Graduate studies at Western
Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (2):221 – 231 (2007)
|Abstract||An ethical theory is self-effacing if it tells us that sometimes, we should not be motivated by the considerations that justify our acts. In his influential paper 'The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories' , Michael Stocker argues that consequentialist and deontological ethical theories must be self-effacing, if they are to be at all plausible. Stocker's argument is often taken to provide a reason to give up consequentialism and deontology in favour of virtue ethics. I argue that this assessment is a mistake. Virtue ethics is self-effacing in just the same way as are the theories that Stocker attacks. Or, at the very least: if there is a way for virtue ethics to avoid self-effacement then there are ways for its rivals to avoid self-effacement too. Therefore, considerations of self-effacement provide no reason to prefer virtue ethics to its major rivals.|
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