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Is there a name for when Andrew Sullivan links to you? If not, maybe I'm coining one now with "Sullilanche". (I originally thought "Sullivalanche", but that sounds less like the original word. I did leave it in the URL for the post).

It's pretty much monopolizing my sitemeter for the moment. I'm curious how he found out about the post. If you're reading this, Andrew, thanks for the link, and I'd be interested to know what directed your attention here.

He describes me as a Kantian. I wouldn't call myself a Kantian. I don't like several things about Kant's version of deontology, and the absolutism I challenge here is just one of them. I also think he's too rationalistic, ignoring the contribution of emotions to proper moral evaluation, and I'm more inclined to see character as the primary object of moral evaluation rather than actions as Kant (along with most modern ethicists) does. If I had to pick a philosopher I'd align myself with most closely, it would most likely be Augustine.


Sullivan uses a pool of rotating interns to do his surfing and to bring items to his attention.

Explains part of his hostility towards the amnesty bill. He likes cheap and invisible labor.

If moral evaluation is your primary goal, doesn't that sorta make you a virtue ethicist?

Virtue ethics is usually incomplete, but what it does say is generally true. I would insist on a moral law, but I don't see that as the fundamental level of moral evaluation, which has to do with inner character and whether you love things according to how good they are. If you love what is good, that serves as the foundation for a good character, and that serves as the foundation for good actions. But I do insist on a moral law, with right and wrong actions, and I do make a division between morally evaluable character traits and those that are good in a different way. (So honesty and loyalty are morally important virtues, while being good at tennis isn't.) Augustine and the Stoics both have that right, and in a sense both are virtue ethicists, but contemporary virtue ethics doesn't always recognize those things.

Mmh. I would usually put my self as a virtue ethictist, but I have always had trouble with "intentions". I mean couldn't something have good intentions but still be evil? So I have always said I was most virtue ethics, but I haven't been quite sure. I think the way you sum it up is perfect, you pretty put it exactly how I was thinking, but of course better said.

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