SERGIUS HESSEN’S VIRTUE THEORY AND ETHICS OF RESPONSIBILITY
Abstract: Ever since Alasdair MacIntyre published his book After Virtue in 1981, the theory of virtue, stemming primarily from Aristotle, has become an important factor in contemporary ethical discussions. These discussions, however, ignore the platonic theory of virtue. It is in the platonic tradition that Sergius Hessen undertakes his investigations. In Hessen’s view, Plato’s virtue ethics can be united with the theological theory of cardinal virtues, thus creating one coherent approach. This connection – as long as it maintains its internal, dialectical tension – transforms a traditional concept of virtues focused on the moral perfection of the subject as well as the deontological ethics of Kant, which is based on the universal validity of duty, into the ethics of responsibility, the model of which is presented in Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. This concept of ethics, rooted deeply in Orthodox Christianity, is noteworthy because it presents, in an innovative way, the issue of the relationship between moral practice and law. In this context, moral practice is understood by Hessen as one of the most important manifestations of human creativity. Hessen’s virtue ethics may thus be regarded as the valid opinion that needs to be included in contemporary considerations over the right form of social ethics.
Authors: Hanuszkiewicz, Wojciech
Source: Konštatínove listy, 2021, vol.: 14, issue: 2, pages: 158-175 (PDF file)
Keywords: SERGIUS HESSEN, FYODOR DOSTOYEVSKY, IMMANUEL KANT, RAFAEL SANTI, PLATO, CARDINAL VIRTUES, THEOLOGICAL VIRTUES, ORTHODOX CHRISTIANITY, RESPONSIBILITY, CREATIVITY, SOCIAL ETHICS, MORAL AND LAW