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In this chapter, I am concerned with the attempt to naturalize ethics found in contemporary neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics and represented amongst other by the work of John McDowell, Philippa Foot and Rosalind Hursthouse. I depart from a distinction between three forms of naturalism, hard or scientific naturalism, liberal naturalism and unrestricted or absolute naturalism, which I use to show how neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicists place themselves within a liberal form of naturalism in order to develop an account of the virtues as indeed natural. In the main part of the chapter, I argue, on the one hand, that there is a point of affinity between this endeavour and the approach to nature found in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy and, on the other, that a Wittgensteinian naturalism still differs from the liberal naturalism adopted in neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics in one crucial respect, namely by being unrestricted. Finally, I will make a call for an adoption of this form of naturalism in virtue ethics and argue that this will fundamentally alter the way we ought to approach the virtues in moral philosophy.
|Title of host publication||Ethics in the Wake of Wittgenstein|
|Editors||Benjamin de Mesel, Oskari Kuusela|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Series||Routledge Studies in Ethics and Moral Theory|