Target Centred Virtue Ethics

ISBN : 9780198861676

Christine Swanton
352 Pages
153 x 234 mm
Pub date
Apr 2021
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Virtue ethics in its contemporary manifestation is dominated by neo Aristotelian virtue ethics primarily developed by Rosalind Hursthouse. This version of eudaimonistic virtue ethics was ground breaking, but has been subject to considerable critical attention. Christine Swanton shows that the time is ripe for new developments and alternatives. The target centred virtue ethics proposed by Swanton is opposed to orthodox virtue ethics in two major ways. First, it rejects the 'natural goodness' metaphysics of Neo Aristotelian virtue ethics owed to Philippa Foot in favour of a 'hermeneutic ontology' of ethics inspired by the Continental tradition and McDowell. Second, it rejects the well -known 'qualified agent' account of right action made famous by Hursthouse in favour of a target centred framework for assessing rightness of acts. Swanton develops the target centred view with discussions of Dancy's particularism, default reasons and thick concepts, codifiability, and its relation to the Doctrine of the mean. Target Centred Virtue Ethics retains the pluralism of Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View (2003) but develops it further in relation to a pluralistic account of practical reason. This study develops other substantive positions including the view that target centred virtue ethics is developmental, suitably embedded in an environmental ethics of "dwelling"; and incorporates a concept of differentiated virtue to allow for roles, narrativity, cultural and historical location, and stage of life.


Introduction: The Basic View
PART I Metaphysics
1 A New Metaphysics for Virtue Ethics
2 The Worldhood of Ethics
3 The Concealment of Ethics
4 Thick Concept Centralism and Objectivity
PART II Nature
5 Eudaimonistic versus Target Centred Virtue Ethics
6 Basic Virtue and Differentiated Virtue
7 Target Centred Virtue Ethics and Role Ethics
8 Developmental Virtue Ethics
9 Pluralistic Virtue Ethics
PART III Application
10 Has Virtue Ethics Sold Out?
11 A Particularist but Codifiable Virtue Ethics
12 The Wrong Logos: Paradoxes of Practical Reason
13 An Epistemology for Target Centred Virtue Ethics

About the author: 

Christine Swanton is Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland. Her publications include Perspectives in Role Ethics: Virtues, Reasons, and Obligation (co-edited with Tim Dare; Routledge, 2019), The Virtue Ethics of Hume and Nietzsche (Wiley Blackwell, 2015) and Virtue Ethics: A Pluralistic View (Oxford University Press, 2005).

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