“The most constructive response to the crisis in moral theory has been the revival of virtue ethics, an ethics that has the advantages of being personal, contextual, and, as I will argue, normative as well. In this paper I will also propose that the best way to refound virtue ethics is to return to the Greek concept of techne tou biou, literally “craft of life.” The ancients did not distinguish between craft and fine arts and the meaning of techne, even in its Latin form of ars, still retains the meaning of skillful crafting and discipline. In Greco-Roman culture these techniques were very specific, covering dietetics, economics, and erotics. In ancient China moral cultivation was intimately connected to the arts, from the art of archery to poetry, music, and dance such that virtually every activity would have both a moral and aesthetic meaning. A Chinese poet of the Book of Odes conceives of moral development as similar to the manufacture of a precious stone. At birth we are like uncut gems, and we have an obligation to carve and polish our potential in the most unique and beautiful ways possible. In other work I have employed the distinction between craft and fine art to show that the fine arts, particularly the performing arts of music and dance, can serve as a model for a virtue ethics in our times.”
I’m currently reading an essay by process philosopher, Nick Gier, titled “Whitehead, Confucius, and the Aesthetics of Virtue;” the above passage is from the essay. I’m very happy to have found someone who is like minded in the sense of being intuitive and creative enough to interpret the Confucian aesthetics of virtue as potentially being a sort of applied/practical balance to a Whiteheadian, aesthetic, process-relational cosmology.