Thinking the Right Way (at the Right Time) about Virtues and Skills [Book Review]

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):577-586 (2020)
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Abstract

I discuss three features of Matt Stichter’s new book The Skillfulness of Virtue. The thesis of the book is that virtue is best conceptualized as a type of skill, and the chapters of the book explore the implications of this thesis for our understanding of moral development, social psychology and comparisons of virtuous agents with agents who exhibit familiar types of non-moral expertise. The features of the book that I examine are (1) Stichter’s rejection of an ability to articulate reasons for acting as a necessary condition for acting virtuously; (2) his comparison of expertise and virtue with respect to apt motivations and practical wisdom; and (3) whether his thesis invites a comparison of virtue and familiar non-moral expertise that is ultimately unfavourable to the adoption of virtue ethics as a normative ethical theory. I present no devastating objections, for I agree with most of what Stichter presents in the book. Rather, my aim is to raise points of clarification that might further the stimulating discussion of virtues and skills that Stichter’s book already provides.

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Scott Woodcock
University of Victoria

Citations of this work

Aristotle and Expertise: Ideas on the Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):599-609.
The Skill Model: A Dilemma for Virtue Ethics.Nick Schuster - 2023 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 26 (3):447-461.
Introduction: Symposium on Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue.Noell Birondo - 2021 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):545-547.

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References found in this work

On Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse - 1999 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Intelligent Virtue.Julia Annas - 2011 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
The morality of happiness.Julia Annas - 1993 - New York: Oxford University Press.
Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind.Barbara Montero - 2016 - Oxford, United Kingdom: Oxford University Press UK.

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