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Virtue Ethics

Edited by Jason Kawall (Colgate University)
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Key works The essential work inspiring much of the virtue ethics tradition is Aristotle 2006.  Many consider David Hume 1751 and Adam Smith 1759) to provide important, sentimentalist virtue ethics in the early modern period.  Contemporary interest in virtue ethics is often traced to Elizabeth Anscombe's [Anscombe 1958: Modern Moral Philosophy 1958.  In the following decades key contemporary works appeared including Foot 1978, Pincoffs 1971, w#, Hursthouse, Slote, Swanton
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Subcategories:History/traditions: Virtue Ethics
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  1. Richard Bourne (2014). Communication, Punishment, and Virtue. Journal of Religious Ethics 42 (1):78-107.
    This essay suggests that while Antony Duff's model of criminal punishment as secular penance is pregnant with possibilities for theological reception and reflection, it proceeds by way of a number of separations that are brought into question by the penitential traditions of Christianity. The first three of these—between justice and mercy, censure and invitation, and state and victim, constrain the true communicative character of his account of punishment. The second set of oppositions, between sacrament and virtue, interior character and external (...)
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  2. Michael S. Brady (2010). Virtue, Emotion, and Attention. Metaphilosophy 41 (1):115-131.
    The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think that (...)
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  3. Scott Breuninger (2010). Recovering Bishop Berkeley: Virtue and Society in the Anglo-Irish Context. Palgrave Macmillan.
    Berkeley's sermons on passive obedience in the Irish context -- Science and sociability: Berkeley's "bond of society" -- Piety, perception, and the free-thinkers -- Luxury, moderation, and the south sea bubble -- Planting religion in the New World, 1722 - 1732 -- Improving Ireland: luxury, virtue, and economic development -- Bishop of Cloyne: protestantism, patriotism, and a national panacea.
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  4. David S. Bright, Bradley A. Winn & Jason Kanov (2013). Reconsidering Virtue: Differences of Perspective in Virtue Ethics and the Positive Social Sciences. Journal of Business Ethics 119 (4):1-16.
    This paper describes differences in two perspectives on the idea of virtue as a theoretical foundation for positive organizational ethics (POE). The virtue ethics perspective is grounded in the philosophical tradition, has classical roots, and focuses attention on virtue as a property of character. The positive social science perspective is a recent movement (e.g., positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship) that has implications for POE. The positive social science movement operationalizes virtue through an empirical lens that emphasizes virtuous behaviors. From (...)
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  5. Berit Brogaard (forthcoming). Towards a Eudaimonistic Virtue Epistemology. In Abrol Fairweather (ed.), Naturalizing Virtue Epistemology. Synthese Library.
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Varieties of Virtue Ethics
  1. Brenda Almond (2010). The Ethics of Care and Empathy – Michael Slote. Philosophical Quarterly 60 (238):211-213.
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  2. Judith Andre (2013). Open Hope as a Civic Virtue. Social Philosophy Today 29:89-100.
    Hope as a virtue is an acquired disposition, shaped by reflection; as a civic virtue it must serve the good of the community. Ernst Bloch and Lord Buddha offer help in constructing such a virtue. Using a taxonomy developed by Darren Webb I distinguish open hope from goal-oriented hope, and use each thinker to develop the former. Bloch and Buddha are very different (and notoriously obscure; I do not attempt an exegesis). But they share a metaphysics of change, foundational for (...)
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  3. Chrisoula Andreou (2005). Review of Phillipa Foot's Natural Goodness (Oxford: Clarendon Press 2001). [REVIEW] Utilitas 17 (3):359-361.
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  4. Chrisoula Andreou (2005). Phillipa Foot, Natural Goodness (Oxford: Clarendon Press 2001), Pp. 125. Utilitas 17 (3):359-361.
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  5. Aristotle (2009). The Nicomachean Ethics. OUP Oxford.
    'Happiness, then, is the best, noblest, and most pleasant thing in the world.' -/- In the Nicomachean Ethics Aristotle's guiding question is: what is the best thing for a human being? His answer is happiness, but he means, not something we feel, but rather a specially good kind of life. Happiness is made up of activities in which we use the best human capacities, both ones that contribute to our flourishing as members of a community, and ones that allow us (...)
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  6. Nafsika Athanassoulis, Virtue Ethics. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  7. Brian Barry (2010). David Hume as a Social Theorist. Utilitas 22 (4):369-392.
    This article examines Russell Hardin's interpretation of Hume's argument that great social order depends on coordination convention. The main argument shows that despite an apparent move in that direction Hume's main argument is that justice and the other convention-based virtues rest on a cooperative convention which solves a prisoner's dilemma problem and that states are required when a society exceeds some small size because only states can solve the large number prisoner's dilemma problems that constitute the . In this Hume's (...)
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  8. Sandrine Berges (2013). The Impossibility of Perfection. Aristotle, Feminism, and the Complexities of Ethics. By Michael Slote. (New York: Oxford UP, 2011. Pp. Ix + 167. Price £30.00.). [REVIEW] Philosophical Quarterly 63 (252):624-626.
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  9. Sandrine Berges (2009). Plato on Virtue and the Law. Continuum.
    This important monograph examines Plato's contribution to virtue ethics and shows how his dialogues contain interesting and plausible insights into current philosophical concerns.
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  10. Philip Cafaro (2010). Environmental Virtue Ethics Special Issue: Introduction. [REVIEW] Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 23 (1-2):3-7.
  11. Philip Cafaro (2001). Dirty Virtues: Emergence of Ecological Virtue Ethics. Environmental Ethics 23 (2):211-214.
  12. Philip Cafaro & Ronald L. Sandler (eds.) (2004). Environmental Virtue Ethics. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
  13. Cheshire Calhoun (2008). Symposium on Lisa Tessman's Burdened Virtues. Hypatia 23 (3-4):182.
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  14. Archibald Campbell (1733/1994). An Enquiry Into the Original of Moral Virtue. Routledge/Thoemmes Press.
    This is the third selection of major works on the Scottish Enlightenment and includes the same combination of hard-to-find and popular works as in the two previous collections. Contents: An Essay on the Natural Equality of Men [1793] William Lawrence Brown, New introduction by Dr. William Scott 308 pp An Enquiry into the Origin of Moral Virtue [1733] Archibald Campbell 586 pp The Philosophical Works [1765] William Dudgeon, New introduction by David Berman 300 pp Institutes of Moral Philosophy For the (...)
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  15. Shaoming Chen (2008). Endurance and Non-Endurance: From the Perspective of Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Frontiers of Philosophy in China 3 (3):335-351.
    By analysing the two relevant psychological phenomena of “endurance” and “non-endurance,” this essay aims to reveal the ethical implications of a Confucian approach, namely regarding non-endurance as an impulse of primary virtue. Based on this case study, the author then explores the significance of moral cultivation or psychological training in establishing moral personality and the complexities of such a process. Meanwhile, “love” in Confucian ethics means sympathy for the inferior rather than affection for the revered. Hopefully, this study may deepen (...)
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  16. Christopher Miles Coope (2006). Modern Virtue Ethics. In T. D. J. Chappell (ed.), Values and Virtues: Aristotelianism in Contemporary Ethics. Oxford University Press.
  17. Roger Crisp & Michael A. Slote (eds.) (1997). Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    This volume brings together much of the most influential work undertaken in the field of virtue ethics over the last four decades. The ethics of virtue predominated in the ancient world, and recent moral philosophy has seen a revival of interest in virtue ethics as a rival to Kantian and utilitarian approaches to morality. Divided into four sections, the collection includes articles critical of other traditions; early attempts to offer a positive vision of virtue ethics; some later criticisms of the (...)
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  18. Christine Daigle (2006). Nietzsche: Virtue Ethics. . . Virtue Politics? Journal of Nietzsche Studies 32 (1):1-21.
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  19. Stephen L. Darwall (ed.) (2003). Virtue Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell.
    "Virtue Ethics" is a major approach to normative ethical theory that takes the consideration of character as fundamental to ethical reflection.
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  20. R. Das (2003). Virtue Ethics and Right Action. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 81 (3):324 – 339.
    In this paper I evaluate some recent virtue-ethical accounts of right action [Hursthouse 1999; Slote 2001; Swanton 2001]. I argue that all are vulnerable to what I call the insularity objection : evaluating action requires attention to worldly consequences external to the agent, whereas virtue ethics is primarily concerned with evaluating an agent's inner states. More specifically, I argue that insofar as these accounts are successful in meeting the insularity objection they invite the circularity objection : they end up relying (...)
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  21. S. F. (2003). Christine Swanton Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003). Pp. XI+312. £35.00 (Hbk). ISBN 0 119 9253888. [REVIEW] Religious Studies 39 (4):502-503.
  22. Nicolito Gianan (2011). Delving Into the Ethical Dimension Of. Cultura. International Journal of Philosophy of Culture and Axiology 8 (1):63-82.
  23. Robert Guay (2006). Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View (Review). Journal of Nietzsche Studies 31 (1):75-77.
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  24. John Hacker-Wright (2010). Virtue Ethics Without Right Action: Anscombe, Foot, and Contemporary Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 44 (2):209-224.
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  25. Pamela M. Hall (2008). Virtue Ethics Old and New (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2):pp. 332-332.
  26. Pamela M. Hall (2008). ≪span Xmlns:Xlink="Http://Www.W3.Org/1999/Xlink" Xmlns:Mml="Http://Www.W3.Org/1998/Math/MathML" Xmlns:M="Http://Www.W3.Org/1998/Math/MathML" Style="Font-Style:Italic;"≫Virtue Ethics Old and New≪/Span≫ (Review). [REVIEW] Journal of the History of Philosophy 46 (2):332-332.
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  27. Rosalind Hursthouse (1999/2001). On Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
    Virtue ethics is perhaps the most important development within late twentieth-century moral philosophy. Rosalind Hursthouse, who has made notable contributions to this development, here presents a full exposition and defense of her neo-Aristotelian version of virtue ethics. She shows how virtue ethics can provide guidance for action, illuminate moral dilemmas, and bring out the moral significance of the emotions.
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  28. John Kultgen (1998). Slote's Free-Standing Virtue Ethics and its Props. Southwest Philosophy Review 14 (1):103-110.
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  29. John Kultgen (1998). The Vicissitudes of Common-Sense Virtue Ethics, Part I: From Aristotle to Slote. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (3):325-341.
  30. John Kultgen (1998). The Vicissitudes of Common-Sense Virtue Ethics, Part II: The Heuristic Use of Common Sense. [REVIEW] Journal of Value Inquiry 32 (4):465-478.
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  31. Robert B. Louden (1994). On Pincoffs' Conception of Ethics. Journal of Philosophical Research 19:9-22.
    This essay focuses on Edmund Pincoffs’ arguments in defense of virtue ehtics and against ethical theory. His advocacy of virtue ethics hinges on the claims that: 1) the virtues are central to ancient ethics, modern ethics representing an unjustifiable change in orientation; 2) modern ethics is overly legalistic, construing morality merely as a set of universalistic action-guiding rules; 3) modern ethics is objectionably reductivistic, reducing morality to conscientiousness. Pincoffs’ opposition to ethical theory is based on the claims that: 4) ethical (...)
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  32. Elinor Mason (2005). Christine Swanton, Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View (Oxford: Oxford University Press 2003), Pp. XI + 312. Utilitas 17 (2):231-233.
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  33. Elinor Mason (2003). Rosalind Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1999, Pp. X + 275. Utilitas 15 (02):250-.
  34. Michelle Mason (2005). Christine Swanton, Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View. [REVIEW] Ethics 115 (2):430-434.
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  35. Bernard Mayo (2009). Virtue Ethics. In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
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  36. Thaddeus Metz (2013). The Virtues of African Ethics. In Stan van Hooft (ed.), The Handbook of Virtue Ethics. Acumen Publishing. 276-84.
    Since its inception as a professional field in the 1960s or so, African ethics has been neglected not only by virtue ethicists, but also by international scholars in moral philosophy generally. This is unfortunate, since sub-Saharan normative perspectives are characteristically virtue-centred, and, furthermore, are both different from traditional Western forms and just as worth taking seriously as they are. In my contribution, I spell out the two major respects in which virtue is a salient theme in African ethics, and critically (...)
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  37. Ben Lazare Mijuskovic (2007). Virtue Ethics. Philosophy and Literature 31 (1):133-141.
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  38. William Simkulet (2013). Essays on the History of Ethics by Michael Slote (Review). Journal of the History of Philosophy 51 (3):500-501.
    In this book Michael Slote discusses the history of ethics from a sentimentalist perspective. It can be read in two ways: first, as a tribute to great thinkers whose contributions have helped shape contemporary ethics, and second, as a defense of a sentimentalist virtue theory. This review centers on the two chapters most relevant to sentimentalist virtue theory: chapter 1, in which Slote defines and defends elevationism, and chapter 5, in which he offers a defense of sentimentalism. The first essay (...)
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  39. Rebecca Stangl (2010). Asymmetrical Virtue Particularism. Ethics 121 (1):37-57.
    In this essay, I defend an account of right action that I shall call “asymmetrical virtue particularism.” An action, on this account, is right just insofar as it is overall virtuous. But the virtuousness of an action in any particular respect, X, is deontically variant; it can fail to be right-making, either because it is deontically irrelevant or because it is wrong-making. Finally, the account is asymmetrical insofar as the viciousness of actions is not deontically variant; if any action is (...)
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  40. Daniel Statman (ed.) (1997). Virtue Ethics. Georgetown University Press.
  41. Karen Stohr (2010). Teaching & Learning Guide For: Contemporary Virtue Ethics. Philosophy Compass 5 (1):102-107.
    Virtue ethics is now well established as a substantive, independent normative theory. It was not always so. The revival of virtue ethics was initially spurred by influential criticisms of other normative theories, especially those made by Elizabeth Anscombe, Philippa Foot, John McDowell, Alasdair MacIntyre, and Bernard Williams. 1 Because of this heritage, virtue ethics is often associated with anti-theory movements in ethics and more recently, moral particularism. There are, however, quite a few different approaches to ethics that can reasonably claim (...)
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  42. Karen Stohr (2006). Contemporary Virtue Ethics. Philosophy Compass 1 (1):22–27.
  43. Frans Svensson (2010). Virtue Ethics and the Search for an Account of Right Action. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):255 - 271.
    Conceived of as a contender to other theories in substantive ethics, virtue ethics is often associated with, in essence, the following account or criterion of right action: VR: An action A is right for S in circumstances C if and only if a fully virtuous agent would characteristically do A in C. There are serious objections to VR, which take the form of counter-examples. They present us with different scenarios in which less than fully virtuous persons would be acting rightly (...)
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  44. Frans Svensson (2008). Virtue Ethics and Elitism. Philosophical Papers 37 (1):131-155.
    Because of its reliance on a basically Aristotelian conception of virtue, contemporary virtue ethics is often criticised for being inherently elitist. I argue that this objection is mistaken. The core of my argument is that we need to take seriously that virtue, according to Aristotle, is something that we acquire gradually, via a developmental process. People are not just stuck with their characters once and for all, but can always aspire to become better (more virtuous). And that is plausibly the (...)
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  45. Richard Taylor (2002). Virtue Ethics: An Introduction. Prometheus Books.
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