When Utilitarians Should Be Virtue Theorists

Dale Jamieson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    The contrast typically made between utilitarianism and virtue theory is overdrawn. Utilitarianism is a universal emulator: it implies that we should lie, cheat, steal, even appropriate Aristotle, when that is what brings about the best outcomes. In some cases and in some worlds it is best for us to focus as precisely as possible on individual acts. In other cases and worlds it is best for us to be concerned with character traits. Global environmental change leads to concerns about character because the best results will be produced by generally uncoupling my behavior from that of others. Thus, in this case and in this world, utilitarians should be virtue theorists.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)160-183
    Number of pages24
    JournalUtilitas
    Volume19
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jun 2007

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    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy
    • Sociology and Political Science

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