The Perspective of Morality

The Perspective of Morality: Philosophical Foundations of Thomistic Virtue Ethics

Martin Rhonheimer
Translated by Gerald Malsbary
Copyright Date: 2011
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt3fgqgv
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  • Book Info
    The Perspective of Morality
    Book Description:

    The Perspective of the Acting Person introduces readers to one of the most important and provocative thinkers in contemporary moral philosophy

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-1930-1
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface to the English Edition
    (pp. ix-xviii)
  4. Introduction: PHILOSOPHICAL ETHICS AS VIRTUE ETHICS
    (pp. 1-36)

    Many introductory treatments of philosophical ethics are available; the present one pursues at once a theoretical and a didactic objective. It is not intended to provide a survey of various approaches or methods of argumentation or problematic issues in the field of ethics. Nor is it intended as a history of ethics. What this book offers instead is a methodical, closely argued, step-by-step presentation of a fundamental course in philosophical ethics, while developing a systematic ethical position—an ethical theory, in fact. More precisely, it is concerned with working out the fundamental elements of a virtue ethics in a consistent...

  5. I ETHICS IN THE CONTEXT OF THE PHILOSOPHICAL DISCIPLINES
    (pp. 37-45)

    Ethics is practical philosophy. That means that ethics reflects upon praxis—that is, human actions—and has praxis as its goal. Anyone who does ethics is an acting subject, and just because this subject knows itself as acting, there arise what we call ethical questions. These questions do not aim simply to know something. They are directed to praxis itself: to the doing of “good” or “right.”

    Now there are other ways of knowing that also aim toward doing something that is “good” or “right.” Examples would be the knowledge of music theory or architecture. The Greeks called such knowing...

  6. II HUMAN ACTION AND THE QUESTION OF HAPPINESS
    (pp. 46-94)

    We noticed that Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics begins with a simple declaration of a fact of experience: “Every art and every inquiry, and similarly every action and pursuit, is thought to aim at some good; and for this reason the good has rightly been declared to be that at which all things aim.” “Good” then, is what someone “aims for.” The concept of the good is given through the experience that in everything we do—art, research, action, choice—we are going after something. This aim—“what we are looking for”—we call good. The concept of the good is therefore...

  7. III MORAL ACTIONS AND PRACTICAL REASONING
    (pp. 95-187)

    The moral perspective, as it has been expounded so far, is the perspective of a eudaimonistic ethics. An ethics is eudaimonistic when it holds striving for happiness to be constitutive in the determination of what is good and right for man. A eudaimonistic ethics considers a rightly understood drive for happiness to be the key to a good and successful life, without simply deriving this solution from the merely empirical fact of the urge as such. More precisely, a eudaimonistic ethics of any variety will always maintain that good action and virtue coincide with happiness, that happiness in life consists...

  8. IV THE MORAL VIRTUES
    (pp. 188-255)

    According to the classical/eudaimonistic approach, ethics is the doctrine about the good in which we can find our happiness as free, rational beings. But “happiness,” we noted, is not simply subjective contentment, but rather the fulfillment of striving or appetition in accordance with rational standards. This means that in ethics we are concerned with analyzing the conditions for the “truth of subjectivity.” Now a virtue ethics maintains that these conditions are to be found above all in the possession of virtue. According to the classical understanding, moral virtues are characteristic of the disposition of human persons, to whom what is...

  9. V STRUCTURES OF RATIONALITY
    (pp. 256-421)

    It was established in the previous chapter that the intentional appetition for a goal belonging to each of the moral virtues is an affective principle for prudence or (in other words) for the judgment of actions. Moral virtue, however, is still not only an affective structure, but is also the rectitude (rectitudo, orthotes) of the appetition or striving. This assertion implies, again, that moral virtue is formed by the structures of reason. The coincidence of the judgment of actions with “right striving” Aristotle referred to as the “practical truth” of this judgment and of the subsequent actions. But what is...

  10. Epilogue: FROM THE PHILOSOPHICAL TO THE CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE OF MORALITY
    (pp. 422-428)

    “The best possible state of the world”—this is the vista attained by our analysis of the “perspective of morality”. And what should be immediately added is that this “best possible state of the world” of course includes, for those of us who have such a state in view, our own happiness, the success of our own lives.

    But is this “successful life,” this happiness, really that much of a success? Is it really the happiness we are all striving for? Isn’t it rather the case, as many have said, that happiness in this life is always two-edged, partial, doubtful,...

  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 429-448)
  12. Index
    (pp. 449-468)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 469-470)