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Abstract

What do we do when a loved one is seriously messing up her life? While Kantianism describes the predicament nicely as a tension between love and respect, it is not well-suited to resolving it. Kantian respect prevents minding another's business in cases where love demands it. Virtue ethics can readily explain the predicament as a tension between the virtues of sympathy and humility. Moreover, by changing the focus away from the other as a setter of ends and toward the would-be-benefactor's own degree of practical wisdom, virtue ethics permits a more nuanced set of loving responses to self-destructive people.