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Morality and the Good Friend

Purdy, Ashley Nicole (2022) Morality and the Good Friend. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this dissertation, I evaluate three normative ethical theories based on whether they can overcome what I call the burdensomeness objection. According to this objection, a normative ethical theory is objectionably burdensome if acting on the reasons it prescribes does not leave sufficient space for the agent’s own projects, relationships, and so on. The realization of such values is necessary for living a good human life, so it would be unduly restrictive of a theory to curtail the pursuit of them. Throughout the dissertation, I use friendship as my test case for the burdensomeness objection. This is for two reasons: first, friendship is a particularly representative instance of the sort of value we want protected; and second, the philosophers whose theories I evaluate are (for the most part) themselves concerned to show the compatibility of their theories with friendship. Even so, I argue in the first two chapters that moral metaethical constitutivism and T.M. Scanlon’s contractualism, respectively, fail to show they can overcome the burdensomeness objection. I suggest in the conclusion that an Aristotelian virtue ethics is likely to overcome the objection, but only if the view adopts a suitable conception of character friendship. I propose one such conception in the third chapter.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Purdy, Ashley Nicoleanp146@pitt.eduanp146
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPallikkathayil,
Committee MemberWhiting,
Committee MemberTheunissen,
Committee MemberEbels-Duggan,
Date: 12 October 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 7 July 2022
Approval Date: 12 October 2022
Submission Date: 10 July 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 124
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: normative ethics, friendship, morality, constitutivism, contractualism, Aristotle
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 16:06
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 16:06

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