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Virtue Ethics and the Search for an Account of Right Action
Univ Arizona, Dept Philosophy, Tucson, AZ 85721 USA.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-0736-0792
2010 (English)In: Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, E-ISSN 1572-8447, Vol. 13, no 3, p. 255-271Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conceived of as a contender to other theories in substantive ethics, virtue ethics is often associated with, in essence, the following account or criterion of right action: VR: An action A is right for S in circumstances C if and only if a fully virtuous agent would characteristically do A in C. There are serious objections to VR, which take the form of counter-examples. They present us with different scenarios in which less than fully virtuous persons would be acting rightly in doing what no fully virtuous agent would characteristically do in the circumstances. In this paper, various proposals for how to revise VR in order to avoid these counter-examples are considered. I will argue that in so far as the revised accounts really do manage to steer clear of the counter-examples to VR, something which it turns out is not quite true for all of them, they instead fall prey to other damaging objections. I end by discussing the future of virtue ethics, given what has come to light in the previous sections of the paper. In particular, I sketch the outlines of a virtue ethical account of rightness that is structurally different from VR. This account also faces important problems. Still, I suggest that further scrutiny is required before we are in a position to make a definitive decision about its fate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer Netherlands, 2010. Vol. 13, no 3, p. 255-271
Keywords [en]
Virtue ethics, Right action, Fully virtuous agent, Decent agent, Developmental account of virtue and right
National Category
Ethics Philosophy
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-140121DOI: 10.1007/s10677-009-9201-7ISI: 000278522400003OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-140121DiVA, id: diva2:1145971
Available from: 2017-10-01 Created: 2017-10-01 Last updated: 2018-06-09

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Svensson, Frans

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • vancouver
  • Other style
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Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf