Virtue ethics from a global perspective: A pluralistic framework for understanding moral virtues

The title of our session today is “Virtue Ethics from a Global Perspective.” In my remarks, I would like to sketch out an account of what a global perspective on virtue ethics would look like. Here’s how I’ll proceed. First, I would like to explore some of the reasons why we need a global perspective on virtue ethics. This leads naturally to the second issue, which is a clarification of what we mean by a global perspective on virtue ethics. I shall suggest a three part framework—consisting of the object of the virtue, the virtue itself, and the actions through which that virtue is expressed—for a global perspective on virtue ethics. This framework is a pluralistic one, striking a middle ground between absolutism and relativism. Along the way, especially in part two, I will look at several specific virtues, especially respect and courage, to see how this tripartite framework can be applied. The final result, I hope, will be an outline of what a global perspective on virtue ethics would look like.
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