Dispositions, Character, and the Value of Acts

In Christian Miller, R. Michael Furr, Angela Knobel & William Fleeson (eds.), Character: New Perspectives in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology. Oxford University Press. pp. 233-250 (2015)
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This paper concerns the central virtue ethical thesis that the ethical quality of an agent's actions is a function of her dispositional character. Skeptics have rightly urged us to distinguish between an agent's particular intentions or occurrant motives and dispositional facts about her character, but they falsely contend that if we are attentive to this distinction, then we will see that the virtue ethical thesis is false. In this paper I present a new interpretation and defense of the virtue ethical thesis and show how to rebuff the skeptical attacks advanced by Thomas Hurka, Julia Markovits, and Roger Crisp. The key, I contend, is for virtue ethicists to adopt an embodied value conception of character instead of the aretaic trait conception suggested by Aristotle.



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Bradford Cokelet
University of Kansas

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