Philippa Foot’s ‘Natural Goodness’.
Maynooth Philosophical Papers, Issue 5 (2008).
Philippa Foot, with the help of her friend and colleague Elizabeth Anscombe, discovered that Summa Theologiae, II-II of Thomas Aquinas was a powerful resource in seeking objectivism in ethics. Foot’s aim was to produce an ethics of natural goodness, in which moral evil, for example, came to be seen as a ‘natural defect’ rather than the expression of a taste or preference. This brought her to develop a concrete ethics of virtue with a broad sweep, dealing with the individual and communal needs and goods of human beings, and particularly with their central moral quality of acting for a reason, with a practical rationality. This has helped her to return to an Aristotelian meaning of virtue, as simply one kind of excellence among others.
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Dr. Cyril McDonnell
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