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A Theory of VirtueExcellence in Being for the Good$
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Robert Merrihew Adams

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199207510

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207510.001.0001

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Virtue and its Benefits

Virtue and its Benefits

Chapter:
(p.48) 4 Virtue and its Benefits
Source:
A Theory of Virtue
Author(s):

Robert Merrihew Adams (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199207510.003.0004

The principal current alternative to defining virtue in terms of its intrinsic excellence is defining it in terms of its benefits. This chapter argues that a trait's being generally beneficial is not sufficient for it to be a virtue, and that its being more beneficial than any alternative may not even be necessary for a trait to be a virtue. In response to the question whether virtue ‘pays’, reliably benefiting its possessor, it is suggested that virtue may offer a great benefit that is inseparable from having a strong motive for conscientious and generous action.

Keywords:   intrinsic excellence, benefits, defining virtue, motive

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