Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):355-371 (2020)

Christian Miller
Wake Forest University
The virtue of honesty has been stunningly neglected in contemporary philosophy, with only two papers appearing in the last 40 years. The first half of this paper is a conceptual exploration of one aspect of the virtue, namely the honest person’s motivational profile. I argue that egoistic motives for telling the truth or not cheating are incompatible with honest motivation. At the same time, there is no one specific motive that is required for a person to be motivated in a virtuously honest way. Instead I advance a pluralistic theory of honest motivation, which allows for motives of caring, fairness, and virtue, among others. The second half of the paper then turns briefly to the empirical literature in psychology and behavioral economics on cheating, to see to what extent honest motives appear to be operative. The upshot is that we have good preliminary evidence for the claim that most people are not virtuously honest.
Keywords Honesty  Character  Virtue  Vice  Egoism  Motivation  Duty
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DOI 10.1007/s10677-019-10055-1
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References found in this work BETA

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford University Press.
The Schizophrenia of Modern Ethical Theories.Michael Stocker - 1976 - Journal of Philosophy 73 (14):453-466.

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