Act utilitarianism does not account for all of the morally relevant features of tragic dilemmas; cases in which an agent, through no fault of her own, must choose from among (at least) two options, both of which are morally repugnant. Because Aristotelian virtue ethics emphasizes an agent's motivations and emotional responses, many philosophers assume it accommodates the relevant features of tragic dilemmas. Here, it is shown that one leading version of Aristotelian virtue ethics--the one espoused by Rosalind Hursthouse--does not satisfactorily resolve such cases.
Next, two other contemporary theories that emphasize the virtues are explained and evaluated: Thomas Hurka's consequentialism and Christine Swanton's virtue ethics. Although both views are problematic, Swanton provides a more accurate specification of the values at stake in our moral decisions. Though her theory is not without shortcomings, the worthwhile project, I argue, lies in an attempt to overcome the obstacles her theory faces.
|School:||California State University, Long Beach|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||MAI 51/01M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
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