Seminar: Dr Barbro Fröding, "Virtuous Choice and Parity"

Past Event

26 May 2010, 4:00pm - 6:00pm

Lecture Theatre, Oxford Martin School
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Abstract: This article seeks to contribute to the discussion on the nature of choice in virtue theory. If several different actions are available to the virtuous agent, they are also likely to vary in their degree of virtue, at least in some situations. Yet, it is widely agreed that once an action is recognised as virtuous there is no higher level of virtue. In this paper we discuss how the virtue theorist could accommodate both these seemingly conflicting ideas. We discuss this issue from a modern Aristotelian perspective, as opposed to a purely exegetic one. We propose a way of resolving what seems to be a major clash between two central features of virtue ethics. Our proposal is based on the notion of parity, a concept which recently has received considerable attention in the literature on axiology. Briefly put, two alternatives are on a par (or are 'roughly equal') if they are comparable, although it is not the case that one is better than the other, nor that they are equally good. The advantages of applying the concept of parity to our problem are twofold. Firstly, it sheds new light on the account of choice in virtue theory. Secondly, some of the criticisms that have been mounted against the possibility of parity can be countered by considering the notion of choice from a virtue theory perspective.

Co-author: Dr Martin Peterson (Eindhoven)

Dr Barbro Fröding (MSc LSE, BA King’s College London) completed her PhD in Philosophy at The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) in Stockholm, Sweden. Dr Fröding is Hardie Postdoctoral Junior Research Fellow at Lincoln College, and Marie Cure Postdoctoral Fellow at the Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics. Her research addresses human enhancement from a virtue ethics perspective, and the philosophical dimensions of ownership of biological material. She is especially interested in Aristotelian virtue ethics.