ABSTRACT

Most virtue theorists agree that being well-motivated is important for virtue. But there are different views about what is involved in being well-motivated. According to sentimentalists like Michael Slote, being well-motivated involves having and acting from good or “warm” sentiments such as sympathy, benevolence, love, and compassion. What makes someone virtuous or admirable is that they are genuinely good-hearted. Bad people, by contrast, are motivated by emotions such as jealousy, hatred, greed, and spite. Consider the example of Nelson Mandela, who was greatly admired for the warmth and kindness he displayed, and the fact that he did not appear angry or bitter after having spent 27years in prison. Upon his release, he spoke about the generosity of his jailers, urged people to forgive and forget, and showed immense kindness and compassion, not only to the victims of apartheid but also to its perpetrators. According to a sentimentalist, Mandela’s good-heartedness is what made him a truly virtuous person.