In this chapter, I consider two different responses to the question of whether the virtues needed for a flourishing life are local or universal in nature. First, MacIntyre, who suggests that if different instantiations of virtue are viewed with historical awareness, certain unities in the concept emerge. Second, Nussbaum, who maintains that virtues are non-relative and that an Aristotle-inspired, historically sensitive essentialism about human nature should inform international public policy. I maintain that MacIntyre’s response is more persuasive than Nussbaum’s, for two reasons. First, in taking essentialist capabilities as the starting point for global policy and action, Nussbaum does not value the traditions, practices, and agency of local communities as MacIntyre does. Second, MacIntyre more convincingly addresses two key challenges posed to Aristotelian ethics by Bernard Williams. I conclude that while Williams rejects the Aristotelian ethics that MacIntyre and Nussbaum broadly endorse, all three thinkers nonetheless share general agreement that ethical dispositions should be cultivated in education in ways whereby the young also learn how to subject the values of their culture to criticism.
|Title of host publication||Virtues and Virtue Education in Theory and Practice|
|Subtitle of host publication||Are virtues Local or Universal?|
|Editors||Catherine A Darnell, Kristján Kristjánsson|
|Place of Publication||London and New York|
|Number of pages||15|
|Publication status||Published - 6 Nov 2020|
|Name||Routledge Research in Character and Virtue Education|