The Seven Best Books on Virtue Ethics

Lennox Johnson Books

This page contains a list of the best books on virtue ethics. Just to be clear, there is no single best book on virtue ethics. The best book for you will depend on your preferred learning style and the amount of time that you want to spend reading about virtue ethics. An 800-page scholarly overview is unlikely to be best for someone looking for a short beginner-friendly introduction, for example. This list aims to take this ambiguity into account by featuring books that will appeal to a variety of learning …

Virtue as a Mean Between Two Vices – A short reading from Aristotle’s ‘Nicomachean Ethics’

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The Nicomachean Ethics, written by Aristotle, is widely regarded as one of the most influential books of moral philosophy. In this passage, Aristotle examines what it means for humans to live a good life. He sees the good life as the fulfillment of the human potential to live well. To live well means to live in accordance with virtue. Aristotle makes a distinction between intellectual virtue and moral virtue. Moral virtue is formed by habit; one becomes good by doing good. Intellectual virtue, one the other hand, requires intelligence and …

Can Virtue Be Taught? – a short reading from Plato’s Meno

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“Once more, I suspect, friend Anytus, that virtue is not a thing which can be taught?” Introduction This week’s reading is about whether virtue can be taught. Now you may have noticed that there are some good people, or as Socrates would say, virtuous people, and there are some not so good people, or as I would say, arseholes. So we might ask: how did the good or virtuous people become virtuous? One possibility was that they were born that way; they’re just naturally good. Another possibility is that they …

Socrates on Death and Virtue – a short reading from the ‘Apology’ by Plato

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“Men of Athens, I honor and love you; but I shall obey God rather than you, and while I have life and strength I shall never cease from the practice and teaching of philosophy” Introduction In the year 399 B.C., in Athens, Socrates was brought to trial on charges of impiety and corrupting the youth. He was found guilty and condemned to death. The Apology, written by Plato, is an account of Socrates’ trial. In the previous passage, Socrates recalls how an oracle once proclaimed that he was the wisest …