Location: SAV 264
Franklin’s Economy, Washington’s Will, and Jefferson’s Wine Cellar: America’s Founders on Virtue and Vice
Department of Philosophy
Colorado State University
In recent decades, philosophers have rediscovered virtue ethics as a valuable approach to thinking about morality. Yet in some ways, talk of virtue and vice sounds artificial and remains foreign to contemporary sensibilities. What lessons might we learn from exploring the moral writings of America’s founders, who lived and thought squarely within a virtue ethics paradigm? What might such explorations tell us about the nature of moral authority, or the cultivation of virtue? Are the ruminations of these dead white males of merely antiquarian interest, or do they shed light on our own moral choices and challenges?
Philip Cafaro is professor of philosophy at Colorado State University and an affiliated faculty member of CSU’s School of Global Environmental Sustainability. His work centers on environmental ethics, population and consumption issues, and the preservation of wild nature. He is a life member of the Sierra Club, a former ranger with the National Park Service, and immediate past president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics. Cafaro is the author of Thoreau's Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue and How Many Is Too Many? The Progressive Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States.