Greatness of Spirit: A New Virtue for our Taxonomies?

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In this paper, my aim is to present an unexplored aspect of the Arabic
ethical tradition, greatness of spirit, and assess its philosophical merit. As
philosophers in this tradition approach it, greatness of spirit is essentially a virtue of moral aspiration. I consider two construals of the virtue, one as a second-order virtue, another as a virtue whose closest cousin is neo-Aristotelian emulousness. It is the latter that enables us to pick out the substantive commitments the virtue incorporates. These include its emphasis on open-ended aspiration and its selfreferential elements. Having isolated these controversial features, I outline some
possible defences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)291-316
JournalDialogue: Canadian Philosophy Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2017


  • greatness of soul
  • greatness of spirit
  • Yahya ibn ‘Adi
  • Arabic tradition
  • Aristotle
  • virtue ethics


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