Since the middle of the twentieth century, virtue ethics has enriched the range of philosophical approaches to normative ethics, often drawing on the work of the ancient Greeks, who offered accounts of the virtues that have become part of contemporary philosophical ethics. But these virtue ethical theories were situated within a more general picture of human practical rationality, one which maintained that to understand virtue we must appeal to what would make our lives go well. This feature of ethical theorizing has not become part of philosophical ethics, although the virtue theories dependent upon it have.
Over the last decade, "New Atheists" such as Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and Christopher Hitchens have pushed the issue of atheism to the forefront of public discussion. Yet very few of the ensuing debates and discussions have managed to provide a full and objective treatment of the subject.