Virtue Ethics and the Acquisition of Virtue

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The process of training the emotions must be an important part of any account of moral education within virtue ethics. In this paper I advance an original account of the development of virtuous emotions and behavior. I discuss two neo-Aristotelian accounts of the acquisition of virtues that I find unsatisfactory in their attempts to capture the complex process of training the emotions. Instead, I suggest a different view of moral education that, in my opinion, comes closer to Aristotle’s original view. My argument is that it is through our engagement in caring relationships that we acquire certain virtues such as generosity, charity, benevolence, loyalty and kindness and that it may be virtually impossible to acquire these types of virtues in the absence of such special relationships.


Keywords: Virtue Ethics, Moral Education, Care, Special Relationships, Emotions, Virtues
Stream: Anthropology, Archaeology, Cultural Studies, Humanities
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Sarit Smila

Graduate Student, Philosophy, Washington University in St. Louis
Saint Louis, Missouri, USA

My research is in ethics and moral psychology. More specifically, my work is in virtue ethics and care ethics. In my dissertation I write on the mechanism by which our emotions develop into virtuous form. My interests are interdisciplinary and my thesis combines ideas from philosophy with empirical data from psychology. My training is in both the humanities (Philosophy) and the Social Sciences (B.A. in Political Science and M.A. in Political Economy).

Ref: I08P0749