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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

After a long dormancy in the modern era, virtue-based ethical thought has once again become a subject of serious consideration and debate in the field of philosophy. The normative orientation of most International Political Theory, however, still comes primarily from principles-based (deontological) or outcome-based (consequentialist) ethical systems. Virtue ethics differs from focus deontological and consequentialist ethics by emphasizing character, context, and way of life, rather than rule-governed action. This chapter reviews the emergence of contemporary virtue ethics as a challenge to overly abstract, language-based analysis of moral concepts, and its development into a broad and nuanced ethical theory. It then connects virtue ethics to the capabilities approach to human development, which is similarly focused.

Keywords: virtue ethics, Aristotle, deontology, consequentialism, ethical theory

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