Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):68 - 77 (2005)
John McDowell argues that for virtuous agents the requirements of virtue do not outweigh competing considerations, but 'silence' them. He explains this claim in two different ways: a virtuous agent (a) will not be tempted to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('motivational silencing'), or (b) will not believe that he has any reason to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('rational silencing'). I identify a small class of cases in which alone McDowell's claims about rational silencing are true. He draws his claims from Aristotle's assertion that a life of virtue is 'self-sufficient'. I offer an alternative reading of Aristotle's assertion, which does not imply the truth of McDowell's. But McDowell's claims about motivational silencing are true
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