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Inner Virtue$
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Nicolas Bommarito

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190673383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190673383.001.0001

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(p.127) Chapter 5 Attention
Inner Virtue

Nicolas Bommarito

Oxford University Press

After a brief overview of the nature of attention, I argue that attention (and inattention) can be morally virtuous or vicious independently of associated overt actions. This is not, as others have claimed, because attention itself has moral value, but because attention can manifest underlying moral concern. After discussing the relationship between attention and concern, I discuss problematic cases related to mental disorders, in particular attention-deficit disorder and scrupulosity. I then apply the account to particular virtues associated with attention: modesty and gratitude. Gratitude, I argue, involves attention to our benefits and their sources, while modesty involves special patterns of attention away from our own good qualities. This account best explains how attention can be relevant to moral character.

Keywords:   attention, consciousness, virtue, vice, Iris Murdoch, Simone Weil, humility, gratitude, scrupulosity, attention-deficit disorder

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