On the Distinction between Intellectual and Moral Virtues

Jason Baehr

in The Inquiring Mind

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780199604074
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191729300 | DOI:
On the Distinction between Intellectual and Moral Virtues

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The Appendix examines the relationship between intellectual virtues, conceived as character traits, and what are typically thought of as moral virtues. Three possible accounts of this relation are considered: (1) what we call “intellectual virtues” just are moral virtues; (2) intellectual virtues are a proper subset of moral virtues; and (3) intellectual virtues are fundamentally distinct from moral virtues. A position is defended according to which a trait's being an intellectual virtue depends on its being internally orientated toward distinctively epistemic goods, while a trait's being a moral virtue depends on its being others‐regarding. The result is that there is substantial overlap between the class of intellectual virtues and the class of moral virtues and that consequently a position somewhere between (2) and (3) is correct.

Keywords: intellectual vs. moral virtue; scope of the moral; virtue and human flourishing; egoism and virtues; others‐regarding virtues; Julia Driver

Chapter.  7561 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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