Shame, virtue, and right action

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An influential objection to a virtue ethics criterion of right action claims that such a criterion cannot account for duties of self-improvement. In this paper, I argue that examining the moral status of our analogous obligations regarding shame helps to reveal how oughts of self-improvement are actually morally inferior to oughts of moral excellence. Because agents who meet their obligations regarding shame and self-improvement are not plausibly regarded as displaying a moral excellence on a par with that of the virtuous agent, I argue that these are not cases of moral excellence which a virtue ethics criterion of rightness is to be rejected for failing to accommodate.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91 - 103
Number of pages13
JournalRevue Internationale de Philosophie
Issue number267
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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