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THE AMBIGUITY OF MORAL EXCELLENCE: A Response to Aaron Stalnaker's “Virtue as Mastery”

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This response draws on Saba Mahmood's work on Muslim subjectivities in order to consider how Stalnaker's conceptualization of virtue might be applied to non-Confucian sources. I argue that when applied cross-culturally, Stalnaker's revised definition of “skillful virtue” raises normative and metaethical questions about what counts as a skill versus a mere bodily practice, the process by how skill is acquired, and how we can both allow for the ambiguity of skills and continue to make constructive arguments about them.
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Keywords: Islam; cross-cultural ethics; embodied practices; moral ambiguity; piety; virtue

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Religious Studies, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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