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Worldly Virtue

Moral Ideals and Contemporary Life

Judith Andre

Worldly Virtue argues that general discussions of virtue need to be complemented by attention to specific virtues. Each chapter addresses a single virtue, most of them traditional (e.g., honesty, generosity, and humility), and sometimes newly framed (“earthly virtue,” for instance, and “open hope.”) The final essay breaks ground by identifying virtues specific to the fact that we age. The book draws upon various spiritual traditions, especially Christianity and Buddhism, for what they value and the practices that sustain those values; at times it identifies ways in which each can mislead. The book also draws from contemporary sciences, natural but especially behavioral. Anthropologists and sociologists, for instance, have identified a universal norm of reciprocity; virtuous generosity must respect this need to give back. In another example, new understandings of addiction suggest that temperance requires dealing with pain as much as resisting pleasure. Because no single template applies to every virtue, different questions are asked about each. Nevertheless each chapter addresses the often-neglected question of how the virtue in question is acquired, and how social context can support or impede its acquisition. The book is addressed to philosophers, but may also be of interest in religious studies, for its philosophical development of religious themes. « less more »
Lexington Books
Pages: 184Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/2
978-0-7391-8582-7 • Hardback • March 2015 • $80.00 • (£52.95)
978-0-7391-8583-4 • eBook • March 2015 • $76.00 • (£49.95)
Judith Andre is professor emerita at Michigan State University.
Chapter 1 Framing Worldly Virtues
Chapter 2 Earthly Virtue
Chapter 3 Open Hope
Chapter 4 Honoring Oneself: And Sacrificing Oneself?
Chapter 5 Defining Compassion
Chapter 6 Generosity Revisited
Chapter 7 Facets of Honesty
Chapter 8 Humility Reconsidered
Chapter 9 Complicating Temperance
Chapter 10 Virtue and Age
No philosopher writing today surpasses Judith Andre in producing work that is deep, real, and true. Worldly Virtue is her finest achievement, a book that contributes immeasurably to virtue ethics as a whole and to understanding individual virtues in the context of our actual lives and challenging times. This book shows how downright beautiful philosophy can be.
Claudia Mills, University of Colorado, Boulder

[This book is] a concise and accessible work of virtue ethics. . . .Andre is alive to . . . important issues, providing thoughtful examples in which these virtues promote flourishing . . . and suggesting a number of ways to foster these dispositions. . . .While Andre has developed theoretical accounts of these virtues, she has not left us without suggestions for practical guidance . . . Worldly Virtue contains some very interesting ideas.
Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews