Two Sides of 'Silencing'

Philosophical Quarterly 55 (218):68 - 77 (2005)
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Abstract

John McDowell argues that for virtuous agents the requirements of virtue do not outweigh competing considerations, but 'silence' them. He explains this claim in two different ways: a virtuous agent (a) will not be tempted to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('motivational silencing'), or (b) will not believe that he has any reason to act in a way which is incompatible with virtue ('rational silencing'). I identify a small class of cases in which alone McDowell's claims about rational silencing are true. He draws his claims from Aristotle's assertion that a life of virtue is 'self-sufficient'. I offer an alternative reading of Aristotle's assertion, which does not imply the truth of McDowell's. But McDowell's claims about motivational silencing are true

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Jeffrey Seidman
Vassar College

Citations of this work

Instrumental reasons.Niko Kolodny - 2018 - In Daniel Star (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Reasons and Normativity. Oxford University Press.
The Reasoning View and Defeasible Practical Reasoning.Samuel Asarnow - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (3):614-636.
Virtuous Construal: In Defense of Silencing.Denise Vigani - 2019 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 5 (2):229-245.
Caring and incapacity.Jeffrey Seidman - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 147 (2):301 - 322.

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References found in this work

Free action and free will.Gary Watson - 1987 - Mind 96 (April):154-72.

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