Research Article

Some Problems with Virtue Theory1

Nicholas Everitta1

a1 University of East Anglia

Virtue ethics (VE for short) is currently so widely embraced that different versions of the theory can now be distinguished. Some of these are mapped out in Statman's useful introduction to his collection. There are enough of these versions to constitute a family, and consequently what they share is a family resemblance rather than agreement to a defining set of necessary and sufficient conditions. What I propose to do, therefore, is to criticise one of the main versions of VE. Rosalind Hursthouse is the main proponent of the version which I will criticise. I choose her as a spokesperson, not because her version of VE is especially weak. On the contrary, it is because she is one of the leading protagonists of VE, and because her writings provide a lucid, powerful and elegant exposition of VE that her version of the theory is an appropriate object of scrutiny.


1 I should like to thank my colleague, Dr. Catherine Osborne, for some helpful discussions.