3. Virtues and Consequences

David Fisher

in Morality and War

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199599240
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725692 | DOI:
3. Virtues and Consequences

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Consequentialists gave reason the role of calculating the consequences for human welfare of our actions. But consequentialists have come under attack from deontologists and virtue ethicists. This chapter seeks to explore common ground, arguing for an approach called ‘virtuous consequentialism’ that draws strength from the rival schools. It recognizes the importance of both the internal quality and the external effects of moral agency; and of the moral principles and the virtues needed to enact them. Learning from the teachings of Aristotle and Aquinas, it proposes a broader vision of what constitutes human flourishing and what consequences are to be attended to in making moral judgements. Recognition of our communitarian nature also helps answer Thrasymachus' challenge: ‘Why should I be just?’ posed in Plato's Republic. Moral rules furnish the guidelines to enable us to live well together in a community.

Keywords: absolutism; St Thomas Aquinas; Aristotle; consequences; consequentialism; deontology; moral rules; rationality of morality; Plato; Thrasymachus; virtues; virtuous consequentialism

Chapter.  9079 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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