Philosophy 72 (281):401 - 415 (1997)

Authors
Christopher Donald Cordner
University of Melbourne
Abstract
Daniel Putman thinks I am right to hold that for Aristotle a concern to appear before one's peers in a certain way is internal to virtue. He takes me to suppose that things are otherwise under a ‘modern concept of virtue’, and says that I am wrong about this. Putman rightly distinguishes between a desire to look good before one's peers which is a substitute for virtue, and a desire to look good to them because, acting virtuously, ‘we genuinely deserve to be viewed that way’. Once this distinction is made, Putman thinks, we can appreciate that modern ethical understanding is as much dependent on ‘the communitarian foundation of character’ as is Aristotelian virtue. The only thing, says Putman, which gulls us into thinking otherwise is the sociological fact that Aristotle's political community was homogenous, while ours is heterogenous, so that more often virtuous people today will have to act in a way which goes against what many around them think
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DOI 10.1017/S0031819100057089
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