Volume 4, Issue 1, Spring 2010
On the importance of treating oneself well
This article challenges the common assumption that the character virtues can be divided into two groups, one consisting of other-regarding virtues and one
of self-regarding virtues. On such accounts the other-regarding virtues are often said to focus on advancing the good of others, whereas the self-regarding virtues
primarily benefit the agent herself. Here, however, it will be shown that virtues like friendship, particular justice, even temper and benevolence—traditionally seen as other-regarding—all contain strong self-regarding aspects. The central claim of the article is that these self-regarding aspects of the other-regarding virtues are
necessary components of complete virtue. Given the scope of these virtues, an agent has to act virtuously in her dealings with herself as well as with others in
order to qualify as fully virtuous. While this account draws on a number of Aristotelian ideas it should be noted that it is not intended as an authoritative, or exegetic, reading of Aristotle.