<ethics, moral philosophy> normative theory that all moral value is derived from the character of moral agents. Aristotle and many medieval Christians assumed that the acquisition of virtue is the proper goal of human conduct, though they differed significantly in their valuation of particular virtues. Rejecting the impersonality of moral judgments in the ethical theories of Kant and Mill, contemporary virtue ethicists emphasize the achievement of a meaningful life. Recommended Reading: Nichomachean Ethics, tr. by Terence Irwin (Hackett, 1985); Virtue Ethics, ed. by Roger Crisp and Michael Slote (Oxford, 1997); Virtue Ethics: A Critical Reader, ed. by Daniel Statman (Georgetown, 1997); Rosalind Hursthouse, On Virtue Ethics (Oxford, 2000); and Christine McKinnon, Character, Virtue Theories, and the Vices (Broadview, 1999).
[A Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Names]
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