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Abstract

In this paper, I evaluate affirmative action from the framework of virtue ethics. In doing so, I consider the principles behind affirmative action as well as its consequences because a perfectly virtuous person will act per just principles but will also be concerned with the consequences of her actions. An attempt to restore justice that utilizes a mechanism known to be ineffective is not truly an attempt to restore justice, and so is not virtuous. Therefore, if affirmative action is principally justified, a complete virtue ethical analysis will still ask, “Do we know if it works?” I conclude that affirmative action, as an attempt to rectify past wrongs, follows just principles, and that a consequential analysis indicates it is effective.

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