What can be learned from a small scale study of managerial work in a highly marginal and under-researched working community? This article uses the ‘goods–virtues–practices–institutions’ framework to examine the managerial work of owner–directors of traditional circuses. Inspired by MacIntyre’s arguments for the necessity of a narrative understanding of the virtues, interviews explored how British and Irish circus directors accounted for their working lives. A purposive sample was used to select subjects who had owned and managed traditional touring circuses for at (...) least 15 years, a period in which the economic and reputational fortunes of traditional circuses have suffered badly. This sample enabled the research to examine the self-understanding of people who had, at least on the face of it, exhibited the virtue of constancy. The research contributes to our understanding of the role of the virtues in organizations by presenting evidence of an intimate relationship between the virtue of constancy and a ‘calling’ work orientation. This enhances our understanding of the virtues that are required if management is exercised as a domain-related practice. (shrink)
This paper describes differences in two perspectives on the idea of virtue as a theoretical foundation for positive organizational ethics (POE). The virtue ethics perspective is grounded in the philosophical tradition, has classical roots, and focuses attention on virtue as a property of character. The positive social science perspective is a recent movement (e.g., positive psychology and positive organizational scholarship) that has implications for POE. The positive social science movement operationalizes virtue through an empirical lens that (...) emphasizes virtuous behaviors. From a virtue ethics perspective, a behaviorally based account of virtue is a weak theory of virtue. Observations are suggested for integrating the two perspectives. First, virtue should always be understood as an excellence and is often an optimal point between extreme dysfunctions on continuum of potential states. Second, an empirical exploration of virtue needs to account for character and context. Finally, the properties of organization-level virtue need to be further specified and explored. Implications and directions for future research are discussed. (shrink)
The analytic/synthetic distinction looks simple. It is a distinction between two different kinds of sentence. Synthetic sentences are true in part because of the way the world is, and in part because of what they mean. Analytic sentences - like all bachelors are unmarried and triangles have three sides - are different. They are true in virtue of meaning, so no matter what the world is like, as long as the sentence means what it does, it will be true. (...) -/- This distinction seems powerful because analytic sentences seem to be knowable in a special way. One can know that all bachelors are unmarried, for example, just by thinking about what it means. But many twentieth-century philosophers, with Quine in the lead, argued that there were no analytic sentences, that the idea of analyticity didn't even make sense, and that the analytic/synthetic distinction was therefore an illusion. Others couldn't see how there could fail to be a distinction, however ingenious the arguments of Quine and his supporters. -/- But since the heyday of the debate, things have changed in the philosophy of language. Tools have been refined, confusions cleared up, and most significantly, many philosophers now accept a view of language - semantic externalism - on which it is possible to see how the distinction could fail. One might be tempted to think that ultimately the distinction has fallen for reasons other than those proposed in the original debate. -/- In Truth in Virtue of Meaning, Gillian Russell argues that it hasn't. Using the tools of contemporary philosophy of language, she outlines a view of analytic sentences which is compatible with semantic externalism and defends that view against the old Quinean arguments. She then goes on to draw out the surprising epistemological consequences of her approach. (shrink)
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, proposing that virtue is chiefly a matter of being for what is good, and that virtues must be intrinsically excellent and not just beneficial or useful.
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.
Several authors have recently begun to apply virtue theory to argumentation. Critics of this programme have suggested that no such theory can avoid committing an ad hominem fallacy. This criticism is shown to trade unsuccessfully on an ambiguity in the definition of ad hominem. The ambiguity is resolved and a virtue-theoretic account of ad hominem reasoning is defended.
Social, political, and economic environments play an active role in nurturing professional virtue. Yet, these environments can also lead to the erosion of virtue. As such, professional virtue is fragile and vulnerable to environmental shifts. While physicians are often considered to be among the most virtuous of professional groups, concern has also always existed about the impact of commercial arrangements on physicians’ willingness and capacity to enact their professional virtues. This article examines the ways in which commercial (...) arrangements have been negotiated to secure medical virtue from real or perceived threats of erosion. In particular, we focus on the concern surrounding conflicts of interest arising from commercial arrangements that have developed as a result of neoliberal economic and social policies. The deregulation of medical markets and privatization of services have produced new commercial relationships that are often misunderstood by patients, publics, and physicians themselves. ‘Conflicts of interest’ policies have been introduced in an attempt to safeguard ethical conduct and medical practice. However, a number of virtue ethicists have critiqued these policies as inadequate for securing virtue. We examine the ways in which commercial arrangements have been seen to impact upon medical virtue, both historically and in the context of modern medicine. We then describe and critique current efforts to restore clinical virtue through both conflict of interest policies and through virtue ethics. Finally, we suggest some possible ways of addressing the corrosive effects of neoliberalism on medical virtue. (shrink)
The different meanings of “courage” in The Analects were expressed in Confucius’ remark on Zilu’s bravery. The typological analysis of courage in Mencius and Xunzi focused on the shaping of the personalities of brave persons. “Great courage” and “superior courage”, as the virtues of “great men” or “ shi junzi 士君子 (intellectuals with noble characters)”, exhibit not only the uprightness of the “internal sagacity”, but also the rich implications of the “external kingship”. The prototype of these brave persons could be (...) said to be between Zengzi’s courage and King Wen’s courage. The discussion entered a new stage of Neo-Confucianism in the Song and Ming dynasties, when admiration for “Yanzi’s great valor” became the key of various arguments. The order of “the three cardinal virtues” was also discussed because it concerned the relationship between “finished virtue” and “novice virtue”; hence, the virtue of courage became internalized as an essence of the internal virtuous life. At the turn of the 20 th century, when China was trembling under the threat of foreign powers, intellectuals remodeled the tradition of courage by redefining “Confucius’ great valor”, as Liang Qichao did in representative fashion in his book Chinese Bushido . Hu Shi’s Lun Ru 论儒 (On Ru ) was no more than a repetition of Liang’s opinion. In the theoretical structures of the modern Confucians, courage is hardly given a place. As one of the three cardinal virtues, bravery is but a concept. In a contemporary society where heroes and sages exist only in history books, do we need to talk about courage? How should it be discussed? These are questions which deserve our consideration. (shrink)
Virtue ethics is generally recognized as one of the three major schools of ethics, but is often waylaid by utilitarianism and deontology in business and management literature. EBSCO and ABI databases were used to look for articles in the Journal of Citation Reports publications between 1980 and 2011 containing the keywords ‘virtue ethics’, ‘virtue theory’, or ‘virtuousness’ in the abstract and ‘business’ or ‘management’ in the text. The search was refined to draw lists of the most prolific (...) authors, the most cited authors, the most cited articles, and the journals with the most virtue ethics publications. This information allows one to chart how virtue ethics articles have evolved through the decades and to establish ‘schools’ or clusters of authors as well as clusters of themes. The results of this quantitative analysis of authors, ‘schools’, themes, and publications provide a foundation for the future study of virtue ethics in business and management, identifying its achievements and potentials. (shrink)
Are conscious states conscious in virtue of representing themselves? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9762-x Authors Berit Brogaard, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 599 Lucas Hall, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121-4400, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
In recent work on a priori justification, one thing about which there is considerable agreement is that the notion of truth in virtue of meaning is bankrupt and infertile. (For the sake of more readable prose, I will use ‘TVM’ as an abbreviation for ‘the notion of truth in virtue of meaning’.) Arguments against the worth of TVM can be found across the entire spectrum of views on the a priori, in the work of uncompromising rationalists (such as (...) BonJour (1998)), of centrist moderates (such as Boghossian (1997)), and of uncompromising empiricists (such as Devitt (2004)). My aim is to dispute this widespread opinion. The outline is as follows: First, §§2-3 consist of preliminary stage-setting. Then, in §4 I will argue that some of the most prevalent arguments against the worth of TVM – in particular, one which is given clear expression by Quine (1970), and is recently reinforced by Boghossian (1997) – do not engage with the core idea motivating TVM. After deflecting this charge of incoherence, the aim of §§5-8 is to work toward developing a useful conception of TVM. (shrink)
In this paper, we explore the literature on cognitive heuristics and biases in light of virtue epistemology, specifically highlighting the two major positions—agent-reliabilism and agent-responsibilism —as they apply to dual systems theories of cognition and the role of motivation in biases. We investigate under which conditions heuristics and biases might be characterized as vicious and conclude that a certain kind of intellectual arrogance can be attributed to an inappropriate reliance on Type 1, or the improper function of Type 2, (...) cognitive processes. By the same token, the proper intervention of Type 2 processes results in the virtuous functioning of our cognitive systems. Moreover, the role of motivation in attenuating cognitive biases and the cultivation of certain epistemic habits points to the tenets of agent-responsibilism.. (shrink)
This article questions a number of widely held views of the role of values in psychotherapy. It begins with a discussion of the now largely discredited view that psychotherapy can be value free. It also broadens this challenge to question the popular idea that values form an inescapable part of the therapeutic encounter. While this view is correct in outline, it is necessary to reject the underlying conception of values as largely arbitrary preferences that the client and the therapist bring (...) to the encounter, as this fails to do justice to the inherently ethical nature of psychotherapy. It argues that we should recover the Greek notion of therapy as essentially concerned with the character of a person. In other words, the goal of therapy is virtue. (shrink)
Although a number of truth theorists have claimed that a deflationary theory of ‘is true’ needs nothing more than the uniform implication of instances of the theorem ‘the proposition that p is true if and only if p ’, reflection shows that this is inadequate. If deflationists can’t support the instances when replacing the biconditional with ‘because’, then their view is in peril. Deflationists sometimes acknowledge this by addressing, occasionally attempting to deflate, ‘because’ and ‘in virtue of’ formulas and (...) their close relatives. I examine what I take to be the most promising deflationist moves in this direction and argue that they fail. (shrink)
Modest realism affirms that some of the objects of our beliefs exist independently of our beliefs. That is, there is a mind-independent world that we canepistemically access. The Cartesian skeptic claims that we can’t offer any non-question-begging arguments in favor of modest realism and therefore we are not justified in believing that modest realism is true. Reliabilists argue that the skeptic assumes an evidentialist-internalist account of justification and that a proper account of justification jettisons this. Hence, our belief in modest (...) realism can be justified. I argue in this paper that virtue-responsibilism offers an analogous response to the Cartesian skeptic. According to the virtue-responsibilist, my belief that P is an instance of knowledge iff it maps onto reality and is the result of an act of virtue. I show that the virtueresponsibilist theory excludes evidentialist-internalism, and allows for our belief in modest realism to be justified. However, it may be objected that the virtue-responsibilist can’t offer non-question-begging reasons for thinking that the virtues are reliable. I argue that this objection fails and that we can know that the virtues are reliable by empirical study. Thus, virtue-responsibilism provides a satisfactory response to the Cartesian skeptic. (shrink)
This special volume of Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy presents sixteen specially written essays on virtue and happiness, and the treatment of these topics by thinkers from the fifth century BC to the third century AD. It is published in honour of Julia Annas--one of the leading scholars in the field.
This essay focuses on three recent books on morality and virtue, Michael Slote's 'Morals from Motives', Rosalind Hursthouse's 'On Virtue Ethics', and Philippa Foot's 'Natural Goodness'. Slote proposes an "agent-based" ethical theory according to which the ethical status of acts is derivative from assessments of virtue. Following Foot's lead, Hursthouse aims to vindicate an ethical naturalism that explains human goodness on the basis of views about human nature. Both Hursthouse and Slote take virtue to be morally (...) basic in a way that Foot, to her credit, does not. We argue that all three views face a range of serious difficulties. (shrink)
This article looks at some of the salient analyses of moderation in the ancient Greek and the Islamic traditions and uses them to develop a contemporary view of the matter. Greek ethics played a huge role in shaping the ethical views of the Muslim philosophers and theologians, and thus the article starts with an overview of the revival of contemporary western virtue ethics--in many ways an extension of Platonic-Aristotelian ethics--and then looks at the place of moderation or temperance in (...) Platonic-Aristotelian ethics. This sets the stage for an exposition of the position taken by Ibn Miskawayh and al-Ghazali, which is then used as a backdrop for suggesting a revival of the Quran's virtue ethics. After outlining a basis for its virtue ethics, the Quranic view of wasatiyya or moderation is discussed briefly. (shrink)
Should the responsibilities of business managers be understood independently of the social circumstances and “market forces”that surround them, or (in accord with empiricism and the social sciences) are agents and their choices shaped by their circumstances,free only insofar as they act in accordance with antecedently established dispositions, their “character”? Virtue ethics, of which I consider myself a proponent, shares with empiricism this emphasis on character as well as an affinity with the social sciences. But recent criticisms of both empiricist (...) and virtue ethical accounts of character deny even this apparent compromise between agency and environment. Here is an account of character that emphasizes dynamic interaction both in the formation and in the interplay between personal agency and responsibility on the one hand and social pressures and the environment on the other. (shrink)
Aristotle's Account of the Virtue of Temperance in Nicomachean Ethics III. 1 o- 11 HOWARD J. CURZER 1. INTRODUCTION maNY ?ONTEMPOX~RY SOCIAL eROBL~S arise from inappropriate indulgence in food, drink, and/or sex. Temperance is the Aristotelian virtue which governs these three things, and Aristotle's account of temperance contains important insights and useful distinctions. Yet Aristotle's account of temperance has been surprisingly neglected, despite the resurgence of virtue ethics. I shall remedy this neglect by providing a passage- by-passage (...) commentary on Aristotle's account of temperance in Nicomachean Ethics III. lO-11. I shall describe the sphere of temperance and Aristotle's distinctions among the character traits of temperance, self-indulgence, insensi- bility, continence, incontinence, and brutishness. I shall also describe the pas- sions and parameters of temperance and argue that Aristotle's account of temperance is compatible with his doctrine of the mean. My interpretation includes several controversial claims. For example, I maintain that Aristote- lian temperance governs not only the enjoyment of certain tactile pleasures, but also the desire for these pleasures. Aristotle's account clashes with common sense and with his own architec- tonic at several points. For example, he maintains that a person is intemperate only if he or she goes wrong.. (shrink)
The theme of article is a short investigation of the problem of virtue in compositions of Prince Shotoku (Shotoku Taishi) such as “Seventeen-Article Constitution” and “Shomangyo gisho” (“Commentary on the Sri-mala Sutra”). Prince Shotoku (574 - 622) is a well-known religious leader in a history of Ancient Japan whoplayed a paramount role in Japanese Buddhism. He supervised over the construction of the first Buddhist temples and, more over, was a first Buddhist in Japan who interpreted Buddhist philosophical texts. Shotoku (...) Taishi wrote three commentaries known as “Commentaries on the Three Sutras” (Sangyo gisho). This work contains interpretation of three Buddhist sutras: “Lotus Sutra” (“Saddharmapundarica sutra”, “Hokke gisho”), “Vimalakirti sutra” (“Vimalakirtinirdesa sutra”, “Yuimagyo gisho”) and “Sri-Mala” sutra (“Sri-Malashimhanda sutra”, “Shomangyo gisho”). One of the most interesting aspects of this work, on my opinion, is a category of “virtue” (“zen”). While “virtue” in the concept of Shotoku Taishi is a basis of the One Vehile. At the same time, it differs from the Buddhist sense of this word. Also, the influence of “virtue” is reflected in articles of “Seventeen-Article Constitution”. Category of “virtue”, on my opinion, shows the new sights in the personality of Prince Shotoku. It leads as to moral aspects of religious and cultural policy which still not explored well in Western (Russian) scholarship. (shrink)
Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, Delete: the virtue of forgetting in the digital age Content Type Journal Article DOI 10.1007/s12394-010-0039-x Authors Matthew L. Smith /, International Development Research Centre Ottawa Canada Journal Identity in the Information Society Online ISSN 1876-0678 Journal Volume Volume 2 Journal Issue Volume 2, Number 3.
We present a comprehensive model that integrates virtues, values, character strengths and ethical decision making (EDM). We describe how a largely consequentialist ethical framework has dominated most EDM scholarship to date. We suggest that reintroducing a virtue ethical perspective to existing EDM theories can help to illustrate deficiencies in existing decision-making models, and suggest that character strengths and motivational values can serve as natural bridges that link a virtue framework to EDM in organizations. In conjunction with the more (...) fully formulated extant research on situational determinants, we present and discuss our model that introduces a virtue based orientation to EDM. (shrink)
Feminist critiques of science show that systematic biases strongly influence what scientific communities find salient. Features of reality relevant to women, for instance, may be under-appreciated or disregarded because of bias. Many feminist analyses of values in science identify problems with salience and suggest better epistemologies. But overlooked in such analyses are important discussions about intellectual virtues and the role they play in determining salience. Intellectual virtues influence what we should find salient. They do this in part by managing the (...) emotions, which are cognitively involved in what we actually do find salient. One reason intellectual virtues do not factor more strongly in feminist epistemology is the mistaken assumption that they could not serve as explicit epistemic community standards for scientific inquiry. There are good reasons, however, to think in terms of community intellectual virtue and consequently, to advance explicit public standards of intellectual virtue for scientific research. To show how explicit public standards for intellectual virtue might improve reasoning in biased conditions, I analyze a striking oversight in several evolutionary immunological hypotheses concerning women's reproduction and sexuality. I conclude that feminist epistemology would benefit from greater consideration of intellectual virtues, particularly in connection with social epistemological insights. (shrink)
In the Republic Plato describes the best city; in the Laws, he describes what he calls the ’second-best city’. I argue that Magnesia, the city of the Laws, is second-best because she fails to promulgate a single concept of human virtue that transcends the allegedly separate virtues of men and women. Magnesia institutionalizes philosophy in the Nocturnal Council to mitigate the consequent ethical flaws, but excludes women from the Council and thus from philosophic inquiry. I show that this exclusion (...) of women is itself a consequence of Magnesia's moral failings. In imperfect cities, of which Magnesia is supposedly the best, reform of women's status is thus only possible within limits, and those limits on the improvement of women's status are limits on the goodness of political life. (shrink)
In ‘Against agent-based virtue ethics' (2004) Michael Brady rejects agent-based virtue ethics on the grounds that it fails to capture the commonsense distinction between an agent's doing the right thing, and her doing it for the right reason. In his view, the failure to account for this distinction has paradoxical results, making it unable to explain why an agent has a duty to perform a given action. I argue that Brady's objection relies on the assumption that an agent-based (...) account is committed to defining obligations in terms of actual motives. If we reject this view, and instead provide a version of agent-basing that determines obligations in terms of the motives of the hypothetical virtuous agent, the paradox disappears. (shrink)
The author challenges the recently argued position of Helga Kuhse that caring is merely a preparatory stage to moral action and that impartial, principled thinking is required to make action moral, by suggesting a notion of caring as virtue. If caring is a virtue then acting from that virtue will be acting well. Acting from the virtue of caring involves eight features, which include not only that of being sensitive to, and concerned about, the patient, but (...) also that of being aware of, and sensitive to, the relevant ethical principles. In this way, caring is seen as an overarching quality that gives action its moral character. The moral character of an action does not derive only from its having been performed in the light of principles. (shrink)
There is debate among virtue epistemologists concerning what is the nature of an intellectual virtue. Linda Zagzebski in Virtues of the Mind , for instance, argues that an intellectual virtue has both a success and motivational component. Furthermore, Zagzebski defines knowledge with reference to acts of intellectual virtue. An agent S knows p iff S performs an act of intellectual virtue in forming the belief that p. This means that Zagzebski is committed to the counter-intuitive (...) claim that low-grade knowledge requires the agent to be epistemically motivated to form such low-grade beliefs. In this project I look at empirical research in cognitive psychology which suggests that epistemic motivations are involved in low-grade processing. Research on the role of attention in vision and memory suggests that attentional focus is necessary in order to have low-grade knowledge. And research on the relationship between motivation and attentional processing suggests that motivation informs attentional operations. The next step in the argument aims to show that such motivations are epistemic in that they are motivations to attain a cognitive state whose value is alethically related. Thus, one's epistemic motivations are necessary for low-grade knowledge. The second half of my project turns to higher-grade knowledge, i.e., testimony. It is here that I apply Zagzebski's account of knowledge to testimony. I do this to give a heretofore counterexample free definition of testimonial knowledge. Altogether, the project shows how Zagzebski's theory can account for the major modes by which we acquire empirical knowledge. (shrink)
Virtue of Civility in the Practice of Politics is a book at the intersection of ethical theory, political philosophy and Christian belief. The book argues that there is a true political virtue: civility. Civility is a virtue that is directed toward the political opponent. MacIntyre's schema for understanding a virtue is used to show how civility contributes to better human living in a variety of contexts: business, family life, church life, and public affairs.
The harmony thesis claims that a virtuous agent will not experience inner conflict or pain when acting. The continent agent, on the other hand, is conflicted or pained when acting virtuously, making him inferior to the virtuous agent. But following Karen Stohr’s counterexample, we can imagine a case like a company owner who needs to fire some of her employees to save her company, where acting with conflict or pain is not only appropriate, but necessary in the situation. This creates (...) a problem for virtue ethicists because the virtue/continence distinction cannot easily be drawn in the case. One solution offered by Stohr is to claim that a virtuous agent will respond with an intensity of feeling corresponding to her correct judgment, whereas a continent agent will miss the mark: he will feel too much or too little pain in response to his correct judgment of value. This demarcation, I argue, is too strict because it entails something like a mean resembling a moral virtue or vice regarding pain, being inconsistent with our ordinary understanding of continence. In dealing with the difficulty, I argue that Aristotle’s virtue of endurance is better suited to account for the problem case. The following move explains why the case of the company owner is problematic: the company owner was missing a virtue on which we did not have the conceptual resources to elaborate. This points to a deeper problem in virtue ethics that needs to be addressed. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThe Filipino concept of hiya, often translated as ‘shame’ or ‘embarrassment’, has often received ambivalent or negative interpretations. In this article I make an important distinction between two kinds of hiya: the hiya that is suffered as shame or embarrassment and the hiya that is an active and sacrificial self-control of one’s individual wants for the sake of other people. I borrow and reappropriate this distinction from Aquinas’ virtue ethics. This distinction not only leads to a more positive appraisal (...) of hiya, it also leads to a new understanding of associated concepts that are often confused with hiya such as amor propio, pakikisama and the infamous ‘crab mentality’. Defending hiya as a virtue is part of an even wider philosophical project, the move from ‘Filipino values’ to a ‘Filipino virtue ethics’, which I already introduced in a previous article in this journal. (shrink)
In this paper, I attempt to develop the account of intellectual virtues offered by Aristotle and St. Thomas in a way which recognizes faith as a good intellectual habit. I go on to argue that, as a practical matter, this virtue is needed not only in theology, where it provides the basis of further intellectual work, but also in the natural sciences, where it is required given the complexity of the subject matter and the cooperative nature of the enterprise.
The aim of this paper is to show that for Aristotle god is, and is not, virtuous. I consider first the arguments of the EN to show that the gods do not have virtue---beginning with an account of the divisions of the faculties of soul, and of the virtues that belong to those divisions. These arguments suggest that nous is a divine virtue, and so in the second section I consider nous, as a faculty of soul and as (...) a virtue, and examine the differences between nous as a human virtue, and nous as a virtue which is also a substance, and with which the first divine principle is identified. In the third and final section I ask what kind of difference Aristotle takes the difference between human and divine nous to be---and in particular whether this is a difference in kind or in degree. (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)
This article explores differences in the ways in which utilitarian, deontological and virtue/aretic ethics treat of act, outcome, and agent. I argue that virtue ethics offers important and distinctive insights into business practice, insights overlooked by utilitarian and deontological ethics.
This essay provides an interpretation of Jonathan Edwards's moral thought that calls attention to the motif of perception in his conception of true virtue. The aim is to illumine the extent to which Edwards's virtue ethics can be included in and contribute to prevailing approaches to virtue in contemporary theological ethics. To advance this proposal, this essay attends to the question of moral agency that Edwards's reflections on charity, the new spiritual sense, and religious affections raise. This (...) procedure offers an acute sense of the significance of perception for Edwards's virtue ethics, which in turn allows for a constructive Edwardsean entry into current theological discussions on the narrative character of virtue. (shrink)
This paper contends that principles of virtue ethics have the potential to both supplement and complement academic integrity policy in the adjudication of undergraduate student academic integrity breaches. The paper uses elements of grounded theory to explore responses from 15 Academic Integrity Breach Decision Makers at an Australian university, and in particular, the process they use to determine outcomes for student breaches of academic integrity. The findings indicate that AIBDMs often use principles of virtue ethics to help provide (...) nuanced judgement on sometimes complicated breaches of ethical behaviour. The findings demonstrate that many AIBDMs supplemented their knowledge of institutional academic integrity policy with a deep commitment to their own virtuous behaviour. (shrink)
This contribution is a criticism of some points David Carr brings forward both in his 1991 book (Educating the Virtues) but even more so in his 1996 article in this journal (After Kohlberg: Some Implications of an Ethics of Virtue for the Theory of Moral Education and Development). With the help of a virtue approach Carr tries to solve the moral objectivism-moral relativism dilemma and the deontologism-consequentialism dilemma in ethics. I will argue that his attempt, though very interesting, (...) suffers from some serious flaws and that, either, Carr's position is much closer to a Kantian approach than Carr thinks, or Carr's position needs a good deal of clarification. (shrink)
There has been increasing interest in the relevance of virtue approaches to ethics over the past 15 years. However, debate surrounding the virtue approach in the business, management and organisational studies literature has lacked progress. First, this literature focuses on a narrow range of philosophers, and, second, it has failed to analyse properly the consequences of virtue theory for action in practical settings other than in abstract terms. In order to begin addressing these issues, this paper compares (...) what two virtue frameworks—one focused on virtue in the context of community and the other on individuals as virtuous agents—lead to when evaluating the actions of parties to the 2002–2004 UK Fire Service dispute. The analysis argues that the virtue frameworks proposed by MacIntyre and Slote offer different but complimentary evaluations. Both not only point to potential problems with industrial disputes, but also recognise the legitimacy of action that is based in good motivations and carried out with regard for the virtues. It seems that fire fighters and their immediate supervisors, on the whole, met the conditions of virtue, but that it is open to question if the leaders of the Fire Brigades Union and the Government did the same. The analysis goes on to suggest which modes of negotiation would be acceptable under the virtue frameworks, and the implications for those involved in industrial dispute. (shrink)
John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education emphasizes the need to develop the habit of rationally judging which desires should be fulfilled. While nurture plays an essential role in this development, nature provides the fundamental desire for self-preservation, the end in light of which reason makes its judgments. The significance of this natural element in Lockean virtue has generally been overlooked, but it becomes clear through a comparison to Aristotelian virtue. Locke rejects any virtue that would require changing (...) our most basic desires, and he does so as part of his rejection of a political order designed for such education. Locke’s account of education is not purely transformative; rather, it is intended to prevent the transformation that would be part of an Aristotelian moral education. (shrink)
The fusion of law and virtue is a distinctive feature of the ethical writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, particularly of his most mature and most detailed ethical treatise, the secunda pars of the Summa Theologiae. By way of preface to his treatises on virtue and on law in the Summa, Thomas states that the former is an intrinsic, the latter an extrinsic, principle by which man is led to his end. It is evident from even these brief remarks (...) that virtue and law are integral parts of an overarching moral pedagogy intended to lead man to his ultimate end. The end consists, as Thomas says, in the contemplation of the divine essence, but the possession of the intellectual and moral virtues is a prerequisite to the experience of the beatific vision. Hence, moral instruction, of which the secunda pars is an exemplary instance, is directed to the inculcation of the virtues--to the formation of character. ;In this context, the role of natural law is to circumscribe the parameters of the moral life and to provide a background to moral deliberation. Submission to human, divine, and finally eternal law marks the various stages in man's education in moral perfection. The hierarchy of the laws is thus parallel to the hierarchy of the virtues, natural and infused. Law, as the Thomistic dictum runs, is for the sake of virtue. Thomas' view of law, then, is teleological, not deontological; that is, laws are intelligible in light of an overarching conception of the goods of a community or of human nature. But the goods or practices which the laws are intended to succour are themselves embodiments of virtues such as justice. ;While a comprehensive treatment of the secunda pars is beyond the scope of this investigation, we will provide an analysis of exemplary instances of moral pedagogy in the Summa. From this examination of representative passages, it will be possible to defend certain conclusions concerning the doctrinal structure and rhetorical intent of the Summa. (shrink)
“Arguments from nature” are used, and have historically been used, in popular responses to advances in technology and to environmental issues—there is a widely shared body of ethical intuitions that nature, or perhaps human nature, sets some limits on the kinds of ends that we should seek, the kinds of things that we should do, or the kinds of lives that we should lead. Virtue ethics can provide the context for a defensible form of the argument from nature, and (...) one that makes proper sense of its enduring role in debates concerning our relationship to technology and the environment. However, the notion of an ethics founded upon an account of the essential features of human nature is controversial. On the one hand, contemporary biological science no longer defines species by their essential characteristics, so from a biological point of view there just are no essential characteristics of human beings. On the other hand, it might be argued that humans have, in some sense, “transcended our biology,” so an understanding of humans as a biological species is extraneous to ethical questions. In this article, I examine and defend the argument from nature, as a way to ground an ethic of virtue, from some of the more common criticisms that are made against it. I argue that, properly interpreted as an appeal to an evaluative account of human nature, the argument from nature is defensible with the context of virtue ethics and, in this light, I show how arguments from nature made in popular responses to technological and environmental issues are best understood. (shrink)
Socrates and Meno reach two different conclusions: in the first part of the dialogue, that virtue is knowledge and can therefore be taught; in the second, that it is reliable true opinion and can therefore be acquired only by divine inspiration. Taking into account Socrates’ role as a teacher (of his interlocutors and of Plato) and Plato’s role as a teacher (of us), I show that neither of these conclusions is consistent with the existence of philosophy as a human (...) institution, and argue that, for this reason, Plato refuses ultimately to endorse either of them. (shrink)
This paper demonstrates the ontological status of virtue as an instance of love within the cosmology of St Maximus the Confessor. It shows that we may posit the real existence of a ‘virtue’ in so far as we understand it to have its basis in, and to be an instance of love. Since God is love and the virtues are logoi, it becomes possible and beneficial to parallel the relationship between love and the virtues with Maximus’ exposition of (...) the Logos and the logoi. In particular, Cvetković ’s interpretation of the circle and radii analogy will be utilised (Cvetković, 2011 & 2013). It will be shown that when one practices a virtue, one is practicing and participating in love, and, by extension, partaking in God. Within the context of Maximus’ cosmology, this means that practicing virtue and love is the ultimate purpose of humanity in its journey to gather all creation to communion with God. This paper is primarily an exposition of primary sources from St Maximus, but discussion of the ontology of virtue is made with a view to bringing it into dialogue with modern theories of virtue ethics. This paper arises in part as a response to the August 2013 papers by Louth and Blowers on the need for increased scholarship on Maximus and virtue ethics. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: Can virtue ethics say anything worthwhile about laws? What would a virtue-ethical account of good laws look like? I argue that a plausible answer to that question can be found in Plato’s parent analogies in the Crito and the Menexenus. I go on to show that the Menexenus gives us a philosophical argument to the effect that laws are just only if they enable citizens to flourish. I then argue that the resulting virtue-ethical account ofjust laws (...) is not viciously paternalistic. Finally, I refute the objection that the virtue-ethical account I am proposing is not distinct from a consequentialist account.RÉSUMÉ: Peut-on construire une théorie de la loi à partir de l’éthique de la vertu? Qu’est ce qu’une bonne loi? Je dis que l’on trouvera une réponse à la question dans l’analogie entre les lois et les parents présentée par Platon dans le Criton et le Ménéxène. Dans §2, je montre que le Ménéxène apporte une défense philosophique de l’argument que les lois sont bonne seulement si elles amènent les citoyens a la vertu.Dans §3, je montre que celte théorie des lois selon la vertu n’est pas outre mesure paternaliste. Dans la dernière section, je réponds a l’objection suivante : que la théorie que je défend n’est ni plus ni moins qu’une théorie conséquentialiste. (shrink)
Descartes’s concern with the proper method of belief formation is evident in the titles of his works—e.g., The Search after Truth, The Rules for the Direction of the Mind, and The Discourse on Method of rightly conducting one’s reason and seeking the truth in the sciences. It is most apparent, however, in his famous discussions, both in the Meditations and in the Principles, of one particularly noteworthy source of our doxastic errors—namely, the misuse of one’s will. What is not widely (...) recognized, let alone appreciated and understood, is the relationship between his concern with belief formation and his concern with virtue. In fact, few seem to realize that Descartes regards doxastic errors as moral errors and as sins both because such errors are intrinsically vicious and because they entail notably deleterious social consequences. Reforming the Art of Living seeks to rectify this rather common oversight in two ways. First, it aims to elucidate the nature of Descartes’s account of virtuous belief formation. Second, it aims both (i) to illuminate the social significance of Descartes’s philosophical program as it relates to the understanding and practice not of science, but of religion and (ii) to develop a kind of Leibnizian critique of this aspect of his program. More specifically, it aims to show that Descartes’s project is “dangerous,” insofar as it is subversive not only of traditional Christianity but also of other traditional forms of religion, both in theory and in practice. (shrink)
Although most styles of military ethics are hybrids that draw on multiple ethical theories, they are usually based primarily on the model of Aristotelian virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is well-suited for regulating the conduct of soldiers who have to make quick decisions on the battlefield, but its applicability to military personnel is threatened by the growing use of unmanned weapon systems. These weapons disrupt virtue ethics’ institutional and cultural basis by changing what it means to display (...) class='Hi'>virtue and transforming the roles soldiers perform and the nature of the military profession itself. I argue that in light of these challenges to virtue ethics, at least as it is traditionally understood within the armed forces, soldiers operating unmanned weapons require a more heavily rule-based approach to military ethics. (shrink)
Although there has been a resurgence of interest in virtue ethics, there has been little work done on how this translates into the political sphere. This essay demonstrates that the Confucian thinker Xunzi offers a model of virtue politics that is both interesting in its own right and potentially useful for scholars attempting to develop virtue ethics into virtue politics more generally. I present Xunzi’s version of virtue politics and discuss challenges to this version of (...)virtue politics that are raised by the Legalist thinker H an Fei. I show that not only is Xunzi’s virtue politics capable of surviving the challenges raised by his contemporary, he offers an account that is in many ways both attractive and plausible, one that may usefully be brought into conversation with contemporary visions of virtue politics. (shrink)