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date: 24 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Unlike Aristotelian and Platonic virtue ethics, sentimentalist virtue ethics bases morality in feeling rather than in reason/rationality. Historically, we find instances of such virtue ethics in eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century British moral sentimentalism, in Augustine’s agapic ethics, and in both Buddhism and Confucianism. But a reviving sentimentalist virtue ethics needs to deal with philosophical problems that have emerged over the past two centuries and to find a way to plausibly articulate its own conceptions of central present-day philosophical notions. Arguably, sentimentalism can give us accounts of respect, justice, autonomy, and deontology that are both more intuitive in themselves and more adequate to particular cases than what neo-Kantian deontology and neo-Aristotelian virtue tell us about these notions. And sentimentalism can more fully explain the meaning of “right” and “wrong” than anything we find in these other traditions.

Keywords: sentimentalism, virtue ethics, deontology, respect, Aristotle, Confucianism, Buddhism

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