Single Idea 8061

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / h. Right feelings]

Full Idea

If there is nothing to judgements of virtue and vice except the expression of feelings of approval and disapproval, there can be no criteria external to those feelings by appeal to which we may pass judgement upon them.

Gist of Idea

If morality just is emotion, there are no external criteria for judging emotions


Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue: a Study in Moral Theory [1981], Ch.16)

Book Reference

MacIntyre,Alasdair: 'After Virtue: a Study in Moral Theory' [Duckworth 1982], p.214

A Reaction

The idea that there can be right and wrong feelings may be the key idea in virtue theory. See Idea 5217. A good person would be ashamed to have a bad feeling. Some emotional responses are intrinsically wicked, apart from actions.

Related Idea

Idea 5217 At times we ought to feel angry, and we ought to desire health and learning [Aristotle]