Existential Flourishing: A Phenomenology of the Virtues

New York: Cambridge University Press (2018)
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Abstract

By putting existential phenomenology into conversation with virtue ethics, this book offers a new interpretation of human flourishing. It rejects characterizations of flourishing as either a private subjective state or an objective worldly status, arguing that flourishing is rather a successfully negotiated self-world fit – a condition involving both the essential dependence of the self upon the world and others, and the lived normative responsiveness of the agent striving to be in the world well. A central argument of the book is that there is an irreducible normative plurality arising from the different practical perspectives we can adopt – the first, second, and third-person stances – all of which make different kinds of normative claim that we understand ourselves as having reason to meet. Flourishing is human excellence within each of these normative domains achieved in such a way that success in one domain does not compromise success in another. Existential Flourishing provides a correspondingly transformed interpretation of the virtues as solutions to various existential problems we face in responding to these normative domains. The book also addresses traditional problems in virtue ethics and analyzes the structure of four virtues in detail: justice, patience, modesty, and courage.

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Irene McMullin
University of Essex

Citations of this work

Existentialism.Steven Crowell - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
No Rest for the Wicked? Symposium on Irene McMullin’s Existential Flourishing.Sacha Golob - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (2):206-217.
Making sense of akrasia.Matthew Burch - 2018 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 17 (5):939-971.
Do We Share a Project of Being in the World Well?D. K. Levy - 2020 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 28 (2):227-239.

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