Fitting Moral Admiration: Achievements and Character

Journal of Applied Philosophy 40 (5):864-883 (2023)
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I develop three arguments in support of my contention that we should favor achievements over agents as objects of fitting moral admiration. The first argument impugns the epistemic standing with which characterological admiration is standardly issued. The second argument alleges that there is likely to be a difference between widely held folk concepts of character and traits, on the one hand, and an empirically supported view of the reality of those things, on the other. The final argument concerns one way in which characterological admiration renders some aspects of our practices of admiring subject to undesirable revision. In each case I use an analogy to athletic admiration to show how achievement admiration avoids the problems of characterological admiration. I then suggest an alternative role for characterological considerations in fitting admiration, as a loose constraint on what is appropriate to admire rather than as an object of admiration. The upshot of the article is theoretical, inasmuch as it develops a tension between the conditions governing fitting admiration and an empirically informed view of character. But there is also practical upshot, especially in the context of public practices of admiring, as when we build statues of heroes or name buildings after them.



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Kyle Fruh
Duke Kunshan University

Citations of this work

Doxastic Affirmative Action.Andreas Bengtson & Lauritz Aastrup Munch - 2024 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 27 (2):203-220.
Commemoration, Militarism, and Gratitude.Kyle Fruh - forthcoming - The Journal of Ethics:1-20.

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References found in this work

The Moralistic Fallacy.Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.
The Moralistic Fallacy: On the 'Appropriateness' of Emotions.Justin D'Arms & Daniel Jacobson - 2000 - Philosophical and Phenomenological Research 61 (1):65-90.
Vandalizing Tainted Commemorations.Chong-Ming Lim - 2020 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 48 (2):185-216.

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