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Assignment Questions

Are the Virtues the Proper Starting Point for Ethical Theory

Structure: Once you pick a debate, you should begin by exploring the relevant readings until you think
there is an explicit reason for favoring one position over the others. Then, in your paper, you should
summarize your understanding of what’s at stake, and provide an argument in support of the position you
favor, or against the alternatives. Your argument can take one of many possible forms:

• You can provide a novel defense of a position against an objection that is standardly considered
decisive;

• You can present a series of hypothetical examples, and then explain why you think they provide
support for, or counter-examples against, one of the positions.

• You can advance an original argument in favor of a position;

• You can develop an argument challenging an implicit, underlying assumption of the debate, and then
elaborate a new, unexplored position that only looks theoretically attractive once the assumption is
dropped;

• You can reformulate an existing objection to a position in a way that you think overcomes one or
more of the replies that have been presented against it;

• You can distinguish two versions of a position that you think are often conflated, and then explain
why the arguments in favor of one version don’t suffice to support the other (or why the objections to
one version don’t suffice to undermine the other.)

• And so on.

Topic:

Are the Virtues the Proper Starting Point for Ethical Theory?: Summarize the debate, identify the key
issues, and then present an argument in for or against one of the positions.

• Hursthouse, “Are virtues the proper starting point for morality?”*
• Driver, “Virtue Theory.”*

Please quote! and use proper MLA format. Also a bibliography page. Feel free to include any other sources that would of course strengthen the argument. I provided two if you can include two more!
thank you

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