Virtues for the Imperfect

Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):605-625 (2018)
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We suggest a new neo-Aristotelian account of right action: An action A is right for an agent S in a situation C just in case it is possible for A in C to result from a good practical inference. A practical inference is good if people must have a disposition to make such practical inferences where a society is to flourish. One advantage of this account is that it applies to non-ideal agents. It thus blocks the right-but-not-virtuous objection to virtue ethics. Our account furthermore suggests a new way of thinking about the concept of a fully virtuous agent. Ideal agents, we argue, necessarily have certain unmanifested dispositions, and failure is a real possibility for them.

Author Profiles

Katharina Nieswandt
Concordia University
Ulf Hlobil
Concordia University


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