Volume 19, 1994
My Station and Its Virtues
This paper compares the central theses of Edmund M. Pincoffs’s Quandaries and Virtues with those of F. H. Bradley’s Ethical Studies. Both Pincoffs and Bradley understand virtues and duties as functional in respect of the common good of the social order. Both reject the individualism of Kantian and utilitarian theories. Both believe that ordinary moral agents do not appeal to and do not need to appeal to the kinds of justification for action defended by such theories. It is argued that the importance of these resemblances is partly disguised by the differences between Pincoffs’s and Bradley’s view. Pincoffs and Bradley are among those who, in the debates of modern moral philosophy, have recurrently defended an antitheoretical account against a variety of theorists. It is claimed that this debate is and must be inconclusive.