PHIL 463: Virtue Ethics
Classical texts and contemporary commentary on the virtue tradition in moral philosophy are discussed.
PHIL 463: Virtue Ethics: Conceptions of Virtue
Philosophical investigations into the virtues have a long and distinguished history. In both ancient Greek and early China we find profound reflections on the character traits necessary to live well and how such traits can be cultivated. This course focuses on the concept of virtue and its role in ethical theory. We will begin by reflecting on the very concept of virtue and its relationship to morality and human flourishing. Then we will examine the different accounts of virtue we find in both Western and Eastern philosophical traditions with a particular focus on ancient Greek and classical Chinese conceptions of virtue. Finally, we will examine some contemporary empirical literature on virtue and character, and how contemporary science might help advance our understanding of virtue. Among the questions we will focus on include:
- What is the relationship between virtue and well-being?
- To what extent are the virtues universal or culturally specific?
- What does contemporary science say about the cultivation of virtue?