Philippa Foot  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Philippa Ruth Foot (née Bosanquet; 3 October 1920 - 3 October 2010) was a British philosopher, most notable for her works in ethics. She was one of the founders of contemporary virtue ethics, inspired by the ethics of Aristotle. Her later career marked a significant change in view from her work in the 1950s and 1960s, and may be seen as an attempt to modernize Aristotelian ethical theory, to show that it is adaptable to a contemporary world view, and thus, that it could compete with such popular theories as modern deontological and utilitarian ethics. Some of her work was crucial in the re-emergence of normative ethics within analytic philosophy, especially her critique of consequentialism and of non-cognitivism. A familiar example is the continuing discussion of an example of hers referred to as the trolley problem. Foot's approach was influenced by the later work of Wittgenstein, although she rarely dealt explicitly with materials treated by him.

Selected works

  • Virtues and Vices and Other Essays in Moral Philosophy. Berkeley: University of California Press; Oxford: Blackwell, 1978 (there are more recent editions).
  • Natural Goodness. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2001.
  • Moral Dilemmas: And Other Topics in Moral Philosophy, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002.
  • Warren Quinn, Morality and Action, ed. Philippa Foot (Introduction, ix-xii), Cambridge : Cambridge University Press, 1993.

See also

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