What is at issue is, should those disputable claims be there, or is our knowledge (or are our false opinions) about what life is like irrelevant to our understanding of real moral issues? (Cf. both halves of the "major criticism.") Naturally, my own view is that all these concepts should be there in any discussion of real moralissues and that virtue theory, which uses all of them, is the right theory to apply to them. I do not pretend to have shown this. I realize that proponents of rival theories may say that, now that they have understood how virtue theory uses the range of concepts it draws on, they are more convinced than ever that such concepts should not figure in an adequatenormative theory, because they are sec- tarian, or vague, or too particular, or improperly anthropocentric, and re- instate what I called the "major criticism." Or, finding many of the de- tails of the discussion appropriate, they may agree that many, perhaps even all, of the concepts should figure, but argue that virtue theory gives an inaccurate account of the way the concepts fit together (and indeed of the concepts themselves) and that another theory provides a better account; that would be interesting to see. Moreover, I admitted that there were at least two problems for virtue theory: that it has to argue against moral skepticism, "pluralism," and cultural relativism, and that it has to find something to say about conflicting requirements of differentvirtues. This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:50:08 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
246 Philosophy & Public Affairs Proponents of rival theories might argue that their favored theory pro- vides better solutions to these problems than virtue theory can. Indeed, they might criticize virtue theory for finding problems here at all. Anyone who argued for at least one of moral skepticism, "pluralism," or cultural relativism could presumably do so (provided their favored theorydoes not find a similar problem); and a utilitarian might say that benevolence is the only virtue and hence that virtue theory errs when it discusses even apparent conflicts between the requirements of benevolence and some other charactertrait such as honesty. Defending virtue theory against all possible, or even likely, criticisms of it would be a lifelong task. As I said at the outset, in this article I aimed to defend the theory against some criticisms which I thought arose from an inadequate understanding of it, and to improve that understanding. If I have succeeded, we may hope for more comprehending criticisms of virtue theory than have appeared hitherto. This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Thu, 29 Aug 2013 15:50:08 PM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
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