What is it for Jane to be generous? It is not merely that she does a generous action, or has a generous feeling. Either or both could be true without Jane’s being generous. She may have done a generous action, suppressing her normal stinginess, in order to impress a friend who really is generous and will respond favourably to her action. She may have had a generous feeling triggered by a sentimental song she has just heard. In neither case is she generous, because the action and feeling neither come from nor lead to anything lasting. For Jane to be generous, generosity has to be a feature of her—that is, a feature of Jane as a whole, and not just any old feature, but one that is persisting, reliable, and characteristic.

– Julia Annas, Intelligent Virtue (2011)


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