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Chapter 7 - The Cognitive Basis of Moral Virtue

from Part II - Virtue

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 April 2018

Melissa Merritt
Affiliation:
University of New South Wales, Sydney
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Summary

The earlier chapters of Part II pursue two theses independently of one another: the specification thesis and the skill thesis. According to the first, moral virtue is a specification of the general cognitive virtue that goes by the name of “healthy human understanding”; according to the second, moral virtue is a certain sort of “free” skill—specifically, one governed by the adoption of morally obligatory, rather than discretionary, ends. The present chapter shows how the two theses join to form a coherent and compelling account of moral virtue in the Metaphysics of Morals. The chapter concludes by outlining how the emerging account of virtue rebuts standing assumptions about the Kantian reflective ideal.
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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2018

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