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The continence of virtue

Scarre, Geoffrey

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Geoffrey Scarre


Many recent writers in the virtue ethics tradition have followed Aristotle in arguing for a distinction between virtue and continence, where the latter is conceived as an inferior moral condition. In this paper I contend that rather than seeking to identify a sharp categorical difference between virtue and continence, we should see the contrast as rather one of degree, where virtue is a continence that has matured with practice and habit, becoming more stable, effective and self-aware.


Scarre, G. (2013). The continence of virtue. Philosophical Investigations, 36(1), 1-19.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Deposit Date May 27, 2014
Publicly Available Date Jun 19, 2014
Journal Philosophical Investigations
Print ISSN 0190-0536
Electronic ISSN 1467-9205
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 36
Issue 1
Pages 1-19


Accepted Journal Article (240 Kb)

Copyright Statement
This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Scarre, G. (2013), The Continence of Virtue. Philosophical Investigations, 36(1): 1–19, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.

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