Virtue Ethics and the Charge of Egoism

Julia Annas

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


There are problems with egoism as a theory, but what matters here is the point that intuitively ethics is thought to be about the good of others, so that focusing on your own good seems wrong from the start. Virtues are not just character traits, however, since forgetfulness or stubbornness are not virtues. Virtues are character traits which are in some way desirable. Criticism is generally renewed at this point on the grounds that claims about flourishing are now including claims about virtue, and are thus no longer common ground to the defender and the critic of virtue ethics. But virtue ethics has never held that they are, so this is not a problem. It is only to be expected that the virtuous will differ from the nonvirtuous in their assessments of flourishing, because we are dealing here with virtue in the context of a formally characterized conception of flourishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMorality and Self-Interest
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780199851539
ISBN (Print)9780195305845
StatePublished - Oct 3 2011


  • Criticism
  • Egoism
  • Flourishing
  • Intuitively
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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