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Dr. Jennifer Rothschild

Dr. Jennifer Rothschild

Areas of Specialization

  • Ethics
  • Ancient Greek Philosophy
  • Social and Political Philosophy
  • Philosophy and Literature
  • Sexuality and Gender Studies
  • Continental Philosophy

Curriculum Vitae

Contact Information

Email: jrothschild
Office: 307 Griffin-Floyd
Dr. Rothschild is Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Her area of specialization is ethics, especially moral psychology, action, and virtue. 'In my current work I am concerned with how an Aristotelian understanding of human beings explains human excellence and action, and how political and social arrangements can be conducive to the excellence of human beings. My dissertation project defended Aristotle's thesis of the unity of the virtues, and grew out of addressing these questions to a problem in contemporary virtue ethics.'

Recent Activities

  • "The Essential Sociality of Aristotelian Virtue," in Virtues in Theory and Practice: Local or Universal? Routledge. Forthcoming.
  • "Steering Against the Bad: Getting it Wrong on the Way to Getting it Right", in Skill in Ancient Western and Chinese Ethics. Bloomsbury. Forthcoming.
  • "Aristotle on Moral Progress and the Virtuous Exemplar," Forthcoming.
  • "Aristotelian Rehabituation"
    • Workshop on Habit, Center for Ethics & Education, 2019.
    • Annual Meeting of the North American Association for Philosophy & Education, 2019.
  • "The Essential Sociality of Aristotelian Virtue", Annual Conference of the Jubilee Center, Oriel College, Oxford, UK, 2019.
  • "RuPaul, Elizabeth Bennet, and Virtue.], UF Undergraduate Philosophy Society, 2018.

Dissertation

  • Striving to Be Better: Imperfect Character and the Unity of the Virtues
    • Virtue ethicists have consistently resisted Aristotle's thesis that for an individual human being, having a virtue of character depends upon having the entire set of character virtues. I argue that criticisms of the unity thesis rest on a failure to fully appreciate a formal feature of Aristotle's view, namely, that unity of the virtues is not just an outcome but a goal (telos) of virtuous human activity. As a goal of this kind, unity is that which both sets the destination of our activity and also governs the intelligibility of the course in pursuit of that end. My argument is thus that we must understand unity of virtue as having continuity over imperfect cases (cases of incomplete virtue) in ways that are increasingly unified and increasingly virtuous nearer to the goal. Such continuity allows for a wide spectrum of possible individual virtue successes and failures, leaving room for people to be both imperfect and also more virtuous than others; or both imperfectly generous and more generous than courageous; or both imperfectly virtuous and yet able to meaningfully aspire to becoming better. I conclude that we can redeem the unity thesis from its critics, making sense of both unity (of form) and disunity (of character) at once, and creating possibilities for virtue success and progress in human beings even as the messy, aspiring creatures we are. Supervisor: Martha Nussbaum