Ethical Theory and Moral Practice

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 393–409 | Cite as

How Aristotelians Can Make Faith a Virtue

  • Anne JeffreyEmail author


Neo-Aristotelian virtue ethics identifies the virtues with the traits the fully virtuous person possesses. Further, it depicts the fully virtuous person as having all the cognitive perfections necessary for possessing practical wisdom. This paper argues that these two theses disqualify faith as trust, as construed on contemporary accounts of faith, as a virtue. For faith’s role as a virtue depends on limitations of its possessor that are incompatible with the psychological profile of the fully virtuous person on the neo-Aristotelian picture. I argue that because of tensions internal to the standard neo-Aristotelian view and the compelling arguments in recent literature that faith is a virtue, the neo-Aristotelian has good reason to revise her account of virtue and picture of the fully virtuous person.


Faith Trust Virtue Practical knowledge 



Many thanks to Lara Buchak, Kenny Boyce, Rebecca Chan, Matthew Frise, Trent Dougherty, Dan Howard-Snyder, Frances Howard-Snyder, Yoaav Isaacs, Jonathan Kvanvig, Liz Jackson, Gideon Jeffrey, Sam Lebens, Errol Lord, Dan McKaughan, Michael Pace, Ted Poston, Bradley Rettler, Lindsay Rettler, John Schwenkler, and Allison Krile Thornton for discussion of and comments on earlier drafts of this paper. I owe a special debt of gratitude to Laura Callahan for offering insightful comments on a version of the paper presented at the Nature and Value of Faith Conference in San Antonio, 2016. This project was made possible through a generous grant from the Templeton Religious Trust; the views expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of the trust.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of South AlabamaMobileUSA

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