Virtue or consequences: The folk against pure evaluational internalism

Philosophical Psychology 26 (5):702-717 (2012)
Abstract
Evaluational internalism holds that only features internal to agency (e.g., motivation) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Slote, M. (2001). Morals from motives. Oxford: Oxford University Press]. Evaluational externalism holds that only features external to agency (e.g., consequences) are relevant to attributions of virtue [Driver, J. (2001). Uneasy virtue. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press]. Many evaluational externalists and internalists claim that their view best accords with philosophically naïve (i.e., folk) intuitions, and that accordance provides argumentative support for their view. Evaluational internalism and externalism are incompatible views and therefore it is impossible that both views are supported by most folk intuitions. In four experiments, we present evidence that neither pure evaluational internalism nor pure evaluational externalism accurately capture some relevant folk intuitions about virtue. However, our experiments suggest external factors are vastly more important than internal factors for folk attributions of virtue. While these data do not entail that evaluational internalism and externalism about virtue are false, they situate important argumentative burdens, constrain philosophical theory about virtue, and illustrate a valuable method that could foster more efficient progress in ethics
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