Rationality and Virtue

Philippa Foot

in Moral Dilemmas

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780199252848
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191597411 | DOI:
Rationality and Virtue

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Considers the age‐old problem of the rationality of obeying the precepts of justice even when this conflicts with self‐interest and desire. If this is irrational action, how can it be good action? And if not good action, how can it be an action required by the virtue of justice? Was Thrasymachus in Plato's Republic right to argue that justice is not a virtue? Foot suggests that we should ‘turn this problem on its head’ starting from an argument that shows the connection between justice and human goodness and insisting that an account of practical rationality in terms of individual desire and self‐interest is therefore shown to be deficient. In the course of the argument, Foot outlines the theory of human goodness that is to be central in her book Natural Goodness.

Keywords: Natural Goodness; justice; rationality; Thrasymachus; Plato; Republic; virtue

Chapter.  6749 words. 

Subjects: Moral Philosophy

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