Is Virtue Ethics fit for the future? How to deal with intertemporal moral relations
Sophie Grace Chappell (The Open University)
Louke van Wensveen (Independent scholar)
Susana Cadilha (IFILNOVA)
Sofia Guedes Vaz (IFILNOVA/Sociedade de Ética Ambiental)
IFILNOVA’s based project PRESENT DEMOCRACY FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS focuses on the possibility of reconfiguring certain key concepts originated especially in modernity (e.g., rights, representation, sovereignty, etc.) in order to to assess their viability in a world order that must expand the time horizons of individual and collective decision-making to solve some of its most pressing problems. Such concepts and institutions tend to emerge in debates about intergenerational justice or about the priority of the long term typically within a deontological or a utilitarian framework – inquiries into the existence of moral duties towards future generations, the welfare of future persons, and the equal consideration of the interests of future people provide good illustrations of such general preference for deontology and utilitarianism. This workshop aims at discussing an alternative framework, namely, the possible contributions of virtue ethics as a normative theory fit for the future.
The landscape of intergenerational questions includes a strong moral topography as it is obvious and clear that our present actions will affect life and health of future generations. This assessment is no longer doubtful or even problematic, but it opens a discussion on its multiple normative possibilities.
Since virtue ethics focuses on the agent and on character formation, it is the agent herself that is the subject of her own morality, which implies some sort of timelessness where the future might be included by default. In this workshop we aim to tackle a morality for the future from the perspective of virtue ethics.
NOVA University Lisbon – School of Social Sciences and Humanities, Lisbon