ABSTRACT: It is sometimes suggested that traits commonly regarded as virtues are not in every instance virtuous. On such views, these traits are not univocally good: one might possess too much courage or too much patience. Such talk has a natural feel — “be patient, but not too patient!” — but it conflicts with traditional ways of thinking about the virtues. In this paper, focusing on the case of patience, I illustrate a way of resolving this conflict that accords with the spirit of the traditional approach — in particular with the thought that the virtuous traits are themselves always good. That means, for example, that patience is always a virtue, and that one cannot be “too patient,” even though those claims seem to conflict with other rather ordinary ways of thinking and talking about patience. The approach illustrated herein can also be applied to similar conflicts and disputes about other virtues.Comments welcome. I'm hard at revisions and re-writing of the book manuscript, which is a challenge in part because I'm generally trying not to copy and paste from these various papers and presentations, in an attempt to write in a way that is as non-technical as possible (for me and my aims, at least). I hope, however, to merge key ideas in many of these shorter papers into some kind of a journal article (or two) that will hopefully complement the book, and build on some forthcoming book chapters that are also about patience.
Sunday, March 30, 2014
Why Patience is Always a Virtue
I'll be presenting a paper thus titled this coming weekend in Bowling Green Kentucky at the KPA. These ideas will be familiar to regular visitors here. Here's the abstract: