Introduction: Symposium on Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):545-547 (2021)
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The ‘skill model’ of virtue has received increasing levels of attention over the past decade, at least partly due to its prominence in the work of Julia Annas. Building on this earlier work, some of which is his own, Matt Stichter now delivers a bold and empirically grounded new book, The Skillfulness of Virtue, an extended defense of the skill model of virtue that utilizes the available psychological research on self-regulation and practical expertise. Stichter examines the idea (familiar in antiquity) that the virtues might be analogous to practical skills, and he defends a very strong version of this thesis, that the virtues actually just are a special kind of practical skill. A morally virtuous person is one who achieves expertise in moral skills; and he helpfully extends this empirically grounded thesis beyond the case of ethics, to encompass epistemic virtue as well. Stichter’s book makes a major contribution to virtue theory that will shape future research on the skill model of virtue in philosophy and moral psychology, but also potentially in empirical psychology and other disciplines.
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First archival date: 2021-05-01
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