Avoiding the Conflation of Moral and Intellectual Virtues

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (5):1037-1050 (2017)
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Abstract

One of the most pressing challenges facing virtue theorists is the conflation problem. This problem concerns the difficulty of explaining the distinction between different types of virtue, such as the distinction between moral virtues and intellectual virtues. Julia Driver has argued that only an outcomes-based understanding of virtue can provide an adequate solution to the conflation problem. In this paper, I argue against Driver’s outcomes-based account, and propose an alternative motivations-based solution. According to this proposal, intellectual virtues can be identified by the shared motivation for cognitive contact with reality, while moral virtues are identified by appeal to the characteristic motivations of kindness and justice. I defend the proposal by demonstrating that it produces plausible verdicts concerning the virtue status of candidate moral and intellectual virtues.

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Alan T. Wilson
University of Bristol

Citations of this work

Honesty as a Virtue.Alan T. Wilson - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (3):262-280.
Eudaimonia, Virtue Ethics and Moral Community.Kalpita Bhar Paul - 2022 - Environmental Values 31 (5):505-514.
Vice-based accounts of moral evil.Alan T. Wilson - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (9):2825-2845.

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References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals.David Hume - 1751 - New York,: Oxford University Press UK. Edited by Tom L. Beauchamp.
Anti-Luck Virtue Epistemology.Duncan Pritchard - 2012 - Journal of Philosophy 109 (3):247-279.
Moral Luck.B. A. O. Williams & T. Nagel - 1976 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 50 (1):115-152.

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