Morality and Prudence: A Case for Substantial Overlap and Limited Conflict
Topic and Approach
It is virtually impossible to say anything substantial about how morality and prudence relate to one another unless we make assumptions about their content. In what follows, I will make use of a minimal definition, according to which prudence concerns the rational pursuit of personal interest and happiness. In this connection, I use happiness as an evaluative term, as something desirable that makes life as a whole good, better or successful. 1 However, the nature of happiness is only discussed insofar as it is directly relevant for understanding how prudence relates to morality. As far as possible, I want to be neutral about how happiness, self-interest, and morality are to be defined, since defining these terms is beyond the scope of this article and any definition can favor certain theories while excluding others, which would make the discussion unnecessarily narrow in scope. 2Nevertheless, I distinguish between the following interpretations of morality (or moral...
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