368 Farm Ln
East Lansing, MI 48823
Professor Matt Ferkany, Department of Philosophy, Michigan State University
Wising Up: Are there developmental stages on the path to practical intelligence?
In Aristotelian virtue theories, phronesis is foundational to being good. But to date accounts of how this particularly important virtue can emerge are sketchy. This paper explores how far its emergence can be understood stage developmentally, as emerging through successive predictable stages. This paper argues that a currently popular model, the desire alignment theory, is not really a developmental theory in this sense, in part because it takes on board Aristotle’s claim that phronesis is both necessary and sufficient for full virtue. A workable developmental theory must abandon this claim in favor of a weaker view of this relationship in which phronesis is merely necessary for full virtue and not also sufficient. Understood this way phronesis could plausibly be seen as akin to a skill that can be acquired only by passing through novice, intermediate and expert stages.