Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Practical Intelligence and the Virtues$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Daniel C. Russell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565795.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 14 October 2019

The Enumeration Problem

The Enumeration Problem

(p.145) 5 The Enumeration Problem
Practical Intelligence and the Virtues

Daniel C. Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter articulates a problem that virtue ethicists and their critics alike have almost entirely ignored, but which if unresolved would jeopardize the very possibility of virtue ethics. This problem stems from the conjunction of a necessary feature of virtue ethics and a commonplace one. The necessary feature is that virtue ethics understands right actions and virtuous persons in terms of the virtues, in the plural; and the commonplace is that virtue ethicists tend to be so open-handed about what “the virtues” are that on many theories there will be infinitely many of them. If right action is action in accordance with the virtues, and a virtuous person a person who has the virtues, but virtue ethics tells us that the virtues are infinitely many, then virtue ethics cannot say what right action is action in accordance with, or what it would be to be a virtuous person. This problem is called here the “enumeration problem”.

Keywords:   cardinal virtues, enumeration of virtues, identification of virtues, individuation of virtues, naturalism, phronesis, right action, situationism, stoics, virtue ethics

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .