The Journal of Value Inquiry

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 327–340 | Cite as

Is Patience a Virtue?

  • Denise ViganiEmail author

Patience is a virtue, so the saying goes. The ease with which we identify patience as a virtue, however, belies the fact that there are actually several significant challenges to developing a neo-Aristotelian account of a virtue of patience.

First, on an Aristotelian understanding, virtue is both instrumentally good and good in itself.1 Yet a primarily—and often, exclusively—instrumental view of patience is pervasive in the philosophical literature, both historically—for instance in the work of Aquinas, Hutcheson, and Hume—as well as in the contemporary literature.2 Jason Kawall, for example, proposes patience as an other-regarding epistemic virtue, valuable for its ability to produce knowledge.3 Michael Slote also envisions patience as an other-regarding virtue, valuable “as much for its usefulness to those who have it as for its beneficial effects on other people.”4Joseph Kupfer explicitly labels patience as an instrumental virtue, valuable insofar as it helps us achieve goals and...


Preschool Teacher Practical Wisdom Instrumental View Patient Person Wise Person 
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Thanks to Iakovos Vasiliou, Rosalind Hursthouse, John Hacker-Wright, Brandon Warmke, and the audience at Neglected Virtues: A Conference in Honor of Rosalind Hursthouse for feedback on earlier versions of this paper. This research was assisted by a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drew UniversityMadisonUSA

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