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Eudaimonism about Virtue and Qualified Agent Right Action: Some Prospects for Environmental Virtue Ethics

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posted on 2021-11-14, 09:01 authored by Martin, Duncan Christian

In this thesis, I aim to show that virtue oriented approaches to environmental ethics are in a position to provide satisfying answers to two central ethical questions: “What kind of person should I be?”, and “What should I do?” I argue that two such approaches – Rosalind Hursthouse’s environmental virtue ethics and Philip Cafaro’s account of environmental vice – provide insights about how we ought to be with regard to the environment, in terms of character and attitudes. I then defend Hursthouse’s account of right action against several objections. First, I respond to the worry that a shortage of environmental exemplars might count against Hursthouse, by showing that non-virtuous agents can conceive of what to do by seeking to avoid acting from environmental vices. Second, I respond the worry that her account of right action fails to generate the right result for non-virtuous agents in some cases, by showing that such cases can be accounted for by appeal to the distinction between action guidance and action assessment. Third, I consider the worry that her theory will fail to provide concrete action guidance. Theories which seek to provide concrete action guidance in all contexts face serious problems of their own, I respond. Further, I maintain that Hursthouse is not ruled out from providing the sort of action guidance her critics are interested in.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Master of Arts

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of History, Philosophy, Political Science and International Relations


Das, Ramon