Kant%20%28Part%201%29-page14 - Medical Ethics Harootunian 2...

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Unformatted text preview: Medical Ethics Harootunian 10/24/11 2 The first criticism raises doubts about whether the notion of virtue is clear or detailed enough to serve as the basis of a criterion of rightness. Many writers argue that this criterion is too vague to be an acceptable basis of justification in ethics. How do we determine what the basic virtues are, and so what a virtuous agent would be like? Is it possible to establish what a virtuous agent would be like without knowing what actions are right? And even if we could establish the character of a virtuous agent, the practical applications of such a model are unclear. What would a virtuous agent do in a great variety of situations in which people find themselves? Further, there is a plurality of virtuous character traits, and not all virtuous people seem to have these character traits to the same degree, so virtuous people might not always respond to situations in the same way. For example, is the right action in a given set of circumstances the action which would be done by an honest person, a kind person, or a just person? And even if the range of possible virtuous characters is narrower than suggested, how do we know what a virtuous person would do in a particular situation? (pg. 93) Obviously, this “ first objection ” consists of a number of related objections. At the beginning of the passage, Oakley says that according to this first objection, an axiological account of virtue is inadequate to serve in the criterion of rightness (that is, to fill-in the right-hand side of the...
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