Ancient and Contemporary Virtue Ethics; Ancient Greece and Pincoffs

Virtue ethics is one of the oldest moral theories which has in recent decades attracted the attention of moral philosophers and was widely received by many researchers. Edmund Pincoffs, an advocate of virtue ethics, and according to some people, the contemporary reviver of the virtue theory, has provided a new, different version of the virtue theory by rejecting what he calls reductivism in ethics. In this paper, after sketching the principles of the virtue theory as introduced by Plato and Aristotle, the traditional classical pioneers of virtue ethics in Ancient Greece, we will compare classical virtue theories with Edmund Pincoffs’ version of virtue ethics. It is widely known that Plato and Aristotle had a teleological approach, taking the virtues to be non-relative and irreducible to one single virtue, but Pincoffs criticizes the reduction of morality to one or more moral virtues or principles, and instead of teleology, he subscribes to functionalism. We will compare the two versions of virtue ethics from 4 perspectives in analytical, historical terms: semantics, types of virtues, arguments for a virtue theory, and the criterion of selecting the virtues.
Quarterly Journal of Moral Studies, Volume:1 Issue: 1, 2017
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