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Bernard Williams - . . . [today] we accept, indeed regard as a platitude, an idea that Aristotle rejected, that someone can have one virtue while lacking others . For Aristotle, as for Socrates, practical reason required the dispositions of action and feeling to be harmonized; if any disposition was properly to count as a virtue, it had to be part of a rational structure that included all the virtues. This is quite different from our assumption [in the modern world] that these kinds of virtuous disposition are enough like other psychological characteristics to explain how one person can, so to speak, do better in one area than another. . . . [today] we do not believe in the unity of the virtues.

. . . [today] we accept, indeed regard as a platitude, an idea that Aristotle rejected, that someone can have one virtue while lacking others . For Aristotle, as for Socrates, practical reason required the dispositions of action and feeling to be harmonized; if any disposition was properly to count as a virtue, it had to be part of a rational structure that included all the virtues. This is quite different from our assumption [in the modern world] that these kinds of virtuous disposition are enough like other psychological characteristics to explain how one person can, so to speak, do better in one area than another. . . . [today] we do not believe in the unity of the virtues.

Bernard Williams
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