Virtue Ethics

Edited by Jason Kawall (Colgate University)
About this topic
Key works The essential work inspiring much of the virtue ethics tradition is Aristotle & Ostwald 1962.  Many consider David Hume 1751 and Adam Smith 1759) to provide important, sentimentalist virtue ethics in the early modern period.  Contemporary interest in virtue ethics is often traced to Elizabeth Anscombe's [Anscombe 1958: Modern Moral Philosophy 1958.  In the following decades key contemporary works appeared including Foot 1978, Pincoffs 1971, w#, Hursthouse, Slote, Swanton
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  1. The Virtues of Limits.David McPherson - 2022 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Human beings seek to transcend limits. This is part of our potential greatness, since it is how we can realize what is best in our humanity. However, the limit-transcending feature of human life is also part of our potential downfall, as it can lead to dehumanization and failure to attain important human goods and to prevent human evils. Exploring the place of limits within a well-lived human life this work develops and defends an original account of limiting virtues, which are (...)
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  2. Modern Views on Virtue Ethics.Carmen Dobre, Rosalind Hursthouse, G. E. M. Anscombe, Jeremy Bentham, Aristotle, Daniel Russell, Alasdair MacIntyre & John and Mendus Susan Horton - 2021 - Sofia Philosophical Review 14 (1):72-86.
    Abstract: This paper analyzes some influential ideas in virtue ethics. Alasdair MacIntyre, in his work After Virtue, and Elizabeth Anscombe, in his controversial essay “Modern Moral Philosophy”, brought fresh ideas into moral philosophy of their time changing views on contemporary morality. They strongly influenced moral philosophers who then followed their ideas. The two philosophers criticized contemporary moral philosophies such as emotivism, utilitarianism, deontology. Elizabeth Anscombe criticized also the use of the concepts of duty and moral obligation in the absence of (...)
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  3. (Introduction) Metodo 8. 2: Positive Feelings on the Border Between Phenomenology, Psychology and Virtue Ethics.Roberta Guccinelli - 2020 - Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy 8 (2):7-28.
    The papers collected in this issue address diferent topics at play in the contemporary debate on positive feeling and emotion by virtue of both their primary function in everyday life and their embedded structure. Within this issue, specifc attention has been given to the intertwining of positive feeling and ethical issues according to diferent approaches whose goals consist in providing a description and clarifcation of the phenomena in question. The contributions gathered here give us a clear idea of the variety (...)
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  4. (Contents) Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy (Vol. 8 Num. 2): Positive Feelings on the Border Between Phenomenology, Psychology and Virtue Ethics.Roberta Guccinelli - 2020 - Metodo International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy 8 (2):1-231.
    The papers collected in this issue address diferent topics at play in the contemporary debate on positive feeling and emotion by virtue of both their primary function in everyday life and their embedded structure. Within this issue, specifc attention has been given to the intertwining of positive feeling and ethical issues according to diferent approaches whose goals consist in providing a description and clarifcation of the phenomena in question. The contributions gathered here give us a clear idea of the variety (...)
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  5. Gardens and the Good Life in Confucianism and Daoism.Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - In Laura D’Olimpio, Panos Paris & Aidan Thompson (eds.), Educating Character Through the Arts. London: Routledge.
    Creating and caring for a garden is a long-term project whose success requires commitment and devotion and love and proper performance of a range of activities that involve virtues and sensibilities like attentiveness, carefulness, humility, imaginativeness, and sensitivity to the natures and needs of plants and animals. In this chapter, I elaborate this conception of gardens and explore its relationship to artistic activities, like composing poetry or performing music. My focus are Confucianism and Daosim and their accounts of the relationships (...)
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  6. Specificità e pluralità della Virtue Ethics.Angelo Campodonico - 2018 - Ragion Pratica: Rivista semestrale 50:161-178..
    The article concerns the specificity of contemporary Virtue Ethics, its main problems and its main streams.
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  7. Il ruolo sintetico della saggezza pratica.Angelo Campodonico - 2018 - Acta Philosophica:56-77..
    The topic concerns the role of phronesis or practical wisdom in ethics and epistemology.
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  8. Towards a More Credible Principle of Beneficence.Prasasti Pandit - 2021 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 38 (3):407–422.
    My objective of this paper is to suggest and workout a more credible form of the Principle of Beneficence from the common essential elements of the three major ethical theories (Deontology, Utilitarianism and Virtue Ethics) that will try to overcome the over-demanding objection of Utilitarianism and the rigorism of Kant’s Deontology. After analyzing these three moral systems, I find that beneficence lies within the very essence of humanity. Human beings are superior to other creatures in the world due to rationality (...)
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  9. Opacity of Character: Virtue Ethics and the Legal Admissibility of Character Evidence.Jacob Smith & Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Philosophical Issues.
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  10. The Nature of Temptation and its Role in the Development of Moral Virtue.Kevin Snider - 2021 - Dissertation, Middlesex University
    In the last 70 years there has been an explosion of philosophical and theological work on the nature of virtue and the process of virtue formation. Yet philosophers and theologians have paid little attention to the phenomenon of temptation and its role in developing virtue. Indeed, little analytic work has been done on the nature of temptation. This study aims to fill this gap in moral philosophy and theology by offering an analytic moral conception of temptation and explicating its connection (...)
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  11. Radix dilectionis: asimilación, polémica y transposición de la ética clásica en Gregorio de Nisa y Agustín de Hipona.Francisco Bastitta-Harriet - 2011 - In Controversias filosóficas, científicas y teológicas en el pensamiento Tardo-Antiguo y Medieval. Rosario, Santa Fe Province, Argentina: pp. 81-91.
    In Classical Greece, the philosophical consideration of human love reaches unimagined heights in the Platonic Dialogues. Eros is described both as the uniting force of Ancient Medicine and pre-Socratic Cosmology, and as the sacred impulse towards the Beautiful and the Good, towards the perfection of the Divine. The reflection of the Greek Patristic authors assimilates this concept of love and its Peripatetic, Stoic and Neoplatonic variations, but seriously rethinks some of their implications. The Judeo-Christian view of human and divine love, (...)
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  12. The Virtue of Receptivity and Practical Rationality.Seisuke Hayakawa - 2015 - In Chienkuo Mi, Michael Slote & Ernest Sosa (eds.), Moral and Intellectual Virtues in Western and Chinese Philosophy: The Turn toward Virtue. New York: Routledge. pp. 235-251.
    In this chapter, I attempt to provide a richer account of reflective agency than standard theorists do, by focusing on the deep connection between the role of empathic receptivity and that of reflection. In From Enlightenment to Receptivity, Michael Slote innovatively introduces the idea of receptivity as a virtue into the domains of epistemology and ethics, and argues that the virtue of receptivity plays a crucial role in the realization of a good life (2013). In contrast, I incorporate receptivity as (...)
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  13. Cultivating Moral Attention: a Virtue-Oriented Approach to Responsible Data Science in Healthcare.Emanuele Ratti & Mark Graves - forthcoming - Philosophy and Technology:1-28.
    In the past few years, the ethical ramifications of AI technologies have been at the center of intense debates. Considerable attention has been devoted to understanding how a morally responsible practice of data science can be promoted and which values have to shape it. In this context, ethics and moral responsibility have been mainly conceptualized as compliance to widely shared principles. However, several scholars have highlighted the limitations of such a principled approach. Drawing from microethics and the virtue theory tradition, (...)
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  14. Solving the Puzzle of Partiality.Sungwoo Um - 2021 - Journal of Social Philosophy 52 (3):362-376.
    Journal of Social Philosophy, EarlyView.
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  15. Specifying Contractualism: How to Reason About What We Owe to Each Other.Ken Oshitani - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry.
    Moral contractualism holds that addressing our minds to the morality of right and wrong involves identifying principles for the mutual regulation of behavior that could be the object of reasonable agreement among persons if they were appropriately motivated and fully informed. A common criticism of the theory is that the test of reasonable agreement it endorses is indeterminate. To be more specific, it is claimed that the notion of reasonableness is too vague or ill-defined to be of use in guiding (...)
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  16. Nancy E. Snow (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue. [REVIEW]Matt Dougherty - 2021 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 18:562-565.
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  17. Jennifer Cole Wright (Ed.), Humility. [REVIEW]Cathy Mason - 2021 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 18:550-553.
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  18. The Defective Character Solution to the Non-Identity Problem.Ben Bramble - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (9):504-520.
    The non-identity problem is that some actions seem morally wrong even though, by affecting future people’s identities, they are worse for nobody. In this paper, I further develop and defend a lesser-known solution to the problem, one according to which when such actions are wrong, it is not because of what they do or produce, but rather just because of why they were performed. In particular, I argue that the actions in non-identity cases are wrong just when and because they (...)
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  19. Philosophy at the Gym.Erik Kenyon - manuscript
    Ethical philosophy was born in the gyms of Athens. This book returns a body of abstract thought to its original context, to understand how training for the body sparked training for the mind. We will use archaeology to reconstruct the reality of ancient athletics and literary texts to critique philosophers’ idealized versions of this reality. We will explore a cluster of questions about the nature of happiness (eudaimonia), the role of human excellence (arete) in this life and what forms of (...)
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  20. Charlie Kurth, The Anxious Mind: An Investigation Into the Varieties and Virtues of Anxiety. [REVIEW]Daniel Kelly - 2021 - Ethics 132 (1):249-255.
    Kurth wants us to understand and appreciate our anxiety more than we typically do. His concise and crisply written monograph makes a good case that we should. It deepens our understanding of what anxiety is, and of how it animates different facets of our mental and moral lives. The case he builds that, roughly, anxiety is one of the brain’s ways of affectively signaling and responding to uncertainty is clearly argued and meticulously organized. Kurth hits the targets he sets for (...)
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  21. The Doing of Justice and the Priority of Acting From Virtue.Patricio A. Fernandez - forthcoming - Phronesis.
    Aristotle famously distinguishes between merely doing a virtuous action and acting in the way in which a virtuous person would. Against an interpretation prominent in recent scholarship, I argue that ‘acting virtuously,’ in the sense of exercising a virtue actually possessed, is prior to ‘virtuous action,’ understood generically. I propose that the latter notion is best understood as a derivative abstraction from the former, building upon a reading of a neglected distinction between per se and coincidentally just action in Nicomachean (...)
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  22. Imaginative virtue ethics: A transportation-transcendental approach.Surendra Arjoon & Meena Rambocas - forthcoming - International Journal of Ethics Education:1-17.
    Several authors have argued that virtue ethics needs to adopt a more realistic moral psychology in proposing a more effective way for teaching and learning. In response to this appeal, our paper explores the development of an Imaginative Virtue Ethics Transportation-Transcendental Experiential Approach based on the Aristotelian-Thomistic Mind–Body Theory. It also appears that many educators who use an Aristotelian-Thomistic virtue ethics as a teaching and learning platform may be unaware of the theoretical underpinnings especially with regards to the understanding of (...)
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  23. Virtue Ethics as Political Philosophy: The Structure of Ethical Theory in Early Chinese Philosophy.Yang Xiao - 2015 - In Michael Slote & Lorraine Besser-Jones (eds.), The Routledge Companion to Virtue Ethics. Routledge. pp. 471-489.
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  24. Wollstonecraft’s Feminist Virtue Ethics: Friendship and the Good Society.Justin P. Holt - 2021 - Academia Letters 717 (717):1-6.
    This paper will show that Mary Wollstonecraft developed a modern feminist version of virtue ethics. Virtue ethics is an all-encompassing moral theory which holds that the best life for individuals is commensurate with a good society. Simply, self-interest and our public duties are argued as identical and not at odds when we realize what is truly good for ourselves and for others. In the Western philosophic cannon, the most common version of virtue ethics is Aristotle’s, with the Nicomachean Ethics as (...)
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  25. Book Review: Rebecca DeYoung - Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies. [REVIEW]Ian James Kidd - forthcoming - Journal of Moral Philosophy.
    A review of Rebecca DeYoung's book, "Glittering Vices: A New Look at the Seven Deadly Sins and Their Remedies", 2nd ed.
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  26. Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Protestantism.David S. Sytsma - 2021 - Academia Letters 1650:1-8.
    This is a brief introduction to the origin and development of Protestant ethical works in the tradition of Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics.
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  27. Narratives of Hope: A Philosophical Study of Moral Conversion.Alfredo Mac Laughlin - 2008 - Dissertation, Loyola University, Chicago
    This work explores the philosophical implications of moral conversion: the fact that, at some point in their lives, people may change their deep-seated convictions, attitudes and patterns of action regarding moral matters in rather unexpected and surprising ways. The fact of moral conversion and the common characteristics of the process are established through the analysis of a compilation of stories of moral conversion from various sources and settings. This analysis yields the definition of conversion as an “existential change” in the (...)
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  28. Eric J. Silverman, The Supremacy of Love: An Agape-Centered Vision of Aristotelian Virtue Ethics, (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2019), 165 pages. ISBN: 978-1-7936-0883-3. Hardback: $90.00. [REVIEW]David J. Rodriguez - forthcoming - Journal of Value Inquiry:1-6.
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  29. A Moral Defense of Prostitution.Rob Lovering - 2021 - New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
    Is prostitution immoral? In this book, Rob Lovering argues that it is not. Offering a careful and thorough critique of the many―twenty, to be exact―arguments for prostitution's immorality, Lovering leaves no claim unchallenged. Drawing on the relevant literature along with his own creative thinking, Lovering offers a clear and reasoned moral defense of the world's oldest profession. Lovering demonstrates convincingly, on both consequentialist and nonconsequentialist grounds, that there is nothing immoral about prostitution between consenting adults. The legal implications of this (...)
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  30. Virtue Ethics and Particularism.Constantine Sandis - 2021 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 95 (1):205-232.
    Moral particularism is often conceived as the view that there are no moral principles. However, its most fêted accounts focus almost exclusively on rules regarding actions and their features. Such action-centred particularism is, I argue, compatible with generalism at the level of character traits. The resulting view is a form of particularist virtue ethics. This endorses directives of the form ‘Be X’ but rejects any implication that the relevant X-ness must therefore always count in favour of an action.
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  31. Practical Structure and Moral Skill.Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Philosophical Quarterly.
    I argue that moral skill is limited and precarious. It is limited because global moral skill – the capacity for morally excellent behavior within an über action domain, such as the domain of living, or of all-things-considered decisions, or the same kind of capacity applied across a superset of more specific action domains – is not to be found in humans. It is precarious because relatively local moral skill, while possible, is prone to misfire. My arguments depend upon the diversity (...)
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  32. Environmental Virtue Ethics and the Sources of Normativity.Michał Piekarski - 2020 - Studia Ecologiae Et Bioethicae 18 (3).
    This article is an attempt to identify the sources of normativity in virtue ethics. The starting point for the analyzes presented here is the book by Dominika Dzwonkowska Environmental virtue ethics. In § 1, I present the basic theses and assumptions of this approach to ethics. Then, with reference to the concept of the moral subject proposed by Dzwonkowska, I ask whether it constitutes the primary source of normativity. I argue that environmental virtue ethics can be ascribed to arguments shared (...)
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  33. Ressentiment.Andrew Huddleston - 2021 - Ethics 131 (4):670-696.
    Nietzsche famously discusses a psychological condition he calls ressentiment, a condition involving toxic, vengeful anger. I offer a free-standing theory in philosophical psychology of the familiar...
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  34. Nietzsche’s Compassion.Vasfi O. Özen - 2021 - Nietzsche-Studien 50 (1):244-274.
    Nietzsche is known for his penetrating critique of Mitleid. He seems to be critical of all compassion but at times also seems to praise a different form of compassion, which he refers to as “our compassion” and contrasts it with “your compassion”. Some commentators have interpreted this to mean that Nietzsche’s criticism is not as unconditional as it may seem – that he does not condemn compassion entirely. I disagree and contend that even though Nietzsche appears to speak favorably of (...)
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  35. Vocation to Love: Supererogation in Aquinas.James Dominic Rooney - forthcoming - International Journal of Systematic Theology.
    Thomas Aquinas’ account of religious vocation has been interpreted as involving a qualified duty, where ordinary people fall short of living up to the moral ideal of becoming a monk or nun. Such an account of religious vocation makes a hash of Aquinas’ thought and misses important aspects of his ethics. Aquinas holds that religious life is praiseworthy, but not morally required, because there are multiple sources of normativity. I conclude by proposing that, while elements of Aquinas’ notion of supererogation (...)
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  36. Paradoxien der Kontingenz. Alasdair MacIntyre und Hans Blumenberg auf der Suche nach einer neuen gesellschaftlichen Verbindlichkeit.Maximilian Runge - manuscript
    Since at least Luhmann, contingency – whose conceivability must be reduced to a great extent by means of “reduction of complexity“ in order to assure stability of social and psychological systems – has been an important topos of sociological theory. What is a genuinely philosophical approach of the past decades, on the other hand, is the idea of its conceivability as being conducive for the purpose of individual autonomy. If both assumptions held equally true, collectivity and mature individuality would effectively (...)
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  37. Happiness and Mental Illness: Virtue Ethics in Dialogue with Psychology.Shane Clifton & Bruce Stevens - 2021 - Heythrop Journal 62 (3):546-559.
  38. Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.Michael Slote - 1997 - In Roger Crisp & Michael Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
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  39. Environmental Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 2007 - In Rebecca L. Walker & Philip J. Ivanhoe (eds.), Working Virtue: Virtue Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems. Oxford University Press.
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  40. Iris Murdoch and the Power of Love.Anil Gomes - 2019 - TLS.
    Anil Gomes considers Murdoch's view that morality is real and that, with the right conceptual resources, we can perceive it.
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  41. The Guise of Good Reason.Ulf Hlobil - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 24 (2):204-224.
    The paper argues for a version of the Guise of the Good thesis, namely the claim that if someone acts as the result of practical reasoning, then she takes her premises to jointly provide a sufficient and undefeated reason for her action. I argue for this by showing, first, that it is an application of Boghossian's Taking Condition on inference to practical reasoning and, second, that the motivations for the Taking Condition for theoretical reasoning carry over to practical reasoning. I (...)
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  42. Character, Corruption, and ‘Cultures of Speed’ in Higher Education.Ian Kidd - forthcoming - In Philosophical Perspectives on the Contemporary University: In Shadows and Light. Springer.
    This chapter offers a character-based criticism of ‘the culture of speed’ condemned by the Canadian literary scholars, Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber in their influential polemic, The Slow Professor. Central to their criticisms of speed and praise of slowness are, I argue, substantive concerns about their effects on moral and intellectual character. I argue that a full reckoning of the wrongs of academic cultures of speed must include appreciation of the ways they promote a host of accelerative vices and failings (...)
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  43. Feminist Virtue Ethics.Robin S. Dillon - 2017 - In Serene Khader Ann Garry (ed.), Routledge Companion to Feminist Philosophy. pp. 568-678.
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  44. “Self-Respect, Arrogance, and Power: A Feminist Perspective,”.Robin S. Dillon - forthcoming - In Richard Dean and Oliver Sensen (ed.), Respect for Persons.
    In many cultures arrogance is regarded as a serious vice and a cause of numerous social ills. Although its badness is typically thought to lie in its harmful consequences for other persons and things, I draw on Kant to argue that what makes it a vice is first and foremost the failure to respect oneself. But arrogance is not only a problem inside individuals. Drawing on feminist insights I argue that it is a systemic problem constructed in and reinforcing unjust (...)
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  45. Are Gratitude and Forgiveness Symmetrical?Sean McAleer - 2016 - In Perspectives on Gratitude: An interdisciplinary approach. Routledge. pp. 85-96.
    The chapter explores the symmetry thesis, which holds that departures from or variations on the paradigms of forgiveness and gratitude are conceptually and evaluatively symmetrical or parallel: where one makes sense and is praiseworthy, the other should be too. So if third-party forgiveness makes sense, so too should third-party gratitude; if propositional gratitude makes sense, so too should propositional forgiveness; if self-gratitude makes sense, so too should self-forgiveness. The symmetry thesis fares reasonably well, initially; both third- party forgiveness and third-party (...)
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  46. On the Analogy Between Business and Sport: Towards an Aristotelian Response to The Market Failures Approach to Business Ethics.Matthew Sinnicks - forthcoming - Journal of Business Ethics:1-13.
    This paper explores the notion that business calls for an adversarial ethic, akin to that of sport. On this view, because of their competitive structure, both sport and business call for behaviours that are contrary to ‘ordinary morality’, and yet are ultimately justified because of the goods they facilitate. I develop three objections to this analogy. Firstly, there is an important qualitative difference between harms risked voluntarily and harms risked involuntarily. Secondly, the goods achieved by adversarial relationships in sport go (...)
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  47. On the Law of Nature: A Demonstrative Method.Niels Hemmingsen - 2018 - Grand Rapids: CLP Academic.
    On the Law of Nature is at once a traditional and eclectic treatise of moral philosophy by one of the sixteenth century's most widely read Protestant authors. Niels Hemmingsen, the "Teacher of Denmark," was a Danish humanist and theologian who studied with the "Teacher of Germany," Philip Melanchthon, at the University of Wittenberg. Hemmingsen went on to serve as a professor at the University of Copenhagen--first of Greek, then of dialectic, and finally of theology. He wrote voluminously on method, theology, (...)
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  48. MacIntyre and Thomism.Osborne Thomas M. - 2020 - In Learning from MacIntyre. Eugene, OR, USA: pp. 52-76.
    Thomists need to learn from and address MacIntyre’s account of moral disagreement, whether or not they will ultimately agree with its broad outlines. First, they should consider that MacIntyre’s emphasis on social roles as an explanation of moral disagreement accounts for only some kinds of moral disagreement and growth. Second, a recognition of different kinds of disagreement shows that only some can be adequately addressed by moral philosophy, and even those that can be so addressed require not only instruction but (...)
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  49. The Virtues of Economic Rescue Legislation: Distributive Justice, Civil Law, and the Troubled Asset Relief Program.Henry S. Kuo - 2021 - Moral Philosophy and Politics 8 (1):305-329.
    This study constitutes an ethical analysis through the lens of distributive justice in the case of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), which was enacted in the midst of the Great Recession of 2007–2009. It begins by engaging with the visions of justice constructed by John Rawls and Robert Nozick, using their insights to locate the injustices of TARP according to their moral imaginations. However, this study argues that Rawls’ and Nozick’s theories of justice primarily envision the nature of law (...)
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  50. Why You Cannot Make People Better by Telling Them What is Good.Ulf Hlobil - 2020 - European Journal of Philosophy 28 (4):986-996.
    So-called optimists about moral testimony argue, against pessimists, that, ceteris paribus, we ought to accept and act in accordance with trustworthy, pure moral testimony. I argue that even if we grant this, we need to explain why moral testimony cannot make us more virtuous. I offer an explanation that appeals to the fact that we cannot share inferential abilities via testimony. This explanation is compatible with the core commitments of optimism, but it also allows us to see what is right (...)
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