Vices, Virtues, and Dispositions

TheoLogica: An International Journal for Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology 7 (2) (2023)
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Abstract

In this paper, we embark on the complicated discussion about the nature of vice in Virtue Ethics through a twofold approach: first, by taking seriously the claim that virtues (and certain flavours of vices) are genuinely dispositional features possessed by agents, and secondly, by employing a pluralistic attitude borrowed from Battaly’s pluralism (2008). Through these lenses, we identify three varieties of viciousness: incontinence, indifference, and malevolence. The upshot is that the notion of vice is not as categorically homogeneous as that of virtue: some states of viciousness consist in interference of present virtuous dispositions, or mimicking of absent vicious ones, whereas others can be considered genuine dispositions themselves. Furthermore, this set-up can provide an interesting, albeit highly idealized story as to how, through the interference in one’s environment, one gets acquainted with vice in various degrees. Finally, this approach can be illuminating vis-à-vis Virtue Ethics in general; e.g. we can employ it to discuss more productively Johnston’s (2003) objection to Hursthouse’s (1999) account of moral conduct. Finally, this approach can be illuminating vis-a-vis Virtue Ethics in general; e.g. we can employ it to discuss more productively Johnston’s (2003) objection to Hursthouse’s (1999) account of moral conduct.

Author Profiles

Andrea Raimondi
Thapar Institute of Engineering and Technology
Lorenzo Azzano
Universidade de Santiago de Compostela

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