The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 1, 1999


Michael Slote
Pages 51-57

Moral Theories and Virtue Ethics

The recent revival of virtue ethics may have a salutary effect on normative ethical theory. Over the past few years, an ‘agent-based’ virtue ethics inspired by the moral sentimentalism of Hutcheson, Hume, Martineau, and (more recently) Nel Noddings has taken shape. Because this approach allows room for a generalized humanitarianism that is notably absent in Aristotle, it may have more contemporary promise than neo-Aristotelian views. But agent-based virtue ethics also enables us to make some new distinctions within more familiar views and to that extent, therefore, has something to offer advocates of the very approaches with which it disagrees.