PHIL 181 - Lecture 10 - Virtue and Habit II

Lecture 10 - Virtue and Habit II


Although we become virtuous by acting as the virtuous person does, a close reading of Aristotle’s text shows that, on his account, it is not enough to be virtuous that we act in certain ways. What’s needed, according to Aristotle, is that you knowingly act virtuously for its own sake from a stable character, and do so with pleasure. Professor Gendler turns to Julia Annas’s suggestion that Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of flow may be helpful in characterizing the condition that you take pleasure in the virtuous act. Finally, a critique of virtue ethics from John Doris and situationist psychology is raised which offers experimental evidence that casts doubt on the existence of stable character traits.


Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk “Flow”


Annas, “The Phenomenology of Virtue,” pp. 21-34

Doris, “Persons, Situations, and Virtue Ethics,” pp. 197-209

Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, selections from Books I (pp. 1-3, 16-18), II (pp. 18-30), III (pp. 30-40), X (pp. 167-171)

Mischel, “Delay of Gratification in Children,” pp. 202-211

Csikszentmihalyi’s TED talk: “Flow”

Kamtekar, “Situationism and Virtue Ethics...,” pp. 458-491

Course Media





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