There is much talk currently about virtue and virtues, and this, I suppose, is all to the good. But if the current debate aspires to be more than an academic exercise, it needs to show how discussion of the virtues makes a difference in moral philosophy. Any serious alternative to the status quo should satisfy the following three conditions: It should involve a shift in the fundamental vocabulary of ethics; it should reorder, if not reject, some of the emphases and priorities found in the status quo; and finally, it should issue in a reevaluation of specific acts and policies as understood within the status quo. I propose in what follows to look both at the considerations which might lead to adopting an understanding of ethics grounded in the virtues and at the difference this would make in understanding war.

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1987

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Copyright © 1987, Penn State University Press. This article first appeared in Soundings: An Interdisciplinary Journal: 70:3-4 (1987), 475-494.

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