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Street, Dresden Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1908/1919)
“The Ethics of Virtue”
James Rachels (1941-2003)
ACTION AND VIRTUE
• Action ethics focuses on the rightness and wrongness of obligations, rules, and actions. • Virtue ethics focuses on character traits of the individual. Accordingly, it is concerned with the question of what kind of person the individual should be. • Aristotle (384-322 B.C.E.) said that the good person is the virtuous person. Thus, for Aristotle, ethics is concerned with the virtues or what is virtuous. • For Aristotle, as for Socrates and Plato before him, the question is what makes a person virtuous, or “What traits of character make one a good person?”
REASON AND DIVINITY
• The virtuous life for the Greeks was inseparable from reason. • But Rachels notes that Christianity changed things. • Christianity changed things because it saw God as the supreme law giver - divine command theory - and the good person was the person who obeyed God’s laws by obeying the commandments of the Christian Bible. • In addition, St. Augustine distrusted reason, and thought that “moral goodness depended on subordinating oneself to the will of God.” And so what was emphasized was the Divine Law. • After Augustine, the theological virtues of faith, hope, charity, and obedience are emphasized.
THE MORAL LAW
• Rachels says that, after the Renaissance, the Divine Law was replaced by the Moral Law. • The moral law was thought to come from human reason rather than from divine commands. • The moral law was thought of as being “a system of rules specifying which actions are right.”
• Moral agents are obligated to follow these rules of correct actions.
FROM CHARACTER TO ACTION
• Because man was thought to have a duty to moral law, philosophers no longer asked about which character traits made a person good or virtuous. • Instead, they asked “what is the right thing to do?” • This question shows a shift to action from character as the concern of moral theory.
• It led philosophers to talk about rightness and obligation.
ETHICS AFTER VIRTUE ETHICS
• Ethical egoism - the view that each person ought to act in his or her own interests - do what is good for you. • Utilitarianism - we ought to do whatever will produce the greatest happiness for the greatest number of people.
• Kant’s deontological theory (duty ethics) - a person’s duty is to follow rules that could be consistently willed for everyone to follow in all circumstances. Here we get universal rules such as ‘always tell the truth.’ • Social contract theory - rational, self-interested people agree to a moral system that will protect each person from the interests of others so that we avoid the problems inherent in Hobbes’s “state of nature.” By agreeing to the contract everyone benefits.
THE RECRUDESCENCE OF VIRTUE ETHICS
• Rachels notes that a number of 20th century philosophers thought that the notion of a moral law without a lawgiver was nonsensical. This is because the notion of a law seemed logically to require a lawgiver. • Therefore they returned to virtue ethics. • For instance, G. E. M. Anscombe thought that philosophers should give up talk about obligation, duty, and rightness and go back to Aristotle’s approach to ethics as based on virtue.
• Although virtue theorists disagree amongst themselves about certain aspects of virtue theory, they agree that all other moral theories are on the wrong track.
COMPONENTS OF VIRTUE THEORY
Rachels says that a theory of virtue should: • • • • • 1. Tell us what virtue is. 2. Tell us which character traits are virtues. 3. Explain what these virtues consist in. 4. Tell us why these character traits are good ones to have. 5. Tell us whether the virtues are the same for everyone, everywhere, everywhen. Or do they differ from culture to culture, from time to time, or even from person to person?
WHAT IS VIRTUE? I
• Aristotle said that “a virtue is a trait of character that is manifested in habitual actions.” • Thus the honest person habitually tells the truth, and does so as a matter of principle. Her truthfulness comes from her character, which is “firm and unchangeable.” • The problem here is that a character trait can be manifested in habitual actions that is not a virtue but a vice, as when someone typically lies instead of telling the truth.
WHAT IS VIRTUE? II
• Perhaps the virtuous person is one we prefer and the person of vice is one we avoid, as Edmund Pincoffs has suggested. • Then virtuous character traits are those had by people whose company we would seek rather than avoid. • Rachels thus says that virtue can be defined as “a trait of character, manifested in habitual action, that is good for a person to have.” Thus the answer to the first question ‘What is virtue?’ is virtue is a trait of character, manifested in habitual action, that is good for a person to have.
WHICH CHARACTER TRAITS ARE VIRTUOUS?
• • • • • • • • benevolence civility compassion conscientiousness cooperativeness courage courteousness dependability fairness friendliness generosity honesty industriousness justice loyalty moderation reasonableness self-confidence self-control self-discipline self-reliance tactfulness thoughtfulness tolerance
• Colin McGinn lists kindness, [benevolence] honesty, justice, and independence [self-confidence, self-control, self-discipline, selfreliance] as the four main virtues.
WHAT DO THE VIRTUES CONSIST IN?
• Rachels says that “each virtue [virtuous character trait] has its own distinctive features and raises its own distinctive problems.” And it may be hard to say exactly what a virtuous character trait consists in. • Rachels looks at the virtues of courage, generosity, honesty, and loyalty to family and friends. (We will look only at the first and the rest you are responsible for reading through and seeing what the problems are with each.)
• According to Aristotle, courage is a virtue that is the mean between the excess of foolhardiness and the excess of cowardice - both of which are vices.
• What about someone who displays courage in the advance of an unworthy cause. Is his courage still virtuous?
• Is a Nazi soldier’s courage still a virtue since he is fighting for an evil cause?
• Peter Geach says no: “Courage in an unworthy cause is no virtue; still less is courage in an evil cause.” • For Geach, the Nazi soldier who faces danger cannot even be called courageous since he is fighting for an evil cause.
• Rachels thinks that this is unjustified, even if he understands Geach’s point - which is not wanting to praise the action by calling it courageous.
• Rachels thinks that Geach’s view is wrong since, if the Nazi is not cowardly or foolhardy in facing danger then he must be courageous. • Rachels says maybe we should say that the Nazi is courageous in facing danger and that his courage is an admirable character trait. • But he is also to be deplored for following an evil regime, or his willingness to follow an evil leader and cause is a dishonorable character trait. • Then, although we can call him courageous, overall we can say that his behavior is wicked since he is fighting for an evil cause.
WHY ARE THE VIRTUES IMPORTANT?
• Why is it good for a person to be honest, generous, kind, loyal and so forth? • Here Rachels notes that the answer can depend on which virtue it is which we are talking about. Thus, each virtue may be valuable for a different reason. • For instance, courage is good because there are dangers in life that we could not cope with if we lacked courage. Generosity is good because unfortunate people need help. Honesty is important because human relationships depend on it. And loyalty is “essential to friendship.”
ARISTOTLE AND VIRTUES
• Aristotle thought that the virtues are important because the virtuous person will fare better in life, and the virtuous person is the happy person. • For Aristotle, we need virtues in order to live well, in order to conduct ourselves properly. • Despite all of their differences, we can say that the virtues all have in common that they are needed to live successfully.
ARE THE VIRTUES THE SAME FOR EVERYONE, EVERYWHERE, EVERYWHEN?
• Although we get our sense of value from the society in which we were raised and live, and societies differ, still it may be true that there will be some virtues that will be needed by all people, at all places, at all times.
• Aristotle thought that there will be some virtues that will be needed by all people, at all places, at all times. • He thought that, in spite of our differences, all people have a great deal in common.
• Societies may differ greatly from one another, but there will be some basic needs that people in all societies will have. And there will be some basic problems that people in all cultures will face. • For instance: • a. Everyone needs courage. • b. There will be considerations of personal property in every society, and as some people will be better off than others, generosity will always be a virtue. • c. Because people will communicate with one another in any society, honesty will always be prized - civilization depends in large part on telling the truth. • d. Man is a social animal. As social we all need friends, and as friends count on one another, loyalty is a virtue.
MAJOR VIRTUES AND FACTS ABOUT HUMANITY
• Rachels notes that the list could be extended, and it is by Aristotle, but it is enough to note that the major virtues - such as those just listed - are not determined by social convention. Rather, they are determined by basic facts about humanity - what it means to be a human being. • And as the major virtues are determined by basic facts about humanity, they do not vary from culture to culture but are true of everyone, everywhere, everywhen. (This might be disputed by ethical relativists, as we have seen.)
MORAL MOTIVATION I
• Proper moral motivation means that a person does the right thing for the right motive. • Rachels says that virtue ethics gives an account of moral motivation that is both attractive and natural. • As other theories don’t do this very well, this is an advantage of virtue ethics.
• For instance, simply doing something out of a sense of duty does not seem to be the right kind of motive, as when one person visits another in the hospital out of a sense of duty rather than out of a genuine interest.
MORAL MOTIVATION II
• There is a clear difference between being motivated by genuine concern and friendship and being motivated by an abstract sense of duty that lacks feeling. • Wouldn’t we prefer the former and not the latter if we were the one being visited? • We tend to think that someone who acts only out of a sense of duty rather than interest and compassion is not a complete person, or is not the right kind of person.
ACTIONS AND DUTIES VS. VIRTUES
• We think of persons as being centers of feeling rather than things that merely act according to duties. • Ethical theories that emphasize actions, such as Kant’s deontological theory, do not, according to virtue ethics, provide the right kind of moral theory. • What should be emphasized is not duties and right actions but “such personal qualities as friendship, love, and loyalty.” • People who are motivated by such virtuous qualities have proper moral motivation.
• Recall that the idea of impartiality is the idea that all people are morally equal and should be treated as such.
• Rachels says that virtue ethics doubts that there is a true ideal of impartiality. • This is the second advantage of virtue ethics according to Rachels.
• Rachels also treats impartiality as part of the minimum of morality, but he says that it can be doubted how important impartiality is to ethics. • Don’t we tend to favor family and friends over strangers, and people in our own countries as being more important and deserving than those in distant lands? • How impartial are we then in fact, and how impartial should we be?
• Is there anything wrong with a parent being more interested in her own child than in someone else’s? In fact, shouldn’t she be? • Rachels says that “the love of family and friends is an inescapable feature of the morally good life.” • And he says that any theory that does not recognize this but emphasizes impartiality will have a difficult time accounting for how humans actually feel and behave towards one another.
VIRTUE ETHICS AND IMPARTIALITY I
• Virtue ethics can account for the fact that we are partial to some people over others. It does this by saying that some virtues are partial towards certain people and some are impartial. • Thus, love and friendship are virtues, but one cannot love everyone one knows or meets. And one cannot be friends with or friendly to everyone. So love and friendship are examples of virtues that are partial.
VIRTUE ETHICS AND IMPARTIALITY II
• On the other hand, kindness is an example of an impartial virtue because one can try to be kind to everyone one meets.
• So it may be better to try to understand the nature of the different virtues, and to see that they are different, and to see how they relate to one another, rather than to demand an ideal of impartiality as a basis for ethics.
• According to Rachels, the third advantage for virtue ethics concerns feminism. • For some feminists, much of ethical theory has shown a male bias. • Feminist thinkers note that humans have traditionally divided their social lives into public and private realms that have their own concerns.
• Men have been in charge of public affairs and have dominated politics and law. Women have been assigned - by men - to take care of the private life of the home and family.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE, MEN AND WOMEN
• The public world is large, impersonal, and unemotional, and often involves relationships that are contractual and sometimes adversarial. • The private world is smaller and more intimate, involving fewer people with whom our relations are more personal and emotional. • For feminist thinkers, ethical theory that has been written by males reflects the public realm in which men typically operate.
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE AND ETHICS
• Ethical theory written by men emphasize such things as impersonal duty [Kant and deontological theory]; contracts [Hobbes and social contract theorists]; and the calculation of costs and benefits [calculating the greatest good or happiness for the greatest number as in Bentham’s utilitarian theory]. • When interests compete, men try to use reason to iron out the differences. • Feminist thinkers note that the concern of the private realm - or the traditional sphere of women is almost wholly neglected by male ethicists.
FEMINISM AND VIRTUE ETHICS
• It is thought that virtue ethics can address this imbalance between the public and the private worlds, by recognizing that certain virtues will be required in public life and others will be required in private life. • This is why many feminist philosophers advocate a return to virtue ethics.
MORAL CHARACTER AND ACTION
• Rachels says that virtue ethics makes two important general points : • 1. “Adequate ethical theory must give us an understanding of moral character;” • 2. “modern moral philosophers have failed to do this.” • Ethicists have not only neglected the topic of moral character, but their theories distort the nature of moral character. • However, although virtue theory makes moral character central, it is incomplete in failing to tell us how to decide what to do, how to act.
VIRTUE AND ACTION I
• Rachels suggests that perhaps virtue ethics could be combined with ethical theory that focuses on the idea of correct action. • A total theory of ethics would include an account of the virtues as a supplement to a theory of right action. • Rachels thinks that if such a theory could be produced then it would have much in its favor.
VIRTUE AND ACTION II
• Theories that stress action seem incomplete since they neglect character. • Although virtue ethics corrects this oversight by making character central, it is incomplete because it neglects the question of correct action. • Moral problems often concern the question of what we ought to do - what action is the right one in a certain situation. • Rachels says that, for virtue theory, it is not clear how we can decide what is the proper thing to do.
VIRTUE AND ACTION III
• Virtue theory would either have to do away with the notion of right action - which seems extreme - or derive the concept of right action from the notion of virtuous character. • Rachels thinks that virtue theorists do not need to discard the notion of right action. • They can keep it and give it a new interpretation within the framework of virtue ethics. • For instance, we would say that actions are right or wrong according to the reasons that can be given for or against them.
VIRTUE AND ACTION IV
• Reasons given for or against an action will be ones that are connected to the virtues. • Thus an action will be right if a reason for doing it is that it is honest, generous, fair, kind, and so forth. • And an action will be wrong if it is dishonest, stingy, unfair, unkind, etc. • The right action, or the right thing to do, would be what is right for a virtuous person to do.
THE INCOMPLETENESS OF VIRTUE ETHICS I
• For Rachels the main problem with virtue ethics is its incompleteness. • Honesty is a virtue, but we can still ask what it means to be honest. And if we have trouble saying exactly what honesty is, then a theory that treats honesty as a virtue will be incomplete. • Or if we recognize that the virtue of honesty contains a concealed rule, such as ‘tell the truth,’ then we have the notion of rule following that is characteristic of deontological ethics and rule utilitarianism.
THE INCOMPLETENESS OF VIRTUE ETHICS II
• Further, we have to ask why such rules are important. • We need an explanation of why telling the truth is important or the right thing to do that goes beyond saying that that is what a virtuous person does. • Why is honesty a virtue? Why is it better to be honest than dishonest? • To answer these questions it would seem that we have to go beyond virtue theory.
MORAL CONFLICT I
• Rachels calls the view that virtue ethics is complete in itself - and so not supplemented by other ethical theory - radical virtue ethics. • A problem for radical virtue ethics is how to account for cases of moral conflict. • For instance, how do you choose between doing something that is kind but dishonest - such as telling a friend a lie about himself in order not to hurt his feelings - and doing another thing that is unkind but honest - such as telling him the truth?
MORAL CONFLICT II
• Both honesty and kindness are virtues, but in a case where they conflict it is not clear how in appealing to virtue theory alone we could know what to do. • You may just have to wonder which virtue is more important. • But that will not satisfy philosophy, and we need some moral theory that would resolve the issue.
VIRTUES AND REASONS I
• Rachels also wonders if there is a virtue that matches every morally good reason for doing something. • Radical virtue ethics thinks that “for any good reason that may be given in favor of doing an action, there is a corresponding virtue that consists in the disposition to accept and act on that reason.”
VIRTUES AND REASONS II
• But Rachels says that this does not seem to be true. • Is there a virtue that corresponds to a legislator’s deciding that the best way to spend the taxpayers’ money is for the greatest benefit for the greatest number of people? Since this is utilitarianism, is there a virtue that ought to be called ‘acting like a utilitarian?’
THE INCOMPLETENESS OF VIRTUE ETHICS III
• Because of the difficulties with radical virtue ethics - or treating virtue ethics as complete ethical theory - Rachels says that virtue ethics can only be considered to be part of an overall ethical theory. • Rachels sees no reason why ethics could not accommodate both a proper conception of right action, and a related conception of virtuous character, in a way that does justice to both the notion of virtue and correct action.
• Rachels suggests that we begin with the notion of human welfare as the most important value. • Considering human welfare means that we want a society in which everyone has the opportunity to lead happy, healthy lives.
HUMAN WELFARE AND ACTIONS AND CHARACTER
• To promote this state of health and happiness, we would have to ask what sort of human actions and social policies or laws would contribute to this goal. • And we would have to look at what qualities of human character would also contribute to the goal of creating and maintaining a state of human welfare. • If both human actions and human character were elements of a larger theory, then one could illuminate the other, and we would have a better chance of arriving at a proper ethical theory.
“Why Not Be a Bad Person?”
Colin McGinn (1950- )
• For McGinn, you ought to be a good person simply because goodness is good. • McGinn recognizes that ‘goodness is good’ is a tautology, namely, that it is true in virtue of its logical form. This is because to say that goodness is bad is self-contradictory. • McGinn thinks that what you get from virtue or moral excellence is simply virtue or moral excellence.
VIRTUE AND MORAL JUSTIFICATION
• A person ought not be virtuous in order to get something from it - such as health, wealth, or happiness - but simply because being a good person is something that you should be. • McGinn says that virtue, or correct moral behavior, or being a good person, is its own justification or reason. • If someone does not see or understand that, then there may be nothing that we can do to convince her. • “Moral justification, like all justification, has to come to an end somewhere. At some point we have to repeat ourselves - that being a good person is the proper thing to do - or remain silent.”
• McGinn says if someone asks why she ought to care about others as well as herself the answer is another question: Why should you care about yourself as well as others? • And the answer to why you should care about yourself is that you are a person, and a person who deserves to be taken into account as well as others deserve to be taken into account.
THE INTRINSIC VALUE OF PEOPLE AND ANIMALS
• For McGinn people (and animals) have intrinsic value. (He does not say which animals if he does not mean all animals.) • Because all people have intrinsic value, all people should be taken into account morally. • And to say that all people should be taken into account morally means that you should be good, kind, and considerate of all people, including yourself.
• 1. People and animals have intrinsic value. • 2. Since people and animals have intrinsic value, they should be taken into account. • 3. Because they should be taken into account, you should be good. • According to McGinn, “good is good and bad is bad, and that is all that you can say - and that is all you need to know.” • Virtue then cannot be justified in other terms.
VIRTUE AND OTHER VALUES
• McGinn: “Although virtue cannot be justified in other terms, and specifically not in terms of self-interest, it does connect with other values that aren’t just accidental.” • For instance, virtue or goodness or moral excellence connects with truth and beauty. • This is because “a good person is a truthful person” truthful not only to others but to themselves. • And “goodness of character is itself a form of beauty” moral beauty. And we might say that a virtuous person has a beautiful soul or character.
BEAUTY AND MORALITY I
• “The character of a good person gives aesthetic pleasure. A bad person, by contrast, has an ugly character, a soul we find it repugnant to consider.” • This is why we put up pictures of good people like Winston Churchill and not bad people like Hitler. • McGinn points out that not everyone can be physically beautiful, and not everyone has the talent to create beautiful works of art, but everyone can be a beautiful person in the moral sense.
BEAUTY AND MORALITY II
• For McGinn then, everyone can be morally beautiful in being a good person. • Being a good person requires no special talents or physical make-up. • One might ask though if it requires a particular psychological make-up? Can you be good if have been an abused child, for instance?
BEAUTY AND MORALITY III
• Moral beauty concerns the will, what we choose to do, and not what we have the ability to create. • If you want to increase the amount of beauty in the world, just be a good person. • McGinn even says that a physically ugly face can radiate moral beauty, and a physically beautiful face “can be marred by inner corruption.”
BEING VIRTUOUS I
• For McGinn then, people ought to be virtuous. But how much effort should we put into being a good person? • Given all the other things that you can do in life, that you can achieve, how much time should you spend on being good? Or where should it be on your list of important things to do? • McGinn says that this will differ for different people, and will take into consideration their talents, motivations, and ambitions.
CONSCIENCE AND MORALITY
• Each person must use his conscience to decide for himself how much time and energy to devote to the improvement of his moral character. • But each person must always recognize that there is no excuse for outright badness. • McGinn does not think that you have to make virtue your central preoccupation: “You don’t have to stop everything in a supreme effort to be good.”
• It is natural for peoples’ behavior to come from a variety of motives - including the desire to be a good person but McGinn does not think that the motive to be a good person should completely replace all other motives. • Each human life ought to be complicated enough to accommodate all a person’s motives, in addition to the motive to be virtuous. • There will be conflicts in a person’s life, conflicts between motives, and a person simply has to use good judgement when such conflict exists.
VIRTUE AND SACRIFICE
• We also have to recognize that we cannot have and do everything, and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. • On the other hand, one should not always be expected to sacrifice for others. For instance, a person who has creative or mathematical ability should not be expected to sacrifice that ability simply out of a desire to help others less fortunate. • McGinn says that reality is such though that not a lot of time has to be sacrificed in order to be a good person, and so there is really no excuse for not being virtuous.
BEING VIRTUOUS II
• McGinn says that there is also no short-cut to being virtuous. • Virtue, like vice, arises out of your responses to what happens in your life. • There may even be a genetic basis for being good. Perhaps it is easier for people with the right genes to be better behaved than for those who lack them. • However that may be, he says how to be virtuous comes from practical experience - which either makes a person better or bitter.
• McGinn lists kindness, honesty, justice, and independence as his basic or big four virtues. • Kindness is “a matter of having generous feelings towards others,” and includes not wanting others to suffer, and acting from a concern for other people. • Kind people have a good heart and are compassionate, they care about other people’s feelings.
• A kind person treats another’s happiness as if it were his own happiness. • Unkind people, on the other hand, go out of their way to make other people feel bad, or worse. • Kindness is not the same as love, and unkindness is not the same as hate. • A kind person treats others as he would like to be treated, but need not love them to do so.
• In a sense kindness is purer than love because it is a more detached concern or respect for others. • Kindness is less self-centered or self-serving than love is. And because you can be kind to people without loving them, kindness does not depend on personal affection. • Kindness is the ultimate basis for civility and good manners. Oscar Wilde: “Everything is permitted except bad manners.” • To be kind is to treat other people with decency and a consideration for their existence as people.
• To be honest is to be truthful. It is the opposite of lying or being deceitful. • Honest people have a strong commitment to the truth. • For a dishonest person, truth is just another option, as is lying. And a dishonest person “uses truth rather than letting truth use him.”
• Honest people are dependable and they let you know where they stand. • But being honest does not mean that you must always tell the truth. For instance, a person should not be honest when doing so would harm another person, or hurt her feelings. • To be honest with another person about something that you know will hurt her feelings “is usually cruelty masquerading as honesty.” • One should be honest out of the best intentions, and so honesty must be tempered with kindness.
• Justice concerns fairness, or awarding to a person what is due to a person. • In a just world, innocent people should not suffer, and the guilty or evil should not prosper. • The just person hates to see evil win and goodness lose.
• The just person sees no excuse for injustice, whether a practical justification is given for it or not. • The just person loves the innocent and detests the guilty, as he also detests false accusations and unfair punishment. • Moral judgements must fit the facts and be fair to everyone in order to have justice. • The just person thinks that the facts should be examined carefully and honestly.
• For the person who loves justice there is nothing worse than unjust judgements. • “The just person will not allow herself to be swayed by bias, emotion, or selfinterest, but insist on decency and fairness.” • The just person will deplore the use of individual or group power.
• Since justice requires a detached and impersonal regard for moral truth, the just person will look past her feelings and will honestly assess any matter that morality concerns. • Justice tells us to treat everyone fairly - even our enemies. • Every proper society must be built on justice, unjust societies are “rotten to the core.”
• Independence is “the capacity to make up your own mind based on the evidence and the facts,” and not to let anything interfere with that - such as peer pressure or threats from others. • McGinn thinks that few people are really independent, that most people are followers. They may not follow certain social groups but they will follow others. • Few people are individuals, most follow a certain crowd.
• Ask yourself if your opinions are really yours. And ask yourself if you want to make sure that your friends and peer group would agree with your opinions. • Since every member of a certain group - no matter how large - might be wrong about something, to be virtuous means making up your own mind and not thinking the way that everyone else thinks, and not doing what everyone else does. • The motto of the independent person is decide for yourself.
• McGinn says that another word for independence is intelligence - the kind of intelligence that enables a person to make a judgement, to examine things, and to make decisions. • The opposite of this then is stupidity, and this leads people to make bad judgements. • With stupidity go prejudice, ignorance, narrow-mindedness, and fear.
• Otherwise intelligent people can become stupid when it is a question of making a correct moral judgement. • McGinn emphasizes the importance of using your head in deciding about moral questions, and making up your own mind. • If you think and use independent judgement you have a better chance of arriving at the truth.
PERSONS AND THE FOUR VIRTUES
• McGinn’s four virtues of kindness, honesty, justice, and independence do not operate separately from one another. • All four will be used in concrete moral situations, and, when they work together for the person who possesses them, then the person with these virtues is a good person. • McGinn thinks that it is the virtuous person who is interesting, not the vicious or evil one. Such a person has nothing attractive about him, and badness is boring and depressing. • Nothing is more important for Colin McGinn than being a good person.
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