We use the terms “good” and “bad”, “right” and “wrong” very often for a variety of different situations. What these words mean depend on the situation they are used in. While they are assumed to mean morally good and bad, they can also mean simply more efficient, preferable, practical, better, or something more complex like that it may not be morally good, but it is necessary to avoid something morally worse.
Virtue is not the same as morality. It deals with things that are “good”, but not necessarily morally good. Patience is a virtue, and patience is good, but being impatient is not morally wrong. Neither is being patient morally good necessarily, it depends on the situation. A virtuous person strives to be better than they were before. While lacking virtue may lead to morally bad consequences, that link is indirect and often accidental. Their lack of virtue led to a morally bad event, but it was not solely because they did not have that virtue, instead it was also due to other events that led to this by circumstance. In the same way, an immoral person can be virtuous and still do bad things, even on purpose.
Judgment of Virtue
Virtues will often help you be morally better, and one can point out that others lack a certain virtue, or that something they did was unvirtuous. This however is not a judgment of moral character, as morality and virtue are not the same. Such a judgment should not be taken poorly or as an insult, as it simply points out that something or someone can be better.
Virtue deals with what is ideal, but not right or wrong. Virtue helps you live better, while morality deals with the fundamentals for being a good person.
Morality is more straightforward, as it is perhaps one of the most common aspects of philosophy. Morality, whether you believe it to be subjective or objective, or personal or universal, deals with what is good and bad in the most general and fundamental sense. Morally bad things should be avoided because they are inherently bad, and morally good things should be done because they are inherently good.
Often though, you don’t have a choice between a completely good or bad thing. There are times when it is clear that bad things are necessary for a good outcome. Such cases require careful analysis, because this can often be an excuse to do bad things without them really being justified.
Judgment of Morality
A moral judgment is often seen as arrogant. This is illogical because anyone with morality needs to judge. By having even a flawed understanding of what is good and bad, one cannot see something morally bad and ignore it because that inaction is irresponsible and unwillingly contributes to the morally bad action by allowing it to happen. Of course one should be careful and analyse the situation before judging it, but that is simply a matter of open mindedness and scientific method; one must be moral, but obviously they should do so efficiently and with certainty.
Justice/What you should do
Based on various factors including morality, you do what you judge is best. Whether or not you did the right thing does not simply depend on whether the specific outcome was good or bad, it depends on the overall outcome. This means that for example if you wanted to save someone, but ended up killing other people in the process, you did a good thing by saving them, but you also have to consider whether or not that person’s life was worth the lives you took. This is no easy choice to make, often people will convince themselves that any sacrifice is acceptable because their goal is so important. More often than not this is a lie people tell themselves to make it easier to choose and live with their choice.
However there are also times when the bad things you do are worth the good you do. Such complex actions are simultaneously good and bad. The fact that a bad action may be justified does not change the fact that it is wrong. As a result, if you are required to do bad things, there is no situation in which you should not feel guilty for them.
What you should do, or what is justified, is different from what is virtuous and what is moral. They are of course essential to each other, but they are not the same thing. If you know that killing some terrorists will save millions of people, and there is no other option than to kill them, then it is likely that you should kill the terrorists. That does not change the nature of killing though; killing is morally bad regardless of the circumstance, but it may be justified, in which case you should do it. One cannot tell themselves that killing is morally OK simply because it was justified, because that is not the same thing. Doing so makes it easier since you don’t feel the guilt of doing the bad thing, but that is simply willful ignorance and avoiding the truth. People convince themselves of this so adamantly that they eventually believe it and refuse to even consider otherwise.
Rather than lying to yourself until you become so close minded that you believe it, one should instead understand that guilt itself is a justified human response. Guilt is the only response that makes sense if you are morally good, since such a person will understand what is morally right and wrong, and will see the bad they have done and understand that it is tragic. But a person who is also virtuous will understand that guilt should not drive one’s decisions and that instead they should figure out what actions are just, and do them without abandoning their morality. If they have to do something bad but justified, then they should do so as best they can, trying to avoid bad things, and if they happen then they should not shy away from them, but take responsibility, and grieve with the guilt for their actions and know that what they did was bad, but move on knowing that it was justified.
Judgment of Justification
The expression “judgment of justification” is perhaps redundant because judgments are analyses of whether or not something is just or corresponds to something. Often a judgment is simply made based on criteria such as whether or not a painting is good, if something is long enough to do what it is meant to, or the application of morality to specific situations. We judge everyday what choices we should make and whether or not our actions are justified. Judgment is a vital tool for us on a fundamental philosophical level and for everyday utilitarian purposes.
Virtuous, moral, and justified judgments are not the same and no one should be insulted when being judged by them as they should take that as an analysis of themselves, and if they determine that it is true they should use it to improve themselves.