The Impossibility of Perfection by Michael Slote

Stephen Anderson asks Michael Slote if you really must be perfect to be moral.

Virtue ethics is arguably the hottest current trend in ethics, especially in North America. It holds that the best approach to take to ethics is to cultivate virtues and virtuous behavior (as opposed for instance to trying decide in every case what action creates the most benefit). Its popularity is partly due to the rise in the perceived need for public morality and moral education, partly a product of the interminable nature of the disputes between the two traditional major ethical oppositions of deontology and consequentialism, and partly the failure of various forms of popular pragmatism to yield clear ethical points of reference for things like education, technology, medicine, law and public policy. In the wake of Alasdair MacIntyre’s 1984 After Virtue, virtue ethics emerged as a seemingly new option. Yet virtue ethics is not new: it hails all the way back to Aristotle.

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