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Title: Two Objections to Virtue Ethics
Authors: Besser-Jones, Lorraine
Keywords: virtue ethicsself-centerednessself-effacement
Issue Date: 25-Feb-2016
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Lorraine Besser-Jones, "Two Objections to Virtue Ethics", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XVII (2015) 2, pp.60-73
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
XVII (2015) 2
This paper explores two objections to virtue ethics: the self-effacing objection, which holds that virtue ethics is problematic insofar as it presents a justification for the exercise of the virtues that cannot be appealed to as an agent’s motive for exercising them, and the self-centeredness objection, which holds that virtue ethics is egoistic and so fails to accommodate properly the sort of other-regarding concern that many take to be the distinctive aspect of a moral theory. I examine the relationship between these two objections as they apply to eudaimonistic virtue ethics. While defenders of eudaimonistic virtue ethics often appeal to self-effacement in order to deflect the self-centeredness objection, I argue that there is nothing in the structure of eudaimonistic virtue ethics that makes it problematically self-centered. Analysis of the self-centeredness objection shows that self-centeredness is problematic only on the assumption that the self is egoistic. Because eudaimonistic virtue ethics is predicated upon a non-egoistic understanding of human agency, it is not problematically self-centered. As a result, there is no reason for it to be self-effacing.
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2015) XVII/2

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