Agent‐Based Virtue Ethics

Michael Slote

in Morals from Motives

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195138375
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833696 | DOI:
Agent‐Based Virtue Ethics

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Aristotelian virtue ethics does not treat motives or even character (traits) as the grounding basis for the rest of ethics, but the present agent‐based approach does. However, there are objections to agent‐basing that need to be considered. Having answered those objections, the chapter discusses three major forms of agent‐based virtue ethics: a somewhat less than plausible ”morality as inner strength” (inspired by Plato, the Stoics, and Nietzsche); ”morality as universal benevolence” (inspired by Hutcheson); and ”morality as caring” (inspired by Gilligan and Noddings). Any agent‐based morality does well to treat overall motivation, rather than occasional single motives, as the fundamental basis for ethical characterizations.

Keywords: agent‐based; Aristotelian; Gilligan; motives; Nietzsche; Noddings; overall motivation; Plato; single motives; Stoics; virtue ethics

Chapter.  14562 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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