The virtues of will-power – from a philosophical & psychological perspective

Natasza Szutta


Virtue ethics is currently one of the most widely known ethical theories. According to it, to act morally well, one needs to perfect one’s moral character by acquiring virtues. Among various virtues, we can distinguish the group of so-called virtues of will power to which, among others, belong self-control, decisiveness, patience, etc. As they are necessary for the effectiveness of human actions, they are also called executive virtues. It is doubtful, however, if they deserve the proper name of virtues because they can be used either in the realization of good goals or evil ones. To serve the realization of what is good, they need to be combined with so-called substantial virtues (e.g., benevolence, honesty, or justice). Virtues of will power are often identified with practical skills, and perfecting will power is identified with exercising such practices as playing an instrument, doing some sports, or taking practice in medicine. In my article, I am trying to compare the view of will power virtues with the results in empirical, psychological studies over self-control and self-regulation. I will show to what extent these two descriptions – philosophical and psychological – are congruent. I will also take a closer look at the observed phenomenon of the depleted will, and whether this observation undermines the conclusions assumptions of virtue ethics.
Author Natasza Szutta (FSS/IPSJ/DESP)
Natasza Szutta,,
- Division of Ethics and Social Philosophy
Journal seriesEthical Theory and Moral Practice, ISSN 1386-2820, e-ISSN 1572-8447, (N/A 70 pkt)
Issue year2020
Noonline first
Publication size in sheets0.70
Keywords in Englishvirtue, will-power, self-control, self-regulation, skills
ASJC Classification1211 Philosophy; 3301 Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
Languageen angielski
LicenseOther; published final; Uznanie Autorstwa (CC-BY); with publication
Score (nominal)70
Score sourcejournalList
ScoreMinisterial score = 70.0, 08-03-2020, ArticleFromJournal
Publication indicators Scopus SNIP (Source Normalised Impact per Paper): 2018 = 0.842
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