Durham University

Department of Philosophy


Publication details for Professor Geoffrey Scarre

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

Author(s) from Durham


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.