Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Christie Hartley

Second Advisor

Tim O'Keefe

Third Advisor

Eric Wilson


Much has been written about Bernard Williams' remarks (1981) regarding the (imagined) man faced with the choice of saving either a drowning stranger or his drowning wife. For Williams, the man's justification for saving his wife ought not to be any kind of practical syllogism, but simply, "because she is my wife." Susan Wolf claims (2012) that the standard response to Williams', which she dubs the Standard View, has been inadequate. Wolf then considers and rejects a potential response to the Standard View—what she calls the "virtuous attention" view. Such a view, Wolf argues, is merely a variation of the Standard View. In this paper, I argue that the virtuous attention view is not a variation of the Standard View. While Wolf’s reading of Williams is correct, I argue that a developed version of the virtuous attention view can actually provide support for Wolf's reading of Williams.