Chapter

Prudence: Aristotle and the Ethics of Virtue

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Chapter

Prudence: Aristotle and the Ethics of Virtue

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Abstract

Earlier chapters have explained pragmatic and principled forms of leadership ethics by reference to their intellectual champions—Mill and Kant. This chapter explains prudential leadership ethics by reference to Aristotle, who is very much older and presumably very much harder to “bring to life” than the other two theorists. There is no suggestion that public leaders have to know in great detail what each of these three leadership theorists thought about ethics and leadership. Instead, the idea is that students of leadership can see more and understand more if they can relate practical leadership choices to the three models shaping the menu of choices in leadership ethics. Knowing more about Mill does not necessarily mean that one can behave better as a pragmatic leader, but it does mean that those who know more about Mill can see more of the logic of choice and assess more openly the benefits and costs when pragmatic leaders think about and especially perform their leadership ethics. So too with knowing more about Kant and now Aristotle.

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