Philosophical Studies

, Volume 148, Issue 1, pp 133–134 | Cite as

A theory of virtue: introductory remarks

  • Robert Merrihew Adams

What is virtue? A plausible first answer is that virtue is goodness of moral character. The theory of virtue proposed in my book, A Theory of Virtue (Adams 2006), belongs to the department of ethical theory that is concerned with the evaluation of character and traits of character, or of relatively persistent moral qualities, or moral states, of persons. I distinguish that from another department of ethics that is concerned with the evaluation of actions or types of action; and I distinguish both of those, as departments of substantiveethical theory, from metaethics, which is concerned with the epistemology, semantics, and metaphysics of ethics. Unlike some of the most influential contributors to the discussion of virtue in the last half century or so, I do not believe that we can render metaethical problems more tractable by explicating moral evaluations of actions in terms of virtues. I believe that our ethical evaluations of actions should be taken into account in our ethical...


Character Trait Ethical Theory Moral Quality Moral Virtue Ethical Evaluation 
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  1. Adams, R. M. (2006). A theory of virtue. Oxford: Clarendon Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North CarolinaChapel HillUSA

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