Virtue theories have become influential in ethics and epistemology. This paper argues for a similar approach to argumentation. Several potential obstacles to virtue theories in general, and to this new application in particular, are considered and rejected. A first attempt is made at a survey of argumentational virtues, and finally it is argued that the dialectical nature of argumentation makes it particularly suited for virtue theoretic analysis.
Virtue ethics is perhaps the most important development within late twentieth-century moral philosophy. Rosalind Hursthouse, who has made notable contributions to this development, here presents a full exposition and defense of her neo-Aristotelian version of virtue ethics. She shows how virtue ethics can provide guidance for action, illuminate moral dilemmas, and bring out the moral significance of the emotions.
Contemporary virtue epistemology (hereafter ‘VE’) is a diverse collection of approaches to epistemology. At least two central tendencies are discernible among the approaches. First, they view epistemology as a normative discipline. Second, they view intellectual agents and communities as the primary focus of epistemic evaluation, with a focus on the intellectual virtues and vices embodied in and expressed by these agents and communities. -/- This entry introduces many of the most important results of the contemporary VE research program. These (...) include novel attempts to resolve longstanding disputes, solve perennial problems, grapple with novel challenges, and expand epistemology’s horizons. In the process, it reveals the diversity within VE. Beyond sharing the two unifying commitments mentioned above, its practitioners diverge over the nature of intellectual virtues, which questions to ask, and which methods to use. -/- It will be helpful to note some terminology before proceeding. First, we use ‘cognitive’, ‘epistemic’ and ‘intellectual’ synonymously. Second, we often use ‘normative’ broadly to include not only norms and rules, but also duties and values. Finally, ‘practitioners’ names contemporary virtue epistemologists. (shrink)
Traditional approaches to animal ethics commonly emerge from one of two influential ethical theories: Regan’s deontology and Singer’s preference utilitarianism. I argue that both of the theories are unsuccessful at providing adequate protection for animals because they are unable to satisfy the three conditions of a minimally decent theory of animal protection. While Singer’s theory is overly permissive, Regan’s theory is too restrictive. I argue that a minimally decent animal ethic requires a framework that allows for context-dependent considerations of our (...) complex human–animal relationship in a non-ideal world. A plausible theory which exemplifies this new ethic is virtue ethics. (shrink)
Almost all theories of knowledge and justified belief employ moral concepts and forms of argument borrowed from moral theories, but none of them pay attention to the current renaissance in virtue ethics. This remarkable book is the first attempt to establish a theory of knowledge based on the model of virtue theory in ethics. The book develops the concept of an intellectual virtue, and then shows how the concept can be used to give an account of the major concepts in (...) epistemology, including the concept of knowledge. This highly original work of philosophy for professionals will also provide students with an excellent introduction to epistemology, virtue theory, and the relationship between ethics and epistemology. (shrink)
This paper applies a virtue epistemology approach to using the Internet, as to improve our information-seeking behaviours. Virtue epistemology focusses on the cognitive character of agents and is less concerned with the nature of truth and epistemic justification as compared to traditional analytic epistemology. Due to this focus on cognitive character and agency, it is a fruitful but underexplored approach to using the Internet in an epistemically desirable way. Thus, the central question in this paper is: How to use the (...) Internet in an epistemically virtuous way? Using the work of Jason Baehr, it starts by outlining nine intellectual or epistemic virtues: curiosity, intellectual autonomy, intellectual humility, attentiveness, intellectual carefulness, intellectual thoroughness, open-mindedness, intellectual courage and intellectual tenacity. It then explores how we should deploy these virtues and avoid the corresponding vices when interacting with the Internet, particularly search engines. Whilst an epistemically virtuous use of the Internet will not guarantee that one will acquire true beliefs, understanding or even knowledge, it will strongly improve one’s information-seeking behaviours. The paper ends with arguing that teaching and assessing online intellectual virtues should be part of school and university curricula, perhaps embedded in critical thinking courses, or even better, as individual units. (shrink)
Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. We begin by discussing two concepts that are central to all forms of virtue ethics, namely, virtue and practical wisdom. Then we note some of the features that distinguish different virtue ethical theories from one another before turning to objections that have been raised against virtue ethics and responses offered on its behalf. We conclude with a look at some of the directions in which future research might develop.
The essays in this volume discuss a range of questions relating to virtue ethics - a form of moral theory that has gained considerable attention in recent years. These questions include: what traits ought to be considered virtues? What is the proper place of virtue in a complete moral theory? Is it true, as the ancients thought, that there is a 'unity of virtue', so that having one virtue entails having all the others? What is the nature of vice (...) or wickedness? Some of the essays in this volume explore the connection between virtue and flourishing or well-being, asking whether virtue is necessary or sufficient for leading a happy life. Some deal with specific virtues, such as pride or respect, or with the relationship between the virtues and emotions. Taken together, these essays offer valuable insights into the nature of virtue and its role in moral theory. (shrink)
An interesting aspect of Ernest Sosa’s (2017) recent thinking is that enhanced performances (e.g., the performance of an athlete under the influence of a performance-enhancing drug) fall short of aptness, and this is because such enhanced performances do not issue from genuine competences on the part of the agent. In this paper, I explore in some detail the implications of such thinking in Sosa’s wider virtue epistemology, with a focus on cases of cognitive enhancement. A certain puzzle is then highlighted, (...) and the solution proposed draws from both the recent moral responsibility literature on guidance control (e.g., Fischer and Ravizza 1998; Fischer 2012) as well as from work on cognitive integration in the philosophy of mind and cognitive science (e.g., Clark and Chalmers 1998; Clark 2008; Pritchard 2010; Palermos 2014; Carter 2017). (shrink)
The idea of a virtue has traditionally been important in ethics, but only recently has gained attention as an idea that can explain how we ought to form beliefs as well as how we ought to act. Moral philosophers and epistemologists have different approaches to the idea of intellectual virtue; here, Michael DePaul and Linda Zagzebski bring work from both fields together for the first time to address all of the important issues. It will be required reading for anyone working (...) on either side of the debate. (shrink)
What are virtue and vice, and how do they relate to other moral properties such as goodness and rightness? Thomas Hurka defends a distinctive perfectionist view according to which the virtues are higher-level intrinsic goods, ones that involve morally appropriate attitudes to other, independent goods and evils. He develops this highly original view in detail and argues for its superiority over rival views, including those given by virtue ethics.
Virtue ethics now constitutes one of three major approaches to the study of ethics by Anglophone philosophers. Its proponents almost all recognize the source of their approach in Aristotle, but relatively few of them confront the problem that source poses for contemporary ethicists. According to Aristotle, ethikê belongs and is subordinate to politikê. But in the liberal democracies within which most Anglophone ethicists write, political authorities are not supposed to legislate morality; they are supposed merely to establish the conditions necessary (...) for individuals to choose their own life paths. Contemporary ethicists who have addressed this question have proposed three very different answers to the question of how virtue ethics ought to be related to politics in modern nation-states. Martha Nussbaum seeks to provide all human beings with the capacities—intellectual and moral as well as material—they need to choose the best way of life. Arguing that the modern nation-state is incapable of providing its citizens with the education they need to live a good life, Alasdair MacIntyre looks to smaller, tradition-based communities. Because political action is coercive and truly ethical action is voluntary, Douglas den Uyl and Douglas Rasmussen insist, ethics and politics should be strictly separated. This article examines each of these attempts to revive an Aristotelian understanding of ethics, bringing out the advantages and problems involved. (shrink)
Virtue Epistemology is a new movement receiving the bulk of recent attention from top epistemologists and ethicists; this volume reflects the best work in that vein. Included are unpublished articles by such eminent philosophers as Robert Audi, Simon Blackburn, Alvin Goldman, Christopher Hookway, Keith Lehrer, and Ernest Sosa.
From the ferment of recent debates about the intellectual virtues, Roberts and Wood develop an approach they call 'regulative epistemology', exploring the connection between knowledge and intellectual virtue. In the course of their argument they analyse particular virtues of intellectual life - such as courage, generosity, and humility - in detail.
The predominant view of moral virtue can be traced back to Aristotle. He believed that moral virtue must involve intellectual excellence. To have moral virtue one must have practical wisdom - the ability to deliberate well and to see what is morally relevant in a given context. Julia Driver challenges this classical theory of virtue, arguing that it fails to take into account virtues which do seem to involve ignorance or epistemic defect. Some 'virtues of ignorance' are counterexamples (...) to accounts of virtue which hold that moral virtue must involve practical wisdom. Modesty, for example, is generally considered to be a virtue even though the modest person may be making an inaccurate assessment of his or her accomplishments. Driver argues that we should abandon the highly intellectualist view of virtue and instead adopt a consequentialist perspective which holds that virtue is simply a character trait which systematically produces good consequences. (shrink)
Abstract: In this essay I outline a radical kind of virtue theory I call exemplarism, which is foundational in structure but which is grounded in exemplars of moral goodness, direct reference to which anchors all the moral concepts in the theory. I compare several different kinds of moral theory by the way they relate the concepts of the good, a right act, and a virtue. In the theory I propose, these concepts, along with the concepts of a duty and of (...) a good life, are defined by reference to exemplars, identified directly through the emotion of admiration, not through a description. It is an advantage of the theory that what makes a good person good is not given a priori but is determined by empirical investigation. The same point applies to what good persons do and what states of affairs they aim at. The theory gives an important place to empirical investigation and narratives about exemplars analogous to the scientific investigation of natural kinds in the theory of direct reference. (shrink)
Lisa Tessman's Burdened Virtues is a deeply original and provocative work that engages questions central to feminist theory and practice, from the perspective of Aristotelian ethics. Focused primarily on selves who endure and resist oppression, she addresses the ways in which devastating conditions confronted by these selves both limit and burden their moral goodness, and affect their possibilities of flourishing. She describes two different forms of "moral trouble" prevalent under oppression. The first is that the oppressed self may be (...) morally damaged, prevented from developing or exercising some of the virtues; the second is that the very conditions of oppression require the oppressed to develop a set of virtues that carry a moral cost to those who practice them--traits that Tessman refers to as "burdened virtues." These virtues have the unusual feature of being disjoined from their bearer's own well being. Tessman's work focuses on issues that have been missed by many feminist moral theories, and her use of the virtue ethics framework brings feminist concerns more closely into contact with mainstream ethical theory. This book will appeal to feminist theorists in philosophy and women's studies, but also more broadly, ethicists and social theorists. (shrink)
BEGINNING with G. E. M. Anscombe's "Modern Moral Philosophy" in 1958, various critics--e.g., Frankena, Foot, MacIntyre, and Murdock--have, to one extent or another, expressed dissatisfaction with the condition of modern moral philosophy. Prior to this round of critiques, H. A. Prichard in 1912 asked the question "Is Moral Philosophy Based on a Mistake?" in an essay of that title in Mind. One finds precedent for these expressions of discontent with the ground rules of moral philosophy in both Aristotle and Kant, (...) two thinkers whose reformulations of the questions and procedures of ethics proved seminal for the discipline. Even neglecting other important developments in contemporary moral philosophy, the diversity and rigour of these critiques alone suggest that the prognosis for the discipline of ethics is quite favorable. Philosophy in at least one of its dimensions has recovered that self-reflective attentiveness that marks its most productive phases. So it is that several of these contemporary critiques raise the suspicion that what is wrong with moral philosophy is that it operates outside of a context in terms of which talk about moral laws or moral goods would be intelligible. Our contemporary situation can thus be contrasted with, for example, that of Aristotle for whom a discussion of "magnificence" was firmly rooted in an Athenian context in terms of which an argument over the merits of that particular virtue might be resolved. Alasdair MacIntyre's After Virtue brings this line of reflection into sharp new focus with a series of illuminating discussions concerning the role of the virtues both in the history of moral practices and in the logic of moral argument. In general, MacIntyre tries to show that "contemporary moral debate is interminable" ; that is, he tries to show why, given the nature of contemporary moral philosophy, there is "no rational way of securing moral agreement". Because I believe MacIntyre is successful in his demonstration, I shall, in this paper, take that demonstration for granted and try to construct a set of arguments designed to show how, in terms of a universally accessible paradigmatic character, we have at hand a way of avoiding the "interminable" regress of moral debate. Thus although my argument is derivative to MacIntyre's diagnosis and dependent, in part, upon his treatment of the concept of virtue, the proposal I develop here for the resolution of moral arguments is, sadly to say, somewhat at odds with his own. (shrink)
Robust Virtue Epistemology maintains that knowledge is achieved just when an agent gets to the truth through, or because of, the manifestation of intellectual virtue or ability. A notorious objection to the view is that the satisfaction of the virtue condition will be insufficient to ensure the safety of the target belief; that is, RVE is no anti-luck epistemology. Some of the most promising recent attempts to get around this problem are considered and shown to ultimately fail. Finally, a new (...) proposal for defending RVE as a kind of anti-luck epistemology is defended. The view developed here turns importantly on the idea that knowledge depends on ability and luck in a way that is gradient, not rigid, and that we know just when our cognitive success depends on ability not rather, but more so, than luck. (shrink)
The central question in contemporary ethics is whether virtue can replace duty as the primary notion in ethical theory. The subject of intense contemporary debate in ethical theory, virtue ethics is currently enjoying an increase in interest. This is the first book to focus directly on the subject. It provides a clear, systematic introduction to the area and houses under one cover a collection of the central articles published on the debate over the past decade. The essays encompass a wide (...) range ofaspects: the difference between virtue ethics and traditional duty ethics; present arguments for and against virtue ethics; the practical implications of virtue ethics and the Aristotelian and Kantian attitudes to virtue ethics. (shrink)
The revival of Aristotelian virtue ethics can be seen as a response to the modern problem of disenchantment, that is, the perceived loss of meaning in modernity. However, in Virtue and Meaning, David McPherson contends that the dominant approach still embraces an overly disenchanted view. In a wide-ranging discussion, McPherson argues for a more fully re-enchanted perspective that gives better recognition to the meanings by which we live and after which we seek, and to the fact that human beings are (...) the meaning-seeking animal. In doing so, he defends distinctive accounts of the relationship between virtue and happiness, other-regarding demands, and the significance of linking neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics with a view of the meaning of life and a spiritual life where contemplation has a central role. This book will be valuable for philosophers and other readers who are interested in virtue ethics and the perennial question of the meaning of life. (shrink)
The virtue approach to business ethics is a topic of increasing importance within the business world. Focusing on Aristotle's theory that the virtues of character, rather than actions, are central to ethics, Edwin M. Hartman introduces readers of this book to the value of applying Aristotle's virtue approach to business. Using numerous real-world examples, he argues that business leaders have good reason to take character seriously when explaining and evaluating individuals in organisations. He demonstrates how the virtue approach can (...) deepen our understanding of business ethics, and how it can contribute to contemporary discussions of character, rationality, corporate culture, ethics education and global ethics. Written by one of the foremost Aristotelian scholars working in the field today, this authoritative introduction to the role of virtue ethics in business is a valuable primer for graduate students and academic researchers in business ethics, applied ethics and philosophy. (shrink)
Both utilitarian and deontological moral theories locate the source of our moral beliefs in the wrong sorts of considerations. One way this failure manifests itself, we argue, is in the ways these theories analyze the proper human relationship toward the non-human environment. Another, more notorious, manifestation of this failure is found in Derek Parfit's Repugnant Conclusion. Our goal is to explore the connection between these two failures, and to suggest that they are failures of act-centered moral theories in general. As (...) such, they cannot be fixed by simply developing a better version of such a theory. Virtue-based theories, we suggest, provide a more promising alternative. (shrink)
This essay defends a novel form of virtue epistemology: Modal Virtue Epistemology. It borrows from traditional virtue epistemology the idea that knowledge is a type of skillful performance. But it goes on to understand skillfulness in purely modal terms — that is, in terms of success across a range of counterfactual scenarios. We argue that this approach offers a promising way of synthesizing virtue epistemology with a modal account of knowledge, according to which knowledge is safe belief. In particular, we (...) argue that the modal elements of the view offer important advantages over traditional virtue epistemology, which assigns a central explanatory role to aptness. At the same time, the virtue epistemological elements of the theory reveal new avenues for overcoming obstacles to traditional modal accounts of knowledge. Finally, we highlight the advantages of Modal Virtue Epistemology over alternative syntheses, such as Pritchard's (2012) hybrid approach. (shrink)
This paper applies emerging research on epistemic virtues to business ethics. Inspired by recent work on epistemic virtues in philosophy, I develop a view in which epistemic virtues contribute to the acquisition of knowledge that is instrumentally valuable in the realisation of particular ends, business ends in particular. I propose a conception of inquiry according to which epistemic actions involve investigation, belief adoption and justification, and relate this to the traditional ‘justified true belief’ analysis of knowledge. I (...) defend the view that epistemic virtues enable and/or motivate people to perform epistemic actions. An examination of the key epistemic virtues of love of knowledge, epistemic courage, temperance, justice, generosity and humility provides some initial evidence suggesting that the way epistemic virtues enable or motivate is by countering a number of biases that have been uncovered by behavioural economics, and also indicates ways in which the instrumental epistemic value view is superior to other approaches to epistemic virtue offered in the literature. (shrink)
The ‘virtue as skill’ thesis is gaining traction lately both in virtue ethics and virtue epistemology, and a significant part of that is due to Julia Annas’s work in reviving this thesis from the ancient Greeks.2 As Annas has argued, “[t]he intuitive appeal of the ancient skill analogy for virtue rests on the idea that one practical activity – acting well – is like another prominent practical activity, working well.”3 I will be adding to the development of the ‘virtue as (...) skill’ thesis, by grounding an account of skill within the larger framework of the psychological research on self-regulation, as skill acquisition is essentially a sophisticated form of self-regulation. This approach can shed further light on the nature of skill and thereby virtue. (shrink)
Virtue ethics is standardly taught and discussed as a distinctive approach to the major questions of ethics, a third major position alongside Utilitarian and Kantian ethics. I argue that this taxonomy is a confusion. Both Utilitarianism and Kantianism contain treatments of virtue, so virtue ethics cannot possibly be a separate approach contrasted with those approaches. There are, to be sure, quite a few contemporary philosophical writers about virtue who are neither Utilitarians nor Kantians; many of these find inspiration in ancient (...) Greek theories of virtue. But even here there is little unity. Although certain concerns do unite this disparate group (a concern for the role of motives and passions in good choice, a concern for character, and a concern for the whole course of an agent''s life), there are equally profound disagreements, especially concerning the role that reason should play in ethics. One group of modern virtue-theorists, I argue, are primarily anti-Utilitarians, concerned with the plurality of value and the susceptibility of passions to social cultivation. These theorists want to enlarge the place of reason in ethics. They hold that reason can deliberate about ends as well as means, and that reason can modify the passions themselves. Another group of virtue theorists are primarily anti-Kantians. They believe that reason plays too dominant a role in most philosophical accounts of ethics, and that a larger place should be given to sentiments and passions -- which they typically construe in a less reason-based way than does the first group. The paper investigates these differences, concluding that it is not helpful to speak of virtue ethics, and that we would be better off characterizing the substantive views of each thinker -- and then figuring out what we ourselves want to say. (shrink)
According to Rosalind Hursthouse’s virtue based account of right action, an act is right if it is what a fully virtuous person would do in that situation. Robert Johnson has criticized the account on the grounds that the actions a non-virtuous person should take are often uncharacteristic of the virtuous person, and thus Hursthouse’s account of right action is too narrow. The non-virtuous need to take steps to improve themselves morally, and the fully virtuous person need not take these steps. (...) So Johnson argues that any virtue based account of right action will have to find a way to ground a moral obligation to improve oneself. This paper argues that there is an account of virtue that can offer a partial solution to Johnson’s challenge, an account where virtue is a type of practical skill and in which the virtuous person is seen as having expertise. The paper references the account of skill acquisition developed by Hubert and Stuart Dreyfus. Their research demonstrates that novices in a skill have to employ different strategies to act well than the strategies used by the experts, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis provides support for Johnson’s claim that the actions of the non-virtuous will differ from the virtuous. On the other hand, their research suggests that there is no separating the commitment to improve yourself from the possession of expertise, and so the ‘virtue as skill’ thesis has the resources for grounding the obligation to improve oneself in an account of virtue. (shrink)
In this essay several virtues are discussed that are needed in people who work in participatory design (PD). The term PD is used here to refer specifically to an approach in designing information systems with its roots in Scandinavia in the 1970s and 1980s. Through the lens of virtue ethics and based on key texts in PD, the virtues of cooperation, curiosity, creativity, empowerment and reflexivity are discussed. Cooperation helps people in PD projects to engage in cooperative curiosity (...) and cooperative creativity. Curiosity helps them to empathize with others and their experiences, and to engage in joint learning. Creativity helps them to envision, try out and materialize ideas, and to jointly create new products and services. Empowerment helps them to share power and to enable other people to flourish. Moreover, reflexivity helps them to perceive and to modify their own thoughts, feelings and actions. In the spirit of virtue ethics—which focuses on specific people in concrete situations—several examples from one PD project are provided. Virtue ethics is likely to appeal to people in PD projects because it is practice-oriented, provides room for exploration and experimentation, and promotes professional and personal development. In closing, some ideas for practical application, for education and for further research are discussed. (shrink)
1. Presumably the point of, say, inculcating a moral outlook lies in a concern with how people live. It may seem that the very idea of a moral outlook makes room for, and requires, the existence of moral theory, conceived as a discipline which seeks to formulate acceptable principles of conduct. It is then natural to think of ethics as a branch of philosophy related to moral theory, so conceived, rather as the philosophy of science is related to science. On (...) this view, the primary topic of ethics is the concept of right conduct, and the nature and justification of principles of behaviour. If there is a place for an interest in the concept of virtue, it is a secondary place. Virtue is a disposition to behave rightly; the nature of virtue is explained, as it were, from the outside in. (shrink)
This paper articulates an Aristotelian theory of professional virtue and provides an application of that theory to the subject of engineering ethics. The leading idea is that Aristotle’s analysis of the definitive function of human beings, and of the virtues humans require to fulfill that function, can serve as a model for an analysis of the definitive function or social role of a profession and thus of the virtues professionals must exhibit to fulfill that role. Special attention is (...) given to a virtue of professional self-awareness, an analogue to Aristotle’s phronesis or practical wisdom. In the course of laying out my account I argue that the virtuous professional is the successful professional, just as the virtuous life is the happy life for Aristotle. I close by suggesting that a virtue ethics approach toward professional ethics can enrich the pedagogy of professional ethics courses and help foster a sense of pride and responsibility in young professionals. (shrink)
This essay develops a new conceptual framework of science and engineering ethics education based on virtue ethics and positive psychology. Virtue ethicists and positive psychologists have argued that current rule-based moral philosophy, psychology, and education cannot effectively promote students’ moral motivation for actual moral behavior and may even lead to negative outcomes, such as moral schizophrenia. They have suggested that their own theoretical framework of virtue ethics and positive psychology can contribute to the effective promotion of motivation for self-improvement by (...) connecting the notion of morality and eudaimonic happiness. Thus this essay attempts to apply virtue ethics and positive psychology to science and engineering ethics education and to develop a new conceptual framework for more effective education. In addition to the conceptual-level work, this essay suggests two possible educational methods: moral modeling and involvement in actual moral activity in science and engineering ethics classes, based on the conceptual framework. (shrink)
Moral virtue is, for Aristotle, famously acquired through the practice of virtuous actions. But how should we understand the activity of Aristotle’s moral learner, and how does her activity result in the acquisition of virtue? I argue that by understanding Aristotle’s learner as engaged in the emulative imitation of a virtuous agent, we can best account for her development. Such activity crucially involves the adoption of the virtuous agent’s perspective, from which I argue the learner is positioned so as to (...) appreciate the value of virtuous action—its fineness—and what it would be to act finely herself. (shrink)
ABSTRACT A thriving project in contemporary epistemology concerns identifying and explicating the epistemic virtues. Although there is little sustained argument for this claim, a number of prominent sources suggest that curiosity is an epistemic virtue. In this paper, I provide an account of the virtue of curiosity. After arguing that virtuous curiosity must be appropriately discerning, timely and exacting, I then situate my account in relation to two broader questions for virtue responsibilists: What sort of motivations are required for (...) epistemic virtue? And do epistemic virtues need to be reliable? I will sketch an account on which curiosity is only virtuous when rooted in a non-instrumental appreciation of epistemic goods, before arguing that curiosity can exhibit intellectual virtue irrespective of whether one is reliable in satisfying it. (shrink)
I argue that recent virtue theories (including those of Hursthouse, Slote, and Swanton) face important initial difficulties in accommodating the supererogatory. In particular, I consider several potential characterizations of the supererogatory modeled upon these familiar virtue theories (and their accounts of rightness) and argue that they fail to provide an adequate account of supererogation. In the second half of the paper I sketch an alternative virtue-based characterization of supererogation, one that is grounded in the attitudes of virtuous ideal observers, and (...) that avoids the concerns raised in the first part of the paper. (shrink)
The perceptual model of emotions maintains that emotions involve, or are at least analogous to, perceptions of value. On this account, emotions purport to tell us about the evaluative realm, in much the same way that sensory perceptions inform us about the sensible world. An important development of this position, prominent in recent work by Peter Goldie amongst others, concerns the essential role that virtuous habits of attention play in enabling us to gain perceptual and evaluative knowledge. I think that (...) there are good reasons to be sceptical about this picture of virtue. In this essay I set out these reasons, and explain the consequences this scepticism has for our understanding of the relation between virtue, emotion, and attention. In particular, I argue that our primary capacity for recognizing value is in fact a non-emotional capacity. (shrink)
With its focus on intellectual virtues and their role in the acquisition and transmission of knowledge and related epistemic goods, virtue epistemology provides a rich set of tools for educational theory and practice. In particular, characteristics under the rubric of "responsibilist" virtue epistemology, like curiosity, open-mindedness, attentiveness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity, can help educators and students define and attain certain worthy but nebulous educational goals like a love of learning, lifelong learning, and critical thinking. This volume is devoted (...) to exploring the intersection between virtue epistemology and education. It assembles leading virtue epistemologists and philosophers of education to address such questions as: Which virtues are most essential to education? How exactly should these virtues be understood? How is the goal of intellectual character growth related to other educational goals, for example, to critical thinking and knowledge-acquisition? What are the "best practices" for achieving this goal? Can growth in intellectual virtues be measured? The chapters are a prime example of "applied epistemology" and promise to be a seminal contribution to an area of research that is rapidly gaining attention within epistemology and beyond. (shrink)
Introduction -- In search of global traits -- Habitual virtuous actions and automaticity -- Social intelligence and why it matters -- Virtue as social intelligence -- Philosophical situationism revisited -- Conclusion.
One approach to understanding moral virtues is to compare them with practical skills, since both involve learning how to act well. This paper inquires whether this approach can be extended to intellectual virtues. The relevance of the analogy between virtues and skills for virtue epistemology can be seen in two prominent discussions of intellectual virtues and skills. Linda Zagzebski has argued that intellectual virtues can be modeled on moral virtues, and that a key component (...) of virtue being understood as a “success” term is that virtues are associated with skills. However, she explicitly rejects the stronger claim that virtues can be understood as skills. Julia Annas defends the idea that virtues are skills, and she uses this conception of virtue to argue that Zagzebski’s project fails because of a key difference between the two types of virtue. This paper argues that a skill model of virtue can support modeling intellectual virtues on ethical virtues, contrary to the claims made by Zagzebski and Annas. There are a variety of misconceptions about skills that have led to errors in both of their discussions. The Dreyfus account of skill acquisition and current psychological research on expertise will help to correct these errors. (shrink)
This volume brings together much of the most influential work undertaken in the field of virtue ethics over the last four decades. The ethics of virtue predominated in the ancient world, and recent moral philosophy has seen a revival of interest in virtue ethics as a rival to Kantian and utilitarian approaches to morality. Divided into four sections, the collection includes articles critical of other traditions; early attempts to offer a positive vision of virtue ethics; some later criticisms of the (...) revival of virtue ethics; and, finally, some recent, more theoretically ambitious essays in virtue ethics. (shrink)
Recently, Amartya Sen and Martha Nussbaum have developed the capabilities approach to provide a model for understanding the effectiveness of programs to help the developing nations. The approach holds that human beings are fundamentally free and have a sense of human dignity. Therefore, institutions need to help people enhance this dignity by providing them with the opportunity to develop their capabilities freely. I argue that this approach may help support business ethics based on virtue. Since teleology has become problematic, virtue (...) ethics has had difficulty giving itself an ultimate justification. By combining virtue ethics with the capabilities approach, it becomes possible to ground virtue ethics on the basis of the existence of human dignity. This frees virtue ethics of the need for a strict teleology, replacing it with the notion that people must work to develop the capabilities of others although those capabilities are not pointed toward a definite goal. I further suggest that by grounding virtue ethics in capabilities, the actions of a virtuous manager become clearer. Rather than simply charging a manager with serving the public, the manager is charged with serving the stakeholders in a way that develops their capabilities. For example, a manager should not just give their employees what is just but must give them the environment and the encouragement to grow and to find fulfillment in their job. (shrink)
The role intellectual virtues play in scientific inquiry has raised significant discussions in the recent literature. A number of authors have recently explored the link between virtue epistemology and philosophy of science with the aim to show whether epistemic virtues can contribute to the resolution of the problem of theory choice. This paper analyses how intellectual virtues can be beneficial for successful resolution of theory choice. We explore the role of virtues as well as vices in (...) scientific inquiry and their beneficial effects in the context of theory choice. We argue that vices can play a role in widening the set of potential candidate theories and support our claim with historical examples and normative arguments from formal social epistemology. We argue that even though virtues appear to be neither necessary nor sufficient for scientific success, they have a positive effect because they accelerate successful convergence amongst scientists in theory choice situations. (shrink)
In recent years, virtue theories have enjoyed a renaissance of interest among general and medical ethicists. This book offers a virtue-based ethic for medicine, the health professions, and health care. Beginning with a historical account of the concept of virtue, the authors construct a theory of the place of the virtues in medical practice. Their theory is grounded in the nature and ends of medicine as a special kind of human activity. The concepts of virtue, the virtues, and (...) the virtuous physician are examined along with the place of the virtues of trust, compassion, prudence, justice, courage, temperance, and effacement of self-interest in medicine. The authors discuss the relationship between and among principles, rules, virtues, and the philosophy of medicine. They also address the difference virtue-based ethics makes in confronting such practical problems as care of the poor, research with human subjects, and the conduct of the healing relationship. This book woith the author's previous volumes, A Philosophical Basis of Medical Practice and For the Patient's Good, are part of their continuing project of developing a coherent moral philosophy of medicine. (shrink)
Virtue theorists in ethics often embrace the following characterizationof right action: An action is right iff a virtuous agent would performthat action in like circumstances. Zagzebski offers a parallel virtue-basedaccount of epistemically justified belief. Such proposals are severely flawedbecause virtuous agents in adverse circumstances, or through lack ofknowledge can perform poorly. I propose an alternative virtue-based accountaccording to which an action is right (a belief is justified) for an agentin a given situation iff an unimpaired, fully-informed virtuous observerwould deem the (...) action to be right (the belief to be justified). (shrink)
It has been a decade since the phrase virtue argumentation was introduced, and while it would be an exaggeration to say that it burst onto the scene, it would be just as much of an understatement to say that it has gone unnoticed. Trying to strike the virtuous mean between the extremes of hyperbole and litotes, then, we can fairly characterize it as a way of thinking about arguments and argumentation that has steadily attracted more and more attention from argumentation (...) theorists. We hope it is neither too late for an introduction to the field nor too soon for some retrospective assessment of where things stand. (shrink)
‘Virtue signaling’ is the practice of using moral talk in order to enhance one’s moral reputation. Many find this kind of behavior irritating. However, some philosophers have gone further, arguing that virtue signaling actively undermines the proper functioning of public moral discourse and impedes moral progress. Against this view, I argue that widespread virtue signaling is not a social ill, and that it can actually serve as an invaluable instrument for moral change, especially in cases where moral argument alone does (...) not suffice. Specifically, virtue signaling can change the broader public’s social expectations, which can in turn motivate the adoption of new, positive social norms. I also argue that the reputation-seeking motives underlying virtue signaling impose important constraints on virtue signalers’ behavior, which serve to keep the worst excesses of virtue signaling in check. (shrink)