Virtue Ethics for Today's Choices Book Review

Virtue Ethics for Today's Choices
Reviews the book "Wrestling with Life's Tough Decisions", written by Claire Disbrey and published by Hendrickson in 2007.
# 152805 | 1,420 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2013 | US
Published on Apr 30, 2013 in Philosophy (Ethics) , Literature (General) , Ethics (General)

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This paper compares Claire Disbrey's "Wrestling with Life's Tough Decisions", which presents a defense of "virtue ethics" for Christians, with Wyndy Reuschling's "Reviving Evangelical Ethics", which assesses the traditional models of ethics: deontology (Kant), utilitarianism (Mill) and virtue ethics (Aristotle). Unlike Reuschling, who synthesizes these three models to find a homogenous middle ground, the author believes that Disbrey is convinced that virtue ethics most ably answers today's ethical questions. The paper concludes that Disbrey is overly concerned with how Christians are seen by the world, rather than with how they are seen by their Savior. Footnotes and quotations are included.

Table of Contents:

From the Paper:

"This thesis stems from the principle that the answers to life's questions are not found in rules, on the one extreme, or in love, on the other. The bulk of the book is a series of hypothetical scenarios wherein characters are confronted with ethical quandaries. Disbrey has these characters evaluate their particular situation in light of, first, the "rules" (or duty), and then second, "consequences" (or love for those involved). In each case, she has the character deciding, after considering the virtue(s) involved in their dilemma, to "do the right thing." Along the way, she has a divorced woman, desiring to remarry, rely on poor exegesis to justify dismissing the "rule" (when the properly understood "rule" would permit the remarriage). Later, she has a pastor who decides that, while regrettable, deception is a proper tool in marriage counseling. As a final illustration, Disbrey has a woman, faced with an unplanned pregnancy, actually entertaining the "option" of abortion as ethical. In her explanation of how this could be so, Disbrey argues that "If she has the baby, the only person who will experience good consequences is herself..." Apparently for Disbrey, life would not be a "good consequence" for the baby, though this is because she (Disbrey) thinks that commonly used passages in the pro-life debate."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Disbrey, Claire Disbrey. Wrestling with Life's Tough Decisions. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2007.
  • Gill, David W. Doing Right: Practicing Ethical Principles. Downers Grove: IVP, 2004.
  • Reuschling, Wyndy Corbin. Reviving Evangelical Ethics: The Promises and Pitfalls of Classic Models of Morality. Grand Rapids: BrazosPress, 2008.

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