When Utilitarians Should Be Virtue Theorists

Utilitas 19 (2):160 (2007)
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Abstract

The contrast typically made between utilitarianism and virtue theory is overdrawn. Utilitarianism is a universal emulator: it implies that we should lie, cheat, steal, even appropriate Aristotle, when that is what brings about the best outcomes. In some cases and in some worlds it is best for us to focus as precisely as possible on individual acts. In other cases and worlds it is best for us to be concerned with character traits. Global environmental change leads to concerns about character because the best results will be produced by generally uncoupling my behavior from that of others. Thus, in this case and in this world, utilitarians should be virtue theorists

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Dale Jamieson
New York University

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References found in this work

Alienation, Consequentialism, and the Demands of Morality.Peter Railton - 1984 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 13 (2):134-171.
Moral Saints.Susan Wolf - 1982 - Journal of Philosophy 79 (8):419-439.
Animal Liberation: A Triangular Affair.J. Baird Callicott - 1980 - Environmental Ethics 2 (4):311-338.
Motive Utilitarianism.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (14):467-481.

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