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The Revival of Virtue Ethics

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V I R T U E E T H I C S The Revival of Virtue Ethics - Virtue ethics begun to come back into popularity in 1958, when Elizabeth Anscombe wrote an article arguing that the concept of moral rules and of moral obligation is flawed. She attacked the principles and traditions of Utilitarianism, which both set out principles for people to follow, and principles which look at the morality of different actions, rather than the character of the person. - Anscombe argued that the idea that we have to keep rules makes no sense unless people believe in God. ...read more.


Phillipa Foot went further by setting out the reasons for her support of virtue ethics, arguing that although virtue cannot guarantee happiness, it can be an important part of achieving it. She uses example of Thomas Aquinas and Kant to prove it is not a new way of approaching ethics, but part of a tradition with a long standing amongst respected thinkers. - Alisdair MacIntyre and Richard Taylor are two modern philosophers who continue promoting virtue as a new direction in ethics. - In Alisdair MacIntyre's book 'After Virtue: A study in Moral Theory' he puts forward a strong case for adopting aretaic (virtue) ...read more.


- However, Richard Taylor in his book 'Ethics, Faith, and Reason' he writes that philosophical ethics have been corrupted by religion, he says that the use of reason is essential for ethics but that religion has led people away from reason, by insisting instead on the need for faith and for blind obedience to a 'divine command'. He supports a move away from concepts of absolute 'right' and 'wrong'. He says if everyone is equal, there is no point in striving to be good as the rewards will be the same in heaven. ...read more.

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