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Some Basic Issues in Neo-Aristotelian Virtue Ethics
Uppsala University, Humanistisk-samhällsvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy.
2006 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

During the last three or four decades, a number of moral philosophers have moved in the direction of virtue ethics (VE). In this essay we begin by providing an outline of the main features of VE. It is argued that the basic normative requirement of VE is to aspire towards developing a morally virtuous character. Moral virtues, furthermore, are conceived of in a basically Aristotelian way: as well entrenched dispositions of character to deliberate and make decisions in accordance with correct reason, as well as to habitually act and feel in morally appropriate ways.

We then proceed to discussing three basic issues in VE more thoroughly. In chapter 3 it is argued that while VE primarily focuses on what we should aim to be like, it also has something to say about what we ought to do. Ultimately a developmental account of right action, according to which what counts as right action depends on our specific levels of virtuous development, is defended. In chapter 4 it is argued that VE does not constitute a kind of moral elitism. Even if the practice of full virtue is limited to a very few people, the rest of us are still in a position to aspire towards becoming more virtuous than we presently are. And that is what VE require of us. Finally, in chapter 5, we discuss the plausibility of neo-Aristotelian naturalism. This is a form of naturalism that is usually put forward as an alternative to non-cognitivist views in meta-ethics and it is commonly taken to be closely associated with VE. It is argued that neo-Aristotelian naturalism is flawed. However, since VE is first and foremost a normative ethical theory, it is not committed to any particular position in meta-ethics. Hence, even if neo-Aristotelian naturalism fails, VE may still survive intact.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Filosofiska institutionen , 2006. , 96 p.
Keyword [en]
Philosophy, Aristotle, elitism, expressivism, neo-Aristotelian naturalism, right action, virtue ethics (VE)
Keyword [sv]
Research subject
Practical Philosophy
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-7113ISBN: 91-506-1895-4OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-7113DiVA: diva2:168764
Public defence
2006-09-28, Auditorium Minus, Gustavianum, Akademigatan 3, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 2006-09-07 Created: 2006-09-07Bibliographically approved

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