Really Naturalizin virtue


  • Stephen Brown


A plausible naturalistic virtue ethics requires a plausible naturalistic account of virtue. One way of naturalizing virtue is to give an account of the virtues as those traits that enable realization of the ends of creatures like us. However, three important concerns threaten the theoretical adequacy of the view. (1) It appears that the fact of human variability entails that there is no human lifeform comparable to that of other living things. (2) It appears that, even if there is a human lifeform, this notion essentially involves a problematic concept of normality. And (3) human beings differ from other types of organisms in that they can set their own ends. I argue that naturalized virtue ethics can meet these concerns and therefore has a more than decent chance as a plausible form of ethical naturalism. However, in examining the theory we are led to a more modest understanding of what the ambitions of this kind of ethical naturalism ought to be.