Is Agent-Based Virtue Ethics Self-Undermining?

William Ransome

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Agent-based virtue ethics strives to offer a viable account of both moral conduct and the source of moral value, independent of ‘deontic’ teleological and deontological characterizations. One of its chief proponents offers an agent-based virtue-ethical account that aspires to derive all moral value, including the moral status of actions, solely from the ‘aretaic’ concept of benevolence. I suggest that morality as benevolence fails to offer a viable account of either virtuous moral conduct or the source of moral value, because it is selfundermining in both respects. In order to solve this structural problem, it appears as if the theory may have to give up its agent-based status
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-57
JournalEthical Perspectives
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • virtue ethics, benevolence, agent-based, aretaic, deontic


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