Partiality and the Virtues

John Cottingham

in How Should One Live?

Published in print March 1998 | ISBN: 9780198752349
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597251 | DOI:
 Partiality and the Virtues

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Argues that the ethical excellences unfolded in the classical Aristotelian conception of the virtuous life presupposes a pre‐existing network of partialistic preferences, and that its resulting rootedness in the real world gives virtue theory a decisive edge over its more abstract competitors. The ‘autocentric’ perspective of virtue ethics need not, however, imply a complacent and unfeeling social conservatism. Finally, charts the shift between such autocentric conceptions of ethics and more universalist accounts of morality, with special reference to Cartesian ethics, where we find an uneasy blend of traditional ‘aretic’ and proto‐Kantian elements.

Keywords: Aristotelian ethics; Cartesian ethics; Kantian ethics; partiality; virtue; virtue ethics

Chapter.  9052 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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