Virtuous Motivation

In Nancy Snow (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Virtue. New York, NY, USA: pp. 453-469 (2018)

Authors
Karen Stohr
Georgetown University
Abstract
In this paper I describe and defend an account of virtuous motivation that differs from what we might call ordinary moral motivation. It is possible to be morally motivated without being virtuously motivated. In the first half of the essay, I explore different senses of moral motivation and the philosophical puzzles and problems it poses. In the second half, I give an account of virtuous motivation that, unlike ordinary moral motivation, requires the motivational structure characteristic of a fully virtuous person. I draw on Aristotle's account of virtuous action to argue that a fully virtuous agent's judgment reflects a robust form of moral knowledge about what features of an action render it virtuous and hence, choiceworthy. Virtuously motivated actions are chosen in light of those features and are accompanied by the affective state appropriate to the overall moral landscape in which the judgment is made.
Keywords virtue, virtue ethics, moral motivation, moral judgment
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