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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Plato, Aristotle, and the Stoics identify mental health with moral virtue. Are they right? We might be inclined to disagree with him if we believe that mental health is good for the agent, whereas virtues of character are good for other people. These philosophers answer that the mental features of the virtues of character are also features of a person's good. Still, their demands for psychic unity and cohesion might appear to exaggerate reasonable conditions on mental health. In the view of these philosophers, our conception of mental health should make us aware of the aspects of agency that we value. We do not refer to different characteristics when we think of mental health and when we think of moral virtue. The main question is not about whether we choose to confine the expression "mental health" to the minimal condition, but about what makes the minimal condition valuable. It turns out to be difficult to explain why the minimal condition is valuable without also endorsing the moral virtues.

Keywords: moral virtue, virtues, character, Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, mental health, minimal condition

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