Philosophical Studies 111 (1):53 - 67 (2002)

Authors
Daniel Jacobson
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Abstract
According to Slote's ``agent-based'' virtue ethics, the rightness orwrongness of an act is determined by the motive it expresses. Thistheory has a problem with cases where an agent can do her duty onlyby expressing some vicious motive and thereby acting wrongly. In sucha situation, an agent can only act wrongly; hence, the theory seemsincompatible with the maxim that `ought' implies `can'. I argue thatSlote's attempt to circumvent this problem by appealing to compatibilism is inadequate. In a wide range of psychologically realistic cases, an agent's effective choice will be between failingto do her duty and doing it from inferior motives. Then anythingshe can do will be wrong, according to the agent-based theory,contrary to the maxim Slote wishes to preserve.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy of Mind   Philosophy of Religion
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Reprint years 2004
DOI 10.1023/A:1021239412351
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References found in this work BETA

Modern Moral Philosophy.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1958 - Philosophy 33 (124):1 - 19.
Morals From Motives.Michael Slote - 2001 - Oxford University Press.
Morality, the Peculiar Institution.Bernard Williams - 1997 - In Roger Crisp & Michael Slote (eds.), Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Virtue Ethics.Roger Crisp & Michael Slote - 1997 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (2):379-380.

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Citations of this work BETA

Virtue Ethics and the Search for an Account of Right Action.Frans Svensson - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (3):255-271.
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Rightness and Goodness in Agent-Based Virtue Ethics.Liezl Van Zyl - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:103-114.
Assessing Recent Agent-Based Accounts of Right Action.Graham Renz - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):433-444.

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