David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Analysis 66 (289):69–76 (2006)
Everyday moral thought uses the concepts of virtue and vice at two different levels. At what I will call a global level it applies these concepts to persons or to stable character traits or dispositions. Thus we may say that a person is brave or has a standing trait of generosity or malice. But we also apply these concepts more locally, to specific acts or mental states such as occurrent desires or feelings. Thus we may say that a particular act was brave or that a desire or pleasure felt at a particular moment was malicious. Even when they concern acts, these last judgements are of virtuousness rather than of moral rightness. They therefore turn essentially on a person’s motives; while he can act rightly from a bad motive, he cannot act virtuously from a bad motive. But they assess the virtue or vice of particular acts and mental states rather than of persons or traits of character. These global and local uses of the virtue-concepts are clearly connected, in that we expect virtuous persons to perform and have, and virtuous traits to issue in, particular virtuous acts, desires, and feelings. A philosophical account of virtue should explain this connection, but there are two different ways of doing so. Each takes one of the two uses to be primary and treats the other as derivative, but they disagree about which is the primary use. A dispositional view takes the global use to be primary and identifies virtuous acts, desires, and feelings in part as ones that issue from virtuous..
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References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (1998). Nicomachean Ethics. Dover Publications.
Nomy Arpaly (2003). Unprincipled Virtue: An Inquiry Into Moral Agency. Oxford University Press.
Roger Crisp & Michael A. Slote (eds.) (1997). Virtue Ethics. Oxford University Press.
John M. Doris (2002). Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior. Cambridge University Press.
Gilbert Harman (1999). Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999):315 - 331.
Citations of this work BETA
Daniel Doviak (2011). A New Form of Agent-Based Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (3):259-272.
Thomas Hurka (2010). Right Act, Virtuous Motive. In Heather D. Battaly (ed.), Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Wiley-Blackwell 58-72.
Kelly Sorensen (2010). Effort and Moral Worth. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (1):89 - 109.
Guy Axtell (2010). Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad. Metaphilosophy 41 (1):73-94.
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