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Virtue Ethics and Human Nature

Virtue Ethics and Human Nature , pp. 67-82 In this paper, I begin by outlining some basic features of the version of virtue ethics I espouse, and then turn to exploring what light may be shed on our understanding and interpretation of Hume when he is viewed from that perspective. I. Virtue Ethics A characteristic claim of modern virtue ethicists, as I take it is well known, is the following: An action is right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent would, characteristically, do in the circumstances. However, as is also, I think, well known, the claim is hardly distinctive of virtue ethics, for, as it stands, it comes too close to being a truism that just reg- isters a link between the concept of right action and the concept of a virtuous agent; deontologists or indeed utilitarians may well espouse it too. The difference between those who do and virtue ethicists such as myself lies in the way in which the claim is read. They read it as an answer to the question, "What is a virtuous agent?" Having already got themselves (as they suppose) a specification of right action from somewhere else, they then use the truism to http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Hume Studies Hume Society

Virtue Ethics and Human Nature

Hume Studies , Volume 25 (1) – Jan 26, 1999

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Hume Society
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Copyright © Hume Society
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1947-9921
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Abstract

, pp. 67-82 In this paper, I begin by outlining some basic features of the version of virtue ethics I espouse, and then turn to exploring what light may be shed on our understanding and interpretation of Hume when he is viewed from that perspective. I. Virtue Ethics A characteristic claim of modern virtue ethicists, as I take it is well known, is the following: An action is right if and only if it is what a virtuous agent would, characteristically, do in the circumstances. However, as is also, I think, well known, the claim is hardly distinctive of virtue ethics, for, as it stands, it comes too close to being a truism that just reg- isters a link between the concept of right action and the concept of a virtuous agent; deontologists or indeed utilitarians may well espouse it too. The difference between those who do and virtue ethicists such as myself lies in the way in which the claim is read. They read it as an answer to the question, "What is a virtuous agent?" Having already got themselves (as they suppose) a specification of right action from somewhere else, they then use the truism to

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Hume StudiesHume Society

Published: Jan 26, 1999

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