, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp 432-448

The destiny of modern virtue ethics

Abstract

The revival of Aristotelian virtue ethics since the 1980s does not signify that it goes back to its original form; rather, it is generally manifested in three different variations: The first is a variation of what is known as communitarianism, the second is universalism, and the third is phronesis. On the social level of morality, the serious attempt of modern virtue ethics towards improving the moral spirit of society is laudable. However, its method and reasoning deviates greatly from the demands of modern society’s integration of its operating rules and regulations, and concept of values; hence all of its attempts can hardly escape the fate of becoming just a fantasy. Yet, on the level of dealing with ethic conflicts and moral paradox, modern virtue ethics—via interpreting the theory of phronesis by Aristotle—proposes the valuable thought of a balanced morality that principlism should concern itself with and nourish itself from.

Translated by ZHANG Lin from Zhongguo Renmin Daxue Xuebao 中国人民大学学报 (Journal of Renmin University of China), 2009, (3): 80–88