ethics, virtue

   Virtue ethics is the approach to ethics that sees the fundamental bearers of moral properties as being agents rather than actions or states of affairs. The supporters of this approach tend to see it as a return to a medieval ethics harking back to Aristotle. It has been championed in recent years by many Christian philosophers, initially Elizabeth Anscombe and, lately, Linda Zagzebski. Virtue ethics involves a rejection of the deontological idea that there are rules determining the moral worth of actions. The question to ask is 'what would the virtuous person do in this situation?', and these answers may well not conform to any clear rule. Two key Aristotelian concepts for the virtue ethicist, beside the concept of virtue itself, are eudaimonia or well-being, and phronesis or practical wisdom. The renaissance of virtue ethics has also had the effect of increasing awareness of the agent in other ethical theories, and various deontologists and consequentialists have tried to refine their theories to take account of some insights from virtue theory.
   Further reading: Anscombe 1981c; Crisp and Slote 1997; Darwall 2002c; Murphy, Kallenberg and Nation 1997; Statman 1997; Zagzebski 2004

Christian Philosophy . . 2015.

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