Institutional virtue: how consensus matters

Philosophical Studies 161 (1):87-96 (2012)

Anita Konzelmann Ziv
University of Geneva
The paper defends the thesis that institutional virtue is properly modeled as a ‘‘consensual’’ property, along the lines of the Lehrer–Wagner model of consensus (LWC). In a first step, I argue that institutional virtue is not exhausted by duty-fulfilling, since institutions, contrary to natural individuals, are designed to fulfill duties. To avoid the charge of vacuity, virtue, if attributed to institutions, must be able to motivate supererogatory action. In a second step, I argue against dis- continuity of institutional virtue with individual virtue. Two main arguments for discontinuity of collective properties display serious shortcomings when applied to virtues of institutions. Given that motivation for supererogatory action is neither inferred from statutory duties nor accommodates a right of reprobation, modeling institutional virtue on collective rationality or explaining it in terms of joint com-mitment both prove problematic. In a third step, I argue that LWC has the explanatory potential to account for institutional virtue. Due to its main features,iteration and evaluation, it provides a non-trivial analysis of continuity and thereby satisfies basic constraints on the notion of genuine institutional virtue.
Keywords Consensus   (Dis)continuity   Evaluation   Institutional virtue  Supererogatory action
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Reprint years 2018
DOI 10.1007/s11098-012-9933-4
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Corporate Ethics.Peter A. French - 1998 - Journal of Business Ethics 17 (12):1364-1366.

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