Chapter published in:Controversies in the Contemporary World
Edited by Adriano Fabris and Giovanni Scarafile
[Controversies 15] 2019
► pp. 85–104
Chapter 5Virtues and vices and parts and wholes
A phenomenological analysis
This paper addresses a perennial controversy in virtue ethics. In Plato’s dialogue, Protagoras, Socrates argues that virtue is knowledge but doubts whether it can be taught, whereas Protagoras denies that virtue is knowledge but affirms that it can be taught. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle argues that one cannot have ethical virtue without dianoetical virtue or vice versa. In his Third Logical Investigation, Husserl distinguishes between independent parts and non-independent parts of wholes. In the first application of the phenomenological logic of parts and wholes to the relationship between ethical virtue and dianoetical virtue, this paper corroborates Aristotle’s intuition about the connection between excellence of character and excellence of mind, namely, that one cannot possess the one without the other or vice versa.
- 1.Introduction: Plato on the teachability of virtue
- 2.Elaboration: Aristotle on the unity of the virtues
- 3.Application: Husserl on the logic of parts and wholes
- 4.Resolution: Parts and wholes, ethical virtues and dianoetical virtues
- 5.Conclusion: The broader horizon and the connection between virtue and happiness
Published online: 07 August 2019
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