Moral Worth and Skillful Action

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (forthcoming)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Someone acts in a morally worthy way when they deserve credit for doing the morally right thing. But when and why do agents deserve credit for the success involved in doing the right thing? It is tempting to seek an answer to that question by drawing an analogy with creditworthy success in other domains of human agency, especially in sports, arts, and crafts. Accordingly, some authors have recently argued that, just like creditworthy success in, say, chess, playing the piano, or archery, creditworthy moral success is a matter of getting things right by way of manifesting a relevant skill. My main aim in this paper is to bring out an important structural difference between moral creditworthiness and creditworthiness in sports, arts, and craft, undermining attempts to use examples of the latter as a model for understanding the former. As an alternative, I propose an account of morally creditworthy action, according to which such action is a matter of manifesting virtue, not skill—a claim that’s based on an important, but underappreciated, difference between the sorts of excellences constituting virtues and skills. The paper thus contributes to a more nuanced picture of normative achievements across different domains of human agency, highlighting largely overlooked structural dissimilarities among them.

Similar books and articles

Impermissibility and Kantian Moral Worth.Jill Graper Hernandez - 2010 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 13 (4):403-419.
Moral Worth.Nomy Arpaly - 2002 - Journal of Philosophy 99 (5):223.
Moral Worth and Our Ultimate Moral Concerns.Douglas W. Portmore - forthcoming - Oxford Studies in Normative Ethics.
Moral Hedging and Responding to Reasons.Amelia Hicks - 2019 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 100 (3):765-789.
Self-Worth and Moral Knowledge.Christopher W. Gowans - 1998 - The Paideia Archive: Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 44:88-95.
The Kantian Moral Worth of Actions Contrary to Duty.Samuel J. Kerstein - 1999 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 53 (4):530 - 552.
on Asymmetry In Kant's Doctrine Of Moral Worth.Jill Hernandez - 2006 - Florida Philosophical Review 6 (1):43-52.
Moral Worth and Moral Knowledge.Paulina Sliwa - 2015 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (2):393-418.
Cruel Intentions and Evil Deeds.Eyal Tal & Hannah Tierney - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
A New Defense of the Motive of Duty Thesis.Benjamin Wald - 2018 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 21 (5):1163-1179.
Moral Worth and Doing the Right Thing by Accident.Jessica Isserow - 2019 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 97 (2):251-264.


Added to PP

209 (#78,538)

6 months
209 (#6,370)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

David Horst
University of Lisbon

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations

References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Importance of Being Rational.Errol Lord - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Reasons First.Mark Schroeder - 2021 - Oxford University Press.
Virtue and Reason.John Mcdowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.

View all 40 references / Add more references