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Practical Intelligence and the Virtues$
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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

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Magnificence, Generosity, and Subordination

Magnificence, Generosity, and Subordination

(p.209) 7 Magnificence, Generosity, and Subordination
Practical Intelligence and the Virtues

Daniel C. Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Aristotle's introduction of “magnificence” — a virtue concerned with large-scale public spending — into his list of virtues raises a question pertinent to the enumeration problem: given the lack of cardinality in Aristotle's list, what principle if any could be given for recognizing magnificence as a primitive virtue, without also paving the way for infinitely many other primitive virtues? This chapter argues that, in light of the enumeration problem, a better way to handle a virtue like magnificence is to make it subordinate to a cardinal virtue, such as generosity. Magnificence therefore presents a ready opportunity to apply the account of cardinality developed in Chapter 6, viz. that virtues are to be individuated in terms of their respective forms of responsiveness to reasons, and that if one virtue is subordinate to another, then they are responsive to reasons of the same kind. The chapter argues that magnificence is a virtue, that reasons of magnificence are of the same kind as reasons of generosity, and that magnificence is subordinate to generosity in the sense of being a “specialization” of generosity.

Keywords:   Aristotle, cardinal virtues, enumeration of virtues, generosity, individuation of virtues, magnificence, Nicomachean Ethics, skill, specialization of virtues, subordinate virtues

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