In Tom Angier & Lisa Raphals (eds.), Skill in Ancient Ethics: The Legacy of China, Greece and Rome. Bloomsbury Academic (forthcoming)

Authors
Paul E. Carron
Baylor University
Abstract
In Nicomachean Ethics 2.1, Aristotle draws a now familiar analogy between aretai ('virtues') and technai ('skills'). The apparent basis of this comparison is that both virtue and skill are developed through practice and repetition, specifically by the learner performing the same kinds of actions as the expert: in other words, we become virtuous by performing virtuous actions. Aristotle’s claim that “like states arise from like activities” has led some philosophers to challenge the virtue-skill analogy. In particular, Aristotle’s skill analogy is sometimes dismissed because of the role that practical wisdom or phronesis purportedly plays in character virtue. In this paper, I argue that a proper understanding of character virtue, phantasia-based emotions, and Aristotle’s implicit distinction between habituated and strict or full virtue (aretè kuria) grounds his virtue-skill analogy. Character virtue stems from the non-rational orektikon and is developed through the habituation of passionate elements, primarily phantasia and pathé. Pathé are pleasurable or affective perceptions, not judgments or beliefs. Thus, pathé are subject to non-rational habituation. Practical wisdom, on the other hand, is an intellectual virtue stemming from the rational part of the soul. Though practical wisdom is necessary for full virtue (aretè kuria), it is not necessary for the habituated character virtue that Aristotle refers in Book II. Once we understand the phantastic basis of emotions and the distinction between habituated and full virtue, the virtue-skill analogy is apt. I conclude by briefly mentioning two contemporary forms of emotion regulation—cognitive reappraisal and cognitive behavioral therapy—that lend support from empirical psychology to Aristotle’s claim that emotions (pathé) can be habituated. Character virtue is indeed a skill; it is—at least in part—the skill of emotion regulation.
Keywords aristotle  virtue ethics  moral psychology  emotions
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on Amazon.com
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Nicomachean Ethics.H. Aristotle & Rackham - 1968 - Harvard University Press.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
Handbook of Emotion Regulation.James J. Gross (ed.) - 2007 - Guilford Press.

View all 30 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Importance of Roles in the Skill Analogy.Matt Dougherty - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (1):75-102.
Ethical Expertise: The Skill Model of Virtue.Matt Stichter - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):183-194.
Skill, Practical Wisdom, and Ethical Naturalism.John Hacker-Wright - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):983-993.
Virtue as Mastery in Early Confucianism.Aaron Stalnaker - 2010 - Journal of Religious Ethics 38 (3):404-428.
A Case for Virtue: Aristotle’s Psychology and Contemporary Accounts of Emotion Regulation.Paul Carron - 2014 - Images of Europe. Past, Present, Future: ISSEI 2014 - Conference Proceedings.
The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Learning From Failure: Shame and Emotion Regulation in Virtue as Skill.Matt Stichter - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):341-354.
Caught in a Eutrapelia.Sean McAleer - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:297-312.
Aristotle on Virtue of Character and the Authority of Reason.Jozef Müller - 2019 - Phronesis: A Journal for Ancient Philosophy 64 (1):10-56.
Caught in a Eutrapelia: Kraut on Aristotle on Wit.Sean McAleer - 2015 - Journal of Philosophical Research 40:297-312.
The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Seeing by Feeling: Virtues, Skills, and Moral Perception.Daniel Jacobson - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):387-409.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2020-07-18

Total views
228 ( #48,348 of 2,498,526 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
75 ( #10,176 of 2,498,526 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes