Virtue Ethics and the Meaning of LifeDavid McPherson (Creighton University)
In this talk, David McPherson will argue that neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics needs to be connected with an account of the meaning of life. He will begin by discussing the relationship between virtue and happiness, and he will argue that happiness should be understood in terms of a meaningful life that is constituted by virtuous activity. In doing so, he will seek to challenge influential positions on the relationship between virtue and happiness (each advanced by Philippa Foot during her career) as well as contemporary views of meaning in life (namely, those of Susan Wolf and Thaddeus Metz) which maintain that morality, happiness, and meaning are distinct categories that need not be connected. McPherson will also challenge the attempt to separate the pursuit of meaning in life from the question of the meaning of life, that is, the question of whether there is an ultimate purpose for human existence. In doing so, he will also challenge contemporary Aristotelians who do not think virtue ethics needs to be connected with any specific cosmic outlook. McPherson will argue that we need an account of the meaning of life in order to offer sufficient support for the life of virtue and to address the problem of loss within it.
April 14, 2023, 3:00pm UTC