Aristotle and the Virtues of Will Power

Southwest Philosophy Review 31 (2):85-94 (2015)
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Since the 1970s, at least, and presumably under the influence of the later Wittgenstein, certain advocates of Aristotle’s ethics have insisted that a proper validation of the virtues of character must proceed only from within, or be internal to, the particular evaluative outlook provided by possession of the virtues themselves. The most influential advocate of this line of thinking is arguably John McDowell, although Rosalind Hursthouse and Daniel C. Russell have also more recently embraced it. Here I consider whether a distinction between the ‘substantive virtues’ and the ‘virtues of will power’ ultimately threatens that way of thinking about Aristotle’s ethics. If so, it would encourage a different reading of Aristotle’s ethics, one that McDowell has described as a “historical monstrosity”.

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Noell Birondo
University of Texas at El Paso

Citations of this work

Aristotle and Expertise: Ideas on the Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):599-609.
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References found in this work

Ethics and the limits of philosophy.Bernard Williams - 1985 - Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Character as Moral Fiction.Mark Alfano - 2013 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Ethics with Aristotle.Sarah Broadie - 1991 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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