• action;
  • agency;
  • character;
  • disinterest;
  • moral change;
  • Jennifer Herdt;
  • virtue


Jennifer Herdt's Putting On Virtue argues for the theological and normative superiority of noncompetitive accounts of divine and human agency. Although such accounts affirm the indispensability and sovereignty of divine grace they also acknowledge human agents as active participants in their own moral change. Indeed, Herdt contends we cannot coherently describe the human telos as entailing a transformation of character without affirming that human agents meaningfully contribute to that change. Nevertheless, a recurrent worry in Putting On Virtue is that persons may view their growth in virtue as a personal achievement and that the pleasure of positive self-regard will displace disinterested—and hence truly virtuous—moral aspiration. This discussion of Herdt's volume sympathetically canvasses her argument. It then looks briefly at the reflexive structure of human agency to consider the relationship between the human telos and the transformation of character, and to encourage a more generous attitude toward positive self-regard.