics include justice, courage, temperance, etc. Aristotle also understood that we need a proper appreciation of such goods as friendship, pleasure, honor, wealth, and virtue all play into one another as a whole.
Virtue outweighs both utilitarianism and deontology on the ethics scale. Not all theories are black and white. For example the things we must do or not must do. We all know lying is a negative criteria of ethics, but with a situation between an inquiring murder, lying would be considered protecting your friend’s or your family’s life.
Utilitarianism consists of the quantitative and qualitative measures of pleasures. Bentham’s hedonistic calculus shows that not everyone’s levels of pleasures are the same. Compare a human with maybe a dog. The utilities vary as well as the pleasures.
However Aristotle doesn’t follow Plato with sciences and metaphysics are needed for the understanding of one’s ethics. Considering there are three deficiencies of virtue, which consist of people in the categories, continence, incontinence, vice. For example, the evil individuals who wholeheartedly plan to endorse evil whatever it may be.
For those who fall under the deficiencies, without metaphysics or sciences, we wouldn’t be able to “fix” those with psychological needs to adjust their virtue to where it needs to be. Back to the “Golden Mean”, the mean between the two extremes.
Kraut, Richard, “Aristotle’s Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (spring 2012 Edition). Web. 11/19/2012. .