Intelligent Virtue presents a distinctive new account of virtue and happiness as central ethical ideas. Annas argues that exercising a virtue involves practical reasoning of a kind which can illuminatingly be compared to the kind of reasoning we find in someone exercising a practical skill. Rather than asking at the start how virtues relate to rules, principles, maximizing, or a final end, we should look at the way in which the acquisition and exercise of virtue can be seen to be in many ways like the acquisition and exercise of more mundane activities, such as farming, building or playing the piano. This helps us to see virtue as part of an agent's happiness or flourishing, and as constituting (wholly, or in part) that happiness. We are offered a better understanding of the relation between virtue as an ideal and virtue in everyday life, and the relation between being virtuous and doing the right thing.
Julia Annas has taught at the University of Arizona since 1986. Before that she taught at the University of Oxford (St Hugh's College) and she has also taught at Columbia University. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of St Hugh's College, Oxford. She has been a Senior Fellow of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Washington DC and President of the Pacific Division of the American Philosophical Association 2004-5, and has an honorary doctorate from the University of Uppsala. Annas has written a number of books and articles over a wide range of ancient philosophy, from Plato to the Hellenistic period, including An Introduction to Plato's Republic (1981), The Morality of Happiness (1993), and Platonic Ethics Old and New (1999). She is now working on virtue and law in ancient thought.
Preface ; 1. Introduction ; 2. Virtue, Character, and Disposition ; 3. Skilled and Virtuous Action ; 4. The Scope of Virtue ; 5. Virtue and Enjoyment ; 6. Virtues and the Unity of Virtue ; 7. Virtue and Goodness ; 8. Living Happily ; 9. Living Virtuously, Living Happily ; 10. Conclusion