Ideas of Rosalind Hursthouse, by Theme

[New Zealand, fl. 1996, Of the Open University in Britain, and then Auckland University, NZ]

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16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 2. Ethical Self
The word 'person' is useless in ethics, because what counts as a good or bad self-conscious being?
20. Action / B. Preliminaries of Action / 2. Willed Action / d. Weakness of will
There may be inverse akrasia, where the agent's action is better than their judgement recommends
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 2. Acting on Beliefs / a. Acting on beliefs
Must all actions be caused in part by a desire, or can a belief on its own be sufficient?
20. Action / C. Motives for Action / 3. Acting on Reason / b. Intellectualism
It is a fantasy that only through the study of philosophy can one become virtuous
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / d. Good as virtue
Virtue may be neither sufficient nor necessary for eudaimonia
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 1. Goodness / g. Consequentialism
Teenagers are often quite wise about ideals, but rather stupid about consequences
22. Metaethics / B. The Good / 2. Happiness / b. Eudaimonia
Animals and plants can 'flourish', but only rational beings can have eudaimonia
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / a. Nature of virtue
When it comes to bringing up children, most of us think that the virtues are the best bet
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / b. Basis of virtue
Eudaimonia first; virtue is a trait which promotes it; right acts are what virtues produce
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / c. Particularism
Any strict ranking of virtues or rules gets abandoned when faced with particular cases
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 1. Virtue Theory / d. Virtue theory critique
Virtue ethics is open to the objection that it fails to show priority among the virtues
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / a. Natural virtue
Good animals can survive, breed, feel characteristic pleasure and pain, and contribute to the group
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / c. Motivation for virtue
Virtuous people may not be fully clear about their reasons for action
Performing an act simply because it is virtuous is sufficient to be 'morally motivated' or 'dutiful'
If moral motivation is an all-or-nothing sense of duty, how can children act morally?
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / h. Right feelings
The emotions of sympathy, compassion and love are no guarantee of right action or acting well
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / i. Absolute virtues
According to virtue ethics, two agents may respond differently, and yet both be right
23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / j. Unity of virtue
Maybe in a deeply poisoned character none of their milder character traits could ever be a virtue
We are puzzled by a person who can show an exceptional virtue and also behave very badly
Being unusually virtuous in some areas may entail being less virtuous in others
23. Ethics / D. Deontological Ethics / 1. Deontology
Deontologists do consider consequences, because they reveal when a rule might apply
'Codifiable' morality give rules for decisions which don't require wisdom
23. Ethics / E. Utilitarianism / 1. Utilitarianism
Preference utilitarianism aims to be completely value-free, or empirical
Deontologists usually accuse utilitarians of oversimplifying hard cases
We are torn between utilitarian and deontological views of lying, depending on the examples
24. Applied Ethics / A. Decision Conflicts / 2. Dilemmas
After a moral dilemma is resolved there is still a 'remainder', requiring (say) regret
Involuntary actions performed in tragic dilemmas are bad because they mar a good life
You are not a dishonest person if a tragic dilemma forces you to do something dishonest
Deontologists resolve moral dilemmas by saying the rule conflict is merely apparent
25. Society / A. State of Nature / 1. A People / a. Human distinctiveness
We are distinct from other animals in behaving rationally - pursuing something as good, for reasons
28. God / A. Divine Nature / 5. Divine Morality / b. Euthyphro question
If people are virtuous in obedience to God, would they become wicked if they lost their faith?