This book is the first authoritative text on virtuejurisprudence - the belief that the final end of law is not to maximize preference satisfaction or protect certain rights and privileges, but to promote human flourishing. Scholars of law, philosophy and politics illustrate here the value of the virtue ethics tradition to modern legal theory.
The use of the term "applied ethics" to denote a particular field of moral inquiry (distinct from but related to both normative ethics and meta-ethics) is a relatively new phenomenon. The individuation of applied ethics as a special division of moral investigation gathered momentum in the 1970s and 1980s, largely as a response to early twentieth- century moral philosophy's overwhelming concentration on moral semantics and its apparent inattention to practical moral problems that arose in the wake of significant social and (...) technological transformations. The field of applied ethics is now a well established, professional domain sustained by institutional research centers, professional academic appointments, and devoted journals. As the field of applied ethics grew and developed, its contributors predominantly advocated consequentialist and deontological approaches to the problems they address; but lately a significant number of moral philosophers have begun to bring the resources of virtue ethics to bear upon the ever-evolving subject matters of applied ethics. (shrink)
The problem : commerce and corruption -- Smith's defense of commercial society -- What is corruption? : political and psychological perspectives -- Smith on corruption : from the citizen to the human being -- The solution : moral philosophy -- Liberal individualism and virtue ethics -- Social science vs. moral philosophy -- Types of moral philosophy : natural jurisprudence vs. ethics -- Types of ethics : utilitarianism, deontology, and virtue ethics -- Virtue ethics : modern, ancient, (...) and Smithean -- Interlude : the what and the how of TMS VI -- The what : Sith's "practical system of morality" -- The how : rhetoric, audience, and the methods of practical ethics -- The how : the ascent of self-love in three stages -- Prudence or commercial virtue -- The challenge : from praise to prudence -- Educating the vain : fathers and sons -- Self-interest rightly understood -- The advantages and disadvantages of prudence -- Magnanimity or classical virtue -- The problems of prudence and the therapy of magnanimity -- Up from individualism : desert, praiseworthiness, conscience -- Modernity, antiquity, and magnanimity -- The dangers of magnanimity -- Beneficence or christian virtue -- Between care and caritas -- Benevolence and beneficence and the human telos -- The character and purposes of the wise and virtuous man -- Wisdom and virtue and Adam Smith's apology -- Epilogue: The "economy of greatness". (shrink)
In a series of powerful and challenging articles emerging since the mid-1990s, Brian Leiter has argued that certain theoretical strains in contemporary legal philosophy are â€˜epistemologically bankruptâ€™, in virtue of their reliance on misguided argumentative devices: analysing concepts, such as the concepts of law and of authority; and doing so by appealing to intuitions regarding the correct way to understand the concepts in question. In response to this state of affairs, Leiter advocates that jurisprudence ought to attempt to (...) catch-up with â€˜naturalisticâ€™ developments which have influenced the direction of other branches of philosophy â€“ such as epistemology, philosophy of mind, and moral philosophy â€“ in the last few decades. This article offers a critical analysis of some of Leiterâ€™s proposals for what Jurisprudence should become, in light of his views on the relevance of naturalism for this discipline. (shrink)
In section one, I briefly review the Harman/Doris argument and outline the most promising response. Then in section two I develop what I take the real challenge to virtue ethics to be. The final section of the chapter suggests two strategies for beginning to address this challenge.
In this paper, I argue that the negative injunctions against certain ways of conceiving of the ethico-political that we can draw explicitly from the methodological strictures of phenomenology are also consistent with some of the core more positive dimensions of contemporary virtue ethics (especially at the more anti-theoretical end of the virtue ethical spectrum), and that central aspects of virtue ethics are consistent with most of the explicit reflections on ethical matters proffered by canonical phenomenologists.
Virtue ethics has been challenged on empirical grounds by philosophical interpreters of situationist social psychology. Challenges are necessarily challenges to something or other, so it’s only possible to understand the situationist challenge to virtue ethics if we have an antecedent grasp on virtue ethics itself. To this end, I first identify the non-negotiable “hard core” of virtue ethics with the conjunction of nine claims, arguing that virtue ethics does make substantive empirical assumptions about human conduct. (...) Next, I rearticulate the situationist challenge in light of these nine claims. I then turn to a discussion of specifications of several responses typically made by defenders of virtue ethics against the situationist challenge, arguing that most of them either are unsound or give up one of the elements in the hard core. A few, however, survive this criticism, and so I conclude by suggesting ways in which the situationist challenge might be not so much resisted as co-opted. Situational influences can be used to help people simulate virtue, a phenomenon I call factitious virtue. (shrink)
This article traces a growing interest among epistemologists in the intellectuals of epistemic virtues. These are cognitive dispositions exercised in the formation of beliefs. Attempts to give intellectual virtues a central normative and/or explanatory role in epistemology occur together with renewed interest in the ethics/epistemology analogy, and in the role of intellectual virtue in Aristotle's epistemology. The central distinction drawn here is between two opposed forms of virtue epistemology, virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. The article develops (...) the shared and distinctive claims made by contemporary proponents of each form, in their respective treatments of knowledge and justification. (shrink)
Most forms of virtue ethics are characterized by two attractive features. The first is that proponents of virtue ethics acknowledge the need to describe how moral agents acquire or develop the traits and abilities necessary to become morally able agents. The second attractive feature of most forms of virtue ethics is that they are forms of moral realism. The two features come together in the attempt to describe virtue as a personal ability to distinguish morally good (...) reasons for action. It follows from the general picture of virtue ethics presented here that we cannot evaluate ethical judgment independently of the viewpoint of the ideal of a virtuous person. We will examine how this ideal unfolds in the realistic form of virtue ethics advanced by John McDowell. McDowell offers a compelling description of virtue as a natural ability grounded in human nature, while at the same time insisting that we cannot understand the judgment resulting from virtue without drawing on that very perspective. However, McDowell’s focus on the passive taking in of reasons in ethical experience and his idea of the silencing of wrong reasons lead us to three related problems. The first is that he cannot account for certain features of the phenomenology of such experience; the second is that he cannot provide any relevant epistemological criteria for correct moral judgment; and the third is that he gives a morally objectionable characterization of the ideal of being a virtuous person. All of these problems arise because McDowell does not take into account the particular nature of ethical experience. If we try to resolve this problem by dropping McDowell’s idea of silencing, we then have to offer another substantial description of our ideal of a virtuous person that includes active and interpersonal ways of evaluating concrete judgments. Proponents of virtue ethics still have to lift this task and develop a position that does not limit ethical experience to the passive intake of reasons. (shrink)
This important collection of essays includes Professor Hart's first defense of legal positivism; his discussion of the distinctive teaching of American and Scandinavian jurisprudence; an examination of theories of basic human rights and the notion of "social solidarity," and essays on Jhering, Kelsen, Holmes, and Lon Fuller.
Abstract Do the central aims of epistemology, like those of moral philosophy, require that we designate some important place for those concepts located between the thin-normative and the non-normative? Put another way, does epistemology need ?thick? evaluative concepts? There are inveterate traditions in analytic epistemology which, having legitimized a certain way of viewing the nature and scope of epistemology's subject matter, give this question a negative verdict; further, they have carried with them a tacit commitment to what we argue to (...) be an epistemic analogue of the reductionistic centralist thesis that Bernard Williams in our view successfully challenged in ethics. In this essay, we challenge these traditional dogmas and in doing so align ourselves with what has been recently called the ?Value Turn? in epistemology. From this perspective, we defend that, contrary to tradition, epistemology does need thick evaluative concepts. Further, the sort of theories that will be able to give thick evaluative concepts a deservedly central role in both belief and agent evaluation are those non-centralist projects that fall within what we call the second-wave of virtue epistemology. We recognize that, in breaking from centralism, there is a worry that a resulting anti-centralist theory will be reductionistic in the other direction- making the thick primary. We contend however that second-wave virtue epistemologies should be thought to provide the wave of the right thickness, and as such, constitute the most promising approaches within a field that has become increasingly more normative, diverse and expansive than was the traditional set of problems from which it emerged. (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)
Standard characterizations of virtue epistemology divide the field into two camps: virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. Virtue reliabilists think of intellectual virtues as reliable cognitive faculties or abilities, while virtue responsibilists conceive of them as good intellectual character traits. I argue that responsibilist character virtues sometimes satisfy the conditions of a reliabilist conception of intellectual virtue, and that consequently virtue reliabilists, and reliabilists in general, must pay closer attention to matters of intellectual character. (...) This leads to several new questions and (...) challenges for any reliabilist epistemology. (shrink)
Thomas Nagel has proposed that the existence of moral luck mandates a general attitude of skepticism in ethics. One popular way of arguing against Nagels claim is to insist that the phenomenon of moral luck itself is an illusion , in the sense that situations in which it seems to occur may be plausibly re-described so as to show that agents need not be held responsible for the unlucky outcomes of their actions. Here I argue that this strategy for explaining (...) away moral luck fails because it does not take account of the fact that agents in morally unlucky circumstances are uniformly subject to a very specific type of epistemic obligation. I then proceed to sketch out an alternative strategy for blocking the inference to skepticism, one that makes use of the distinctive explanatory resources provided by epistemic virtue theory. Key Words: moral luck moral skepticism Thomas Nagel virtue epistemology Linda Zagzebski. (shrink)
This paper identifies and criticizes certain fundamental commitments of virtue theories in epistemology. A basic question for virtues approaches is whether they represent a ‘third force’––a different source of normativity to internalism and externalism. Virtues approaches so-conceived are opposed. It is argued that virtues theories offer us nothing that can unify the internalist and externalist sub-components of their preferred success-state. Claims that character can unify a virtues-based axiology are overturned. Problems with the pluralism of virtues theories are identified––problems with (...) pluralism and the nature of the self; and problems with pluralism and the goals of epistemology. Moral objections to virtue theory are identified––specifically, both the idea that there can be a radical axiological priority to character and the anti-enlightenment tendencies in virtues approaches. Finally, some strengths to virtue theory are conceded, while the role of epistemic luck is identified as an important topic for future work. (shrink)
Duncan Pritchard has, in the years following his (2005) defence of a safety-based account of knowledge in Epistemic Luck, abjured his (2005) view that knowledge can be analysed exclusively in terms of a modal safety condition. He has since (Pritchard in Synthese 158:277–297, 2007; J Philosophic Res 34:33–45, 2009a, 2010) opted for an account according to which two distinct conditions function with equal importance and weight within an analysis of knowledge: an anti-luck condition (safety) and an ability condition-the latter being (...) a condition aimed at preserving what Pritchard now takes to be a fundamental insight about knowledge: that it arises from cognitive ability (Greco 2010; Sosa 2007, 2009). Pritchard calls his new view anti-luck virtue epistemology (ALVE). A key premise in Pritchard’s argument for ALVE is what I call the independence thesis; the thesis that satisfying neither the anti-luck condition nor the ability condition entails that the other is satisfied. Pritchard’s argument for the independence thesis relies crucially upon the case he makes for thinking that cognitive achievements are compatible with knowledge-undermining environmental luck—that is, the sort of luck widely thought to undermine knowledge in standard barn facade cases. In the first part of this paper, I outline the key steps in Pritchard’s argument for anti-luck virtue epistemology and highlight how it is that the compatibility of cognitive achievement and knowledge- undermining environmental luck is indispensible to the argument’s success. The second part of this paper aims to show that this compatibility premise crucial to Pritchard’s argument is incorrect. (shrink)
I argue that recent virtue theories (including those of Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton) face important initial difficulties in accommodating the supererogatory. In particular, I consider several potential characterizations of the supererogatory modeled upon these familiar virtue theories (and their accounts of rightness) and argue that they fail to provide an adequate account of supererogation. In the second half of the paper I sketch an alternative virtue-based characterization of supererogation, one that is grounded in the attitudes of virtuous (...) ideal observers, and that avoids the concerns raised in the first part of the paper. (shrink)
In a number of recent papers Duncan Pritchard argues that virtue epistemology's central ability condition—one knows that p if and only if one has attained cognitive success (true belief) because of the exercise of intellectual ability—is neither necessary nor sufficient for knowledge. This paper discusses and dismisses a number of responses to Pritchard's objections and develops a new way of defending virtue epistemology against them.
Abstract: I examine virtue theory, especially as expressed by Rosalind Hursthouse. In its canonical form, the theory claims that living a life of virtue constitutes flourishing, although it also has a possible fall-back claim that a life of virtue is a means to the end of flourishing. I argue that in both interpretations, virtue theory is mistaken. It cannot give any convincing account of how the concepts of wanting, flourishing, and the virtues are connected, nor can (...) it deal adequately with the counter-examples of flourishing by the wicked, and torment for the virtuous. However, I allow that stripped of all its pretensions to universality, there are grounds for some people in some restricted sets circumstances, to follow the path of virtue solely because they will thereby flourish. (shrink)
The ancient Greeks almost universally accepted the thesis that virtues are skills. Skills have an underlying intellectual structure (logos), and having a particular skill entails understanding the relevant logos, possessing a general ability to diagnose and solve problems (phronesis), as well as having appropriate experience. Two implications of accepting this thesis for moral epistemology and epistemology in general are considered. Thinking of virtues as skills yields a viable virtue epistemology in which moral knowledge is a species of a general (...) kind of knowledge that is not philosophically suspect. Also, the debate between internalists and externalists in epistemology is subversively resolved. (edited). (shrink)
The predominant view of moral virtue can be traced back to Aristotle. He believed that moral virtue must involve intellectual excellence. To have moral virtue one must have practical wisdom - the ability to deliberate well and to see what is morally relevant in a given context. Julia Driver challenges this classical theory of virtue, arguing that it fails to take into account virtues which do seem to involve ignorance or epistemic defect. Some 'virtues of ignorance' (...) are counterexamples to accounts of virtue which hold that moral virtue must involve practical wisdom. Modesty, for example, is generally considered to be a virtue even though the modest person may be making an inaccurate assessment of his or her accomplishments. Driver argues that we should abandon the highly intellectualist view of virtue and instead adopt a consequentialist perspective which holds that virtue is simply a character trait which systematically produces good consequences. (shrink)
The idea of a virtue has traditionally been important in ethics, but only recently has gained attention as an idea that can explain how we ought to form beliefs as well as how we ought to act. Moral philosophers and epistemologists have different approaches to the idea of intellectual virtue; here, Michael DePaul and Linda Zagzebski bring work from both fields together for the first time to address all of the important issues. It will be required reading for (...) anyone working on either side of the debate. (shrink)
This paper offers a novel, secular account of the virtue of humility. There are only two such accounts in recent philosophical literature: one defended by Julia Driver, the other by George Schueler. Driver attaches the virtue of humility to people who underestimate their merits, or lack beliefs about their merits altogether. Schueler thinks that humility requires indifference to how we are regarded vis-à-vis our accomplishments. This paper brings out the limitations of those accounts and constructs a new one (...) which is free of them. The new account derives directly from the under-appreciated approach defended a century ago by Hastings Rashdall, who developed a secular (albeit religiously-inspired) account of humility according to which true humility reflects love for one's neighbour. After indicating the flaws in Rashdall's approach, I develop an account based on his intuitions. Specifically, I argue that humility requires suppressing our egos when they lead us to neglect or disregard other duties. Humility comprises two dimensions: a private dimension, for when we uphold self-regarding duties rather than succumb to the temptations of ego; and a public dimension, for when we display fidelity to other-regarding duties at the expense of the pleasures of ego. (shrink)
According to the commonsense view of civic virtue, the places to exercise civic virtue are largely restricted to politics. In this article, I argue for a more expansive view of civic virtue, and argue that one can exercise civic virtue equally well through working for or running a for-profit business. I argue that this conclusion follows from four relatively uncontroversial premises: (1) the consensus definition of “civic virtue”, (2) the standard, most popular theory of virtuous (...) activity, (3) a conception of the common good widely shared by liberal political philosophers, and (4) the mainstream economic theory of for-profit business. (shrink)
My NCPS 2012 conference paper. The paper is a development of the abstract below. The file you can upload contains my brief "A Fast & Frugal Rebuttal of Epistemic Situationism," while the whole paper develops a fuller reply to the Alfano, and Doris and Olin papers also presented in this session, papers in which these authors extend the "situationist challenge" to virtue ethics, to different varieties of virtue epistemology. Abstract. This paper mounts an empirically-based rebuttal to the radical (...) implications that self-described “epistemic situationists” including Mark Alfano and John Doris would have us draw from mood and conformity studies. The compatibility of virtue epistemologies with dual process theory (Kahneman; Stanovich) in cognitive and social psychology is developed as one main way of defending the empirical adequacy of many or most forms of virtue epistemology. Although philosophical situationists ignore dual process models of human reasoning, I argue that the latter offer ample empirical support for the “psychological realizability” of the intellectual character-traits posited by virtue-focused epistemologies and featured in the credit theory of knowing. Draft by Guy Axtell (Radford University), for NCPS, 2012. All rights reserved. Contact me at email@example.com; or join us online at JanusBlog: The Virtue Theory Discussion Forum at http://janusblog.squarespace.com. For further development of these issues and arguments, see also my "Thinking Twice about Virtue and Vice (2013, forthcoming) . (shrink)
Abstract -/- Most discussions of risk are developed in broadly consequentialist terms, focusing on the outcomes of risks as such. This paper will provide an alternative account of risk from a virtue ethical perspective, shifting the focus to the decision to take the risk. Making ethical decisions about risk is, we will argue, not fundamentally about the actual chain of events that the decision sets in process, but about the reasonableness of the decision to take the risk in the (...) first place. A virtue ethical account of risk is needed because the notion of the ‘reasonableness’ of the decision to take the risk is affected by the complexity of the moral status of particular instances of risk-taking and the risk-taker’s responsiveness to these contextual features. The very idea of ‘reasonable risk’ welcomes judgments about the nature of the risk itself, raises questions about complicity, culpability and responsibility, while at its heart, involves a judgement about the justification of risk which unavoidably focuses our attention on the character of the individuals involved in risk making decisions. -/- Keywords: Risk; ethics; morality; responsibility; virtue; choice; reasons . (shrink)
In this paper I discuss what contemporary virtue ethics can say about abortion by considering both what has been said and what we may further argue from a virtue-focused perspective. I begin by comparing virtue ethics to the two other dominant approaches in normative ethics and then consider what some important virtue ethicists have said about abortion, especially Rosalind Hursthouse. After recognizing the many contributions her analysis offers, I also note some of the deficiencies in her (...) approach, particularly in her attempt to bracket the problems of fetal status and women’s rights. Finally, in light of these criticisms I attempt to extend a virtue ethics analysis to embrace a more robust recognition of the humanity of the fetus and the attendant demand of a near absolute prohibition on abortion. (shrink)
The recent movement towards virtue–theoretic treatments of epistemological concepts can be understood in terms of the desire to eliminate epistemic luck. Significantly, however, it is argued that the two main varieties of virtue epistemology are responding to different types of epistemic luck. In particular, whilst proponents of reliabilism–based virtue theories have been focusing on the problem of what I call “veritic” epistemic luck, non–reliabilism–based virtue theories have instead been concerned with a very different type of epistemic (...) luck, what I call “reflective” epistemic luck. It is argued that, prima facie at least, both forms of epistemic luck need to be responded to by any adequate epistemological theory. The problem, however, is that one can best eliminate veritic epistemic luck by adducing a so–called safety–based epistemological theory that need not be allied to a virtue–based account, and there is no fully adequate way of eliminating reflective epistemic luck. I thus conclude that this raises a fundamental difficulty for virtue–based epistemological theories, on either construal. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]. (shrink)
The recent literature on the theory of knowledge has taken a distinctive turn by focusing on the role of the cognitive and intellectual virtues in the acquisition of knowledge. The main contours and motivations for such virtue-theoretic accounts of knowledge are here sketched and it is argued that virtue epistemology in its most plausible form can be regarded as a refined form of reliabilism, and thus a variety of epistemic externalism. Moreover, it is claimed that there is strong (...) empirical support in favour of the virtue epistemic position so understood, and an empirical study regarding the cognitive processes employed by medical experts in their diagnosis and treatment of epilepsy is cited in this regard. In general, it is argued that one can best account for 'expert' knowledge in terms of a virtue-theoretic epistemology that retains key reliabilist features. It is thus shown that understanding knowledge along virtue-theoretic lines has important implications for our understanding of how knowledge is acquired, and thus for the philosophy of education. (shrink)
Almost all theories of knowledge and justified belief employ moral concepts and forms of argument borrowed from moral theories, but none of them pay attention to the current renaissance in virtue ethics. This remarkable book is the first attempt to establish a theory of knowledge based on the model of virtue theory in ethics. The book develops the concept of an intellectual virtue, and then shows how the concept can be used to give an account of the (...) major concepts in epistemology, including the concept of knowledge. This highly original work of philosophy for professionals will also provide students with an excellent introduction to epistemology, virtue theory, and the relationship between ethics and epistemology. (shrink)
In this article I return to an argument that I presented in earlier work to the effect that virtue epistemology is at worse false and at best unmotivated. In the light of recent responses to this argument from such figures as John Greco, Guy Axtell, and Kelly Becker, I here re-state and re-evaluate this argument. In the process the original argument is refined and supplemented in key respects and some of the main charges against it are shown to be (...) unfounded. Nevertheless, I also argue that at least one of the objections to the original argument—due to Becker—may well be on the right lines, and I draw some conclusions in this regard. (shrink)
Virtue theorists in ethics often embrace the following characterizationof right action: An action is right iff a virtuous agent would performthat action in like circumstances. Zagzebski offers a parallel virtue-basedaccount of epistemically justified belief. Such proposals are severely flawedbecause virtuous agents in adverse circumstances, or through lack ofknowledge can perform poorly. I propose an alternative virtue-based accountaccording to which an action is right (a belief is justified) for an agentin a given situation iff an unimpaired, fully-informed virtuous (...) observerwould deem the action to be right (the belief to be justified). (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: Contributors; Method of citing Aristotle's works; Method of citing Kant's works; Introduction; 1. Virtue ethics in relation to Kantian ethics: an opinionated overview and commentary Marcia Baron; 2. What does the Aristotelian Phronimos know? Rosalind Hursthouse; 3. Kant and agent-oriented ethics Allen Wood; 4. The difference that ends make Barbara Herman; 5. Two pictures of practical thinking Talbot Brewer; 6. Moving beyond Kant's moral agent in the Grounding Julian Wuerth; 7. A Kantian conception of human (...) flourishing Lara Denis; 8. Kantian perfectionism Paul Guyer; 9. Aristotle, the Stoics, and Kant on anger Nancy Sherman; 10. Kant's impartial virtues of love Christine Swanton; 11. The problem we all have with deontology Michael Slote; 12. Intuition, system, and the 'paradox' of deontology Timothy Chappell; Bibliography; Index. (shrink)
Situationist research in social psychology focuses on the situational factors that influence behavior. Doris and Harman argue that this research has powerful implications for ethics, and virtue ethics in particular. First, they claim that situationist research presents an empirical challenge to the moral psychology presumed within virtue ethics. Second, they argue that situationist research supports a theoretical challenge to virtue ethics as a foundation for ethical behavior and moral development. I offer a response from moral psychology using (...) an interpretation of Xunzi—a Confucian virtue ethicist from the Classical period. This Confucian account serves as a foil to the situationist critique in that it uncovers many problematic ontological and normative assumptions at work in this debate regarding the prediction and explanation of behavior, psychological posits, moral development, and moral education. Xunzi’s account of virtue ethics not only responds to the situationist empirical challenge by uncovering problematic assumptions about moral psychology, but also demonstrates that it is not a separate empirical hypothesis. Further, Xunzi’s virtue ethic responds to the theoretical challenge by offering a new account of moral development and a ground for ethical norms that fully attends to situational features while upholding robust character traits. (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
In this book, Slote offers the first full-scale foundational account of virtue ethics to have appeared since the recent revival of interest in the ethics of virtue. Slote advocates a particular form of such ethics for its intuitive and structural advantages over Kantianism, utilitarianism, and common-sense morality, and he argues that the problems of other views can be avoided and a contemporary plausible version of virtue ethics achieved only by abandoning specifically moral concepts for general aretaic notions (...) like admirability and virtue. Although this study is not bound by particular Aristotelian doctrines, it places an Aristotelian emphasis on both self-benefiting and other-benefiting virtues. Slote criticizes Kantian and common-sense morality for internal incoherencies and for downgrading the moral individual and her well-being in some previously unnoticed ways. By contrast, this book defends a distinctive, intuitive, and symmetric ethical principle according to which we should balance self-concern with concern for others, but it also concludes that there is, contrary to utilitarianism, no single basis for status as a virtue nor any simple relation between the virtues and human well-being. (shrink)
To lead an environmentally virtuous life requires information—about morality, environmental issues, the impacts of our actions and commitments, our options for alternatives, and so on. On the other hand, we are finite beings with limited time and resources. We cannot feasibly investigate all of our options, and all environmental issues (let alone moral issues, more broadly). In this paper I attempt to provide initial steps towards addressing the epistemic demands of environmental virtue. In the first half of the paper (...) I provide rules of thumb with respect to (1) how to prioritize our investigations into various issues, and (2) what kinds of information we should seek with respect to these issues, and the levels of epistemic justification we ought to attain. In the second half of the paper, I turn to a modified virtue ethics, appealing to the attitudes of virtuous ideal observers to provide characterizations of morally justified and morally non-culpable actions. I then apply these latter concepts in assessing agents, their actions and projects (with respect to environmental virtue), in light of their investigative efforts, and given their particular circumstances. (shrink)
General jurisprudence-that branch of legal philosophy concerned with the nature of law and adjudication-has been relatively unaffected by the "naturalistic" strains so evident, for example, in the epistemology, philosophy of mind and moral philosophy of the past forty years. This paper sketches three ways in which naturalism might affect jurisprudential inquiry. The paper serves as a kind of precis of the main themes in my book NATURALIZING JURISPRUDENCE: ESSAYS ON AMERICAN LEGAL REALISM AND NATURALISM IN LEGAL PHILOSOPHY (Oxford (...) University Press, 2007). (shrink)
Abstract This paper examines the treatment of thick ethical concepts in Williams's work in order to evaluate the consistency of his treatment of ethical and epistemic concepts and to assess whether the idea of a thick concept can be extended from ethics to epistemology. A virtue epistemology is described modeled on a cognitivist virtue ethics. Williams's genealogy of the virtues surrounding propositional knowledge (the virtues of ?truthfulness?) is critically evaluated. It is concluded that this genealogy is an important (...) contribution to the project of virtue epistemology. Thick concepts must not only feature in the account but will sustain more of the marks of objectivity than their ethical counterparts. This is so even on Williams's demanding assumptions. (shrink)
Are propositions of law true or false? If so, what does it mean to say that propositions of law are true and false? This book takes up these questions in the context of the wider philosophical debate over realism and anti-realism. Despite surface differences, Patterson argues that the leading contemporary jurisprudential theories all embrace a flawed conception of the nature of truth in law. Instead of locating that in virtue of which propositions of law are true, Patterson argues that (...) lawyers use forms of argument to show the truth of propositions of law. Additionally, Patterson argues that the realism/anti-realism debate in jurisprudence is part of a larger argument over the role of postmodernism in jurisprudence. For this, Patterson offers an analytic account of postmodernism and charts its implications for legal theory. This book will be of interest to those in legal theory, philosophy, social and political theory, and ethics. (shrink)
Socrates and the supremacy of virtue -- Determining virtue in the here and now -- The supremacy of virtue in the Gorgias -- Trying (and failing) to determine what virtue is -- Socrates and Thrasymachus : Republic I -- The benefits of injustice -- Early education and non-philosophers in the republic -- Aiming at virtue and determining what it is.
A strong, strictly virtue- based , and at the same time truth-centered framework for virtue epistemology (VE) is proposed that bases VE upon a clearly motivating epistemic virtue, inquisitiveness or curiosity in a very wide sense, characterizes the purely executive capacities-virtues as a means for the truth-goal set by the former, and, finally, situates the remaining, partly motivating and partly executive virtues in relation to this central stock of virtues. Character-trait epistemic virtues are presented as hybrids, partly (...) moral, partly purely epistemic. In order to make the approach virtue- based , it is argued that the central virtue (inquisitiveness or curiosity) is responsible for the value of truth: truth is valuable to cognizers because they are inquisitive, and most other virtues are a means for satisfying inquisitiveness. On can usefully combine this virtue-based account of the motivation for acquiring knowledge with a Sosa-style analysis of the concept “knowledge”, which brings to the forefront virtues-capacities, in order to obtain a full-blooded, “strong” VE. (shrink)
It’s been argued with some justice by commentators from Walter Kaufmann to Thomas Hurka that Nietzsche’s positive ethical position is best understood as a variety of virtue theory – in particular, as a brand of perfectionism. For Nietzsche, value flows from character. Less attention has been paid, however, to the details of the virtues he identifies for himself and his type. This neglect, along with Nietzsche’s frequent irony and non-standard usage, has obscured the fact that almost all the virtues (...) he praises are intellectual rather than moral. The vices he most despises include dogmatism, intellectual partisanship, faith, boredom, the need for certainty, and pity. The virtues he most appreciates include curiosity, honesty, skepticism, creativity, the historical sense, intellectual courage, and intellectual fastidiousness. These tables of values place Nietzsche squarely among so-called responsibilist virtue epistemologists, such as Lorraine Code and Linda Zagzebski, who emphasize that knowledge is infused with desire and affect. I argue that curiosity construed as the specification of the will to power in the domain of epistemology is a cardinal Nietzschean virtue, and that the others – especially intellectual courage and honesty – are presupposed by curiosity. Thus, Nietzsche turns out to accept his own peculiar brand of the thesis of the unity of virtue. (shrink)
Augustine's moral psychology was one of the richest in late antiquity, and in this book James Wetzel evaluates its development, indicating that the insights offered by Augustine on free-will have been prevented from receiving full appreciation as the result of an anachronistic distinction between theology and philosophy. He shows that it has been commonplace to divide Augustine's thought into earlier and later phases, the former being more philosophically informed than the latter. Wetzel's contention is that this division is less pronounced (...) than it has been made out to be. The author shows that, while Augustine clearly acknowledges his differences with philosophy, he never loses his fascination with the Stoic concepts of happiness and virtue, and of the possibility of their attainment by human beings. This fascination is seen by Wetzel to extend to Augustine's writings on grace, where freedom and happiness are viewed as a recovery of virtue. The notorious dismissal of pagan virtue in 'The City of God' is part of Augustine's family quarrel with philosophers, not a rejection of philosophy per se. Augustine the theologian is thus seen to be a Platonist philosopher with a keen sense of the psychology of moral struggle. (shrink)
In this radical new interpretation of Plato's Meno, Roslyn Weiss exposes the farcical nature of the slave-boy-demonstration and challenges the widely held assumption that the Meno introduces "Platonic" metaphysical and epistemological innovations into an otherwise "Socratic" dialogue. She shows that the Meno is intended as a defense not of all inquiry but of moral inquiry alone, and that it locates the validity of Socratic method in its ability to arrive not at moral knowledge but at the far more (...) modest moral true belief. Virtue in the Cave will appeal not only to students of ancient philosophy and the classics, but also to anyone who is interested in how to live right in a world of moral uncertainty. (shrink)
In this paper I argue that excising a final end from accounts of virtue does them more harm than good. I attempt to establish that the justification of contemporary virtue ethics suffers if moved this one step too far from the resources in traditional accounts. This is because virtue, as we tend to describe it, rests on an account of practical rationality wherein the role of the final end is integral. I highlight the puzzles that are generated (...) by the ellipsis that is “the role of a final end” in contemporary theories of virtue. The authors of these theories devise ad hoc solutions for these puzzles, puzzles that do not exist for traditional final end-based accounts. Recent critics of virtue ethics have certainly not been satisfied the explanations being offer in lieu of references to a final end. As a remedy, I recommend that the role of a final end be reintroduced in contemporary virtue ethics. I hope to explain that there is nothing to be frightened of and much to be gained. (shrink)
The recent literature on epistemic virtues advances two general projects. The first is virtue epistemology, an attempt to explicate key epistemic notions in terms of epistemic virtue. The second is epistemic virtue theory, the conceptual and normative investigation of cognitive traits of character. While a great deal of work has been done in virtue epistemology, epistemic virtue theory still languishes in a state of neglect. Furthermore, the existing work is non-naturalistic. The present paper contributes to (...) the development of a naturalistic epistemic virtue theory by presenting a virtue-theoretic evaluation of need for cognition as informed by the relevant psychological studies. (shrink)
A democratic society cannot flourish if its citizens merely pursue their own narrow interests. If it is to do more than survive, at least a substantial proportion of its citizens must fulfill responsibilities that go beyond simply avoiding the violation of others' rights and occasionally casting a vote. The vitality and success of a democracy requires that many citizens — ideally all of them — contribute something to their communities and participate responsibly in the political process. The disposition to do (...) these things is a large part of what constitutes civic virtue. But that virtue encompasses considerably more. My task here is to explore civic virtue. I first outline a conception of virtue in general and, with that set out, pursue the question of what makes a virtue civic. My special concern is to articulate what constitutes civic virtue in relation to an enduring problem for democratic societies and especially for the pluralistic democracies of the Western world: how to determine what constitutes a proper relation between religion and politics and, in the lives of religious citizens having civic virtue, an appropriate balance between religious and secular considerations. (shrink)
In this paper, I propose a principle of doxastic rationality based on Bernard Williams's argument against doxastic voluntarism. This principle, I go on to show, undermines a number of notions of epistemic duty which have been put forth within the framework of virtue theory. I then suggest an alternative formulation which remains within the bounds of rationality allowed for by my principle. In the end, I suggest that the failure of the earlier formulations and the adoption of the latter (...) tend to vindicate the initial grounding of virtue epistemology in reliabilist intuitions. (edited). (shrink)
Anne Margaret Baxley offers a systematic interpretation of Kant's theory of virtue, whose most distinctive features have not been properly understood. She explores the rich moral psychology in Kant's later and less widely read works on ethics, and argues that the key to understanding his account of virtue is the concept of autocracy, a form of moral self-government in which reason rules over sensibility. Although certain aspects of Kant's theory bear comparison to more familiar Aristotelian claims about (...) class='Hi'>virtue, Baxley contends that its most important aspects combine to produce something different - a distinctively modern, egalitarian conception of virtue which is an important and overlooked alternative to the more traditional Greek views which have dominated contemporary virtue ethics. (shrink)
In this revised edition, two distinguished philosophers have extended and strengthened the most authoritative text available on the philosophy of law and jurisprudence. While retaining their comprehensive coverage of classical and modern theory, Murphy and Coleman have added new discussions of the Critical Legal Studies movement and feminist jurisprudence, and they have strengthened their treatment of natural law theory, criminalization, and the law of torts. The chapter on law and economics remains the best short introduction to that difficult, (...) controversial, and influential topic.Students will appreciate the careful organization and clear presentation of complicated issues as well as the emphasis on the relevance of both law and legal theory to contemporary society. (shrink)
Duhem’s concept of “good sense” is central to his philosophy of science, given that it is what allows scientist to decide between competing theories. Scientists must use good sense and have intellectual and moral virtues in order to be neutral arbiters of scientific theories, especially when choosing between empirically adequate theories. I discuss the parallels in Duhem’s views to those of virtue epistemologists, who understand justified belief as that arrived at by a cognitive agent with intellectual and moral virtues, (...) showing how consideration of Duhem as a virtue epistemologist offers insights into his views, as well as providing possible answers to some puzzles about virtue epistemology. The extent to which Duhem holds that the intellectual and moral virtues of the scientist determine scientific knowledge has not been generally noticed. (shrink)
Garrath Williams claims that truly responsible people must possess a “capacity … to respond [appropriately] to normative demands” (2008:462). However, there are people whom we would normally praise for their responsibility despite the fact that they do not yet possess such a capacity (e.g. consistently well-behaved young children), and others who have such capacity but who are still patently irresponsible (e.g. some badly-behaved adults). Thus, I argue that to qualify for the accolade “a responsible person” one need not possess such (...) a capacity, but only to be earnestly willing to do the right thing and to have a history that testifies to this willingness. Although we may have good reasons to prefer to have such a capacity ourselves, and to associate ourselves with others who have it, at a conceptual level I do not think that such considerations support the claim that having this capacity is a necessary condition of being a responsible person in the virtue sense. (shrink)
A response to Christopher Preston's book "Grounding Knowledge" (2003). I first argue that Preston’s work strongly suggests that epistemologists would do well to re-examine and pay greater attention to ‘knowledge how’. Second, I briefly consider several of Preston’s proposals (concerning the importance of place to our cognitive lives) through the lens of contemporary virtue epistemology and suggest how Preston’s work might inform and shape theorizing in this area. Finally, I turn to a set of potential questions for Preston, focusing (...) in particular on his proposal that we ought to preserve a wide range of places inorder to allow for an epistemically valuable cognitive diversity. (shrink)
v. 1. Jurisprudence. The end of law -- v. 2. The nature of law -- v. 3. The scope and subject matter of law. Sources, forms, modes of growth -- v. 4. Application and enforcement of law. Analysis of general juristic conceptions -- v. 5. The system of law.
Combining the methods of the modern philosopher with those of the historian of ideas, Knud Haakonssen presents an interpretation of the philosophy of law which Adam Smith developed out of - and partly in response to - David Hume's theory of justice. While acknowledging that the influences on Smith were many and various, Dr Haakonssen suggests that the decisive philosophical one was Hume's analysis of justice in A Treatise of Human Nature and the second Enquiry. He therefore begins with a (...) thorough investigation of Hume, from which he goes on to show the philosophical originality of Smith's new form of natural jurisprudence. At the same time, he provides an over all reading of Smith's social and political thought, demonstrating clearly the exact links between the moral theory of The Theory of Moral Sentiments, the Lectures on Jurisprudence, and the sociohistorical theory of The Wealth of Nations. This is the first full analysis of Adam Smith's jurisprudence; it emphasizes its normative and critical function, and relates this to the psychological, sociological, and histroical aspects which hitherto have attracted most attention. Dr Haakonssen is critical of both purely descriptivist and utilitarian interpretations of Smith's moral and political philosophy, and demonstrates the implausibility of regarding Smith's view of history as pseudo-economic or 'materialist'. (shrink)
Introduction -- In search of global traits -- Habitual virtuous actions and automaticity -- Social intelligence and why it matters -- Virtue as social intelligence -- Philosophical situationism revisited -- Conclusion.
John Greco has proposed a new sort of contextualism which exhibits a principled grounding in an agent reliabilist virtue epistemology. In this paper I will discuss Grecos two main reasons in favor of virtue contextualism. The first reason is that his account of knowledge can be derived from a more general theory of virtue and credit. The second reason consists in the thesis that a virtue contextualist solution to the lottery problem is superior to standards contextualism. (...) With regard to the first claim, I raise some questions concerning the status and the content of the crucial conditions for Grecos theory of intellectual credit. With regard to the second claim, I try to show that his arguments do not succeed in establishing the superiority of virtue contextualism to standards contextualism. I close with some remarks on the relation among Grecos virtue contextualism, the traditional approach to the theory of knowledge and the proper domain of contextualism. (shrink)
Virtue ethics or natural law? Most contemporary accounts treat these as rival approaches. This book argues both are necessary since virtue is commitment to objective human goods. It also argues integrity is planning one's life by commitment to reasonableness, rejects traditional natural law and virtue ethics for more deontological accounts of the human good and virtue, and explains human personhood accordingly. Part 2 then analyses Aquinas's accounts of emotion, the body and happiness in terms of integrity.
In several recent articles and in a forthcoming book, I have tried to articulate what I take the real challenge to virtue ethics to be from social psychology. In this article, I develop that challenge again by looking specifically at the virtue of forgiveness.
This book is a sophisticated, detailed, and original examination of the main ideas that have dominated Anglo-American legal philosophy since the Second World War. The author probes such themes as: whether there can be right answers to all disputed law cases; how laws and other rules impact on the practical rationality of actors subject to their authority; whether general principles justifying the law must themselves be thought of as part of the law binding on legal actors; and the possibility of (...) an interpretivist jurisprudence that is continuous with law practice in a given culture. (shrink)
Machine generated contents note: 1. Fichte's theory of property; 2. Applying the concept of right: Fichte and Babeuf; 3. Fichte's reappraisal of Kant's theory of cosmopolitan right; 4. The relation of right to morality in Fichte's Jena theory of the state and society; 5. The role of virtue in the Addresses to the German Nation.
There have been several recent defenses of biocentric individualism, the position that all living beings have at least some moral standing, simply insofar as they are alive. I develop a virtue-based version of biocentric individualism, focusing on a virtue of reverence for life. In so doing, I attempt to show that such a virtuebased approach allows us to avoid common objections to biocentric individualism, based on its supposed impracticability (or, on the other hand, its emptiness).
Recent findings in experimental philosophy have revealed that people attribute intentionality, belief, desire, knowledge, and blame asymmetrically to side- effects depending on whether the agent who produces the side-effect violates or adheres to a norm. Although the original (and still common) test for this effect involved a chairman helping or harming the environment, hardly any of these findings have been applied to business ethics. We review what little exploration of the implications for business ethics has been done. Then, we present (...) new experimental results that expand the attribution asymmetry to virtue and vice. We also examine whether it matters to people that an effect was produced as a primary or side- effect, as well as how consumer habits might be affected by this phenomenon. These results lead to the conclusion that it appears to be in a businessperson’s self-interest to be virtuous. (shrink)
Recent literature on the relationship between knowledge and justice has tended to focus exclusively on the social and ethical dimensions of this relationship (e.g. social injustices related to knowledge and power, etc.). For the purposes of this article, I am interested in examining the virtue of justice and its effects on the cognitive faculties of its possessor (and, correspondingly, the effects of the vice of injustice). Drawing upon Thomas Aquinas’s account of the virtue of justice, I argue that (...) in certain cases justice can be a criterion of epistemic evaluation and that it deserves more attention than it has been given among virtue epistemologists. More precisely, the virtue of justice may become a criterion of epistemic evaluation in cases when a belief is formed on the basis of testimony. It would seem that there are cases when A’s assent to proposition p is something that is owed to B on the basis of B’s testimony; or there may be instances when A is culpable for declining to let B’s testimony have any effect on A’s belief. I briefly sketch four distinct scenarios in which this bears out. (shrink)
This essay defends Aristotelian naturalism against the objection that it is naïvely optimistic, and contrary to empirical research, to suppose that virtues like justice are naturally good while vices like injustice are naturally defective. This objection depends upon the mistaken belief that our knowledge of human goodness in action and choice must come from the natural sciences. In fact, our knowledge of goodness in human action and character depends upon a practical understanding that is possessed by someone not qua scientist (...) but qua practically wise person. I spell out some key features of this knowledge of human form, including its relation to practical reasons and its similarity to the “know-how” of crafts-persons. My account of virtue as knowledge of human form sheds light on the Aristotelian thesis that humans live according to an understanding of their own form. My account also clarifies the kinship and the divergence between Aristotelian and Kantian ethics. (shrink)
Some particularists have argued that even virtue properties can exhibit a form of holism or context variance, e.g. sometimes an act is worse for being kind, say. But, on a common conception of virtuous acts, one derived from Aristotle, claims of virtue holism will be shown to be false. I argue, perhaps surprisingly, that on this conception the virtuousness of an act is not a reason to do it, and hence this conception of virtuous acts presents no challenge (...) to particularist claims about the context variance of reasons. Still, I argue that the virtues nevertheless have important implications for our understanding of the particularism debate. Specifically, we can accept the particularist claim that reasons do not need to be principled in order to have the normative status that they do have, while still maintaining that sound moral thought and judgement has a principled structure understood in terms of the virtues. (shrink)
In recent work (Alfano 2012, Alfano forthcoming a, Alfano forthcoming b), I've begun to develop an empirically minded critique of virtue-based accounts of knowledge, justification, and epistemic value. There's an important disanalogy between virtue ethical theories of right action and virtue epistemic theories of knowledge. Most virtue ethicists hold that it's possible to do the right thing for the wrong reason, and hence that right action is possible even for the non-virtuous. Virtue epistemologists, in contrast, (...) almost uniformly claim that knowledge can only be acquired through virtue. Since most people seem to lack motivational and inferential virtues, virtue epistemologists are committed to skepticism about a broad swath of beliefs. Virtue ethicists do not suffer quite as much from the rarity of moral virtue because they can still say that right action is quite common even if most people lack virtue. I spell out several ways for virtue epistemologists to weaken their conditions on knowledge and thus to reconcile their anti-skepticism with empirical evidence for the rarity of intellectual virtue. (shrink)
A Review of S. Napiers, book Virtue Epistemology. While concerned with the nature of knowledge, Napier also wants to claim that a key implication of responsibilist VE is “a shift away from analyzing epistemic concepts (knowledge, etc.) in terms of other epistemic concepts (e.g. justification) to analyzing epistemic concepts with reference to kinds of human activity…much of analytic epistemology centers on epistemic concepts, whereas the responsibilist focuses on epistemic activity” (144).Of the main points he claims responsibilism provides us with—(i) (...) rentention of the idea that a person who knows is personally justified in the sense of is rational, justified, or intellectually good, (ii) a sound account of the value of knowledge, and (iii) a Gettier-proof theory of knowledge —I pose some questions about the first and third. (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)
Ought you to cultivate your own virtue? Various philosophers have argued that there is something suspect about directing one’s ethical attention towards oneself in this way. These arguments can be divided between those that deem aiming at virtue for its own sake to be narcissistic and those that consider aiming at virtue for the sake of good behaviour to involve a kind of doublethink. Underlying them all is the assumption that epistemic access to one’s own character requires (...) an external point of view that is, in principle, available to anyone. If cultivating virtue is concerned with forming one’s dispositions, as these appear to the external point of view, then these charges of narcissism and doublethink can be brought. However, there is another kind of access to one’s own character. Since character is manifest in the practical structure of experience, reflection on that practical structure itself is reflection on one’s character. Neither the charge of narcissism nor the charge of doublethink can be brought against this phenomenological cultivation of the practical structure of experience. Although not sufficient alone to provide all the information required for the task, phenomenological reflection is essential to the ethical cultivation of virtue. (shrink)
INTRODUCTION Mark Alfano, Distinguished Guest Fellow, Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study -/- PART 1: What is a virtue? 1. Liezl van Zyl, Waikato 2. Heather Battaly, California State University Fullerton -/- PART 2: Can people be virtuous? 1. James Montmarquet, Tennessee State University 2. Mark Alfano, University of Oregon -/- PART 3: How are virtues individuated, and what unites them? 1. Daniel Russell, University of Arizona 2. Christian Miller, Wake Forest -/- PART 4: Does virtue contribute to (...) flourishing? 1. Robert Roberts, Baylor 2. Nancy Snow, Marquette -/- PART 5: How are moral and intellectual virtues related? 1. Ernest Sosa, Rutgers 2. Jason Baehr, Loyola Marymount University . (shrink)
The paper defends the thesis that institutional virtue is properly modeled as a ‘‘consensual’’ property, along the lines of the Lehrer–Wagner model of consensus (LWC). In a ﬁrst step, I argue that institutional virtue is not exhausted by duty-fulﬁlling, since institutions, contrary to natural individuals, are designed to fulﬁll duties. To avoid the charge of vacuity, virtue, if attributed to institutions, must be able to motivate supererogatory action. In a second step, I argue against dis- continuity of (...) institutional virtue with individual virtue. Two main arguments for discontinuity of collective properties display serious shortcomings when applied to virtues of institutions. Given that motivation for supererogatory action is neither inferred from statutory duties nor accommodates a right of reprobation, modeling institutional virtue on collective rationality or explaining it in terms of joint com-mitment both prove problematic. In a third step, I argue that LWC has the explanatory potential to account for institutional virtue. Due to its main features,iteration and evaluation, it provides a non-trivial analysis of continuity and thereby satisﬁes basic constraints on the notion of genuine institutional virtue. (shrink)
Each of the essays included in this volume illuminates an aspect of law, reflecting an unorthodox perception of jurisprudence which combines interests in philosophy, legal theory, criminology, legal history, political and constitutional theory and the history of ideas. This work will broaden the jurisprudential scope of practitioners' professional concerns, but help academics enhance their knowledge of the wealth of information for their own studies.
This was my first paper on virtue epistemology, and already highlights the connections with epistemic value and axiology which I would later develop. Although most accounts were either internalist or externalist in an exclusive sense, I suggest an inquiry-focused version through connections with the American pragmatism.
Surprisingly few moral theorists have focused deliberate attention on the activity of moral criticism, perhaps presuming that a moral criticism is as justified as any “verdict” expressed in it. I argue first that there are deep difficulties with establishing “summary” verdicts upon an action, and that even if we have an adequate theory with which to reach judgment on one another’s actions, it is unclear how such verdicts are relevant to specific situated critics in practice. Both Kantian and consequentialist theories (...) face a difficulty in appreciating critical practice as simultaneously backward-looking and forward-looking. I argue second that the adequacy of Strawson-type “reactive attitudes” is dubious in precisely those cases where moral community is fragile. In particular, an attitude of “critical resistance” on the part of those against whom we react is part and parcel of normal moral agency in a wide range of circumstances. Agents with vices that do not respond well to “reactive attitudes” cannot be considered “abnormal” and ought not to be treated simply with an “objective attitude”. I propose an alternate, “dialectical” attitude, and defend its role within a virtue of critical competence. (shrink)
What are virtue and vice, and how do they relate to other moral properties such as goodness and rightness? Thomas Hurka defends a distinctive perfectionist view according to which the virtues are higher-level intrinsic goods, ones that involve morally appropriate attitudes to other, independent goods and evils. He develops this highly original view in detail and argues for its superiority over rival views, including those given by virtue ethics.
We argue that a turn toward virtue ethics as a way of understanding medical professionalism represents both a valuable corrective and a missed opportunity. We look at three ways in which a closer appeal to virtue ethics could help address current problems or issues in professionalism education—first, balancing professionalism training with demands for professional virtues as a prerequisite; second, preventing demands for the demonstrable achievement of competencies from working against ideal professionalism education as lifelong learning; and third, avoiding (...) temptations to dismiss moral distress as a mere “hidden curriculum” problem. As a further demonstration of how best to approach a lifelong practice of medical virtue, we will examine altruism as a mean between the extremes of self-sacrifice and selfishness. (shrink)