more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 5125

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character]

Full Idea

There are variants of virtue ethics that do not require character traits in the ordinary sense. For example, moral thinking might be explicated by appeal to judgements about whether particular actions are just or courageous or whatever.

Gist of Idea

Virtue ethics might involve judgements about the virtues of actions, rather than character


Gilbert Harman (Moral Philosophy meets social psychology [1999],

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Explaining Value and Other Essays' [OUP 2000], p.176

A Reaction

A very interesting proposal (from Judith Jarvis Thomson). This would flatly reject Aristotle, and one presumes that the judgement about the virtue of the action would largely be a matter of pondering cultural conventions (or, perhaps, consequences).