Role ethics and the moral institutions of a flourishing collective
MetadataShow full item record
My dissertation defends a modern version of Role Ethics modeled on the functioning of human moral psychology, and proposes a novel method for identifying the institutional roles of a well-ordered collective. In particular, I defend the view that our duties are determined by the social roles we incur in the communities we inhabit. The companion project extends Role Ethics into the political domain. I argue that we can identify the well-ordered collective in roughly the same way we identify the good individual, by discerning the dispositions in the relevant agent that are conducive to its well-being. By scaling up, we shift attention from the moral dispositions of individuals to the moral dispositions of collectives -- the institutions that determine the moral character of a population. While philosophers have tended to focus on the formal institutions of the state, this research is largely concerned with the 'informal institutions' of a collective, the implicit social roles/practices constructed and enforced endogenously, such as those involved in structuring human friendships. What I call 'Collective Eudaimonism' is a kind of virtue ethics writ large, a normative theory tasked with identifying correlations between a set of informal institutions and the indicators of flourishing human collectives.