Seeing by feeling: Virtues, skills, and moral perception [Book Review]
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):387 - 409 (2005)
Champions of virtue ethics frequently appeal to moral perception: the notion that virtuous people can “see” what to do. According to a traditional account of virtue, the cultivation of proper feeling through imitation and habituation issues in a sensitivity to reasons to act. Thus, we learn to see what to do by coming to feel the demands of courage, kindness, and the like. But virtue ethics also claims superiority over other theories that adopt a perceptual moral epistemology, such as intuitionism – which John McDowell criticizes for illicitly “borrow[ing] the epistemological credentials” of perception. In this paper, I suggest that the most promising way for virtue ethics to use perceptual metaphors innocuously is by adopting a skill model of virtue, on which the virtues are modeled on forms of practical know-how. Yet I contend that this model is double-edged for virtue ethics. The skill model belies some central ambitions and dogmas of the traditional view, especially its most idealized claims about virtue and the virtuous. While this may be a cost that its champions are unprepared to pay, I suggest that virtue ethics would do well to embrace a more realistic moral psychology and a correspondingly less sublime conception of virtue.
|Keywords||intuitionism McDowell moral epistemology moral perception moral psychology skill virtue|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Deborah S. Mower (2013). Situationism and Confucian Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):113-137.
Michael Brownstein (2014). Rationalizing Flow: Agency in Skilled Unreflective Action. Philosophical Studies 168 (2):545-568.
Jason D. Swartwood (2013). Wisdom as an Expert Skill. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):511-528.
J. Jeremy Wisnewski (forthcoming). The Case for Moral Perception. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-20.
Benedict Smith (2013). Depression and Motivation. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):615-635.
Similar books and articles
Matt Stichter (2011). Virtues, Skills, and Right Action. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (1):73-86.
Christoph Jedan (2009). Stoic Virtues: Chrysippus and the Religious Character of Stoic Ethics. Continuum.
Lawrence M. Hinman, Alcalá Park & San Diego, Virtue Ethics From a Global Perspective: A Pluralistic Framework for Understanding Moral Virtues.
Aaron Stalnaker (2010). Virtue as Mastery in Early Confucianism. Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (3):404-428.
Lara Denis (2006). Kant's Conception of Virtue. In Paul Guyer (ed.), Cambridge Companion to Kant and Modern Philosophy. Cambridge University Press.
Paul Bloomfield (2000). Virtue Epistemology and the Epistemology of Virtue. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 60 (1):23-43.
Julia Driver (2001). Uneasy Virtue. Cambridge University Press.
Matthew Stichter (2007). The Skill of Virtue. Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Matt Stichter (2007). Ethical Expertise: The Skill Model of Virtue. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):183 - 194.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads158 ( #5,553 of 1,140,006 )
Recent downloads (6 months)12 ( #16,869 of 1,140,006 )
How can I increase my downloads?