Quaker Studies

Virtuous Friends: Morality and Quaker Identity

Quaker Studies (2009), 14, (1), 108–122.

Abstract

Recent work in moral philosophy and psychology has made deep connections between questions of morality and identity, suggesting that orientation to a moral framework, through community practices and discourses, contributes to the individual sense of self. I argue that contemporary Liberal Quakers in Britain thus use their moral judgments among other things to reinforce their social identity as Quakers, emphasising a shared approach to ethical framework and sources of authority over the substantive content of the judgments. The favoured ethical framework of Liberal British Quakers appears to be a form of virtue ethics, and I explore the possibility that links between virtue ethics on the one hand and the concepts of testimony and discernment on the other, enable the use of a virtue ethics approach to reinforce a sense of Quaker identity.

Virtuous Friends: Morality and Quaker Identity

Abstract

Recent work in moral philosophy and psychology has made deep connections between questions of morality and identity, suggesting that orientation to a moral framework, through community practices and discourses, contributes to the individual sense of self. I argue that contemporary Liberal Quakers in Britain thus use their moral judgments among other things to reinforce their social identity as Quakers, emphasising a shared approach to ethical framework and sources of authority over the substantive content of the judgments. The favoured ethical framework of Liberal British Quakers appears to be a form of virtue ethics, and I explore the possibility that links between virtue ethics on the one hand and the concepts of testimony and discernment on the other, enable the use of a virtue ethics approach to reinforce a sense of Quaker identity.


Details

Author details

Scully, Jackie Leach