Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Nancy Schauber


In this essay, I argue that John McDowell’s highly influential conception of Aristotelian virtue, which I refer to as the “silencing” thesis, presents us with a philosophically unattractive picture of virtuous agency. I begin by summarizing McDowell’s view in the context of the philosophical problem that he attempts to solve, namely the virtue/continence distinction. Next, I raise an initial objection against McDowell’s view. I argue that the silencing thesis commits us to a psychologically implausible understanding of virtuous agency. I then go on to provide a potential response to my criticism on McDowell’s behalf and argue against it. Finally, I propose a modification of the silencing view in order to make it more amenable to the sorts of issues I outline in this essay.

Included in

Philosophy Commons