If utilitarianism took as its end, not pleasure, or even happiness exactly, but virtue, then I would be much more inclined to it.
If the moral rule were that we should do everything we can to increase the amount of virtue in ourselves and in those around us, then I think that would be an amazing approach to morality.
And it would seem to be entirely compatible with deontological approaches to ethics. Could there be a way of increasing virtue for self or others that involved acting immorally? It is hard to imagine such a situation. That’s not to say that the two are exactly the same thing, only that they perhaps overlap so much that they would look practically the same.
The weakness of this proposal might be the danger of circularity. If a virtuous person is one who acts to increase virtue in the world, then it may seem as if the word virtue ceases to be meaningful.
That would be bad. So the virtue, for which our virtue consequentialism aims, must mean more than simply the habit of acting according to virtue consequentialism. The virtue found at the heart of virtue consequentialism is richer than virtue consequentialism, more comprehensive.
What is this virtue to which virtue consequentialism would point? Let me take a stab at it. I think it would be excellence in human competencies (relative to the capability of a given person), starting with the most basic and moving on from there.
Virtue would mean a high social competence, high intellectual competence, high athletic competence, high competence in dealing with one’s emotions and desires. It would mean competence in the range of skills necessary for living a normal human life. And it would mean competence in other capacities progressively less basic and progressively more oriented to making their possessor invincibly virtuous and beneficial to one’s community.