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On Virtue Ethics$
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Rosalind Hursthouse

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199247994.001.0001

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Resolvable Dilemmas

Resolvable Dilemmas

(p.43) 2 Resolvable Dilemmas
On Virtue Ethics

Rosalind Hursthouse (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

V‐ rules may seem to fall foul of ‘the conflict problem’, failing to give us action guidance, when the requirements of different virtues conflict. Where hard cases or dilemmas are, ex hypothesi, resolvable, virtue ethics in fact employs a strategy similar to that of some forms of deontology: it argues that the putative conflicts are merely apparent. That recognizing a conflict as merely apparent may call for moral wisdom or phronesis is explicitly acknowledged in virtue ethics, which takes seriously Aristotle's point that moral knowledge, unlike mathematical knowledge, cannot be acquired merely by attending lectures, and is not characteristically to be found in people too young to have much experience of life. A normative ethics should not aim to provide a decision procedure that any reasonably clever adolescent could apply.

Keywords:   conflict problem, dilemmas, moral dilemma, moral wisdom, phronesis, virtue ethics

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