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Comparative virtue ethics

Mair, Jonathan (2017) Comparative virtue ethics. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, . ISSN 1359-0987. E-ISSN 1467-9655. (In press) (Access to this publication is currently restricted. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:63455)

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Language: English

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In recent years anthropologists have come to rely more and more on ideas that can be described as virtue ethical in their descriptions of value in the lives of the people they study. I will defend this development, but will also urge caution. Through a comparison of the work of an atheist American philosopher, Samuel Sheffler, and a Taiwanese Buddhist professor of life and death studies, Huei Kai, I argue that virtue ethics as developed in modern academic philosophy and social sciences carries ethnocentric assumptions that are likely to mislead us when applied to other traditions. Key among these assumptions is a certain view of the relative timing of character development, the capacity for autonomous agency, and death. In conclusion, I propose a provisional typology of relationships between virtue and time that aims to broaden our understanding of virtue ethics as such, and suggest that the ethnocentric nature of anthropological understandings of ethics can be addressed through further comparative work.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: ethics, virtue, character, death, immortality, Buddhism, anthropology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion
H Social Sciences
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > Social and Cultural Anthropology
Depositing User: Jonathan Mair
Date Deposited: 17 Sep 2017 17:30 UTC
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2019 08:54 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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