Notes on After Virtue

These are my (extremely lengthy) notes on Alastair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. This book is credited with reinvigorating the discussion of virtue ethics in the modern context—a branch of ethics that has been more or less ignored since Aquinas.

My own thoughts on the book are here. (As much as possible, I’ve avoided editorialising in the notes.)

  • Chapter 2: The Nature of Moral Disagreement Today and the Claims of Emotivism
    • Moral arguments tend to talk past each other: consider pro-choice vs pro-life, libertarianism vs socialism, pacifism vs “si vis pacem”-ism;
    • All can be argued in coherent, logically valid ways, and you can only argue back to the premises
      • Having reached the premises, we have no way of deciding whose premises are better
    • Choice of premises appears arbitrary, yet we use language that appeals to objective standards
    • All moral reasonings must at some point terminate—“why is that moral? Why that?”
      • That terminus of justification can, by definition, have no criteria for its choice (so say emotivists)
  • Chapter 4: The Predecessor Culture and the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality
    • Only in the mid-16th into 17th century did “morality” become a separate thing from legal, religious, and aesthetic concerns
    • Only in the late 17th to 18th century did the independent, rational justification of morality become central to Northern European culture
    • Kierkegaard in Enten-Eller presents two ways of looking at the world: aesthetic and immersed in the present, or ethical and, well, responsible
      • Can give no reason for choosing one over the other; any argument would have to be couched in terms of one system
  • Chapter 5: Why the Enlightenment Project of Justifying Morality Had to Fail
    • Pascal anticipated Hume: anti-Aristotelian concept of reason restricts it to assessing facts, not determining ends; even rejects Descartes’ belief it can refute skepticism
      • It’s an achievement that reason lets us recognize beliefs are ultimately founded on nature, custom, and habit
    • All major Enlightenment philosophers rejected a teleological view of human nature, of man having an essence that defines his true end
      • But, their moral schema requires 3 things: man in his untutored state, man-if-he-would-recognize-his-telos, and an ethics to tell us how to make that transition
      • But, these philosophers reject the telos aspect
      • This was a radical change
    • Contra “no “ought” from “is””:
      • Consider: He is a sea captain; he ought to do whatever a sea captain ought to do.
      • Functional concepts: the concept of a watch can’t exist without the concept of what makes a good watch (similar with farmer); so, on the basis of information about the watch’s characteristics (like timekeeping ability) we can say whether it is good or bad.
        • Aristotelian arguments about morality involve a functional concept: the concept of man as having an essential nature and purpose or function
        • Aristotle says man is to “living well” as a harpist is to “playing the harp well”
        • Derives from man’s roles: citizen, soldier, family member, servant of God, etc.
        • Without those, the functional aspect disappears
        • For Aristotle and others to call a man “good” was to say he performed his essential functions or fulfilled his essential purpose; a good x is the kind of x which someone would choose who wanted an x for the purpose which xs are characteristically used for
          • These are factual statements!
        • For Aristotle, moral judgements amounted to: you ought to do so and so because your telos is such and such
        • Blurs the line between fact and value!
  • Chapter 6: Some Consequences of the Failure of the Enlightenment Project
    • Rights and utility were two competing ideas advanced to fill the gap left by teleology as a basis for morality; they are incommensurable, and as such, many of our political debates can have no resolution, because one side’s argument is couched in terms of inalienable rights, and the other in terms of utility
    • Aristotle’s writing was as much concerned with how human action is to be explained & understood (i.e., in terms of telos) as with what right action is
      • His view of actions included facts about what is valuable to human beings, not just what they think to be valuable
    • If we were to have a set of “laws” of human behavior—when you observe such and such preconditions, you can be guaranteed such and such outcome—there would be a problem for any human attempting to manipulate the actions of others through applying such laws: they would view their subjects’ actions as law-governed, but their own as resulting from (something like) their own will
  • Chapter 8: The Character of Generalizations in Social Science
    • Social science has yet to produce lawlike generalizations of human behavior; some social scientists may continue to advocate for this as the end goal of their work for the sake of being employed as experts
    • Social science’s predictive power is severely lacking
    • Social scientists’ generalizations almost always have known counterexamples, and even the generalizers themselves tend to accept these (without needing modification of their theory)—this could be characterized as the opposite of how natural scientists/Popperian philosophers of science operate
      • These generalizations come with no scope modifiers to tell us when they hold
      • Also don’t entail counterfactuals to tell when they hold beyond observed conditions
      • Can’t get around these issues by calling the generalizations “probabilistic,” because the probabilities can only come from observed instances in the wild, not experiment or something… it amounts to counting past events and calling it generalization
    • For Enlightenment thinkers, to “explain” was to invoke a law-like generalization retrospectively; to “predict” was to invoke it prospectively
      • Their expectation was that as science progresses, fewer and fewer things will occur without being previously predicted (or which at least could have been predicted based on the science of the day)
      • Machiavelli differed in this point: he thought no matter how far science progressed, predicting human behavior would never succeed because of the role of Fortuna
        • Generalizations can always be foiled by an unpredicted/unpredictable counter example, without leading the way to improving our generalization for next time; “shit happens”
        • The best we can hope for is to limit the power of Fortuna
    • Sources of unpredictability in human affairs
      • Popper’s idea of radical conceptual innovation: can’t predict a totally new invention, because even conceptualizing it is impossible until the invention exists (or even stronger, merely conceptualizing of it may in fact be the invention/radical change)
        • Foretelling/sci-if doesn’t count here—not a rationally grounded prediction that has any hope of filling in the details for how we get there
        • Same problems for prediction arise outside of natural science: the invention of the genre of tragedy, the first preaching of Luther’s doctrine of justification, etc.
          • Doesn’t entail these inventions are inexplicable after the fact!
      • Perfect prediction is impossible because my future actions are a) unknown to me, and b) dependent on the actions of others (whose future actions are in turn unknown to them)
        • [Tyler’s commentary:] We live in the age of analytics; even though we can’t predict any individual agent’s actions perfectly, we can do a pretty damn good job of predicting the collective actions of well-defined cohorts.
      • Game theory doesn’t help here
        • in any given transaction, all parties may have many goals only tertiarily related to the issue at hand (e.g., a politician is concerned with reelection, an employee with his future job prospects, etc.)
        • “Not one game is being played, but several . . . the problem about real life is that moving one’s knight to QB3 may always be replied to with a lob across the net.”
        • In any given situation, there might be no single observer who knows all the “games” being played
        • Real life conflicts don’t take place with a pre-determined number of actors, nor within a predetermined area—e.g., a battle is necessarily open and indeterminate
      • Trivial contingencies can end up having massive impacts (e.g., the molehill that killed William III, Napoleon’s cold at Waterloo)
    • Unpredictability doesn’t imply inexplicability, nor does predictability imply explicability (e.g., we know statistically Irishmen are more likely than Danes to be mentally ill, but there might be many competing explanations for why, all of which may turn out to be wrong)
    • This unpredictability influences the characteristics of the best possible generalizations about human life
      • No hope of approaching law-like generalizations
      • In place of universal quantifies, they need by prefaced by something like “characteristically and for the most part…”
      • Shouldn’t treat predictive error necessarily as a form of failure
    • Suppose you wanted to make the whole world more predictable.
      • You start by creating an organization to enact this, and want to make the organization itself predictable.
      • The best research we have on efficiency/effectiveness at an organizational level shows that individual autonomy and adaptability are key to effectively solving problems.
      • Hence, your own organization would be less predictable the more effective it was.
    • Nothing paradoxical about offering a prediction vulnerable to the type of unpredictability that’s inherent in human life
  • Chapter 9: Nietzsche or Aristotle?
    • Taboo rules are like our moral rules; members of a culture can’t explain why taboos are forbidden, because they’ve lost the historical and social context in which the rules arose
      • Trying to justify taboo rules in terms of things like non-natural properties, emotive assertions, or universalizable rules is doomed to fail
    • Erving Goffman’s sociology corresponds to Weber and Nietzsche
      • Highlights the contrast between the purported meaning of actions/utterances and the use to which they are actually put
      • Goal of a person playing a Goffman-esque role is effectiveness, and success is nothing more than what passes for success; no objective standards, no social or cultural space from which to define success
      • Aristotle rejected this: said we honor others because of something they are or do
        • Honor can’t consist only in having the regard of others; that regard must be at best a secondary good
    • Nietzsche: all rational vindications of morality fail, so belief in the tenets of morality need to be explained in terms of a set of rationalizations that conceal the fundamentally non-rational phenomena of the will
      • If we could vindicate Aristotelian ethics, we could provide a rational justification for ethics
    • Modern moral philosophy fails to answer the question of what sort of person I should become; answers only indirectly
    • Modern virtues are valuable insofar as they drive us to follow (separate) moral rules
      • Aristotle and Nietzsche agree we need to attend to virtues first and see what rules fall out of that
  • Chapter 10: The Virtues in Heroic Societies
    • Aristotelian/classical societies taught virtues primarily through telling stories , many of which derive from and tell about a vanished heroic age
    • Heroic societies: people born into roles and statuses based on kinship and household; your role determines what you owe and what you are owed by every other role and status
      • No distinction in many of these languages between ought and owe
      • A person is these societies is no more than the sum of their actions; virtue is no more than excellence at doing what your role is supposed to do
      • Therefore, we can’t divorce the virtues from the social structure; morality and social structure are one and the same in heroic society
      • Why do the characters in the epics follow the morality they do? Because they only understand themselves in terms of their place within the social structure that requires it.
      • The self in heroic societies is a social creation, not an individual one; it becomes what it is only through its role.
      • These societies envisioned human life as a whole to have the narrative structure of an epic poem; no shame in moving inevitably toward its conclusion.
  • Chapter 11: The Virtues at Athens
    • Athenian virtues shifted the moral focus from kin and household to the Athenian democracy as a whole
    • Unlike in Homeric/heroic society, Athenian understanding of the virtues allowed them to evaluate (and thus criticize) their own communities
    • Central question is the relationship between being a good citizen and a good man
    • Sophist conception of virtue:
      • Success by more or less any means is the goal; a virtue is whatever makes you successful
      • Inherently relative: traits that make you successful in Sparta are different from those in Athens
    • Plato believed there could be no conflict between rival goods, and no competing/conflicting virtues; nor could there be any disagreement as to whether a particular characteristic counted as a virtue or vice
      • This is in contrast with the very core of tragic drama
      • Aristotle and Aquinas, like Plato, believed there was a harmony to all virtues in the cosmic order
      • Contrast this with Isaiah Berlin’s view of the heterogeneity of the good for different people (and the corresponding differences in virtues)
      • Sophoclean tragedy: there is a universal moral order, but our perception of it is such that we see unresolvable conflicts
  • Chapter 12: Aristotle’s Account of the Virtues
    • Aristotle’s ethics, founded as they are on the notion that all human actions are aimed at some good, presupposes the truth of the naturalistic fallacy.
    • Also takes for granted that statements about what is good, courageous, excellent in other ways are all simply factual statements.
    • Human beings are moved by their nature toward a certain telos.
    • The virtues are whatever helps an individual achieve eudaimonia, but the lack of which will frustrate his movement toward his telos.
    • The virtues are central to the good life for man, not just one of some number of means of achieving the good.
    • Virtues are dispositions not only to act rightly, but also to feel/desire rightly
    • One does what is virtuous because it is known to be virtuous
      • Thus, doing the right thing without the right motivation (i.e., being oblivious to the virtue-based reason) does not count as exercising the virtue
    • Discerning the difference between short term good and “the” good requires judgement
      • Means doing the right thing, in the right place, at the right time, in the right way—not a routinizable application of rules.
    • His view also includes some universal, absolute prohibitions
      • Hence, two types of principles:
        • the virtues, the practice of which gains one the good, and
        • the rules, the violation of which is not simply bad, but intolerable and prevents one from progressing toward one’s telos
      • You can fail in your duty to your community either through failure to be virtuous enough, or by violating these universal rules (even if you were otherwise quite virtuous)
      • An offense against the laws destroys the bonds that make common pursuit of the good possible
    • Intellectual virtues acquired through teaching; virtues of character through practice
      • Intimately related though: intellectual required to do the right things for the right reasons, character required to implement intellectual knowledge
      • Intellect is therefore necessary for excellence of character
        • This is at odds with modern attitudes
        • Kant distinguished between good will and ability to apply rules to specific cases
        • For Aristotle, though, stupidity precludes a certain type of goodness
    • Central virtues are intimately related; can’t have one fully developed without others
      • Thus, there are not a number of distinct criteria on which to judge, but rather a single complex measure
    • The place for enjoyment/happiness
      • Characteristically accompanies achievement of excellence
      • But, that doesn’t mean happiness is the telos of such activity
    • On practical reasoning
      • Believed that actions express beliefs
      • Requires knowledge of the goals of the agent
      • Can interpret actions as an “argument”:
        • Major premise: such-and-such is good for/needed by the agent (requires intellectual virtues)
        • Minor premise: this is an instance of such-and-such (requires virtue of judgement)
        • Conclusion: action (requires character virtues)
    • Problem: presupposes Aristotle’s metaphysical biology (w.r.t. telos, etc.)
      • Historically people have sharply disagreed over what human flourishing and well-being consist of
      • We need, therefore, some clear and defensible account of the telos
    • Problem: can Aristotle’s account apply in other political systems? (His virtues are tightly integrated with the society in which they were formulated.)
    • Problem: Aristotle views conflict as necessarily exposing faults; for him, “tragic” conflict is less tragic and more a sign of imperfection
  • Chapter 13: Medieval Aspects and Occasions
    • Stoicism abandoned notions of telos
      • Believed virtue was an all-or-nothing: either a person possessed perfect virtue/will (and was therefore good, even if their actions were ineffective) or they were morally worthless
      • Doing right doesn’t necessarily produce happiness, health, success, etc.
      • But, none of these things are genuine goods; happiness etc. is only good insofar as they help an agent with a rightly formed will to do right
        • Stark contrast with Aristotle, who believed doing right led to the good life… and that’s what made it right
      • Only the right will is unconditionally good
      • Some contradiction here: living well means fulfilling cosmic order, natural law, etc., but you should do right for no other reason than it is right
      • Law is central here, not virtues
      • Plurality of virtues disappears; there is but one, cosmic law
      • With its singular focus on (prohibitive) law, it abandons the notion of providing positive direction for what we should be moving toward
    • Every particular view of the virtues is linked to some particular narrative structure of human life—how we conceive of ourselves
      • Medieval: all a journey toward a singular goal (salvation)
      • Aristotle: telos of human life is a certain kind of life; not an achievement, but the way your life is constructed
        • Story of the thief on the cross is unintelligible to Aristotle; doesn’t see charity as a virtue
      • Aquinas
        • Presents his classification of virtues as exhaustive, expressed in terms of received Christian virtues
          • No acknowledgement that a lot of our knowledge of the virtues (especially w.r.t. practice/application) is empirical
        • Unity of the virtues: can’t have one without having all
          • Counterpoint: a courageous Nazi; it’s silly to claim that courage in this case isn’t a virtue
        • Like Aristotle, believes all tragedy to stem from human error
  • Chapter 14: The Nature of the Virtues
    • How do we reconcile vast, contradictory accounts of what the virtues are (much less differing lists of specific virtues)?
    • In all cases, virtues are secondary to the human telos/good life; need to know purpose before we can come up with virtues.
    • Ben Franklin’s account of virtues is strictly utilitarian
    • Conflicting accounts:
      • Homer: virtues are the qualities that enable you to discharge your social role
      • Arostotle, New Testament, Aquinas: qualities that enable you to move toward the specifically human telos
      • Franklin: qualities that have utility achieving earthly & heavenly success
    • Accounts of virtues always require acceptance of some prior account of certain features of social & moral life (e.g., social roles or human telos); virtues are explained in these terms
    • We can consider virtues in terms of characteristics that advance a “practice”—e.g., the practice of chess, or architecture, or medicine.
      • A practice necessarily has externally defined standards of excellence (though not immune to criticism or change over time)—we operate on the best standards so far
      • Goods that are external to a practice are those that are generic across any discipline, and which enrich only the person who excelled
        • E.g., fame and money: both can come to a great chess player, but they have nothing to do with chess itself (and they don’t further the practice of chess for everyone when one person achieves them)
      • Goods internal to a practice enrich everyone involved in the practice (e.g., inventing new techniques)
    • MacIntyre’s starting definition of virtues: an acquired human quality the possession of which supports achieving goods internal to a practice, and the lack of which prevents us from achieving such
    • To improve in a practice, have to honestly evaluate your own position and the feedback you get; requires honesty, courage, justice
      • Cheating might help achieve external goods, but never internal ones
    • Likewise, every practice (pursuit of common good in Aristotle’s terms) requires exercise of the virtues between practitioners: honesty, justice, etc.
      • We cannot escape defining our relationships in such terms
      • This despite varying codes of these virtues (e.g., honesty) over time
    • A practice so defined transforms and enriches technical skills to serve human good
    • Contrast the modern individualist state which is totally neutral with respect to inculcating any particular moral outlook with Socrates city-state, which considered the virtues necessary for its own sustenance
    • Virtues are necessary for attainment of internal goods, but may in fact be hinderances to achieving external goods
      • If pursuit of external goods became dominant, the virtues would likely suffer (although simulacra may abound)
    • Contrasting this account with Aristotle’s:
      • This view is socially teleological, not biologically so
        • Virtues further a practice
      • There is a multiplicity of practices and goods in the pursuit of which the virtues may be exercised; thus, genuine conflict between goods is possible (and not solely the fault of weak humans)
    • What’s the place of enjoyment/pleasure in this account? Simple: some forms of enjoyment would be internal to a practice, some external
      • Enjoyment derived from excellence or activity leading to excellence in a practice is internal; not the goal itself, but supervenes upon the achievement
      • Other pleasures boil down to psychological/physical states like eating—again, still goods, just “lesser” in this account
    • Based on empirical evidence, virtues must be practiced without regard for their effect, because if we do only practice them on occasion, we cannot truly possess them.
      • Especially since they may prevent us from external goods
    • Claim: utilitarianism can’t match this, because internal and external goods are not commensurable with each other.
    • Objection: some practices may be evil, and certainly the exercise of some virtues leads to evil
      • E.g., courage may sustain an injustice, loyalty may spur one to murder, etc.
      • Can criticize a practice in terms of the balance of virtues
        • Requires practices to be placed in some larger moral context
    • Practices only make up part of this account of virtues; still need to answer the broader question: What is the best type of life a person can live? What is the good life for man?
      • Beyond the (multiplicity of) goods of practices, what are the goods of human life?
  • Chapter 15: The Virtues, the Unity of a Human Life, and the Concept of a Tradition [The sociology which virtue ethics requires]
    • Can we picture the human life as a whole, with a single overriding telos?
      • We are taught to divide our lives into personal, public, work, leisure, childhood, adulthood, old age, etc.
      • Tend to think of actions analytically, individually rather than as part of a habit
        • See life as just a series of isolated actions
      • Separate the individual from the roles they play
    • Aristotelian contrast:
      • Virtues function only within social relationships, not in isolation
      • The virtuous life is a pattern, not an event
      • Professional skills may apply only in one context, but virtues span all areas of life
      • This is the self as a narrative
    • Any action might be characterized in a number of different ways, some of which might agree with the agent’s own conception of what and why they’re doing, others not
      • What was their intention?
      • Cannot characterize behavior without knowing intentions, nor can we characterize intentions without knowing the setting of the actions
      • Shortest term intentions (e.g., writing on a piece of paper) may only make sense in the context of much longer-term intentions (e.g., trying to get tenure)
      • In placing an agent’s actions within the context/history of both their own intentions and the actions’ setting, we add to the narrative history of those actions
      • The fact that actions could be described in unintelligible terms, apart from goals and context, doesn’t make the unintelligible description primary
      • This context is what makes actions uniquely human; if you see a human behaving in a way that you can’t explain by reference to their intentions, it is baffling (e.g. different cultures)
        • If a person’s actions are unintelligible even to themselves, we might consider them insane
      • We understand both our own lives and the lives of others in the form of narratives
      • We live our shared lives with certain conceptions of the future we want to see, and others we want to avoid
        • The present is always informed by this telos
    • We can only answer the question of what our individual stories should look like by reference to the larger stories we find ourselves a part of (with reference to our roles)
      • Also involves our social context—the same good and the same virtues might be expressed very differently in different circumstances
        • Different society
        • Different time
        • Different familial history
        • Different role within that society/time/etc.
    • “Narrative selfhood”: In this view, personal identity is the identity required to characterize someone in a narrative—character may change over time without change of identity
    • Thus, to ask “what is the good for me?” is to ask how one might best live out one’s unified narrative; to ask “what is the good for man?” is to ask what all answers to the former question must have in common.
    • Human life as a quest… for what? What is “the” good?
      • Not all quests start out with a clear conception of their goal
      • The virtues sustain not only practices but also this quest for the good
      • We might provisionally say the good life for man is one spent seeking the good life for man…
    • All this depends on having a clear conception of the good for man; what is better or worse for a given individual in a given situation depends on the narrative which gives that individual’s life unity
  • Chapter 16: From the Virtues to Virtue and after Virtue
    • As work moved out of the home and into modernity, we separated the good that workers were trying to achieve (now nothing more than survival, paying bills) from the actual work they were doing
      • No longer working directly to sustain their communities
    • 17th & 18 century, morality became seen as the key to saving us from humankind’s inherent evilness (morality became synonymous with altruism)
      • Much contrast with Aristotle’s view, whereby education in the virtues teaches us that a person’s own good is one and the same as that of one’s community
      • Hence Aristotle’s definition of friendship in terms of shared goods
      • The egoist in this view has made a fundamental mistake about where his own good lies, or cut themselves off from human relationships
  • Chapter 17: Justice as a Virtue: Changing Conceptions
    • Modern conceptions of justice differ fundamentally based on their starting premises
      • E.g., distributive versus procedural justice
      • These are incommensurable in their framing of the issues
      • Both arguments are self-consistent!
      • How do we weigh these considerations against each other? How do we weigh need against entitlement?
      • Rawls and Nozick talk past each other—neither’s position calls into question the other’s premises
    • Neither conception addresses what people deserve with respect to their contributions to the shared goals of the community
      • They take the individual as primary, and society secondary
      • In contrast, central to virtue ethics is a shared understanding of both the good of man and his community, and individuals identify their primary interests with those shared goods
      • Rather than viewing people as belonging to a community, they start from a place as if you were shipwrecked with strangers against whom you had to compete
      • Consider one issue with Nozick’s view: in the real world, there are approximately zero just possessions… at some point in the past, someone did a bad thing to obtain something you now have. (We’re all descended from thieves, or slavers, or murderers, or . . .)
    • As a society, we simply do not have a shared set of moral first principles to invoke!
      • …and hoping to find such a set of principles is doomed to failure; we are fundamentally pluralistic.
      • Thus, government acts more to keep the peace between groups with rival and incompatible ideologies rather than laying out a set of moral principles.
      • Governments of the past may have expressed or represented the moral community of the citizens; now they unify a society which lacks moral consensus.
        • Patriotism as a virtue was founded on attachment primarily to a moral and political community, and only secondarily expressed via to a government.
        • When the relationship of government to your moral community changes, patriotism is called into question
        • Loyalty to one’s community remains a necessarily central virtue; to a government, not so much
  • Chapter 18: After Virtue: Nietzsche or Aristotle, Trotsky and St. Benedict
    • Our conception of good has to be expounded in terms of notions of a practice, the narrative unity of a life, and of a moral tradition; can only be discovered by entering into communal relationships with a shared understanding and vision
  • Chapter 19: Postscript to the Second Edition
    • Structure of the argument as a whole
      • Virtues are the qualities necessary to achieve the goods internal to a practice
        • These practices are the ongoing contexts in which ends are being discovered and rediscovered, and in which means are being devised
      • Virtues are also the qualities contributing to the good of a whole life
      • Also related to the pursuit of a good for human beings within an ongoing social tradition
    • To be a virtue, it must satisfy all three categories
      • Consider the quality of ruthlessness (in contrast to the quality of knowing when to be ruthless)—some practices, like wilderness exploration, may value it, but it fails to satisfy the other two conditions
    • Virtues contribute to the answer to the question: what is the best kind of life a human being like me can lead?
    • Thus, virtues are worthwhile not only for their own sake (though that is important too)
    • But, the relationship of virtues to these goods is not at all like the relationship between the goods and skills!
    • If all you care about is winning chess (or the goods contingently attached to it—fame, wealth, etc.), even as a grandmaster you won’t achieve the goods internal to chess; you could get those same rewards in any other field if you acquired the same level of skill.
      • Goods internal to the game of chess are necessarily specific to it.
    • In defense of relativism
      • Suppose two rival and incompatible moral traditions come into conflict—how do they resolve this?
      • They may appeal to considerations which are already acknowledged as important in the other tradition—i.e., find some common ground.
      • This is almost certainly possible since all moral traditions have some relationship to ensuring human good
      • Either or both traditions may adopt portions of the other, having seen how they solve problems with their own—bettering both traditions

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