Ramsifying Virtue Theory

In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge. pp. 123-35 (2015)

Abstract

In his contribution, Mark Alfano lays out a new (to virtue theory) naturalistic way of determining what the virtues are, what it would take for them to be realized, and what it would take for them to be at least possible. This method is derived in large part from David Lewis’s development of Frank Ramsey’s method of implicit definition. The basic idea is to define a set of terms not individually but in tandem. This is accomplished by assembling all and only the common sense platitudes that involve them (e.g., typically, people want to be virtuous), conjoining those platitudes, and replacing the terms in question by existentially quantified variables. If the resulting sentence is satisfied, then whatever satisfies are the virtues. If it isn’t satisfied, there are a couple of options. First, one could just admit defeat by saying that people can’t be virtuous. More plausibly, one could weaken the conjunction by dropping a small number of the platitudes from it (and potentially adding some others). Alfano suggests that the most attractive way to do this is by dropping the platitudes that deal with cross-situational consistency and replacing them with platitudes that involve social construction: basically, people are virtuous (when they are) at least in part because other people signal their expectations of virtuous conduct, which induces virtuous conduct, which in turn induces further signals of expected virtuous conduct, and so on.

Download options

PhilArchive

External links

  • This entry has no external links. Add one.
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2014-12-17

Downloads
1,381 (#4,069)

6 months
89 (#7,934)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Mark Alfano
Macquarie University

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references

Similar books and articles

Epistemic Situationism: An Extended Prolepsis.Mark Alfano - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.
Right Act, Virtuous Motive.Thomas Hurka - 2010 - In Heather D. Battaly (ed.), Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 58-72.
Situationism and Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather - 2013 - Oxford Bibliographies in Philosophy.
How Bad Can Good People Be?Nancy E. Schauber - 2014 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 17 (4):731-745.
Identifying and Defending the Hard Core of Virtue Ethics.Mark Alfano - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:233-260.
What Are the Bearers of Virtues?Mark Alfano - 2014 - In Hagop Sarkissian & Jennifer Cole Wright (eds.), Advances in Experimental Moral Psychology. Continuum. pp. 73-90.
How to Think About Virtue and Right.Valerie Tiberius - 2006 - Philosophical Papers 35 (2):247-265.
The Phenomenology of Virtue.Julia Annas - 2008 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):21-34.
The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Virtue Ethics and Social Psychology.P. Lunt - 2007 - History and Philosophy of Psychology 7 (1):365-392.