Life Story

Life Story

Ben Franklin

Franklin was a utilitarian virtue theorist. He believed that we should try to bring about the greatest good for the greatest number (the principle of utility). However, he thought that the best way to bring about the greatest good was by developing the virtues.

Philippa Foot

Foot is a contemporary British philosopher who is trying to modernise Aristotle. She believes that goodness should be seen as the natural flourishing of humans as living beings. She believes that ethics should not be about dry theorising but about making the world a better place (she was one of the founders of Oxfam). The virtues are beneficial to the individual and the community - they contribute to the good life.

Elizabeth Anscome

Before MacIntyre wrote After Virtue (1981), GEM Anscome wrote a paper entitled "Modern Moral Philosophy". She was critical of a 'law conception of ethics' where the key focus was obligation and duty. Many trace the modern development of Virtue Ethics back to this paper. The reason why MacIntyre gets more attention is that he actually developed a theory of Virtue Ethics rather than merely criticising other forms of ethics.

Martha Nussbaum

Nussbaum interprets Aristotle's virtues as absolutes - she claims that Justice, Temperance, generosity etc. are essential elements of human flourishing across all societies and throughout time. This is a sharp contrast to the general attitude among modern virtue theorists. Although it may be too much to describe all of the above as moral relativists, Nussbaum is clear

Nguyễn Chánh Thi (23 February 1923 – 23 June 2007) was an officer in the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN). He is best known for being involved in frequent coups in the 1960s and wielding substantial influence as a key member of various juntas that ruled South Vietnam from 1964 until 1966, when he was overpowered by Vietnam Air Force chief and Prime Minister Nguyễn Cao Kỳ in a power struggle and exiled to the United States....

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