PhilosopherFilter: Virtue Ethics for Dummies
October 12, 2018 10:17 AM   Subscribe

This past post on the blue has really resonated with me over the past few months, and I want to dig deeper into Aristotle's virtue ethics, but I know if I just buy his writings they'll sit unread on my shelf. Does anyone have recommendations for readings on the same theme/ideas, that are maybe less intimidating than the source material? My last philosophical exposure was about a decade ago in a Phil101 class. Thank you!
posted by matrixclown to Religion & Philosophy (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Alisdair MacIntyre's "After Virtue" is an important neo-Aristotelean text
posted by thelonius at 10:40 AM on October 12, 2018 [4 favorites]

If you're looking for books on virtue ethics generally rather than on Aristotle in particular, you might like Rosalind Hursthouse's "On Virtue Ethics." It's the sort of thing you might read in an advanced undergraduate seminar, but I think Hursthouse is more accessible (though no less philosophically sophisticated) than a lot of other stuff in the genre. She wants to emphasize the importance of practicality in virtue ethics and so deliberately writes in a more conversational tone. If you do pick it up, I suggest you don't treat it as a commitment to read it straight through. You may find the first sections where she compares virtue ethics to alternative theories much more interesting than later chapters. Read what interests you and then read the next thing.

And for any general topic in philosophy, there's usually an entry on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy that are good introductions and overviews.
posted by This time is different. at 12:51 PM on October 12, 2018 [2 favorites]

I would recommend The Happiness Hypothesis, by Jonathan Haidt. He discusses Aristotle (though fairly briefly) in some of his chapters. The book is certainly relevant to the subject of virtue ethics -- don't let the title discourage you from considering it. It's quite good.
posted by alex1965 at 1:24 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

Seconding Haidt. Also, Shannon Vallor's Technology and the Virtues gives a solid and readable summary of Aristotle's ethical framework (as well as the Buddha's and Confucius).
posted by 10ch at 2:12 PM on October 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

I started kinda liking Haidt with The Righteous Mind, but I soured on him with his recent essays in The Atlantic, so... please view anything you read with a critical eye.

I find Karen Armstrong writing about comparative religions pretty good about discussing ethics in general on an accessible level.
posted by ovvl at 5:43 PM on October 15, 2018

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