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Evaluative attitudes as the motivational structures of ethical virtues

Webber, Jonathan ORCID: 2020. Evaluative attitudes as the motivational structures of ethical virtues. Darnell, Catherine A. and Kristjánsson, Kristján, eds. Virtues and Virtue Education in Theory and Practice: Are Virtues Local or Universal?, New York: Routledge, pp. 55-68. (10.4324/9780429343131)

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Are ethical virtues the same for everyone regardless of geographical, historical, and social context? Or are they keyed to the local environment in a way that means they vary across contexts? Ethical virtues govern behaviour across all the situations of one’s life. The fundamental structures of human life are the same for everyone, but how these structures play out depends on our context. Does this mean that ethical virtues are universal, reflecting the basic structures of the human condition, or local, reflecting the conditions in which those structures play out? This chapter addresses this question through the motivational structure of ethical virtues. It begins by outlining an empirical model of evaluative attitudes, then argues that the motivational structure of each ethical virtue is a cluster of such attitudes. For many virtues, the relevant attitudes depend on the specific challenges of the environment. Those virtues will thus be local in their details. The chapter concludes by identifying two varieties of universality: the attitudes composing ethical integrity do not refer to the environment at all; one attitude in the virtue of honesty refers to environmental features that are themselves universal.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 9780367356491
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Last Modified: 09 Nov 2022 10:08

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