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Module by: William Frey. E-mail the author

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Name: Theory-Building Activities: Virtue Ethics
ID: m13755
Language: English (en)
Summary: This module provides activities that allow students to develop insights into the ethical approach commonly called virtue ethics. A previous module on moral exemplars has helped students to reflect on the characteristics and skills that make up individuals who consistently act for the good. This module builds on these insights and helps students identify and develop profiles for virtues pertinent to the occupational and professional domains. Students are provided with background information on virtue theory with emphasis on Aristotle's classical formulation and MacIntyre's recent attempt to see virtues as skills and traits cultivated to realize goods internal to a practice. In its original form, this module assigns virtues to small groups of 3 to 5 students. Students use a table format to "flesh out" their assigned virtue. Each group provides the others with copies of its virtue table. The result from students debriefing on their virtues and exchanging their virtue tables is a small virtue handbook that can be employed in subsequent decision-making exercises. This module is being developed as a part of an NSF-funded project, "Collaborative Development of Ethics Across the Curriculum Resources and Sharing of Best Practices," NSF SES 0551779.
Subject: Humanities
Keywords: Ethical Theory, Professional Ethics, Virtue Ethics
License: Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0

Authors: William Frey (
Copyright Holders: William Frey (
Maintainers: William Frey (

Latest version: 1.14 (history)
First publication date: Jul 26, 2006 5:42 am -0500
Last revision to module: Mar 4, 2014 1:31 pm -0600


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Version History

Version: 1.14 Mar 4, 2014 1:31 pm -0600 by William Frey
Added a section that outlined virtues in terms of four theses: pedagogy, definitions, constituents of a practice, virtue tables

Version: 1.13 Oct 7, 2010 3:37 pm -0500 by William Frey
Added section with references.

Version: 1.12 Sep 30, 2010 4:28 pm -0500 by William Frey
Added a presentation on virtue ethics.

Version: 1.11 Mar 2, 2007 8:00 am -0600 by William Frey
Updated abstract

Version: 1.10 Feb 1, 2007 12:51 pm -0600 by William Frey
 Demo changes

Version: 1.9 Jan 30, 2007 5:24 am -0600 by William Frey
Minor grammatical and stylistic edits.  Two bibliographical references have been added.

Version: 1.8 Jan 29, 2007 10:47 am -0600 by William Frey
Added descriptions of Virtue 1, 2, and 3.  Made stylistic changes such as adding section headings.  Added material from Martin on flow experiences.

Version: 1.7 Jan 13, 2007 12:53 pm -0600 by William Frey
Minor edits on table, exercise 1 and exercise 2.

Version: 1.6 Jan 11, 2007 11:15 am -0600 by William Frey
Revised module summary to focus on virtue ethics module.  Added link to Ethics Update on virtue ethics materials available online.

Version: 1.5 Jan 5, 2007 5:33 am -0600 by William Frey
This revision was stylistic, not substantive.  Section headings were added using the "name" format

Version: 1.4 Oct 12, 2006 7:53 pm -0500 by William Frey
Two online links added to module

Version: 1.3 Oct 12, 2006 7:52 pm -0500 by William Frey
Two links have been added to this module

Version: 1.2 Oct 12, 2006 7:40 pm -0500 by William Frey
 Reformated table and added ennumerated and bulleted lists.  Also added content summarizing virtue ethics

Version: 1.1 Aug 5, 2006 7:14 pm -0500 by William Frey
Module shortened and linked to computing cases and Good Computing manuscript draft.

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