Virtue Ethics

Modern ethical theory has experienced a resurgence of interest in the virtues. Long relegated to the ancient and medieval past, virtue theory is now considered by many to be a viable alternative to the otherwise dominant Kantian and Utilitarian ethical theories. Alasdair MacIntyre is a central figure in this movement, whose work forms an expanding yet consistent and influential project to address fundamental issues in ethical theory and American culture. However, many of his ideas were anticipated by John Dewey, who also has a great deal to say about the virtues in a moral life. This book offers, as it were, a critique of MacIntyre by Dewey that allows these two philosophers to converse about the nature and origins of the virtues and their importance for living a good life. Stephen Carden argues that Dewey has the more comprehensive view of the virtues and that a close comparison of their ideas reveals several significant weaknesses in MacIntyre's position.