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Applied ethics and social problemsMoral questions of birth, society and death$
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Tony Fitzpatrick

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781861348609

Published to Policy Press Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1332/policypress/9781861348609.001.0001

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(p.64) (p.65) Four Virtue
Applied ethics and social problems

Tony Fitzpatrick

Policy Press

Virtue ethicists regard moral action as intimately woven with the notion of moral character. This chapter begins by outlining the components of Aristotle and Hume's ethics that have been most influential on contemporary thinking. As for Aristotle, the good already resides within one's motivations but is realised (or not) by one's actions depending on whether one possess the correct dispositions or qualities of character (the virtues). With regards to Hume, he defines as virtuous those qualities that are most likely to be useful, by promoting the good of one's self and others. One of the key theorists of recent times, MacIntyre, weaves his account of the virtues in and around two concepts: the narrative self and ‘practices’. The chapter also reviews the principles of two other influential virtuists: Foot and Slote. It ends by enumerating the distinctive contribution made by virtuism to applied ethics.

Keywords:   virtue ethicists, moral action, Aristotle, Hume, MacIntyre, virtuism

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