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The Virtues of Limits


The Virtues of Limits

  • ISBN 13:


  • ISBN 10:


  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 03/15/2022
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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Human beings seek to transcend limits. This is part of our potential greatness, since it is how we can realize what is best in our humanity. However, the limit-transcending feature of human life is also part of our potential downfall, as it can lead to dehumanization and failure to attain important human goods and to prevent human evils. Exploring the place of limits within a well-lived human life this work develops and defends an original account of limiting virtues, which are concerned with recognizing proper limits in human life. The limiting virtues that are the focus are humility, reverence, moderation, contentment, neighborliness, and loyalty, and they are explored in relation to four kinds of limits: existential limits, moral limits, political limits, and economic limits. These virtues have been underexplored in discussions about virtue ethics, and when they have been explored it has not been with regard to the general issue of the place of limits within a well-lived human
life. The account of the limiting virtues provided here, however, is intended as a counter to other prominent approaches to ethics: namely, autonomy-centered approaches and consequentialist (or maximizing) approaches. This account is also used to address a number of important contemporary issues such as genetic engineering, distributive justice, cosmopolitanism vs. patriotism, and the ethical status of growth-based economics.

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