Moral Ideals and Virtue Ethics

The Journal of Ethics 14 (2):173-180 (2010)
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Abstract

There have traditionally been two schools of thought regarding moral ideals and their relationship with moral duty. First, many have held that moral agents at all times have a duty or obligation to realize or attain moral ideals, or at least they have a duty to strive to realize or attain them. A second school of thought has maintained that attaining or pursuing moral ideals is supererogatory or beyond the call of duty. Recently a third school of thought has been articulated by Robert Audi in his essay “Wrongs Within Rights.” In this paper I express agreement with Audi, and it will be my suggestion that the resources of virtue ethics can profitably be employed to illustrate how his view avoids problems which plague the two traditional schools of thought.

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Gregory Mellema
Calvin College

Citations of this work

Can Virtue Ethics Account for Supererogation?David Heyd - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:25-47.
Beyond the Call of Duty: The Structure of a Moral Region.Ulla Wessels - 2015 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 77:87-104.

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References found in this work

Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 1863 - Cleveland: Cambridge University Press.
Ethics.William K. Frankena - 1963 - Englewood Cliffs, N.J., Prentice-Hall.
Utilitarianism.John Stuart Mill - 2009 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. Oxford University Press.
Shame and Necessity.Bernard Arthur Owen Williams - 1992 - University of California Press.
The Moral Point of View: A Rational Basis of Ethics.Kurt Baier - 1958 - Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

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