In his well-known 1990 piece “The Misfortunes of Virtue,” J.B. Schneewind makes his case that virtue ethics, as as an autonomous theory, was discarded many years ago not because of some sort of unjustified neglect, but rather because the theory simply couldn’t address issues, problems and challenges that were put to it throughout history. Although most of Schneewind’s argument in the piece details the challenge of constructing a sensible virtue of justice, I wanted to point out a disagreement I have with him towards the end of the piece, on the nature of disagreement.
Archive for May, 2008
I still have a few more posts on Phillipa Foot I’d like to make, but I have a short one I’d like to eek out on J. B, Schneewind, or more precisely on Slote and Crisp on Schneewind’s 1990 piece “The Misfortunes of Virtue” (it’s in a collection Slote and Crisp put together). The question is meta-theoretic and has to do with what constitutes a ‘virtue ethical’ theory in the first place.
I’ve developed a new course in the fall that is meant to serve as an alternative ‘path’ for students at my college to fulfill their “values inquiry’ gen-ed requirement (ethics is a requirement for all students). The course is called Asian Ethics and allows students who are interested in Asian Studies (or just Asian-oriented themes) to opt-in to gen-ed courses more suited to their individual interests. My question here isn’t about the course itself, or even Asian Studies, but rather is about which translations I should use for the various Asian classics. And even here it’s not really about which translations read best (though I’d welcome suggestions there too). For me, it real thorny question is “to annotate, or not to annotate.”
Foot has a lot to say about the question of whether a person can misuse a virtue. This is a fairly standard question — can an evil person be courageous? Or generous? Foot’s answer to this question is interesting, and I’m still mulling it over. I’m going to hold off on posting about the main “meat” of her answer until tomorrow, to give me a bit more time to think about her position (her answer to the question is a clear “no,” by the way).
I just finished Phillipa Foot’s interesting article, “Virtues and the Vices” (1978). In many ways it is a straightforward article, in that it merely tries to lay out a case for what virtues (and vices) turn out to look like. So Foot is attempting to lay down some basic ground for discussion of virtue ethics. Although her aims are basic, she makes a few very interesting claims in the piece, or at least claims that made me think about a few things. I’ll likely make a few posts about the piece, stating with this one, with an observation below the fold.
Hey, I’m a dad, so I have to show people pictures of my kid. But what the hell? I own this microphone, don’t I? Here’s one, the rest below the fold.
Parker has a thing about making herself at home, pretty clear in this one.
I’m developing some pages for my fall courses (to the right) and, for those of you who use them, you know I always start the page with a cartoon. In looking for one to fit “Asian Ethics” I came across this one (below). It’s funny although at the same time a bit depressing, because it is likely a true commentary on the state of the modern self and its journey for enlightenment/eudaimonia (or whatever word can be substituted in there for “spiritual authenticity”).
I’ve been out of blog-world for a while, but ready now to return. School is over and the book is finished, and the summer is now in front of me. I’m almost finished with Jijuan Yu’s Aristotle and Confucius: Mirrors of Virtue (2007) and I’m reading through some older essays on virtue ethics (to prepare for the upcoming NEH seminar). I’m currently making my way through Phillipa Foot’s “Virtues and Vices” (1979).
If I still have any readers left, keep your eyes out for some posts on these pretty soon (I’ll probably start with Foot)!
I’m also in the process of “brooming up” this site. I like the old style format, but I need a change just to shake things up (it’s a psychological thing). I’ll likely change to something else, get tired of it, and then return to my older design. We’ll see!
It’s all over. To the right you’ll find your final course grade. I’m in the office, and the larger spreadsheet is on my home computer, so I made up a new one here — all it has is your name, percentage grade, and final grade by letter.
Enjoy the summer, everyone!
Wow. I feel like all I do lately is grade logic exams.
In any case, they are to the right. This is it — the grades up are the final grades for the course, before taking the final exam(s). Note below the grades is a grading scale to tell you what the number means.
The tests from yesterday (05/07) are up. Note that the final scores for the semester — for those of you who took tests — are updated.
Here are the latest U6 exams. I’ve updated the final grading scores. So:
1. If you took a U6, then your “final grade” score is the grade you’d get in the course if you stopped now.
2. If you haven’t taken a U6, the “final grade” is the average of your best U1 – U5 exams.