Right act, virtuous motive

In Heather Battaly (ed.), Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic. Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 58-72 (2010)
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Abstract

Abstract: The concepts of virtue and right action are closely connected, in that we expect people with virtuous motives to at least often act rightly. Two well-known views explain this connection by defining one of the concepts in terms of the other. Instrumentalists about virtue identify virtuous motives as those that lead to right acts; virtue-ethicists identify right acts as those that are or would be done from virtuous motives. This essay outlines a rival explanation, based on the "higher-level" account of virtue defended in the author's Virtue, Vice, and Value . On this account rightness and virtue go together because each is defined by a (different) relation to some other, more basic moral concept. Their frequent coincidence is therefore like a correlation between A and B based not on either's causing the other but on their being joint effects of a single common cause.

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Thomas Hurka
University of Toronto, St. George Campus

Citations of this work

Right Intention and the Ends of War.Duncan Purves & Ryan Jenkins - 2016 - Journal of Military Ethics 15 (1):18-35.
On Motive Accounts of Care.Anumita Shukla & Mayank Bora - 2018 - Journal of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research 35 (1):175-192.

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References found in this work

Principia ethica.George Edward Moore - 1903 - Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications. Edited by Thomas Baldwin.
On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
The Right and the Good. Some Problems in Ethics.W. D. Ross - 1930 - Oxford: Clarendon Press. Edited by Philip Stratton-Lake.
The methods of ethics.Henry Sidgwick - 1874 - Bristol, U.K.: Thoemmes Press. Edited by Emily Elizabeth Constance Jones.
Natural law and natural rights.John Finnis - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press.

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