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Intelligent Virtue

Julia Annas (Oxford University Press: May 26, 2011), 200 pages.

Intelligent Virtue presents a distinctive new account of virtue and happiness as central ethical ideas. Annas argues that exercising a virtue involves practical reasoning of a kind which can illuminatingly be compared to the kind of reasoning we find in someone exercising a practical skill. Rather than asking at the start how virtues relate to rules, principles, maximizing, or a final end, we should look at the way in which the acquisition and exercise of virtue can be seen to be in many ways like the acquisition and exercise of more mundane activities, such as farming, building or playing the piano. This helps us to see virtue as part of an agent’s happiness or flourishing, and as constituting (wholly, or in part) that happiness. We are offered a better understanding of the relation between virtue as an ideal and virtue in everyday life, and the relation between being virtuous and doing the right thing.

Table of Contents

    • Preface
    • 1. Introduction
    • 2. Virtue, Character, and Disposition
    • 3. Skilled and Virtuous Action
    • 4. The Scope of Virtue
    • 5. Virtue and Enjoyment
    • 6. Virtues and the Unity of Virtue
    • 7. Virtue and Goodness
    • 8. Living Happily
    • 9. Living Virtuously, Living Happily
    • 10. Conclusion