The Skill Model: A Dilemma for Virtue Ethics - Nick Schuster (ANU)

Speaker: Nick Schuster

Abstract: According to agent-centered virtue ethics, acting well is not a matter of conforming to agent-independent moral standards, like acting so as to respect humanity or maximize utility. Instead, virtuous agents determine what is called for in their circumstances through good practical reason. This is an attractive view, but it requires a plausible account of how good practical reason works. To that end, some theorists invoke the skill model of virtue, according to which virtue involves essentially the same kind of practical reason as ordinary skills. I contend, however, that ordinary skills provide a plausible and informative model of good practical reason only insofar as they are assessed by agent-independent standards. And so virtue, likewise, must be assessed primarily by agent-independent moral standards, if the skill model is to serve its purpose. I consider how agent-centered virtue ethics might avert this dilemma. But I ultimately argue for proceeding a different way.

Please note that these seminars are open to the public and in person only.

Date & time

Thu 29 Sep 2022, 2–3.30pm


Auditorium, Level 1, RSSS building, 146 Ellery Crescent, Acton, ACT 2601


Nick Schuster (ANU)


Sarita Rosenstock


Updated:  13 September 2022/Responsible Officer:  RSSS Director/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications