A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good by Robert Merrihew AdamsA Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good by Robert Merrihew Adams

A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good

byRobert Merrihew Adams

Paperback | November 1, 2008

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The distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character. Many recent attempts to stake out a place inmoral philosophy for this concern define virtue in terms of its benefits for the virtuous person or for human society more generally. In Part One of this book Adams presents and defends a conception of virtue as intrinsic excellence of character, worth prizing for its own sake and not only for itsbenefits. In the other two parts he addresses two challenges to the ancient idea of excellence of character. One challenge arises from the importance of altruism in modern ethical thought, and the question of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. Part Two argues that altruistic benevolence does indeed have a crucial place in excellence of character, but that moral virtue should also beexpected to involve excellence in being for other goods besides the well-being (and the rights) of other persons. It explores relations among cultural goods, personal relationships, one's own good, and the good of others, as objects of excellent motives.The other challenge, the subject of Part Three of the book, is typified by doubts about the reality of moral virtue, arising from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores in detail the prospects for an empirically realistic conception of excellence of character as an objectof moral aspiration, endeavor, and education. He argues that such a conception will involve renunciation of the ancient thesis of the unity or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of sufficient 'moral luck' in the development of any individual's character to make virtue very largelya gift, rather than an individual achievement, though nonetheless excellent and admirable for that.
Robert Merrihew Adams is Professor of Philosophy at Mansfield College, University of Oxford
Title:A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the GoodFormat:PaperbackDimensions:264 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.63 inPublished:November 1, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199552258

ISBN - 13:9780199552252

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Table of Contents

Part One: What Is Virtue?1. Introduction2. Excellence in Being ifor/i the Good3. Wickedness and Vices4. Virtue and its BenefitsPart Two: Self and Other5. Altruism6. Common Projects7. Self-Love and the Vices of Self-PreferencePart Three: Are There Really Any Virtues?8. Moral Inconsistency9. Moral Frailty and Moral Luck10. Do the Virtues All Imply Each Other?11. Plural and Integrated Virtue12. Can Virtue Be Taught?

Editorial Reviews

`Review from previous edition Robert Adams's new book is an important and comprehensive contribution to the study of virtue and to the defense of its existence. The book is an easy read; Adams skillfully lays out his views and arguments clearly and without jargon. . . . Adams's criticisms ofopposing theories of virtue are, in general, crisp and cogent. . . . reading Adams's book would be an excellent way for anyone to get up to speed on the current state of virtue theory. It would make an outstanding text for a graduate seminar on virtue'Ben Bradley, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews