The Virtue in Self‐Interest

Michael Slote

in Morals from Motives

Published in print March 2001 | ISBN: 9780195138375
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780199833696 | DOI:
The Virtue in Self‐Interest

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An agent‐based approach can also help us understand what is good for people, human well‐being. Utilitarianism reduces virtue and morality to certain relationships with human or sentient well‐being; but Stoicism and even Aristotle can be understood as having reversed this order of explanation. For the latter, virtue is the basis for understanding human well‐being. An agent‐based ethics of caring can draw on certain ideas of Plato in order to argue that the moral virtue of caring and certain nonmoral virtues such as strength of purpose help make certain experiences and ways of living count as good for us. This reversed reductionism can be called “elevationism”, and it represents a significant alternative to both dualistic (Kantian) and reductionistic accounts of the relation between moral virtue and human well‐being or welfare.

Keywords: agent‐based; Aristotle; dualism; elevationism; Kantian; Plato; reductionism; Stoicism; utilitarianism; virtue; well‐being

Chapter.  11390 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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