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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Over the last few decades, virtue ethics has become established as a third position, next to consequentialism and deontology, in substantive ethical theorizing. Several objections have been raised against virtue ethics, however. This chapter focuses particularly on the objection that virtue ethics fails to provide a plausible criterion of rightness. If that is correct, as the authors are inclined to think it is, then it constitutes a severe blow to virtue ethics, since providing a criterion of rightness is generally regarded as one of the central aims of an ethical theory. One, in the view of the authors, less serious—though almost as common—objection to virtue ethics is that it fails to provide a suitable amount of practical guidance with respect to what should be done in particular situations. The chapter briefly indicates some ways in which virtue ethicists might respond to this objection.

Keywords: ethical theory, criterion of rightness, practical guidance, virtue ethics, consequentalism, deontology

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