Agent-based virtue ethics and the problem of action guidance
van Zyl, L. (2009). Agent-based virtue ethics and the problem of action guidance. Journal of Moral Philosophy 6(1), 50-69.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/4242
Agent-based accounts of virtue ethics, such as the one provided by Michael Slote, base the rightness of action in the motive from which it proceeds. A frequent objection to agent-basing is that it does not allow us to draw the commonsense distinction between doing the right thing and doing it for the right reasons, that is, between act-evaluation and agent-appraisal. I defend agent-basing against this objection, but argue that a more fundamental problem for this account is its apparent failure to provide adequate argue action guidance. I then show that this problem can be solved by supplementing an agent-based criterion of right action with a hypothetical-agent criterion of action guidance.