Virtue Ethics, Theory, and Warrant

Cullity, Garrett
September 1999
Ethical Theory & Moral Practice;Sep1999, Vol. 2 Issue 3, p277
Academic Journal
Are there good grounds for thinking that the moral values of action are to be derived from those of character? This ‘virtue ethical‘ claim is sometimes thought of as a kind of normative ethical theory; sometimes as form of opposition to any such theory. However, the best case to be made for it supports neither of these claims. Rather, it leads us to a distinctive view in moral epistemology: the view that my warrant for a particular moral judgement derives from my warrant for believing that I am a good moral judge. This view seems to confront a regress-problem. For the belief that I am a good moral judge is itself a particular moral judgement. So it seems that, on this view, I need to derive my warrant for believing that I am a good moral judge from my warrant for believing that I am a good judge of moral judges; and so on. I show how this worry can be met, and trace the implications of the resulting view for warranted moral judgement.


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