2.49 Virtues

Category: Ethics

Keywords: judgements, stevenson, virtuous, judgement, virtues, courage, emotive, judging, evaluative, evaluations, thick, hare, merit, egoism, appraisal

Number of Articles: 199
Percentage of Total: 0.6%
Rank: 75th

Weighted Number of Articles: 209.3
Percentage of Total: 0.7%
Rank: 81st

Mean Publication Year: 1978.2
Weighted Mean Publication Year: 1975.4
Median Publication Year: 1976
Modal Publication Year: 1968

Topic with Most Overlap: Ordinary Language (0.0653)
Topic this Overlaps Most With: Moral Conscience (0.0239)
Topic with Least Overlap: Quantum Physics (0.00033)
Topic this Overlaps Least With: Quantum Physics (0.00022)

A scatterplot showing which proportion of articles each year are in the virtuestopic. The x-axis shows the year, the y-axis measures the proportion of articles each year in this topic. There is one dot per year. The highest value is in 1974 when 1.3% of articles were in this topic. The lowest value is in 1881 when 0.0% of articles were in this topic. The full table that provides the data for this graph is available in Table A.49 in Appendix A.

Figure 2.117: Virtues.

A set of twelve scatterplots showing the proportion of articles in each journal in each year that are in the Virtuestopic. There is one scatterplot for each of the twelve journals that are the focus of this book. In each scatterplot, the x-axis is the year, and the y-axis is the proportion of articles in that year in that journal in this topic. Here are the average values for each of the twelve scatterplots - these tell you on average how much of the journal is dedicated to this topic. Mind - 0.7%. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society - 0.6%. Ethics - 1.4%. Philosophical Review - 0.5%. Analysis - 0.7%. Philosophy and Public Affairs - 0.5%. Journal of Philosophy - 0.6%. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research - 0.7%. Philosophy of Science - 0.1%. Noûs - 0.5%. The Philosophical Quarterly - 1.4%. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science - 0.1%. The topic reaches its zenith in year 1974 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 1.3% of the articles. And it hits a minimum in year 1881 when it makes up, on average across the journals, 0.0% of the articles.

Figure 2.118: Virtues articles in each journal.

Table 2.115: Characteristic articles of the virtues topic.
Table 2.116: Highly cited articles in the virtues topic.


Given that this topic covers virtue ethics, discussions of individual virtues, and emotivism, I was surprised to see how low it came in. I was particularly surprised to see so little life in the Journal of Philosophy graph and not even much in the Philosophy and Public Affairs graph. The split between ethics and political philosophy is very visible here

A slight surprise is that “Stevenson” turns up as a keyword. It isn’t surprising that this is a keyword at all; Charles Leslie Stevenson is one of the most important figures in midcentury philosophy. It’s rather that it isn’t entirely clear why the model put the work that engages with Stevenson here rather than somewhere else.

Part of what makes this odd is that the model only puts one of Stevenson’s own journal articles in this topic.

Table 2.117: Articles with author Charles Leslie Stevenson.
Year Article Subject Probability
1937 Charles Leslie Stevenson, 1937, “The Emotive Meaning of Ethical Terms,” Mind 46:14–31. Ordinary Language 0.2141
1938 Charles Leslie Stevenson, 1938, “Persuasive Definitions,” Mind 47:331–50. Virtues 0.2357
1938 Charles Leslie Stevenson, 1938, “Ethical Judgments and Avoidability,” Mind 47:45–57. Promises and Imperatives 0.1962
1947 Charles L. Stevenson, 1947, “Some Relations Between Philosophy and the Study of Language,” Analysis 8:1–9. Ordinary Language 0.3154
1948 Charles L. Stevenson, 1948, “Meaning: Descriptive and Emotive,” Philosophical Review 57:127–44. Definitions 0.2303
1950 Charles L. Stevenson, 1950, “The Emotive Conception of Ethics and Its Cognitive Implications,” Philosophical Review 59:291–304. Ordinary Language 0.1996
1950 Charles L. Stevenson, 1950, “Brandt’s Questions About Emotive Ethics,” Philosophical Review 59:528–34. Definitions 0.2335
1957 Charles L. Stevenson, 1957, “On”What is a Poem?",” Philosophical Review 66:329–62. Ordinary Language 0.2705
1958 Charles L. Stevenson, 1958, “On the”Analysis" of a Work of Art,” Philosophical Review 67:33–51. Beauty 0.3080
1962 Charles L. Stevenson, 1962, “Reflections on John Dewey’s Ethics,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 62:77–98. Ordinary Language 0.2808
1970 Charles L. Stevenson, 1970, “If-Iculties,” Philosophy of Science 37:27–49. Propositions and Implications 0.3320

Stevenson’s own most important work, the book Ethics and Language, is not part of this study. But we can look at the works that engage with that book. But it’s good to look directly at the raw data. Which articles use the word Stevenson most often? And do those articles mean to refer to Charles Leslie Stevenson?

Table 2.118: Articles in which the word ‘stevenson’ appears most often.
Article Subject Word Count
Kurt Baier, 1967, “Fact, Value, and Norm in Stevenson’s Ethics,” Noûs 1:139–60. Norms 88
Stuart Gerry Brown, 1959, “Eisenhower and Stevenson in the McCarthy Era: A Study in Leadership,” Ethics 69:233–54. War 81
Stuart Gerry Brown, 1960, “Civil Rights and National Leadership: Eisenhower and Stevenson in the 1950’s,” Ethics 70:118–34. War 54
Leslie Stevenson and Ralph Walker, 1983, “Empirical Realism and Transcendental Anti-Realism,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Supplementary Volume) 57:131–77. Ordinary Language 47
W. H. Hay, 1947, “C. L. Stevenson and Ethical Analysis,” Philosophical Review 56:422–30. Definitions 45
Mike Ridge, 2013, “Disagreement,” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 86:41–63. Norms 45
Vincent Tomas, 1951, “Ethical Disagreements and the Emotive Theory of Values,” Mind 60:205–22. Virtues 44
Richard Robinson, H. J. Paton and R. C. Cross, 1948, “Symposium: The Emotive Theory of Ethics,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society (Supplementary Volume) 22:79–140. Ordinary Language 41
Alexander Sesonske, 1953, “On the Skepticism of Ethics and Language,” Journal of Philosophy 50:608–16. Norms 40
Asher Moore, 1951, “The Emotive Theory and Rational Methods in Moral Controversy,” Mind 60:233–40. Moral Conscience 39

The two articles by Brown are about Adlai Stevenson, and the exchange between Leslie Stevenson and Ralph Walker is about Leslie Stevenson, but the rest I believe are about Charles Leslie Stevenson. And they naturally spread across a range of topics.

I think that part of what’s happening here is that Stevenson’s work is so wide-ranging that the model doesn’t feel comfortable putting it into any one topic. Look, for instance, at how low the numbers are in the table of Stevenson’s work. It somehow left the word stevenson in this model, but that’s balanced out by the fact that the words Stevenson himself used are mostly in other topics.