Quandaries and Virtues
Against Reductivism in Ethics
Edmund L. Pincoffs
Attuned to the revival of moral concern in public and private life, Edmund Pincoffs argues in Quandaries and Virtues that the "structures known as ethical theories are more threats to moral sanity and balance than instruments for their attainment because ethical theories are, by nature, reductive."
Pincoffs's is the first full-scale examination of the reductionist tendencies in contemporary ethical theory. It explores questions that previously have received scant attention: How can mutually inconsistent and systematically reductive ethical theories be 'applied' to the resolution of moral problems? Is there a defensible form of virtue-oriented perfectionism? How are we to understand the relation of virtue-ideals to the ethics of obligation?
“Pincoffs has given us the ingredients for reflection and discourse about the nature of ethics in administrative education.”
—Public Administration Review
“Pincoffs has performed a valuable service in compelling us to pay attention to the character-related, contextual and personal factors that go into moral decision-making.”
—NOUSSee all reviews...
“Directly and incisively identifies and argues through the crucial points of disagreement between virtue ethicists and the qundarists.”
—Southwest Philosophy Review
“A first-rate book of importance to two quite different audiences. Academic moral philosophers will find themselves presented with an impressive exposition of a distinctive type of moral theory, one which makes the virtues fundamental to the moral life, but which is not a teleological theory. They will also note with pleasure that Pincoffs’s wonderfully lucid prose makes his book accessible even to undergraduates. Schoolteachers and parents are addressed by someone who shares their concerns on the topic of moral education. No recent writer has brought philosophy to bear upon those concerns more tellingly.”
—Alasdair MacIntyre, author of After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory
“A bold, innovative, important book. It challenges the basic approaches to ethical theory developed by modern philosophy; it presents a new analysis of the virtues while defending a virtue-based ethic; and it shows the relevance of this ethic to moral education. This is the best book so far in . . . the development of a virtue-based ethic . . . a significant contribution to an increasingly important subject.”
—Richard T. DeGeorge, author of The Nature and Limits of Authority
“So far as I know, no one has considered the nature or the relation between moral judgment and moral character with more clarity and penetration than Pincoffs.”
—Joel Feinberg, author of Moral ConceptsSee fewer reviews...