Dr. Blanchard: Congratulations on your presentation and thank you, once again, for taking the time to respond to my questions. I have been trying to figure out why your description of virtue troubles me so much. It is not, I think, so much because I think you are using circular logic as it is that I am not sure your definition is particularly useful.
If someone was interested in becoming a virtuoso and they asked you what a virtuoso was, you might tell them a virtuoso was someone who played brilliantly. But what is brilliance? How does one go about playing brilliantly?
I suppose you could say that he might imitate another virtuoso, just as you might tell someone who was interested in being virtuous to imitate a virtuous man – but without having a more defined idea of what actually makes someone a virtuoso or a virtuous man, how would you really know that the person you copied was a virtuoso or a virtuous man?
…Some people have many virtues, along with many vices. Most people are a mix or virtue and vice. How do we know what criteria to use to determine whether or not we are actually following the example of a virtuous man? Is it all subjective?
I argue Platonically that virtue is an idea, or form, or realm in design space that we come to recognize in the same way as we recognize mathematical ideas. If moral virtue is not as precise as mathematics, neither is there as much disagreement about it as is often supposed. Even the vicious recognize what virtue is, for how else could they pretend to be virtuous?