Virtue and nature

Social Philosophy and Policy 25 (1):28-55 (2008)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion (especially in the more elaborate form developed by Hursthouse) at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,369

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Well-being and virtue.Dan Haybron - 2007 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 2 (2):1-28.
Walls and Vaults.[author unknown] - 2009 - Wiley.
Virtue in argument.Andrew Aberdein - 2010 - Argumentation 24 (2):165-179.
Toward an Ontology of Virtue Ethics.Mary Ella Savarino - 1993 - Journal of Philosophical Research 18:243-259.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
167 (#116,823)

6 months
31 (#106,211)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Christopher Gowans
Fordham University

References found in this work

Good and Evil.Peter Geach - 1956 - Analysis 17 (2):33 - 42.
Morality and Art.Philippa Foot - 1970 - Proceedings of the British Academy 56 (131-144).
The Collapse of Virtue Ethics.Brad Hooker - 2002 - Utilitas 14 (1):22.
Recent Work in Virtue Ethics.Karen Stohr & Christopher Wellman - 2002 - American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (1):49-72.

Add more references