Reduction vs. Elevation

Michael Slote

in From Morality to Virtue

Published in print August 1995 | ISBN: 9780195093926
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833689 | DOI:
Reduction vs. Elevation

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There are five basic classes of ethical notions: the notions surrounding the idea of welfare; moral notions; virtue notions; rationality notions; and notions involving the evaluation of states of affairs. Epicureanism and utilitarianism try to reduce all the other notions (notion‐clusters) to that of well‐being or welfare, but Stoicism moves in the opposite direction, seeing well‐being as a function of virtue. Since virtue seems higher or more ideal as a value than sheer or mere well‐being, we can say that Epicureanism and utilitarianism monistically reduce virtue to well‐being, whereas Stoicism monistically elevates well‐being to the status or level of virtue. But commonsense virtue ethics treats well‐being and virtue in dualistic fashion as mutually ineliminable.

Keywords: commonsense virtue ethics; dualistic; Epicureanism; monistic; Stoicism; utilitarianism

Chapter.  12706 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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