Volume 10, Issue 2, Fall 2016
Is Aristotelian Generosity a Unified Virtue?
Commentators worry that Aristotelian generosity is a conglomeration of distinct virtues, rather than a single, unified virtue. This paper argues that the virtue of generosity is unified if we recognize that the generous person’s goal lies in promoting friendship — in particular, in ensuring that there is sufficient wealth to support a community of friends. One of the important consequences of this reading is that it reverses the standard interpretation according to which Aristotelian generosity resembles our modern conception of generosity as an impartial virtue. On the proposed view, Aristotelian generosity is undergirded by reciprocity, rather than impartiality.