Sunday, September 07, 2008


i haven't heard back yet about my comp-- i'm assuming that i didn't pass it.  so while i wait, i will post this apt little piece of the answer that i prepared for the question on virtue ethics. 

If an agent is patient, for example, she will be disposed to resist acting in haste, a disposition that consists partially in a particular set of feelings and desires that would make her inclined, under many circumstances, to wait rather than act—a sense of calm, say, a certain resistance to undue urgency.  It consists partially in a certain kind of judgment.  To possess a virtue is to accept certain features of the world as reasons, and to be sensitive to the presence of those reasons, which will sometimes be features of the external world, and sometimes features of one’s own psychological economy.  The agent who demonstrates patience will therefore be an agent who recognizes certain features of the various circumstances that confront her, and of her own mental state in those circumstances, as strong reasons to bide her time, to wait on further information, more auspicious circumstances, or a clearer frame of mind.  The possession of patience as a virtue also involves the practiced and competent managing of subtleties and exceptions.  A perfectly virtuous agent recognizes patience as a strong, but not necessarily an overriding consideration.  Just as the virtue of honesty also involves tactfulness and discretion, so patience also involves promptness, decisiveness and courage, lest it be mere paralysis (cowardly, irresolute, or procrastinatory).

[i passed.]  

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