The priority problem is a powerful objection to Virtue Ethics. Can the Virtue Ethicist answer this objection? Given the priority problem, is Virtue Ethics an adequate moral theory?


The priority problem is a powerful objection to Virtue Ethics. Can the Virtue Ethicist answer this objection? Given the priority problem, is Virtue Ethics an adequate moral theory? Why or why not?

To answer these questions, you must explain Virtue Ethics sufficiently well to make clear the priority problem. You must also explain the objection the priority problem poses for the theory. Finally, you must argue either that Virtue Ethics can answer the objection or that it cannot.


The easiest way to structure this is to ask yourself the following: Am I arguing in favor of the Priority Problem or against it? If you’re arguing in favor of the objection – if you’re arguing that the Virtue Ethicist can’t answer this objection and thus that the theory fails – adopt the defensive strategy (detailed on the left-hand side of the table on the Structuring AEs_S21 pdf). On the other hand, if you’re arguing against the objection – if you’re arguing that Virtue Ethics can answer the priority problem – your task is to explain where the priority problem goes wrong (putting you the right-hand side of the table on the Structuring AEs_S21 pdf).
You should only discuss those aspects of Virtue Ethics that are relevant to the priority problem or to the Virtue Ethicist response, and you should not discuss any objection to Virtue Ethics unrelated either to the priority problem or to the Virtue Ethicist response to that problem.


Papers should:

Be approximately 1250-1500 words.
Be 1.5 point or double-spaced.
Include a word count, excluding Works Cited or References

Papers must:

Include an introductory paragraph
Include a thesis statement
Include an argument for your thesis
Include at least one objection and response to your argument

This is an argumentative paper, wherein you will carefully and correctly explain the relevant view and take a position regarding it. This requires you to provide a thesis and offer a clear and well-developed argument in defense of it and to anticipate and respond to a least one objection to your argument. By ‘your argument’, I mean that one that you are defending in the essay.


Introductory paragraph – lay out for the reader what you will be doing in the paper. Here you must provide your thesis and to explain the structure of your paper. You might also want to motivate the problem.
Thesis: You must include a thesis stating clearly the position you’ll be arguing for. E.g. Virtue Ethics can successfully answer the priority problem.
Make clear the structure of the rest of your paper. You’ll want to say something to the effect that you’ll be explaining virtue ethics and the priority problem and arguing that the priority problem can or cannot be answered.
Your papers must be well structured, and everything you say must be stated clearly. Reading your paper out loud helps with this as does having a friend, or better somebody in the writing center, read it over.
Your paper should not include any mistakes in spelling or grammar, so you will need to go through some revisions.
You must cite authors and page numbers – e.g. (SL, 291). And, you must work closely with the texts discussed in class. Although you may use outside sources, although I encourage you not to do so, you certainly should not do so at the expense of the assigned materials, and you must include full citations of any unassigned material you use. This includes websites.
Note: quotation is not the same as explanation. If you quote someone, you must explain what the quote says/means in your own words.

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