Download A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good by Robert Merrihew Adams PDF

By Robert Merrihew Adams

ISBN-10: 0199207518

ISBN-13: 9780199207510

The prestigious thinker Robert M. Adams offers a tremendous paintings on advantage, that is once more a vital subject in moral notion. A thought of advantage is a scientific, finished framework for considering the ethical assessment of personality. Many fresh makes an attempt to stake out a spot in ethical philosophy for this hindrance outline advantage when it comes to its advantages for the virtuous individual or for human society extra mostly. partially One Adams provides and defends a belief of advantage as intrinsic excellence of personality, worthy prizing for its personal sake and never just for its merits. within the different components he addresses demanding situations to the traditional suggestion of excellence of personality.

One problem arises from the significance of altruism in smooth moral concept, and the query of what altruism has to do with intrinsic excellence. half argues that altruistic benevolence does certainly have a vital position in excellence of personality, yet that ethical advantage also needs to be anticipated to contain excellence in being for different items along with the healthiness (and the rights) of different people. It explores kinfolk between cultural items, own relationships, one's personal solid, and the great of others, as items of good factors.

The different problem, the topic of half 3 of the booklet, is typified via doubts concerning the fact of ethical advantage, coming up from experiments and conclusions in social psychology. Adams explores intimately the customers for an empirically practical notion of excellence of personality as an item of ethical aspiration, pastime, and schooling. He argues that this type of perception will contain renunciation of the traditional thesis of the harmony or mutual implication of all virtues, and acknowledgment of adequate 'moral luck' within the improvement of any individual's personality to make advantage very mostly a present, instead of a person fulfillment, notwithstanding still first-class and admirable for that.

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Additional resources for A Theory of Virtue: Excellence in Being for the Good

Sample text

Other virtues—courage, for example, and also self-control and patience—are not defined in that way, by particular motives or by one’s main aims, but are rather structural features of the way one organizes and manages whatever motives one has. ²² The excellence of structural ²² The former sort of virtues are called ‘‘substantive or motivational,’’ and the latter ‘‘virtues of will power,’’ in a helpful discussion in Roberts, ‘‘Will Power and the Virtues,’’ pp. 227–33; I have borrowed the term ‘motivational virtues’ from him.

I hope it will serve as an identifying description, but it would be circular for me to offer it as a definition, since I take the suitableness of responsive attitudes, mentioned in it, to be a case of excellence. It is important to its role in my theory of virtue that excellence is a type of intrinsic goodness. I do not mean that excellence, nor perhaps any type of goodness, is intrinsic in the strongest possible sense, in which an intrinsic property of any thing must be completely independent of any relations to other things.

To say that virtue must be excellent is not just to say that it must be good. Excellence is a particular type of goodness. It is not usefulness, or merely instrumental goodness. To say that virtue must be excellent is to insist that it must be worth prizing for its own sake. In its own right it is one of the things that make life worth living. Although it is thus a determinant of well-being, being excellent is never just being good for persons. Excellence is the objective and noninstrumental goodness of that which is worthy to be honored, loved, admired, or (in the extreme case) worshiped, for its own sake.

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