chapter  9
VIRTUOUS INSTITUTIONS
Pages 17

Goodness is not just a matter of intentionality, although intention is an important factor in seeking to be good. Because goodness depends upon our acquiring or growing into particular dispositions, it is also a matter of circumstance; and, since circumstance always involves an element of unpredictability, luck is an unavoidable factor. We can of course seek to shape circumstance and thereby reduce the luck factor, but the tip of circumstance always dips beneath the horizon of our control. Under certain, possibly unforeseeable, circumstances it may be impossible either to develop or to sustain our virtuous dispositions. It is in recognition of such eventualities that, as Mary Douglas reminds us, individuals seek forms of institutional association which reduce the impact of unpredictability, indeterminacy and incommensurability on their lives and thereby increase the likelihood of well-being and human fl ourishing.