BACK TO VIRTUE? Some remarks on the reappraisal of virtue in ethics

Robert Vosloo


How is the recent reappraisal of virtue in ethics to be evaluated? The article examines
this question. After mentioning a few possible reasons for the neglect of virtue in
modem ethical theory, an attempt is made to chart something of the renewed interest in
virtue in moral reasoning. This includes reference to the thought of Alasdair MacIntyre
and Stanley Hauerwas. A plea is made that the recent reappraisal of virtue should be
welcomed because it offers an important critique on certain ethical theories that deal
with the moral life in static categories. It also offers the opportunity to rethink questions
on moral formation anew - thus also giving resources for enriching moral discourse in
South Africa. It is also argued. however, that a uncritical welcoming of virtue into
(Christian) ethics can be irresponsible and that one needs to be reminded of certain
pitfalls. In a brieffinal section it is also suggested that a constructive Christian ethic of
virtue should have a Trinitarian base.

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

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