Utilitas 21 (1):59-71 (2009)

Daniel Doviak
Muhlenberg College
In Wayne Sumner argues that (1) as a matter of necessity, virtue is intrinsically prudentially rewarding, and (2) if all else is equal, the virtuous will fare better than the non-virtuous. In this article, I reproduce and criticize those arguments. I offer several objections to the argument for the first thesis; each objection makes the same basic point: contrary to what Sumner assumes, certain contingent facts over and above a person's being virtuous have to obtain if virtue is to issue in any prudential reward. I object to Sumner's second thesis by arguing that moral neutrality can be at least as welfare-enhancing as moral virtuosity. Finally, I argue that even if virtue were intrinsically rewarding in the way Sumner envisions, it would still be impossible to determine a priori whether adopting a virtuous lifestyle would be prudentially rational
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DOI 10.1017/S0953820808003361
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