Virtue, Connaturality and Know-How

T Brian Mooney, Mark Nowacki

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    In this paper, we sketch a metaphysics of natural purposes that supports the claim that there are objective goods that beings need qua the kinds of being they are in order to flourish. We argue that flourishing includes the acquisition of virtues. We give a general account of virtue, roughly as a stable disposition to act upon a habit elevated to a skill of putting one’s know-how into practice that springs from one’s motivation to pursue what one perceives as good. We then provide a sketch of intellectual virtues as truth-seeking virtues that stem from a love of the truth. We discuss connaturality, namely those specific metaphysical accidents readily acquired by beings due to their first nature. We make an original distinction between ontological connaturality, namely the connaturality that belongs to animals qua beings of a certain kind, and habitual connaturality, namely our first natures suffused with virtues. Habitual connaturality is acquired through the practice of virtue and involves perceptiveness awakened by the possession of the virtue in question. The knowledge arising from this form of connaturality may be a form of know-how. We give an account of connatural apprehension and connatural propositional knowledge and discuss connatural know-how and argue that it makes certain virtues possible. At this point we will have shown that intellectual and moral virtues are informed by know-how. We go on to give analyses of know-how and skill in terms of counterfactual success. We show how skill is a refined form of know-how and how both know-how and skill are informed by moral and intellectual virtues. We conclude that know-how informs intellectual and moral virtues in the sense that virtue is to be elucidated in terms of skill, which is in turn to be elucidated in terms of know-how. Moreover, virtues inform know-how in the sense that know-how is to be elucidated in terms of intellectual and moral virtues. No circularity arises because different virtues and different forms of know-how are involved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)543-562
    Number of pages20
    JournalPhilippiniana Sacra
    Issue number156
    Publication statusPublished - 2017


    Dive into the research topics of 'Virtue, Connaturality and Know-How'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this