Aristotle and Expertise: Ideas on the Skillfulness of Virtue

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):599-609 (2021)
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Abstract

Many philosophers working on virtue theory have resisted the idea that the virtues are practical skills, apparently following Aristotle’s resistance to that idea. Bucking the trend, Matt Stichter defends a strong version of this idea in The Skillfulness of Virtue by marshaling a wide range of conceptual and empirical arguments to argue that the moral virtues are robust skills involving the cognitive-conative unification of Aristotelian phronêsis (‘practical intelligence’). Here I argue that Aristotle overlooks a more delimited kind of practical intelligence, strongly analogous to his own account of phronêsis, that unifies complex forms of expertise such as medicine or even high-level sports. Insofar as the skill model of virtue is compelling, it must draw on a robust conception of practical expertise (technê) like the one developed here rather than the ordinary, anemic conception of practical skills.

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Author's Profile

Noell Birondo
University of Texas at El Paso

References found in this work

After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory.Alasdair C. MacIntyre - 1983 - University of Notre Dame Press.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
The Morality of Happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - Oxford University Press.
Two Faces of Responsibility.Gary Watson - 1996 - Philosophical Topics 24 (2):227-248.

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