Virtue

One of the most important developments in modern moral philosophy is the resurgence of interest in the virtues. In this new book, Daniel Russell explores two important hopes for such an approach to moral thought: that starting from the virtues should cast light on what makes an action right, and that notions like character, virtue, and vice should yield a plausible picture of human psychology. Russell argues that the key to each of these hopes is an understanding of the cognitive and deliberative skills involved in the virtues. If right action is defined in terms of acting generously or kindly, then these virtues must involve skills for determining what the kind or generous thing to do would be on a given occasion. Likewise, Russell argues that understanding virtuous action as the intelligent pursuit of virtuous goals yields a promising picture of the psychology of virtue. This book develops an Aristotelian account of the virtue of practical intelligence or 'phronesis'—an excellence of deliberating and making choices—which Russell argues is a necessary part of every virtue. This emphasis on the roots of the virtues in the practical intellect contrasts with ambivalence about the practical intellect in much recent work on the virtues—a trend Russell argues is ultimately perilous for virtue theory. This book also takes a penetrating look at issues like the unity of the virtues, responsibility for character, and that elusive figure, 'the virtuous person'. Written in a clear and careful manner, Practical Intelligence and the Virtues will appeal to philosophers and students alike in moral philosophy and moral psychology.
When After Virtue first appeared in 1981, it was recognized as a significant and potentially controversial critique of contemporary moral philosophy. Newsweek called it “a stunning new study of ethics by one of the foremost moral philosophers in the English-speaking world.” Since that time, the book has been translated into more than fifteen foreign languages and has sold over one hundred thousand copies. Now, twenty-five years later, the University of Notre Dame Press is pleased to release the third edition of After Virtue, which includes a new prologue “After Virtue after a Quarter of a Century.”

In this classic work, Alasdair MacIntyre examines the historical and conceptual roots of the idea of virtue, diagnoses the reasons for its absence in personal and public life, and offers a tentative proposal for its recovery. While the individual chapters are wide-ranging, once pieced together they comprise a penetrating and focused argument about the price of modernity. In the Third Edition prologue, MacIntyre revisits the central theses of the book and concludes that although he has learned a great deal and has supplemented and refined his theses and arguments in other works, he has “as yet found no reason for abandoning the major contentions” of this book. While he recognizes that his conception of human beings as virtuous or vicious needed not only a metaphysical but also a biological grounding, ultimately he remains “committed to the thesis that it is only from the standpoint of a very different tradition, one whose beliefs and presuppositions were articulated in their classical form by Aristotle, that we can understand both the genesis and the predicament of moral modernity.”

For a century and a half, the artists and intellectuals of Europe have scorned the bourgeoisie. And for a millennium and a half, the philosophers and theologians of Europe have scorned the marketplace. The bourgeois life, capitalism, Mencken’s “booboisie” and David Brooks’s “bobos”—all have been, and still are, framed as being responsible for everything from financial to moral poverty, world wars, and spiritual desuetude. Countering these centuries of assumptions and unexamined thinking is Deirdre McCloskey’s The Bourgeois Virtues, a magnum opus that offers a radical view: capitalism is good for us.

McCloskey’s sweeping, charming, and even humorous survey of ethical thought and economic realities—from Plato to Barbara Ehrenreich—overturns every assumption we have about being bourgeois. Can you be virtuous and bourgeois? Do markets improve ethics? Has capitalism made us better as well as richer? Yes, yes, and yes, argues McCloskey, who takes on centuries of capitalism’s critics with her erudition and sheer scope of knowledge. Applying a new tradition of “virtue ethics” to our lives in modern economies, she affirms American capitalism without ignoring its faults and celebrates the bourgeois lives we actually live, without supposing that they must be lives without ethical foundations.

High Noon, Kant, Bill Murray, the modern novel, van Gogh, and of course economics and the economy all come into play in a book that can only be described as a monumental project and a life’s work. The Bourgeois Virtues is nothing less than a dazzling reinterpretation of Western intellectual history, a dead-serious reply to the critics of capitalism—and a surprising page-turner.
The distinguished philosopher Robert M. Adams presents a major work on virtue, which is once again a central topic in ethical thought. A Theory of Virtue is a systematic, comprehensive framework for thinking about the moral evaluation of character. Many recent attempts to stake out a place in moral philosophy for this concern define virtue in terms of its benefits for the virtuous person or for human society more generally. In Part One of this book Adams presents and defends a conception of virtue as intrinsic excellence of character, worth prizing for its own sake and not only for its benefits. In the other two parts he addresses two challenges to the ancient idea of excellence of character. One challenge arises from the importance of altruism in modern ethical thought, and the question of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. Part Two argues that altruistic benevolence does indeed have a crucial place in excellence of character, but that moral virtue should also be expected to involve excellence in being for other goods besides the well-being (and the rights) of other persons. It explores relations among cultural goods, personal relationships, one's own good, and the good of others, as objects of excellent motives. The other challenge, the subject of Part Three of the book, is typified by doubts about the reality of moral virtue, arising from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores in detail the prospects for an empirically realistic conception of excellence of character as an object of moral aspiration, endeavor, and education. He argues that such a conception will involve renunciation of the ancient thesis of the unity or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of sufficient 'moral luck' in the development of any individual's character to make virtue very largely a gift, rather than an individual achievement, though nonetheless excellent and admirable for that.
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • David Brooks challenges us to rebalance the scales between the focus on external success—“résumé virtues”—and our core principles.
 
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE ECONOMIST
 
With the wisdom, humor, curiosity, and sharp insights that have brought millions of readers to his New York Times column and his previous bestsellers, David Brooks has consistently illuminated our daily lives in surprising and original ways. In The Social Animal, he explored the neuroscience of human connection and how we can flourish together. Now, in The Road to Character, he focuses on the deeper values that should inform our lives.

Looking to some of the world’s greatest thinkers and inspiring leaders, Brooks explores how, through internal struggle and a sense of their own limitations, they have built a strong inner character. Labor activist Frances Perkins understood the need to suppress parts of herself so that she could be an instrument in a larger cause. Dwight Eisenhower organized his life not around impulsive self-expression but considered self-restraint. Dorothy Day, a devout Catholic convert and champion of the poor, learned as a young woman the vocabulary of simplicity and surrender. Civil rights pioneers A. Philip Randolph and Bayard Rustin learned reticence and the logic of self-discipline, the need to distrust oneself even while waging a noble crusade.

Blending psychology, politics, spirituality, and confessional, The Road to Character provides an opportunity for us to rethink our priorities, and strive to build rich inner lives marked by humility and moral depth.

“Joy,” David Brooks writes, “is a byproduct experienced by people who are aiming for something else. But it comes.”

Praise for The Road to Character

“A hyper-readable, lucid, often richly detailed human story.”—The New York Times Book Review

“This profound and eloquent book is written with moral urgency and philosophical elegance.”—Andrew Solomon, author of Far from the Tree and The Noonday Demon

“A powerful, haunting book that works its way beneath your skin.”—The Guardian

“Original and eye-opening . . . Brooks is a normative version of Malcolm Gladwell, culling from a wide array of scientists and thinkers to weave an idea bigger than the sum of its parts.”—USA Today
Thoreau's Living Ethics is the first full, rigorous account of Henry Thoreau's ethical philosophy. Focused on Walden but ranging widely across his writings, the study situates Thoreau within a long tradition of ethical thinking in the West, from the ancients to the Romantics and on to the present day. Philip Cafaro shows Thoreau grappling with important ethical questions that agitated his own society and discusses his value for those seeking to understand contemporary ethical issues.

Cafaro's particular interest is in Thoreau's treatment of virtue ethics: the branch of ethics centered on personal and social flourishing. Ranging across the central elements of Thoreau's philosophy—life, virtue, economy, solitude and society, nature, and politics—Cafaro shows Thoreau developing a comprehensive virtue ethics, less based in ancient philosophy than many recent efforts and more grounded in modern life and experience. He presents Thoreau's evolutionary, experimental ethics as superior to the more static foundational efforts of current virtue ethicists.

Another main focus is Thoreau's environmental ethics. The book shows Thoreau not only anticipating recent arguments for wild nature's intrinsic value, but also demonstrating how a personal connection to nature furthers self-development, moral character, knowledge, and creativity. Thoreau's life and writings, argues Cafaro, present a positive, life-affirming environmental ethics, combining respect and restraint with an appreciation for human possibilities for flourishing within nature.

Though virtue ethics is enjoying a resurgence, the topic of virtue cultivation has been largely neglected by philosophers. This volume remedies this gap, featuring mostly new essays, commissioned for this collection, by philosophers, theologians, and psychologists at the forefront of research into virtue. Each contribution focuses on some aspect of virtue development, either by highlighting virtue cultivation within distinctive traditions of ethical or religious thought, or by taking a developmental perspective to yield fresh insights into criticisms of virtue ethics, or by examining the science that explains virtue development. The essays by Russell and Driver investigate virtue cultivation or problems associated with it from Aristotelian and utilitarian perspectives. Slote addresses virtue development from the sentimentalist standpoint. Swanton and Cureton and Hill explore self-improvement, the former with an eye to offering solutions to critiques of virtue ethics, the latter from a Kantian ethical vantage point. Slingerland examines contemporary psychology as well as virtue development in the Confucian tradition to counter situationist criticisms of virtue ethics. Flanagan, Bucar, and Herdt examine how virtue is cultivated in the Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian traditions, respectively. Narvaez, Thompson, and McAdams offer descriptive insights from psychology into virtue development. The result is a collection of extremely creative essays that not only fills the current gap but also promises to stimulate new work on a philosophically neglected yet vital topic.
"Character" has become a front-and-center topic in contemporary discourse, but this term does not have a fixed meaning. Character may be simply defined by what someone does not do, but a more active and thorough definition is necessary, one that addresses certain vital questions. Is character a singular characteristic of an individual, or is it composed of different aspects? Does character--however we define it--exist in degrees, or is it simply something one happens to have? How can character be developed? Can it be learned? Relatedly, can it be taught, and who might be the most effective teacher? What roles are played by family, schools, the media, religion, and the larger culture? This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. They approach good character in terms of separate strengths-authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on-each of which exists in degrees. Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.
Brilliant distillations of the strategies of war—and the subtle social game of everyday life—by the bestselling author of The 48 Laws of Power and The Laws of Human Nature

Robert Greene’s groundbreaking guides, The 48 Laws of Power, The Art of Seduction, and Mastery, espouse profound, timeless lessons from the events of history to help readers vanquish an enemy, ensnare an unsuspecting victim, or become the greatest in your field. In The 33 Strategies of War, Greene has crafted an important addition to this ruthless and unique series.

Spanning world civilizations, synthesizing dozens of political, philosophical, and religious texts and thousands of years of violent conflict, The 33 Strategies of War is the I-Ching of conflict, the contemporary companion to Sun Tzu’s The Art of War.

Abundantly illustrated with examples from history, including the folly and genius of everyone from Napoleon to Margaret Thatcher, Shaka the Zulu to Lord Nelson, Hannibal to Ulysses S. Grant, as well as movie moguls, Samurai swordsmen, and diplomats, each of the thirty-three chapters outlines a strategy that will help you win life’s wars. Learn the offensive strategies that require you to maintain the initiative and negotiate from a position of strength, or the defensive strategies designed to help you respond to dangerous situations and avoid unwinnable wars. The great warriors of battlefields and drawing rooms alike demonstrate prudence, agility, balance, and calm, and a keen understanding that the rational, resourceful, and intuitive always defeat the panicked, the uncreative, and the stupid. An indispensable book, The 33 Strategies of War provides all the psychological ammunition you need to overcome patterns of failure and forever gain the upper hand.
 Jesus stands on the road beside you now and says, "Where are you going?" Are you ready to enter into Deep Adventure? Are you ready to take up your cross and follow him? Are you ready to let virtue propel you into the wild adventure of God's will? Are you ready to walk the Way of Heroic Virtue?
Host of EWTN’s “Deep Adventure Radio,” and two-time Masters World Champion Surfer, Bear Woznick is the Adventure Guide for Deep Adventure Quest Retreats, where people step out of their comfort zone and into the danger zone of God’s will. In Deep Adventure: The Way of Heroic Virtue, Bear shares his real-life adventures as a way to challenge you to go deeper with God and live a life of virtue. Pulse-pounding stories of ocean rescues, huge waves and deadly encounters with sharks show us that when people abandon themselves to God, they do not become some soft, pastel version of themselves. On the contrary, a life lived in pursuit of God’s will is the boldest, most rewarding way possible to live. If you’re tired of being spoon-fed the message that you just need to be “nicer,” this book is for you.

You know deep inside that you are meant for more. You feel the call to be valiant and heroic for your loved ones and for the world. What you seek is profound, but you want a clearer goal and the means to accomplish that. Join us on this quest. Abandoning yourself to God’s will takes every ounce of your courage and dedication. You will be tested, but Jesus is the one calling and he will empower you in ways you’ve never even imagined.
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