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On Virtue Ethics$
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Rosalind Hursthouse

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780199247998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0199247994.001.0001

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Right Action

Right Action

Chapter:
(p.25) 1 Right Action
Source:
On Virtue Ethics
Author(s):

Rosalind Hursthouse (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/0199247994.003.0002

It has been said that virtue ethics does not, and cannot, provide action guidance, the way utilitarianism and deontology do because it rejects codifiability and does not come up with any rules or principles. But this is a misconception: virtue ethics can provide a specification of ‘right action’—as ‘what a virtuous agent would, characteristically do in the circumstances’—and such a specification can be regarded as generating a number of moral rules, called ‘v‐rules’. Each virtue generates an instruction—‘do what is honest’, ‘do what is charitable,’ and each vice a prohibition—‘do not act, do what is dishonest, uncharitable..’

Keywords:   codifiability, deontology, moral rules, right action, utilitarianism, virtue ethics

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