A Theory of Virtue
Excellence in Being for the Good
By (author) Robert Merrihew Adams
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Theory of Virtue by Robert Merrihew Adams
Book DescriptionThe distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character. Many recent attempts to stake out a place in moral philosophy for this concern define virtue in terms of its benefits for the virtuous person or for human society more generally. In Part One of this book Adams presents and defends a conception of virtue as intrinsic excellence of character, worth prizing for its own sake and not only for its benefits. In the other two parts he addresses two challenges to the ancient idea of excellence of character. One challenge arises from the importance of altruism in modern ethical thought, and the question of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. Part Two argues that altruistic benevolence does indeed have a crucial place in excellence of character, but that moral virtue should also be expected to involve excellence in being for other goods besides the well-being (and the rights) of other persons. It explores relations among cultural goods, personal relationships, one's own good, and the good of others, as objects of excellent motives. The other challenge, the subject of Part Three of the book, is typified by doubts about the reality of moral virtue, arising from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores in detail the prospects for an empirically realistic conception of excellence of character as an object of moral aspiration, endeavor, and education. He argues that such a conception will involve renunciation of the ancient thesis of the unity or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of sufficient 'moral luck' in the development of any individual's character to make virtue very largely a gift, rather than an individual achievement, though nonetheless excellent and admirable for that.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199207510
(240mm x 160mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 5-Oct-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Robert Merrihew Adams
Theory of Virtue, Paperback (October 2008)
A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character, proposing that virtue is chiefly a matter of being for what is good, and that virtues must be intrinsically excellent and not just beneficial or useful.
Finite and Infinite Goods, Paperback (May 2002)
Robert Adams gives a comprehensive philosophical account of a theistically-based framework for ethics. He draws on over 20 years of his published work to create this overarching framework, which is based upon the idea of a transcendent, infinite good, which is God, and its relation to the many finite examples of good in our experience.
Leibniz, Paperback (October 1998)
Adams presents an interpretation of three parts of Leibniz's metaphysics, thoroughly grounded in the texts as well as in philosophical analysis and critique. The three areas discussed are the metaphysical part of Leibniz's philosophy of logic, his essentially theological treatment of the central issues of ontology, and his theory of substance.
Problem of Evil, Paperback (November 1990)» View all books by Robert Merrihew Adams
The problem of evil is an accessible topic which easily engages the interest of students. This book offers some of the writings in the subject, culled from periodicals and other sources. It includes a bibliography and an editorial introduction.
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Author Biography - Robert Merrihew Adams
Robert Merrihew Adams is Professor of Philosophy at Mansfield College, University of Oxford
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