Virtue and Goodness
Virtues are distinguished from other traits of character by commitment to goodness because it is goodness; this explains the special admiration we feel for the virtuous rather than the merely skilled. Virtue’s commitment to goodness helps explain the nature of vice, which is not a positive commitment to evil; it also explains why non-virtue traits are not unified in the way that virtues are. The account of virtue so far is compatible with different theories of virtue, depending on the conception of goodness that virtue is committed to: we find different kinds of pluralism about goodness (Hume, Nietzsche) and a contrast between accounts of goodness transcendent to a human life (Plato, some religions) and naturalistic (neoAristotelian) kinds which take goodness to be found in a flourishing human life.
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