Hurka's theory of virtue

Philosophia 34 (2):159-168 (2006)
Thomas Hurka has put forth a powerful account of virtue. The account rests on a specification of intrinsically good mental states and then explains what unifies them. On his account, virtue and desert also share the same structure. His theory of virtue has some difficulties that threaten the structure that unifies it. First, Hurka's account cannot provide a principled account of virtue and vice when they are constituted by attitudes toward things are not intrinsically good (e.g., nonexistent state of affairs). Second, Hurka's account does not have room for an important factor in determining the degree to which an attitude is virtuous or vicious: agent-relative goods. Hurka is thus faced with a abandoning the basic structure that makes his theory attractive or adopting counterintuitive positions.
Keywords Virtue  Intrinsic goodness  Vice  Organic unities
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-006-9015-y
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