Philosophical Papers

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Virtue Ethics and Elitism

F Svensson


Because of its reliance on a basically Aristotelian conception of virtue,
contemporary virtue ethics is often criticised for being inherently elitist. I argue that this
objection is mistaken. The core of my argument is that we need to take seriously that
virtue, according to Aristotle, is something that we acquire gradually, via a developmental
process. People are not just stuck with their characters once and for all, but can always
aspire to become better (more virtuous). And that is plausibly the basic normative
requirement of virtue ethics.

Philosophical Papers Vol. 37 (1) 2008: pp. 131-155
AJOL African Journals Online