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thomblake comments on Purchase Fuzzies and Utilons Separately - Less Wrong

75 Post author: Eliezer_Yudkowsky 01 April 2009 09:51AM

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Comment author: thomblake 18 July 2012 09:10:47PM 2 points [-]

I've realized that my sibling comment is logically rude, because I've left out some relevant detail. Most relevantly, I tend to self-describe as a virtue ethicist.

I've noticed at least 3 things called 'virtue ethics' in the wild, which are generally mashed together willy-nilly:

  1. an empirical claim, that humans generally act according to habits of action and doing good things makes one more likely to do good things in the future, even in other domains
  2. the notion that ethics is about being a good person and living a good life, instead of whether a particular action is permissible or leads to a good outcome
  3. virtue as an achievement; a string of good actions can be characterized after the fact as virtuous, and that demonstrates the goodness of character.

There are virtue ethicists who buy into only some of these, but most often folks slip between them without noticing. One fellow I know will often say that #1 being false would not damage virtue ethics, because it's really about #2 and #3 - and yet he goes on arguing in favor of virtue ethics by citing #1.

Comment author: jacoblyles 18 July 2012 09:21:21PM 1 point [-]

This is a great framework - very clear! Thanks!