It just feels right: an account of expert intuition

Synthese 199 (1-2):1327-1346 (2020)
  Copy   BIBTEX


One of the hallmarks of virtue is reliably acting well. Such reliable success presupposes that an agent is able to recognize the morally salient features of a situation, and the appropriate response to those features and is motivated to act on this knowledge without internal conflict. Furthermore, it is often claimed that the virtuous person can do this in a spontaneous or intuitive manner. While these claims represent an ideal of what it is to have a virtue, it is less clear how to make good on them. That is, how is it actually possible to spontaneously and reliably act well? In this paper, we will lay out a framework for understanding how it is that one could reliably act well in an intuitive manner. We will do this by developing the concept of an action schema, which draws on the philosophical and psychological literature on skill acquisition and self-regulation. In short, we will give an account of how self-regulation, grounded in skillful structures, can allow for the accurate intuitions and flexible expertise required for virtue. While our primary goal in this paper is to provide a positive theory of how virtuous intuitions might be accounted for, we also take ourselves to be raising the bar for what counts as an explanation of reliable and intuitive action in general.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 77,697

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Virtues, Skills, and Right Action.Matt Stichter - 2011 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 14 (1):73-86.
The skill of virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
A Non-Standard View of Intuitions.Benjamin Nelson - 2018 - Proceedings of the XXIII World Congress of Philosophy 22:75-80.
The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Wisdom as an Expert Skill.Jason D. Swartwood - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):511-528.
Virtuous Motivation.Karen Stohr - 2018 - In Nancy Snow (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Virtue. New York, NY, USA: pp. 453-469.
Motor Skill and Moral Virtue.Ellen Fridland - 2017 - Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement 80:139-170.
Intuitive knowledge.Elijah Chudnoff - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 162 (2):359-378.
Reuniting Virtue and Knowledge.Tom Culham - 2015 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 49 (2):294-310.
Virtues for the Imperfect.Katharina Nieswandt & Ulf Hlobil - 2018 - Journal of Value Inquiry 53 (4):605-625.


Added to PP

76 (#164,551)

6 months
12 (#87,931)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Ellen Fridland
King's College London
Matt Stichter
Washington State University

Citations of this work

Skill’s Psychological Structures. [REVIEW]Ellen Fridland - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):555-562.
Replies to Commentators on The Skillfulness of Virtue. [REVIEW]Matt Stichter - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):611-623.
Practical Structure and Moral Skill.Joshua Shepherd - 2022 - Philosophical Quarterly 72 (3):713-732.
Introduction: Symposium on Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):545-547.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
Virtue and Reason.John McDowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind.Barbara Gail Montero - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.

View all 27 references / Add more references