• As one would expect, Kant believes that there is a tension, and even a conflict, between our bodily humanity and its ethical counterpart: ‘Inclination to pleasurable living and inclination to virtue are in conflict with each other’ (Anthropology, 185-86 [7:277]). What is more unexpected, however, is that he further claims that this tension can be resolved in what he calls an example of ‘civilised bliss’, namely dinner parties. Dinner parties are, for Kant, part of the ‘highest ethicophysical goo…Read more
  • Thomas Hurka presents the first full historical study of an important strand in the development of modern moral philosophy. His subject is a series of British ethical theorists from the late nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century, who shared key assumptions that made them a unified and distinctive school. The best-known of them are Henry Sidgwick, G. E. Moore, and W. D. Ross; others include Hastings Rashdall, H. A. Prichard, C. D. Broad, and A. C. Ewing. They disagreed on some important…Read more
  • Virtuous act, virtuous dispositions
    Analysis 66 (1): 69-76. 2006.
    Everyday moral thought uses the concepts of virtue and vice at two different levels. At what I will call a global level it applies these concepts to persons or to stable character traits or dispositions. Thus we may say that a person is brave or has a standing trait of generosity or malice. But we also apply these concepts more locally, to specific acts or mental states such as occurrent desires or feelings. Thus we may say that a particular act was brave or that a desire or pleasure felt at a p…Read more
  • In his chapter ‘Aristotle on Virtue: Wrong, Wrong, and Wrong’, Thomas Hurka advances penetrating criticisms of some of the core theses of the Aristotelian approach to virtue. Hurka challenges the Aristotelian tendency to blur the distinction between the good and the right by making the virtues, which are constitutive of a person’s goodness, objects of praise or blame. He puts into question the Aristotelian doctrine of the mean and the idea that vice can always be explained in terms of either exc…Read more
  • The Aptness of Anger
    Journal of Political Philosophy 26 (2): 123-144. 2018.