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What is ethical naturalism?

Ethical naturalism holds that goodness is a natural property and that morality can be understood without intuitions, conscience, or religion.

What was Alasdair Maclntyre's contribution to virtue ethics?

Alasdair MacIntyre (1929-) has approached ethics with a rejection of both Marxism and late-twentieth century consumer capitalism. In his return to Thomistic Aristotelianism, or Aristotelianism influenced by the altruistic and religious values of Christianity, he considers the nature of moral argument about competing systems and has reclaimed Edith Stein (1891-1942) as a phenomenologist.

MacIntyre views virtues as moral qualities needed to fulfill human potential. He has focused on the combination of practice, virtue, and tradition: practice is communal action; virtue is the individual dispositions and habits that are necessary to participate in practice; tradition is the history of a community as an object of reflection. MacIntyre thus thinks that virtues develop and are practiced in communities and that moral communities must be understood in terms of their history.

MacIntyre's view is not intended to be conservative in a social or political sense, but is instead developed as an understanding of Aristotelian virtues that would not have been possible without the fact of all the history that has ensued since Aristotle wrote. MacIntyre's main works on this subject include After Virtue (1981), Whose Justice, Whose Rationality? (1988), and Three Rival Versions of Moral Inquiry (1990).

Who was Ayn Rand?

Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was a Russian-born American novelist who reacted strongly against communist and socialist political ideals, as well as Christian virtues of altruism. She is most famous for extolling "the virtue of selfishness" in both her novels and her philosophy of objectivism. Her most popular novels are We the Living (1936), The Fountainhead (1943), and Atlas Shrugged(1957).

What was Ayn Rand's virtue of selfishness?

Rand believed that the highest human good was individual happiness, which is achieved through rationality. Every individual has an elevated duty to further his or her own self-interest, and others do not have a right to demand that one sacrifice oneself or one's interests simply because they are weaker or in need. In this sense, Rand was an "ethical egoist."

What is ethical egoism?

Ethical egoism is the moral system that everyone ought to pursue his or her own self-interest above all other goals. As with ethical relativism, it has both a descriptive and prescriptive form. Descriptive ethical egoism holds that everyone always pursues their own self-interest; prescriptive ethical egoism holds that everyone should always pursue his or her own self-interest. Insofar as she thought that communism and socialism were evil and widespread, Ayn Rand (1905-1982) was not a descriptive ethical egoist, although she was clearly a prescriptive ethical egoist.

What was Ayn Rand's philosophy of objectivism?

Most professional philosophers refer to Rand's (1905-1982) objectivism as a "so-called philosophy." Rand claimed to have taught herself the history of Western philosophy in a matter of months, which left her a passionate follower of Aristotle (384-322 b.c.e.). She believed that Aristotle's law of identity, or "A is A," is a metaphysical principle on which can be based the existence of an objective world that is knowable through reason. Rand remains popular on many contemporary college campuses, although more for her novels and doctrine of selfishness than for her metaphysics. (Most professional philosophers before and after Rand have held "A is A" to be a tautology, telling us nothing about the world, be it objective or otherwise.)

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