The Journal of Ethics

, Volume 13, Issue 2–3, pp 195–212 | Cite as

Disunity of Virtue

  • Gopal SreenivasanEmail author


This paper argues against the unity of the virtues, while trying to salvage some of its attractive aspects. I focus on the strongest argument for the unity thesis, which begins from the premise that true virtue cannot lead its possessor morally astray. I suggest that this premise presupposes the possibility of completely insulating an agent’s set of virtues from any liability to moral error. I then distinguish three conditions that separately foreclose this possibility, concentrating on the proposition that there is more to morality than virtue alone—that is, not all moral considerations are ones to which some virtue is characteristically sensitive. If the virtues are not unified, the situationist critique of virtue ethics also turns out to be more difficult to establish than some have supposed.


Aristotle Rights Situationism Unity of virtue Virtue ethics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyDuke UniversityDurhamUSA

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