more from Rosalind Hursthouse

Single Idea 4363

[catalogued under 16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 2. Ethical Self]

Full Idea

An excellent reason for keeping the word 'person' out of ethics is that it is usually so thinly defined that it cannot generate any sense of 'good person'. If a person is just a self-conscious being, what would count as a good or bad one?

Gist of Idea

The word 'person' is useless in ethics, because what counts as a good or bad self-conscious being?


Rosalind Hursthouse (On Virtue Ethics [1999], Ch.9 n20)

Book Reference

Hursthouse,Rosalind: 'On Virtue Ethics' [OUP 2001], p.206

A Reaction

A nice point. Locke's concept of a person (rational self-conscious being) lacks depth and individuality, and Hitler fulfils the criteria as well as any saint. But if Hitler wasn't a 'bad person', what was he bad at being?