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Intellectual VirtuePerspectives from Ethics and Epistemology$
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Michael DePaul and Linda Zagzebski

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780199252732

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252732.001.0001

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Virtue Ethics: Radical or Routine?

Virtue Ethics: Radical or Routine?

Chapter:
(p.57) 3 Virtue Ethics: Radical or Routine?
Source:
Intellectual Virtue
Author(s):

David Solomon

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252732.003.0004

This chapter explains why virtue ethics in the latter twentieth century has taken the following two forms: (i) the first form orders evaluative concepts and then argues that the concept of a virtue is more basic than the concepts of a right act and a good state of affairs; (ii) the second form focuses on deeper questions about the nature and ambition of modern ethics and its ability to satisfy our need for reflective guidance. The former is a common approach given its focus on arguments for theory construction. The latter is more radical given that its themes are suspicious of rules and principles and, sometimes, moral theory itself. Because so many debates over virtue ethics reduce to debates over the kind of criteria needed to judge ethical theories, they will remain unresolved. Epistemologists must learn from moral philosophers about the myriad usages of virtue in language, as well as the different models each usage is working within.

Keywords:   ethical theory, modern ethics, moral philosophers, moral skepticism, reflective guidance, David Solomon, virtue epistemology, virtue ethics

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