The Unity of the Virtues Revisited

In Christoph Halbig & Felix Timmermann (eds.), Handbuch Tugend Und Tugendethik. Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden. pp. 65-79 (2021)
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The classical doctrine of the unity of the virtues is generally rejected today. After arguing that the doctrine is more tenable than is commonly allowed, I consider a new and possibly cogent objection based on the idea that some virtues, in some cultural settings, are of diminished importance, and thus are not necessary for the possession of other virtues. I develop a revised version of the doctrine which maintains that certain central virtues are unified, and that any other virtues are dependent upon them, but allows that an agent might have these central virtues without possessing certain other virtues. The upshot will be that a revised but still quite strong version of the unity doctrine remains interesting and defensible.



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Christopher H. Toner
University of St. Thomas, Minnesota

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