Comments on Intelligent Virtue: Rightness and Exemplars of Virtue
Intelligent Virtue is a great book on virtue: an eminently sensible book, and I agree with virtually all of it. For me describing a philosophy book as sensible and indeed commonsensical is real praise, for much philosophy exemplifies a vice to which Martha Nussbaum has drawn our attention in ‘Saving Aristotle’s Appearances.’1 This is the intellectual vice of philosophers who got ‘fascinated with the internal progress of their argument, even though it ended in a place incredibly remote from and at odds with, human belief.’ Annas’s work is well grounded in the endoxa (beliefs of the many or the wise).
I could list all the important theses with which I agree, ranging from the central claim that virtue is analogous to a practical skill, to the very important claim that happiness is not reached by attaining “stuff” such as money, power, properties such as beauty or even relationships, or states of satisfaction. Rather happiness is what you do with the circumstances you find...