Piper, M. (2010). On Pluralistic Virtue Ethics. Philosophical Frontiers, 5, 1, 129-149.

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ABSTRACT: Pluralistic virtue ethics attempts to carve out a distinctive position vis-à-vis consequentialist, deontic, motive-based, and neo-Aristotelian accounts of virtue by embracing a robust and wide-ranging understanding of what counts as a virtue and what acts are to be considered virtuous. In this essay I argue that this theory, while possessing the merit of capturing a wider range of virtue intuitions than any rival theory of virtue, is problematic insofar as its very pluralism prevents it from providing principled defeaters to unwanted virtue intuitions, which in turn prevents it from being able to distinguish valid from invalid virtue intuitions across cultures, distinguish virtues from positive but unexceptional character traits, or provide a workable method by which to determine (in most cases at least) what virtue requires in terms of action. If pluralistic virtue ethics is to be salvaged, it must be modified in the direction of a more principled pluralism.
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September 29, 2010
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