Angela Knobel - December 2016 Meeting Topic

Several contemporary neo-Aristotelian virtue ethicists have asserted that a sudden changes in moral character are impossible.  According to their, one might decide to change in an instant, but an actual change in character can only occur after a significant period of time has passed. This significant period of time is said to be necessary because virtue presupposes abilities that can only arise through experience. This paper argues that the case against the possibility of sudden moral change is not as air tight as it might initially seem.  I argue that if we accept the neo-Aristotelian’s own account of why experience is necessary, and especially if we accept their claim that virtues are analogous to skills, it should follow that there will be a large set of individuals for whom (relatively) sudden moral change is a genuine possibility.