My contention is that virtue ethics offers an important critique of traditional philosophical conceptions of moral status as well as an alternative view of important moral issues held to depend on moral status. I argue that the scope of entities that deserve consideration depends on our conception of the demands of virtues like justice; which entities deserve consideration emerges from a moral view of a world shaped by that conception. The deepest disputes about moral status depend on conflicting conceptions of justice. I advocate a conception of the virtue of justice that can account for the cases that pose problems for the legalistic views of moral status and discuss what ideal moral debate looks like on this view.
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