Abstract and Keywords
Most contemporary variants of virtue ethics have a neo-Aristotelian timbre. However, standing alongside the neo-Aristotelians are a number of others playing similar tunes on different instruments. This chapter highlights the four most important virtue ethical alternatives to the dominant neo-Aristotelian chorus. These are Michael Slote’s agent-based approach, Linda Zagzebski’s exemplarism, Christine Swanton’s target-centered theory, and Robert Merrihew Adams’s neo-Platonic account. What these four approaches showcase is the range of possible theoretical structures available to virtue ethicists. A virtue ethicist might attempt to define other normative qualities like goodness or rightness in terms of virtuous traits. But she need not. Instead, she might develop a theory in which virtue is fundamental but other normative qualities obey a logic that is at least partially independent of virtue. This chapter draws attention to an exciting range of possibilities for virtue ethics that both critics and advocates alike will want to explore.
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