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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics takes inspiration from Aristotle’s ethical theory. Central to this approach is that virtues, enduring dispositions of character and intellect, are essential, along with external goods, for us to live flourishing lives in accordance with our nature as rational beings. Aristotle’s theory is teleological, for the virtues direct us toward the end or telos of flourishing and enable us to attain it. The theory is naturalistic in the sense that to live a virtuous life is to live a life of natural goodness. This chapter explains these and other ideas by reviewing Rosalind Hursthouse’s view that virtue ethics is a viable alternative to deontology and consequentialism, followed by a discussion of two major themes of Daniel C. Russell’s account of the role of practical reason in virtue ethics. Finally, it turns to ethical naturalism as articulated by Hursthouse, Philippa Foot, and Michael Thompson, with mention of McDowell’s approach.

Keywords: virtue, flourishing, ethical naturalism, Rosalind Hursthouse, Daniel Russell, Philippa Foot, Michael Thompson, McDowell

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