The distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character. Many recent attempts to stake out a place in moral philosophy for this concern define virtue in terms of its benefits for the virtuous person or for human society more generally. In Part One of this book Adams presents and defends a (...) conception of virtue as intrinsic excellence of character, worth prizing for its own sake and not only for its benefits. In the other two parts he addresses two challenges to the ancient idea of excellence of character. One challenge arises from the importance of altruism in modern ethical thought, and the question of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. Part Two argues that altruistic benevolence does indeed have a crucial place in excellence of character, but that moral virtue should also be expected to involve excellence in being for other goods besides the well-being (and the rights) of other persons. It explores relations among cultural goods, personal relationships, one's own good, and the good of others, as objects of excellent motives. The other challenge, the subject of Part Three of the book, is typified by doubts about the reality of moral virtue, arising from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores in detail the prospects for an empirically realistic conception of excellence of character as an object of moral aspiration, endeavor, and education. He argues that such a conception will involve renunciation of the ancient thesis of the unity or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of sufficient 'moral luck' in the development of any individual's character to make virtue very largely a gift, rather than an individual achievement, though nonetheless excellent and admirable for that. (shrink)
LetL(K) denote the lattice (ordered by inclusion) of quasivarieties contained in a quasivarietyK and letD 2 denote the variety of distributive (0, 1)-lattices with 2 additional nullary operations. In the present paperL(D 2) is described. As a consequence, ifM+N stands for the lattice join of the quasivarietiesM andN, then minimal quasivarietiesV 0,V 1, andV 2 are given each of which is generated by a 2-element algebra and such that the latticeL(V 0+V1), though infinite, still admits an easy and nice description (...) (see Figure 2) while the latticeL(V 0+V1+V2), because of its intricate inner structure, does not. In particular, it is shown thatL(V 0+V1+V2) contains as a sublattice the ideal lattice of a free lattice with free generators. Each of the quasivarietiesV 0,V 1, andV 2 is generated by a 2-element algebra inD 2. (shrink)
The Birkhoff-Maltsev problem asks for a characterization of those lattices each of which is isomorphic to the lattice L(K) of all subquasivarieties for some quasivariety K of algebraic systems. The current status of this problem, which is still open, is discussed. Various unsolved questions that are related to the Birkhoff-Maltsev problem are also considered, including ones that stem from the theory of propositional logics.
While agreeing with Poteat that the modern Western culture has gone awry in a humanly destructive way, the paper contends tha the culprit was not, as Poteat claims, Enlightenment critical philosophy, but the materialistic values of the bourgeois form of life and the puritanical view of knowledge and the naturalistic worldview that they generated. Accordingly, the solution proposed is not Poteat's unreflected experience and commonsense worldview but a shift to a humanistic culture-generating stance and a critical humanistic philosophy.
Several philosophers, including most prominently Theodore Benditt, have recently urged that the discourse of rights, widely thought to be a central, if not foundational feature of moral and political thought, is in reality a mere “redundant” appendage---a discourse that holds no distinctive place in moral or legal reasoning owing to the fact that it is thoroughly derivative because collapsible into other forms of moral or legal language. In this paper I attempt to (1) flesh out this “Redundancy” Thesis (RT) and (...) (2) identify and criticize at least two general arguments that might be thought to give rise to it: the claims that rights reduce (respectively) to duties (the Correlativity Thesis) or to permissions (the Permissibility Thesis). I try to show how and why these arguments fail and why they do not therefore support RT. (shrink)