Amenable to reason: Aristotle's rhetoric and the moral psychology of practical ethics

Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 10 (4):287-305 (2000)
Abstract
: An Aristotelian conception of practical ethics can be derived from the account of practical reasoning that Aristotle articulates in his Rhetoric and this has important implications for the way we understand the nature and limits of practical ethics. An important feature of this conception of practical ethics is its responsiveness to the complex ways in which agents form and maintain moral commitments, and this has important implications for the debate concerning methods of ethics in applied ethics. In particular, this feature enables us to understand casuistry, narrative, and principlism as mutually supportive modes of moral inquiry, rather than divergent and mutually exclusive methods of ethics. As a result, an Aristotelian conception of practical ethics clears the conceptual common ground upon which practical ethicists can forge a stable and realistic self-understanding
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