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Brad J.

It challenges the reader to consider new and diverse perspectives in a respectful, congenial fashion, and makes a good addition to one's library. Introduction by Steve Wilkens 1. Virtue Ethics by Brad J.

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Haggard Graduate School of Theology. IVP Academic.

Virtue Ethics

Special Offers. IVP Book Club. In that way, virtue ethics is concerned with the whole of a person's life, rather than particular episodes or actions. It's a useful theory since human beings are often more interested in assessing the character of another person than they are in assessing the goodness or badness of a particular action.

This suggests that the way to build a good society is to help its members to be good people, rather than to use laws and punishments to prevent or deter bad actions. But it wouldn't be helpful if a person had to be a saint to count as virtuous.

Virtue Ethics in the Catholic Tradition

For virtue theory to be really useful it needs to suggest only a minimum set of characteristics that a person needs to possess in order to be regarded as virtuous. Rather, it means having a fundamental set of related virtues that enable a person to live and act morally well. Most virtue theorists would also insist that the virtuous person is one who acts in a virtuous way as the result of rational thought rather than, say, instinct. The modern philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre proposed three questions as being at the heart of moral thinking:.

Most virtue theorists say that there is a common set of virtues that all human beings would benefit from, rather than different sets for different sorts of people, and that these virtues are natural to mature human beings - even if they are hard to acquire.


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This poses a problem, since lists of virtues from different times in history and different societies show significant differences. Though virtue ethics may seem out of place in Reformed theology, especially in the thought of Karl Barth, Nolan argues that Barth's theology actually proves virtue ethics can be compatible with the Reformed tradition. He elaborates the thesis by identifying those areas of greatest theological concern in the tradition and seeking to address them.

Christian Ethics - InterVarsity Press

One concern to address is the problem of "Constantinianism" in their thought where they all "presume church-state relations in which the church is the dominant force in society" Karl Barth challenges such presumption by pointing out that the church's role is not to coerce her morality on others but instead simply to present the power of the Holy Spirit.

Virtue ethics is not top-down management. Nolan then looks at the theology of Karl Barth himself chapters 2 and 3 , especially those areas that may present difficulties to virtue ethics: Christocentric anthropology, rejection of the Analogia entis , and rejection of habitual grace.

Ethics Defined: Virtue Ethics

Nolan explores these difficulties by engaging with others such as Erich Przywara and William Werpehowski, arriving at so-called "virtue ethics without recourse to natural morality" What does a virtue ethic without natural morality look like chapter 4? The key feature is that it is grounded in God's revelation instead of "an overly optimistic view of the effects of sin on humankind" This implies, using a modified Thomist terminology, that all virtues in this ethic are infused; in this case, they are all shaped by grace, and this grace continues to work in the life of believers even when they stubbornly resist it simul iustus et peccator.

In the final chapter chapter 5 , Nolan shows the practice of virtue ethics by addressing a short history of social witness in the Presbyterian Church USA.