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Contribution to Book
Is Conscientiousness a Virtue? Confucian Responses
Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (2013)
  • Stephen C. Angle, Wesleyan University
Among contemporary philosophers sympathetic to the theoretical centrality of virtue, there is little agreement on the status of conscientiousness. Indeed, there is little agreement even on what the word “conscientiousness” means; for the time being, let us take it to mean consciously ensuring that one does one’s duty. Adams and Wallace both take conscientiousness to be a virtue, whereas Roberts calls it a “quasi-virtue” and Slote argues that it is both different from and inferior to virtue.The landscape becomes still more complicated when we add in the vexed concept of “continence,” which we can initially gloss as forcing oneself to act rightly, against contrary inclination. McDowell sees continence as fundamentally distinct from virtue, while others like Stohr and Eylon argue that in important ways, virtue itself is a kind of continence. The dense views on these matters of historical figures like Aristotle and Kant further muddy the picture.
  • Virtue Ethics,
  • Confucianism,
  • Xunzi,
  • Mengzi,
  • Confucius,
  • Virtue,
  • Conscientiousness,
  • China
Publication Date
Stephen Angle and Michael Slote
Citation Information
Stephen C. Angle. "Is Conscientiousness a Virtue? Confucian Responses" Virtue Ethics and Confucianism (2013)
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