Target Centred Virtue Ethics

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2022.09.04 : View this Review Online | View Recent NDPR Reviews

Christine Swanton, Target Centred Virtue Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2021, 351pp., $85.00 (hbk), ISBN 9780198861676.

Reviewed by Christian B. Miller, Wake Forest University

According to Christine Swanton, neo-Aristotelian approaches to virtue ethics are committed to two main theses:

Eudaimonism: it is a necessary condition of a trait being a virtue that it characteristically benefits its possessor. A criterion of right action according to which “an action is right iff it is what a virtuous agent would characteristically do in the circumstances” (2, quoting Rosalind Hursthouse 2001, 28).

I have worked on virtue and character for several decades, and yet have never been tempted by neo-Aristotelianism. For both of these claims strike me as clearly false.

In her latest book, Swanton agrees. Her main goal is to motivate, develop, and defend an alternative form of…

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