more from G.E.M. Anscombe

Single Idea 8070

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

Full Idea

It would be a great improvement if, instead of 'morally wrong', one always named a genus such as 'untruthful', 'unchaste', or 'unjust'.

Gist of Idea

It would be better to point to failings of character, than to moral wrongness of actions


G.E.M. Anscombe (Modern Moral Philosophy [1958], p.183)

Book Reference

'The Is/Ought Question', ed/tr. Hudson,W.H. [Macmillan 1969], p.183

A Reaction

People are indeed much more struck by the suggestion that they have a weakness of character, rather than that they have just done something wrong. This is Anscombe's first great appeal for a return to virtue as the basis of ethics.