Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (2):229-249 (2021)

Will Small
University of Illinois, Chicago
Julia Annas proposes to shed light on the intelligence of virtue through an analogy with the intelligence of practical skills. To do so, she first aims to distinguish genuine skills and skillful actions from mere habits and routine behaviour: like skills, habits are acquired through habituation and issue in action immediately (i.e. unmediated by reasoning about what to do), but the routine behaviour in which habit issues is mindless and unintelligent, and cannot serve to establish or illuminate the intelligence of virtuous action. In a second step, she argues that virtue has the same kind of intellectual structure—and is acquired through the same kind of habituation—as skill. I argue that Annas’s proposal fails at the first step: her conceptions of the rational articulacy of skill and the immediacy that characterizes its exercise in action cannot be squared. I offer an alternative conception of the intelligence of skill and its exercise that draws on Aristotle’s conception of rational capacities as two-way powers. But as a virtue is not a two-way power, virtues and skills do not share a common intellectual structure.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10790-021-09813-1
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Translate to english
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 65,815
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Virtue and Reason.John McDowell - 1979 - The Monist 62 (3):331-350.
The Return of the Myth of the Mental.Hubert L. Dreyfus - 2007 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 50 (4):352 – 365.
Virtues and Vices.Philippa Foot - 1983 - Noûs 17 (1):117-121.
Practical Expertise.Julia Annas - 2011 - In John Bengson & Marc A. Moffett (eds.), Knowing How: Essays on Knowledge, Mind, and Action. Oxford University Press, Usa. pp. 101.
Skill, Drill, and Intelligent Performance: Ryle and Intellectualism.Stina Bäckström & Martin Gustafsson - 2017 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 5 (5).

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Practical Knowledge and Habits of Mind.Will Small - 2020 - Journal of Philosophy of Education 54 (2):377-397.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
The Skill of Virtue.Matthew Stichter - 2007 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 14 (2):39-49.
Ethical Expertise: The Skill Model of Virtue.Matt Stichter - 2007 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (2):183-194.
The Importance of Roles in the Skill Analogy.Matt Dougherty - 2020 - Journal of Ethics and Social Philosophy 17 (1):75-102.
Aristotle and Expertise: Ideas on the Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):599-609.
Virtue and Embodied Skill: Refining the Virtue-Skill Analogy.Denise Vigani - 2021 - Journal of Value Inquiry 55 (2):251-268.
Skill, Practical Wisdom, and Ethical Naturalism.John Hacker-Wright - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (5):983-993.
How Did She Get So Good? On Virtue and Skill. [REVIEW]Bana Bashour - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):563-575.
Intellectual Skill and the Rylean Regress.Brian Weatherson - 2017 - Philosophical Quarterly 67 (267):370-386.
Skill and Knowledge.Ernest Sosa & Laura Frances Callahan - 2021 - In Ellen Fridland & Carlotta Pavese (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Skill and Expertise. London: Routledge. pp. 146-156.


Added to PP index

Total views
39 ( #281,511 of 2,463,134 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
10 ( #71,114 of 2,463,134 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes