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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

(p.48) 4 Virtue and its Benefits
A Theory of Virtue

Robert Merrihew Adams (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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