Virtue Theory and Exemplars

Linda Zagzebski
University of Oklahoma
This essay outlines an approach to virtue theory that makes the foundation of the theory direct reference to virtuous exemplars, modeled on the famous theory of direct reference, devised in the seventies by Hilary Putnam and Saul Kripke. The basic idea is that exemplars are persons like that, just as water is liquid like that, and humans are members of the same species as that, and so on. In this theory exemplars are picked out directly through the emotion of admiration rather than through the satisfaction of a description. We discover the virtues empirically by investigating the qualities of exemplars in a way that parallels the discovery that water is H2O. It is also possible that although the virtues are discovered empirically, the connection between being admirable and having certain traits is necessary, just as Kripke claims that “water is H2O” is necessary, but known a posteriori
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Agency and Virtues.Zahra Khazaei - 2019 - Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 21 (3):119-140.
Mulla Sadra on Virtue and Action.Zahra Khazaei - 2018 - Religious Inquiries 7 (13).

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