|previous article in this issue||next article in this issue|
Document Details :
Title: Towards an Aristotelian Sense of Obligation
Author(s): GRANT, Stephen
Journal: Ethical Perspectives
Volume: 14 Issue: 2 Date: June 2007
This article develops an Aristotelian account of moral obligation, and defends the account in the face of certain standard Kantian criticisms. Specifically, Aristotelian obligations may be interpreted as being dependent on virtue in such a way that they do not apply to non-virtuous agents, and therefore lack universality. The article draws on various aspects of Aristotle’s own work to set out an initial account, and then on recent discussions within the analytic tradition on this subject. An Aristotelian position is developed which focuses on the distinction between the subjective and objective senses in which virtues of character need to be understood. At the objective level, the virtues are the dispositions required for any human being to live the best life. At the subjective level, the virtues are the dispositions of character which are present in certain persons, but absent in others. It is at the objective level that we can locate an Aristotelian account of how the demands of practical reason ground universal moral obligations.