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From Factitious to Veridical Attribution of Virtue: How Wang Yangming Can Do a Better Job than Alfano in Facilitating Virtue Acquisition

  • Yat-hung Leung
Article

Introduction

Despite its revival, virtue ethics has been subject to challenges like situationism. Among the proposals supporting virtue ethics and virtue cultivation against situationism, I find Mark Alfano’s account of “factitious virtue” particularly intriguing. While he grants that “the [situationist] critique succeeds, that virtue ethics is descriptively inadequate, that not enough people do or could possess the sorts of traits virtue ethicists care about,” he claims that certain false attribution of virtue to people can facilitate their acquisition of virtue and can thereby be epistemically permissible.1Though interesting, his account suffers problems such as deceitfulness and manipulativeness, as people originally lack the virtue and it is as though we deceive them into believing and acting in the way we desire. These problems aside, he also admits the limitations of self-concept-based factitious virtues in the enterprise. It is in this context that Wang Yangming...

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© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophySun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouChina

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