Intelligent Virtue

Julia Annas

Research output: Book/ReportBook

694 Scopus citations


The book develops an account of virtue which, in a contemporary version, foregrounds the idea that virtue is an exercise of practical intelligence (ideally, a form of practical wisdom) similar to the practical exercise of a skill. A practical skill is acquired through experience and habituation, but the result is not routine but an educated and intelligent application of thinking in action. This way of thinking of virtue shows how virtue does not conform to modern expectations of 'moral reasoning' and enables us to see how many contemporary objections to virtue as it figures in ethical theories misfire. The book does not present an ethics of virtue, but shows how the account can illuminatingly distinguish among different varieties of virtue ethics, depending on the conception of the good to which they are committed. The book also shows how an account of virtue which emphasizes its structural likeness to a practical skill fits a theory of eudaimonism, which takes us to have the aim, over our lives as wholes, of achieving happiness or flourishing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages200
ISBN (Electronic)9780191725524
ISBN (Print)9780199228782
StatePublished - May 1 2011


  • Eudaimonism
  • Flourishing
  • Happiness
  • Practical intelligence
  • Practical wisdom
  • Skill
  • Virtue
  • Virtue ethics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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