Virtue and Prejudice: Giving and Taking Reasons

The Monist 99 (2):212-223 (2016)
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The most long-standing criticism of virtue ethics in its traditional, eudaimonistic variety centers on its apparently foundational appeal to nature in order to provide a source of normativity. This paper argues that a failure to appreciate both the giving and taking of reasons in sustaining an ethical outlook can distort a proper understanding of the available options for this traditional version of virtue ethics. To insist only on giving reasons, without also taking (maybe even considering) the reasons provided by others, displays a sadly illiberal form of prejudice. The paper finds and criticizes such a distortion in Jesse Prinz’s recent discussion of the ‘Normativity Challenge’ to Aristotelian virtue ethics, thus highlighting a common tendency that we can helpfully move beyond.
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First archival date: 2016-03-21
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