Philosophy Colloquium
Kelsey Gipe
University of Maryland
    
Virtue, Correction, and Constraint

I begin with the following moral dilemma: we are inclined to say that the harder an agent finds it to act virtuously the more virtue she shows if she does act well, but we are also inclined to say that the harder an agent finds it to act virtuously the more it shows how imperfect in virtue she is. I argue that this dilemma is the result of a deeper conflict between conceiving of morality as a corrective constraint on immoral temptations and conceiving of morality as consisting in being a good human. I am concerned with whether, conceiving of morality as being a good human, we might still accommodate our deep-seated intuition that morality is both “correctiveâ€ù and “constrainingâ€ù. I give Philippa Foot’s account of virtue as a largely successful attempt to do justice to our inclination toward conceiving of morality as both corrective and constraining, but I ultimately find it lacking since it fails to capture the considered belief that morality can be a corrective constraint on one’s individual moral deficiencies. Improving upon Foot’s account of virtue, I posit the existence of intermediate virtues that would not be possessed by the ideally virtuous person, but are nonetheless essential to becoming an ideally virtuous person.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013
4:00pm

Skinner 1115