Virtue ethics and modern society—a response to the thesis of the modern predicament of virtue ethics
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Frontiers of Philosophy in China 5 (2):255-265 (2010)
The revival of modern Western virtue ethics presents the question of whether or not virtue ethics is appropriate for modern society. Ethicists believe that virtue ethics came from traditional society, to which it conforms so well. The appearance of the market economy and a utilitarian spirit, together with society’s diversification, is a sign that modern society has arrived. This also indicates a transformation in the moral spirit. But modern society has not made virtues less important, and even as modern life has become more diversified, rule-following ethics have taken on even greater importance. Modern ethical life is still the ethical life of individuals whose self-identity contains the identity of moral spirit, and virtues have a very important influence on the self-identical moral characters. Furthermore, modern society, which is centered around utilitarianism, makes it apparent that rules themselves are far from being adequate and virtues are important. Virtues are a moral resource for modern people to resist modern evils.
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