Altruism has often been thought to be the reason we treat animals with a certain moral respect. Animals are not moral agents who could reciprocally honour our well being, and because of this duties toward them are considered to be based on other-directed motivations. Altruism is a vague notion, and in the context of animals can be divided into at least three different alternatives. The first one equates altruism with benevolence or "kindness"; the second one argues altruism is based on (...) recognising inherent value in others; and the third one emphasises identification. Out of these three the first one seems the poorest, for it ultimately falls into egoism: we treat animals with respect out of a need to cultivate our "humanity". The second option is well justified and has been defended thoroughly in the field of animal ethics. Still, it has been criticised recently for being too theory-dependent and even abstract. The third alternative seems tempting in its willingness to give room to practice instead of emphasising abstract moral notions. However, this willingness also comes with a price, for it seems unclear what the mere concentration on contexts and practice can tell us about duties and norms. The main problem is fitting together identification as a practical grounds for moral sentiment with the need for "codified" and even abstract moral principles. One way to do this, the paper suggests, is to use a three-level approach that seeks to take both sides into account. (shrink)
Despite its centrality for an understanding of Nietzsche's thought, the term ressentiment does not appear in his writings before Beyond Good and Evil. This article argues that the roots of the idea of ressentiment appear in his middle period writings when he discusses vanity [die Eitelkeit].
This paper examines the virtue of modesty and provides an account of what it means to be modest. A good account should not only delimit the proper application of the concept, but should also capture why it is that we think that modesty is a virtue. Recent work has yielded several interesting, but flawed, accounts of modesty. Julia Driver has argued that it consists in underestimating one’s self-worth, while Owen Flanagan has argued that modesty must entail an accurate—as opposed to (...) underestimated or inflated—conception of one’s self worth. Neither of these accounts provides a satisfactory characterization of modesty as a virtue. Driver leaves us wondering why modesty, understood, at least in part, as misunderstanding one’s merits, should earn the status of virtue, whereas Flanagan’s characterization does not adequately and uniquely pick out the concept of modesty. These criticisms have been presented by G. F. Schueler who goes on to defend the doctrine that modesty is, roughly, the lack of one’s desire for other people to be impressed by one’s accomplishments. My goal is to provide an account of modesty that improves upon those currently before us. My own positive account will draw off of Schueler’s account as well as work done by Jean-Paul Sartre and Gabriele Taylor on the moral emotion of shame. (shrink)
Integrity is a central topic in business ethics, and in the world of business it is quite possibly the most commonly cited morally desirable trait. But integrity is conceived in widely differing ways, and as often as it is discussed in the literature and given a central place in corporate ethics statements, the notion is used so variously that its value in guiding everyday conduct may be more limited than is generally supposed. Two central questions for this paper are what (...) work the notion does and whether it does any ethical work that is not done better by other concepts. In pursuing these questions the paper explores the most plausible range of understandings of integrity found in recent literature, considers in what sense it is a virtue, and proposes a strategy of clarification and interpretation that can facilitate both ethical reflection and the guidance of moral conduct in business. (shrink)
Kierkegaard faces an apparent dilemma. On the one hand, he concurs with the biblical injunction: we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. He takes this to imply that self-love and neighbor-love should be roughly symmetrical, similar in kind as well as degree. On the other hand, he recommends relating to others and to ourselves in disparate ways. We should be lenient, charitable, and forgiving when interacting with neighbors; the opposite when dealing with ourselves. The goal of my paper is (...) to solve this puzzle. I first consider addressing it by appealing to Gene Outka’s idea that equal love does not entail identical treatment. After rejecting this solution, I offer my own: Asymmetry between the two loves is not a moral ideal for Kierkegaard but a rehabilitative strategy. He recommends being more latitudinarian with others than with ourselves to correct against a common tendency toward the opposite extreme. (shrink)
Drawing upon contemporary virtue ethics theory, The Model of The Principled Advocate and The Pathological Partisan is introduced. Profiles are developed of diametrically opposed archetypes of public relations and advertising practitioners. The Principled Advocate represents the advocacy virtues of humility, truth, transparency, respect, care, authenticity, equity, and social responsibility. The Pathological Partisan represents the opposing vices of arrogance, deceit, secrecy, manipulation, disregard, artifice, injustice, and raw self-interest. One becomes either a Principled Advocate or a Pathological Partisan by habitually enacting or (...) embodying the virtues or vices in the context of professional practices. (shrink)
For centuries, it has been held that communication of an ominous prognosis has the power to kill patients and that the cultivation of hope, even when deceitful, may expedite recovery (Faden, Beauchamp, and King 1986, 63). Today, truth is considered a higher value than the pleasantness of no-worry. Research shows that patients want to be told the truth and that informed patients do not die prematurely; rather, they fare better psychologically than those kept behind a veil of silence. We also (...) know that throughout their illness, patients want their caregivers to communicate hope as well. Doctors and patients do not want “hope [to] be taken away” (Schneiderman 2005). Hope (tiqva) is not an independent concept .. (shrink)
In its first part, the paper explores the challenge of conceptualizing the Thomist theological virtue of hope in Aristotelian terms that are compatible with non-Thomist and even atheist metaphysics as well. I argue that the key concept in this endeavor is friendship—as an Aristotelian virtue, as relational value in Thomist theology, as a recognized value in supportive care and as a kind of ‘personal hope.’ Then, the paper proceeds to examine the possible differences between hope as a virtue and hope (...) as an experience reported by people, terminal patients in particular. With the clinical problem of hope at the end of life in mind, the paper concludes with two meta-ethical questions—about the overridingness of .. (shrink)
In this paper I intend to present two concepts of courage, with the purpose of introducing two different ways in which the classical virtue of courage may serve goals of personal achievement and goals of collective flourishing respectively. The two forms of courage that I will distinguish are the courage of creativity and the courage of conviction, respectively. The courage of creativity is the ability to confront the fear of failure, this ability being directed by the agent's will to achieve, (...) while the courage of conviction is the ability to confront the fear of personal transience, this ability being directed by the agent's sense of moral responsibility. While not necessarily being a moral virtue, courage in the first of its two forms constitutes an important component of the agent's capacity for self-fulfilment. In its other form it enables the agent to confront the fears of meaninglessness and of being a social outcast, involving her in a quest for objectivity and in doing the right thing rather than giving in to conventions. (shrink)
This unpublished paper from 2004 argues that the agenda for positive psychology laid out by Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman in their massive work Character Strengths and Virtues: a Handbook and Classification (New York: Oxford University Press, 2004) might be improved by making several conceptual changes: 1) by developing general concepts of virtue (singular), and of positive health to clarify the relationships between specific virtues and competing conceptions of positive health; 2) by aligning the project more firmly with eudaimonistic accounts (...) of virtue that fit comfortably with scientific psychology; and 3) by aligning the project more firmly with the health sciences than with ethics and philosophy generally. The paper was developed from a talk prepared for the Working Conference on The Philosophical History of Character Strengths and Virtues, The University of Pennsylvania, September 2-4, 2004. (shrink)
A dialogue between virtue and care ethics is formed as a step towards meeting Pellegrino's challenge to create a more comprehensive moral philosophy. It is also a dialogue between nursing and medicine since each practice draws on the Greek Virtue Tradition and the Judeo-Christian Tradition of care differently. In the Greek Virtue Tradition, the point of scrutiny lies in the inner character of the actor, whereas in the Judeo-Christian Tradition the focus is relational, i.e. how virtues are lived out in (...) specific relationships, particularly unequal relationships where vulnerability of one of the members is an issue. In a care ethic relational qualities such as attunement rather than inner qualities are the point of scrutiny. A dialogue between these two traditions makes it possible to consider the relational virtues and skills of openness and responsiveness that are required for a respectful meeting of the other. (shrink)
The contemporary discussion of modesty has focused on whether or not modest people are accurate about their own good qualities. This essay argues that this way of framing the debate is unhelpful and offers examples to show that neither ignorance nor accuracy about the good qualities related to oneself is necessary for modesty. It then offers an attention-based account, claiming that what is necessary for modesty is to direct one’s attention in certain ways. By analyzing modesty in this way, we (...) can best explain the distinct features of modesty, keep much of what is intuitive in contemporary accounts, and better understand why modesty is a virtue at all. (shrink)
The common image of the fully virtuous person is of someone with perfect self-command and self-perception, who always makes correct evaluations. However, modesty appears to be areal virtue, and it seems contradictory for someone to believe that she is modest. Accordingly, traditional defenders of phronesis (the view that virtue involves practical wisdom) deny that modesty is a virtue, while defenders of modesty such as Julia Driver deny that phronesis is required for virtue. I offer a new theory of modesty-the two (...) standards account-under which phronesis and modesty are reconciled. Additionally, since the two standards account involves reflection on llloral ideals, I provide an account of the proper nature of moral ideals. (shrink)
This book shows that civil disobedience is generally more defensible than private conscientious objection. -/- Part I explores the morality of conviction and conscience. Each of these concepts informs a distinct argument for civil disobedience. The conviction argument begins with the communicative principle of conscientiousness. According to this principle, having a conscientious moral conviction means not just acting consistently with our beliefs and judging ourselves and others by a common moral standard. It also means not seeking to evade the consequences (...) of our beliefs and being willing to communicate to them to others. The conviction argument shows that, as a constrained, communicative practice, civil disobedience has a better claim than private objection does to the protections that liberal societies give to conscientious dissent. This view reverses the standard liberal picture which sees private 'conscientious' objection as a modest act of personal belief and civil disobedience as a strategic, undemocratic act whose costs are only sometimes worth bearing. -/- The conscience argument is narrower and shows that genuinely morally responsive civil disobedience honours the best of our moral responsibilities and is protected by a duty-based moral right of conscience. -/- Part II translates the conviction argument and conscience argument into two legal defences. The first is a demands-of-conviction defence. The second is a necessity defence. Both of these defences apply more readily to civil disobedience than to private disobedience. Part II also examines lawful punishment, showing that, even when punishment is justifiable, civil disobedients have a moral right not to be punished. (shrink)
I argue for an environmental virtue ethics which specifies human excellence and flourishing in relation to nature. I consider Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, and Rachel Carson as environmental virtue ethicists, and show that these writers share certain ethical positions that any environmental virtue ethics worthy of the name must embrace. These positions include putting economic life in its proper,subordinate place within human life as a whole; cultivating scientific knowledge, while appreciating its limits; extending moral considerability to the nonhuman world; (...) and supporting wilderness protection. I argue that Thoreau, Leopold, and Carson themselves exemplify the potential for cultivating excellence in engagement with wild nature: their lives are among our most powerful arguments for its preservation. (shrink)
Despite tendencies to compete for a prime place in moral theory, neither virtue ethics nor the four principles approach should claim to be superior to, or logically prior to, the other. Together they provide a more adequate account of the moral life than either can offer on its own. The virtues of principlism are clarity, simplicity and (to some extent) universality. These are well illustrated by Ranaan Gillon’s masterly analysis of the cases he has provided. But the vices of this (...) approach are the converse of its virtues: neglect of emotional and personal factors, oversimplification of the issues, and excessive claims to universality. Virtue ethics offers a complementary approach, providing insights into moral character, offering a blend of reason and emotion, and paying attention to the context of decisions. The cases provided can be more adequately understood if we combine the approaches. Both should foster the virtues of humility and magnanimity. (shrink)
Susan Wolf famously claimed that the life of the moral saint is unattractive from the “point of view of individual perfection.” I argue, however, that the unattractive moral saints in Wolf’s account are self-defeating on two levels, are motivated in the wrong way, and are called into question by real-life counter-examples. By appealing to a real-life case study, I argue that the best life from the moral point of view is not necessarily unattractive from the individual point of view.
It is central to virtue ethics both that morally sound action follows from virtuous character, and that virtuous character is itself the product of habitual right judgement and choice: that, in short, we choose our moral characters. However, any such view may appear to encounter difficulty in those cases of moral conflict where an agent cannot simultaneously act (say) both honestly and sympathetically, and in which the choices of agents seem to favour the construction of different moral characters. This paper (...) argues, against possible counter-arguments, for a view of virtue ethics which embraces the diversity of moral character. (shrink)
This essay focuses on the unity of several virtues in pre-Qin Confucians. Confucius maintains the proper application and coherence of such virtues as benevolence, wisdom, trustworthiness, straightforwardness, courage, and firmness. Further, Confucius takes benevolence and nobility as characteristic of human being. Particular attention is paid to the distinction and relationship between virtuous characters and virtuous actions.
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 (...) our understanding of virtue ethics. (shrink)
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 (...) revival of virtue ethics; and, finally, some recent, more theoretically ambitious essays in virtue ethics. (shrink)
Book Information On Virtue Ethics. On Virtue Ethics Rosalind Hursthouse Oxford Oxford University Press 1999 ix + 275 Hardback 25 By Rosalind Hursthouse. Oxford University Press. Oxford. Pp. ix + 275. Hardback: 25.
As David Wiggins points out, although Ross is best known for opposing Moore's consequentialism, Ross comes very close to capitulation to Moore when he accepts, as required by beneficence, a prima facie duty to maximize the good. I argue that what lies behind this is Ross's acceptance of Moore's doctrine of agent-neutral intrinsic value, a notion that is not required by, but is indeed is in tension with, beneficence as doing good to or for others.
According to the nineteenth century English philosopher John Stuart Mill, all human beings desire to live lives pregnant with happiness; we all long to be the recipients of liberal amounts of varied, high quality pleasures with pain making as brief an appearance in our conscious experience as possible. Happiness is the one and only thing we desire for its own sake; everything else is desirable simply as a means to securing happiness. Perhaps this is so. Mill, however, went on to (...) argue that promoting happiness of this sort is not only desirable, it is in fact a moral obligation on our part. Suppose that on some delicious fall evening you are contemplating whether to pick up Dickens' David Copperfield and read a chapter or two. Well, given the alternatives before you, if reading Dickens would result in the greatest amount of happiness, not only for yourself but also for all those affected by your solitary, bookish reverie, then you can be sure your action is morally right and indeed obligatory. (shrink)
In this paper, I explicate Kant’s theory of virtue and situate it within the context of theories of virtue before Kant (such as Aristotle, Hobbes, and Hume) and after Kant (such as Schiller and Schopenhauer). I explore Kant’s notions of virtue as a disposition to do one’s duty out of respect for the moral law, as moral strength in non-holy wills, as the moral disposition in conflict, and as moral self-constraint based on inner freedom. I distinguish between Kant’s notions of (...) virtue and of the good will. I discuss Kant’s duties of virtue (and so particular virtues and vices), the relationships between virtue and happiness and virtue and the emotions, and Kant’s criticisms of his predecessors’ views of virtue. I close with a discussion of Kant and contemporary virtue ethics. Although the paper reflects my own interpretation of Kant, it strives less to argue for a particular thesis about Kant on virtue than to illuminate important aspects of Kant’s theory of virtue. (shrink)
This paper explores how a virtuous Kantian agent would regard and express her sexuality. I argue both that Kant has a rich account of virtue, and that a virtuous Kantian agent should view her sexuality as a good thing–as an important aspect of her animal nature. On my view, the virtuous agent does not seek to suppress her sexuality, but rather to find modes and contexts for its expression that allow the agent to maintain her self-respect and to avoid degrading (...) others. The paper begins by considering reasons, grounded in Kant’s texts, why one might reasonably think that Kant has a pejorative view of sexuality, and only the thinnest account of virtue, to offer. I then aim to correct this picture by more carefully and fully exploring Kant’s work, putting his apparently negative comments about sex, and apparently narrow account of virtue, in their proper context. I also dispute—based on Kant’s own principles—some of Kant’s claims about homosexual sex and masturbation as violations of duties to oneself as an animal and moral being. Finally, I conclude the paper with an account of the virtuous Kantian agent’s proper attitude toward her sexuality. (shrink)
Technological advancements in information systems over the past few decades have enabled firms to work with the major suppliers and customers in their supply chain in order to improve the performance of the entire channel. Tremendous benefits for all parties can be realized by sharing information and coordinating operations to reduce inventory requirements, improve quality, and increase customer satisfaction; but the companies must collaborate effectively to bring these gains to fruition. We consider two alternative methods of managing these interfirm supply (...) chain relationships in this article. The first, which we have named “dictatorial collaboration,” occurs when a dominant supply chain entity assumes control of the channel and forces the other firms to follow its edicts. We compare and contrast this method with “sustainable collaboration,” in which the parties share resources and engage in joint problem solving to improve the performance of the system as a whole. We use a virtue ethics lens to describe these methods of relationship management to suggest that sustainable collaboration is preferable to dictatorial collaboration both operationally and ethically in the long run. (shrink)
Aristotle stated one of the most influential postulates in the history of ethics: virtue is the middle point between two vicious extremes: "…excess and defect are characteristic of vice, and the mean of virtue. For men are good in but one way, but bad in many." The paper argues that between two vices there are two virtues that comprise two different moral perspectives as perceived by stereoethics. For example, two virtues can be found between the vices of miserliness and wastefulness: (...) generosity, which is further from miserliness, and thrift, which is further from wastefulness. Just as there are stereo music and stereo cinema, which convey the full volume of sounds and objects, there is stereo ethics, based on the duality of virtues. From the point of view of stereo ethics we can rethink the "golden rule": "Whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them." At the basis of both the golden rule and, later, the Kantian categorical imperative, lies the reversibility of moral subjects: you should put yourself in somebody else's place and treat you neighbor as you wish him or her to treat you. Today, however, ithas become obvious that only the ethics of differentiation can save us from relativism, which is a negative reaction against traditional morals with their universal norms. It is precisely this irreducibility of the individual to the general that may become a source of new moral energy. Two questions form a moral criterion: Would you wish to become an object of your own actions? Could anyone but you be the subject of your actions? The best action is that which corresponds to the needs of the largest number and the capacities of the smallest number of people. Act in such a way that you yourself would like to become an object of your actions, but no one else could be their subject. It is moral to do for others that which no one else can do except myself : to be for-others, but not like-others. (shrink)