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THE UNITY OF THE VICES JONATHAN JACOBS Oolgate University, Hamilton, New York JOHN ZEIS Oanisius Ooilege, Buffalo, New York W:E SOMETIMES describe someone 1rus "just plain , , ' ' • • 0 " ' ' • • mean, or Just plam d1shonesit, orr JUSt pJam unw ." Or we say" thaJt wrus ·a just plain ·stupid thing rto do.," G~a:liizing from tlhese and lik!e descriiptions, we can ask, are there any "just plain" vices? By this I mean, are :amy vices pure, 1e.g., can rthere he Cl'lllelty hut nort injustice or in!t:Jempertance, intemperance hut no!t a £ailill'e orf pmctical wisdom , cowardice but not intemperance or injustice, and so on? Is therie perhaps a unity of the vices? Is each ;a col'l'IU!ption thrat involves the coITUpiting ctontriburtion of the othe'l'IS? If there is ,a, run:iity of the vicies, then 1be:inig ra vicious individual is Il!Ort siinply 1a ma!bter o:f failing :across the dimensioill of one or rrunothe.r 1 Cihaa:iae1becisltic. ]t ms tan extensi,ve diaiilure, 1a unified (:if l[JIOrt failure, even if it is most evident 1and preVialent in one or another •specific respecit. 'f1his iis not to isay thrut .theiie is just one vice, .any moil'!e 1than '!Jo .endorse the unity of it.he virtues is to reduce tth:em to Ollle. There .are many woes OOlld many virrbues, eaiCh respeotively h!ruving to do with dillemnt 1and variously !l'le1aibed crupacirties, motives, emotions, and tiiaiits. Yet, rut least with respect to the virtues a good caise can be mrude :that they .are unified, aind thrut ·AnisbotLe was oorrreot in concluding that practical wisdom :and viWtues of cha;riacter mum occur st quite 1 s1tably, even if '1llolt happily. In any case, we ail"e in 1 to:tal ag.rteemelllt with Geach when he 1sayis 1that ithaJt "If 1a man's ha1bit of sound moml judgme1J11t is virtiiafod anyiwhere, then :it is at risk eVierywhere; but not all dangel"s issue in disa1sit1e'f!s." 3 But 1thes1e dis1as!ters arie aV1eTted r.not because of ,any moml str1ength of characil:er 1 th:ait the agent 1truly ihas bUJt heca:us1 e of a me11e inc1ilJJaition tues. 'Ilhe former may he very :firm ox srtable. Mo11eover the n:aituil'ally vi11tuous rindividual may giener1a1ly no1t he oornfused or .impeded maction by " easies" or nnvelty. Alt times he rmay, 1and lthien me may find his re1sourroes iinoompe1be!I1t O'I.' unoel 'l:Ja1in in 1bhreir direetives. Hut the main rpo:inlt of co111iCT'last is thait mo11al virtues 11eflieot 1a 1evel of 1agency wh1oh involves undersitanding 1and self-determin1ation engiaged 1 to t:hat undersltanding , 1a 1leviel tihJait tis 1ruhsen1t foom iinc1ination-grounded action . Na,tu11a1l vri:r1tues 1a1rie ll101t to he despised, 1 and 1aclts :thait fLorw 1f110m 1tJhem 1are not w:iithout moml Wiortlh. But, using the fangiuiage of Fr1a:nk£u:rt, mom1l virtues are oha1racter]s,tios thait refiecrt second order volitions.5 The aiotis: thait flow fil1om them •are not H11e reis:ult of ways one just hrupens to be. And the undeil'- ,starnding involvred in moml vrntues makes mo'ral misdireotion 1 1es;s li1"ely. Again, mnswder suoh t.lrings rus mis1applied oomprussfon , or paiti:errce, whioh can involve u1mairness 1and imprudence. P1 errharpis it .is heoausie rbhe mo:rial V1mtueis rare unified that it is 1so hard to rbe 1good. They invo1vie a complex reperrto:We of judgmenits, d1sposi!tiorrs, and moti¥es. No one of them can he oomp1ete on its own, and wie c1an't oome to have 1 tJhem simply 1hy decis1on. One oan til.'y rbo he move coumgeous bU1t caill't ibring it rubout meriely hy init1emal eommanid. Self-imposrutiion in5 In " Freedom of the Will and 'The Concept of a Person," H. Frankfurt writes, "Someone has a desire of the second order when he wants simply to have a certain desire or when he wants a certain desire to be his will. In situations of the latter kind, I shall call his second-order desires "secondorder volitions" or " volitions of the second order." Now it is having...


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