As part of our weekly Speaker Series, the Department of Philosophy invites you to join us in welcoming Dr. Katja Vogt (Columbia University). Links for all Department of Philosophy Speaker Series talks are distributed through an email distribution list. If you would like to be added to this list, and hence to receive regular email notifications and reminders about Philosophy talks, please email the Philosophy Department office (email@example.com). If you would like to attend just this one talk, you may also email the philosophy office (same email address) to request a meeting link.
Talk Title: “Virtue is Knowledge”
Abstract: The Stoics hold that virtue is knowledge, and they are literalists about this claim. According to them, the three philosophical fields—logic, physics, and ethics—are the three most generic virtues. The traditional virtues—wisdom, moderation, justice, and courage—are also fields of study, and as such are generic virtues as well. This theory is so far ill-understood. It is best approached, I argue, via the so-called Unity of the Virtues (UoV) thesis, which claims that in order to have one virtue one must have all of them. Virtue, according to the Stoics, is unified and divides up into several virtues in the way in which knowledge does: qua a system with subfields. Today, discussion of UoV is central to virtue ethics. I argue that the Stoics defend premises and distinctions that advance our own thinking about the question of whether one can have only one of the virtues without having all of them.