Imitating Virtue

In: Phronesis
Margaret Hampson Department of Philosophy, University College London Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT UK

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Moral virtue is, for Aristotle, famously acquired through the practice of virtuous actions. But how should we understand the activity of Aristotle’s moral learner, and how does her activity result in the acquisition of virtue? I argue that by understanding Aristotle’s learner as engaged in the emulative imitation of a virtuous agent, we can best account for her development. Such activity crucially involves the adoption of the virtuous agent’s perspective, from which I argue the learner is positioned so as to appreciate the value of virtuous action—its fineness—and what it would be to act finely herself.

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