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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 44, 2019

Jeff D’Souza
Pages 237-250

Welfare-Prior Eudaimonism, Excellence-Prior Eudaimonism, and the Self-Absorption Objection

One of the longest standing objections levied against virtue ethics is the Self-Absorption Objection. Proponents of this objection state that the main problem with neo-Aristotelian accounts is that the virtuous agent’s motive is to promote her own eudaimonia. In this paper, I examine Christopher Toner’s attempt to address this objection by arguing that we should understand the virtuous agent as acting virtuously because doing so is what it means to live well qua human. I then go on to defend Toner’s view from two of Anne Baril’s criticisms: that his account is un-Aristotelian, and that his account does not take seriously the importance of the virtuous agent organizing her life in a way that is good for her. In doing so, I pave the way for neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicists to develop an adequate response to the self-absorption objection along Toner’s lines.

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