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  • Cited by 3
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    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Odenbaugh, Jay 2015. Nothing in ethics makes sense except in the light of evolution? Natural goodness, normativity, and naturalism. Synthese,


    Woodcock, Scott 2015. Neo-Aristotelian Naturalism and the Indeterminacy Objection. International Journal of Philosophical Studies, Vol. 23, Issue. 1, p. 20.


    Hursthouse, Rosalind 2013. International Encyclopedia of Ethics.


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VIRTUE AND NATURE

  • Christopher W. Gowans (a1)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0265052508080023
  • Published online: 20 December 2007
Abstract

The Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism of Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse purports to establish a naturalistic criterion for the virtues. Specifically, by developing a parallel between the natural ends of nonhuman animals and the natural ends of human beings, they argue that character traits are justified as virtues by the extent to which they promote and do not inhibit natural ends such as self-preservation, reproduction, and the well-being of one’s social group. I argue that the approach of Foot and Hursthouse cannot provide a basis for moral universalism, the widely-accepted idea that each human being has moral worth and thus deserves significant moral consideration. Foot and Hursthouse both depict a virtuous agent as implicitly acting in accord with moral universalism. However, with respect to charity, a virtue they both emphasize, their naturalistic criterion (especially in the more elaborate form developed by Hursthouse) at best provides a warrant for a restricted form of charity that extends only to a limited number of persons. There is nothing in the natural ends of human beings, as Foot and Hursthouse understand these, that gives us a reason for having any concern for the well-being of human beings as such.

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Social Philosophy and Policy
  • ISSN: 0265-0525
  • EISSN: 1471-6437
  • URL: /core/journals/social-philosophy-and-policy
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