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How Should One Live?Essays on the Virtues$
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Roger Crisp

Print publication date: 1998

Print ISBN-13: 9780198752349

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198752342.001.0001

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Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Symmetry

Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Symmetry

Chapter:
(p.99) 6 Virtue Ethics, Utilitarianism, and Symmetry
Source:
How Should One Live?
Author(s):

Michael Slote (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0198752342.003.0006

Unlike Kantian and common‐sense morality, both utilitarianism and our common‐sense thinking about the virtues place ultimate normative weight on benefiting both oneself and others. But for utilitarianism the self counts equally with each and every other person, whereas in our thought about how it is admirable to behave the interests of the self are roughly balanced against those of others ‘as a class’. This then yields, from the standpoint of common‐sense virtue ethics, a distinctive general injunction to act from balanced concern for self and others (considered as a class). Understood in this way, virtue ethics is a distinctive approach to the question ‘how should one live’?

Keywords:   common‐sense morality, demandingness, self‐interest, utilitarianism, virtue, virtue ethics

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