Two very significant developments have marked the field of ethics and moral theory over the last fifty years or so. First, there has been the emergence of a new area of discussion (or the revival of an old one) called “virtue ethics” as a distinct field within moral theory alongside utilitarianism, deontology and the oft-neglected natural law theory of morality. Second, there has been an increased attention on issues in applied or practical ethics with the main focus initially turned on bioethics but soon extending to ethical issues in a large range of professional fields and issues relevant to social policy and individual behaviour. As a result of the interaction between these two developments, virtue ethics has become a distinctive field with theoretical approaches and methodologies of its own along with a range of applications of unusually wide scope. It is timely, then, to collect and publish the reflections of leading contributors to debates on the most important current themes in virtue ethics. The Handbook of Virtue Ethics is devoted to collecting these reflections. It is hoped that such a publication will prove useful for specialists in the field of virtue ethics and its many sister fields in philosophy, sociology and theology, as well as for those whose concerns are more directly practical in such ields as law, politics and bioethics.
The chapters are written by those at the forefront of the field with established international track records on a variety of related topics.