Journal of Philosophy

On the importance of treating oneself well


Barbro Fröding

Lincoln College, University of Oxford


Abstract. This article challenges the common assumption that the character virtues can be divided into two groups, one consisting of other-regarding virtues and one of self-regarding virtues. On such accounts the other-regarding virtues are often said to focus on advancing the good of others, whereas the self-regarding virtues primarily benefit the agent herself. Here, however, it will be shown that virtues like friendship, particular justice, even temper and benevolence—traditionally seen as other-regarding—all contain strong self-regarding aspects. The central claim of the article is that these self-regarding aspects of the other-regarding virtues are necessary components of complete virtue. Given the scope of these virtues, an agent has to act virtuously in her dealings with herself as well as with others in order to qualify as fully virtuous. While this account draws on a number of Aristotelian ideas it should be noted that it is not intended as an authoritative, or exegetic, reading of Aristotle. Back