Chapter

Moral Responsibility and Moral Character

Susan Sauvé Meyer

in Aristotle on Moral Responsibility

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199697427
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191732072 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199697427.003.0002
Moral Responsibility and Moral Character

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This chapter establishes that the general context in which Aristotle's discussions of voluntariness occur, his general account of the virtues and vices of character, is itself concerned with the conditions of moral agency. The chapter focuses on Aristotle's conception of the property common to the virtues and vices of character (ēthikē aretē kai kakia) and to the intermediate states of character falling between perfect virtue and full vice. These states are recognizably moral qualities, and Aristotle denies them to animals and small children on the grounds that they have no conception of happiness. The feature distinctive of such a state, in Aristotle's view, is that it expresses the agent's conception of happiness; and so this must be the feature that, in his view, makes an agent properly subject to the expectations and evaluations of morality.

Keywords: Aristotle; voluntariness; virtues; vices; moral agency; morality

Chapter.  8398 words. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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