Michael Slote

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Michael A. Slote is UST Professor of Ethics at the University of Miami and is author of From Morality to Virtue (1992) and Morals From Motives (2001). He was previously professor of philosophy at the University of Maryland, and at Trinity College Dublin.

He is widely recognized as a leading figure in the recently renewed field of virtue ethics. He argues that virtue ethics, in a particular form which draws on the concept of an ethics of care, offers significant intuitive and structural advantages over deontology, utilitarianism, and common-sense morality. He has also recently endorsed the meta-ethical view of moral sentimentalism in opposition to moral rationalism (see his articles from 2003, 2004, 2005a and his books (2007 and 2010)). Most recently he expanded his work on sentimentalism into a philosophy of mind (book 2014). In his latest work he also stresses the importance of receptivity as a virtue, a value and as a psychological characteristic (article 2014 and book 2013). The significance of receptivity feature was first considered by Nel Noddings in 1984, but did not receive further attention in the ethics of care neither was it used to criticize typical Western philosophical values. In The Impossibility of Perfection, he argues against moral perfection as it was endorsed by Aristotle and the Enlightenment and defends a more realistic view of moral issues. At a seminar in Hong Kong in October 2014, titled "The Philosophical Reset Button: A Manifesto," Slote argued that "Chinese thought has never gone to the extremes of Western rationalism, and there is every reason to think that as China gains in power and prestige throughout the world, Chinese philosophers and thinkers will be in a position to correct or reset Western philosophy through drawing on their own deepest historical traditions, traditions which have recognized the value of emotion and sane ordinary living much more than has been typical in the West. You Chinese should realize that you have much to offer the West and not be too modest with your self-image or reticent with your philosophical ambitions."[1]



  • Slote, Michael (1983). Goods and virtues. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  • Common-Sense Morality and Consequentialism (1985), Routledge and Kegan Paul.
  • Beyond Optimizing: A Study of Rational Choice (1989), Harvard University Press.
  • From Morality to Virtue (1992), Oxford University Press.
  • Morals From Motives (2001), Oxford University Press.
  • The Ethics of Care and Empathy (2007), Routledge.
  • Essays on the History of Ethics (2009), Oxford University Press.
  • Moral Sentimentalism (2010), Oxford University Press.
  • The Impossibility of Perfection: Aristotle, Feminism and the Complexities of Ethics (2011), Oxford University Press.
  • From Enlightenment to Receptivity: Rethinking our Values (2013), Oxford University Press
  • A Sentimentalist Theory of Mind (2014), Oxford University Press.
  • Human Development and Human Life (2016), Springer.

Essays and chapters[edit]

  • "The Morality of Wealth" (1977) in World Hunger and Moral Obligation Prentice Hall
  • "Sentimentalist Virtue and Moral Judgment: Outline of a Project" (2003) in Metaphilosophy 34(1/2), pp. 131–143; reprinted in Moral and Epistemic Virtues, Michael Brady & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), (Wiley-Blackwell, 2004).
  • "Moral Sentimentalism" (2004), Ethical Theory and Moral Practice, vol. 7, no. 1, pp. 3–14.
  • "Moral Sentimentalism and Moral Psychology" (2005a) in The Oxford Handbook of Ethical Theory, David Copp (ed.), Oxford University Press.
  • "The Dualism of the Ethical" (2005b), Nous-Supplement: Philosophical Issues, vol. 15, pp. 209–217.
  • '"The Virtue of Perceptivity" (2014), Revue internationale de philosophie, vol. 68, pp. 7–19.

Critical studies and reviews[edit]

  • Anderson, Stephen L. (Mar–Apr 2013). "[Untitled review of The impossibility of perfection]". Books. Philosophy Now. 95: 42–44.


External links[edit]