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Virtue and Meaning

Virtue and Meaning
A Neo-Aristotelian Perspective

  • Publication planned for: May 2020
  • availability: Not yet published - available from May 2020
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108477888

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  • The revival of Aristotelian virtue ethics can be seen as a response to the modern problem of disenchantment, that is, the perceived loss of meaning in modernity. However, in Virtue and Meaning, David McPherson contends that the dominant approach still embraces an overly disenchanted view. In a wide-ranging discussion, McPherson argues for a more fully re-enchanted perspective that gives better recognition to the meanings by which we live and after which we seek, and to the fact that human beings are the meaning-seeking animal. In doing so, he defends distinctive accounts of the relationship between virtue and happiness, other-regarding demands, and the significance of linking neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics with a view of the meaning of life and a spiritual life where contemplation has a central role. This book will be valuable for philosophers and other readers who are interested in virtue ethics and the perennial question of the meaning of life.

    • Frames the re-emergence of Aristotelian virtue ethics in the last half-century as a response to the modern problem of disenchantment
    • Considers the links between contemporary virtue ethics and recent literature on meaning in life
    • Challenges received wisdom about other-regarding ethical demands, spirituality and contemplation in neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics
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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: May 2020
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108477888
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • availability: Not yet published - available from May 2020
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: toward re-enchantment
    1. The human form of life
    Neo-Aristotelian ethical naturalism: the disenchanted version
    The human difference: rationality
    The standpoint from within our human form of life: the space of meaning
    Strong evaluative meaning
    Going further: the way forward
    2. Virtue, happiness, and meaning
    The instrumentalist account
    The constitutive account: strong evaluative version
    The constitutive account: weak evaluative version
    Virtue apart from happiness?
    Virtue, loss, and the meaning of life
    3. Other-regarding concern
    MacIntyre on other-regarding concern
    Intrinsic worth: dignity and sanctity
    Fully amongst us: solidarity with the severely afflicted and other marginalized humans
    Moral absolutes
    Spheres of other-regarding concern: universal and particular
    4. Cosmic outlooks
    Hursthouse's three theses and Williams' challenge
    Identifying what is noblest and best
    Against quietism: the need for a moral ontology
    Rival cosmic outlooks
    A poker-faced universe?
    5. Homo Religiosus
    What is spirituality?
    What kind of naturalism?
    Human beings as Homo Religiosus
    The contemplative life
    Theistic spirituality
    Objections and replies
    Conclusion.

  • Author

    David McPherson, Creighton University, Omaha
    David McPherson is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Creighton University, Omaha. He is the editor of Spirituality and the Good Life: Philosophical Approaches (Cambridge, 2017).

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