The scope of interest and reflection on virtue and the virtues is as wide and deep as the questions we can ask about what makes a moral agent’s life decent, or noble, or holy rather than cruel, or base, or sinful; or about the conditions of human character and circumstance that make for good relations between family members, friends, workers, fellow citizens, and strangers, and the sorts of conditions that do not. Clearly these questions will inevitably be directed to more finely grained features of everyday life...
The scope of interest and reflection on virtue and the virtues is as wide and deep as the questions we can ask about what makes a moral agent’s life decent, or noble, or holy rather than cruel, or base, or sinful; or about the conditions of human character and circumstance that make for good relations between family members, friends, workers, fellow citizens, and strangers, and the sorts of conditions that do not. Clearly these questions will inevitably be directed to more finely grained features of everyday life in particular contexts. Virtue and the Moral Life: Theological and Philosophical Perspectives takes up these questions. In its ten timely and original chapters, it considers the specific importance of virtue ethics, its public significance for shaping a society’s common good, the value of civic integrity, warfare and returning soldiers’ sense of enlarged moral responsibility, the care for and agency of children in contemporary secular consumer society, and other questions involving moral failure, humility, and forgiveness.
While many of the foremost voices in Christian virtue ethics are represented here, this collection strides beyond the ordinary by also including prominent philosophers and by pondering new or neglected matters, such as moral failure, moral grief, the virtue of civic integrity, and the liturgical pedagogy of virtue. This is an essential work for anyone interested in creative thinking about virtue theory today.
Stephen J. Pope
Virtue and the Moral Life provides an excellent overview of discussions in virtue ethics today. It offers a broad, uniquely interdisciplinary view that breaks away from the standard isolation of philosophical virtue ethics from theological virtue ethics. It creatively puts younger ethicists in conversation with distinguished scholars in both theology and philosophy. Many will find something to appreciate in this important volume.
Containing clearly written, creative contributions from both established and more recent theologians and philosophers, this volume will stand out as an important, twenty-first century resource on virtue ethics. Its co-editors deserve credit for their skillful efforts in bringing together such a fascinating collection of essays that should be required reading for anyone—scholars, students, and the wider public—interested in virtue and the moral life.
William Werpehowski holds the Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S. Chair in Catholic Theology at Georgetown University. He is the author of Karl Barth and Christian Ethics: Living in Truth (2014) and American Protestant Ethics and the Legacy of H. Richard Niebuhr (2002).
Kathryn Getek Soltis is assistant professor of Christian ethics in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies and director of the Center for Peace and Justice Education at Villanova University.
Part I: Why Virtue?
Chapter One: Seven Reasons for Doing Virtue Ethics Today
James F. Keenan, S.J.
Chapter Two: Augustine and the Liturgical Pedagogy of Virtue
Jennifer A. Herdt
Part II: Virtue, Conscience, and Public Life
Chapter Three: Historical Accountability and the Virtue of Civic Integrity
Margaret Urban Walker
Chapter Four: Moral Grief and Reflective Virtue
Mark A. Wilson
Part III: Virtue, Children, and the Family
Chapter Five: Children, Virtue Ethics, and Consumer Culture
Mary M. Doyle Roche
Chapter Six: Passing on the Faith in an Era of Rising ‘Nones’: Practicing Courage and Humility
Julie Hanlon Rubio
Part IV: Virtue and Moral Failure
Chapter Seven: Sin, Sickness, and Transgression: Medieval Perspectives on Sin and Their Significance Today
Chapter Eight: Making More Space for Moral Failure
Part V: Virtue and the Challenge of Otherness
Chapter Nine: Distinguishing Humility and Justice in Christian and Islamic Virtue
Chapter Ten: Human Corruption and the Possibility of Love: Dostoevskian Ruminations on Forgiveness
Edmund N. Santurri