This book argues that the question posed by virtue theories, namely, “what kind of person should I be?” provides a more promising approach to moral questions than do either deontological or consequentialist moral theories where the concern is with what actions are morally required or permissible. It does so both by arguing that there are firmer theoretical foundations for virtue theories, and by persuasively suggesting the superiority of virtue theories over deontological and consquentialist theories on the question of explaining morally bad behavior. Virtue theories can give a richer account by appealing to the kinds of dispositions that make certain bad choices appear attractive. This richer account also exposes a further advantage of virtue theories: they provide the best kinds of motivations for agents to become better persons.
“ … a lucid distillation of central themes in the recent literature on virtue ethics, with distinctive emphases on responsibility for character and on a naturalistic account of the virtuous person’s flourishing.” — Thomas Hurka, University of Calgary
“McKinnon has managed to combine clarity and a keen awareness of contemporary theoretical issues with sensitivity to the enormous complexity of an ethics of character. This book advances the discussion of virtue ethics both in its theoretical form and in the details of character description.” — Linda Zagzebski, Author of Virtues of the Mind (Cambridge University Press)