This chapter notes that the interplay of ideals and realities is especially evident in the study of virtues. Virtues are best understood as states in form of dispositions, competences, and forms of organization, and are subject to variation and assessed in light of how they help or hinder desired outcomes. A person or institutional “nature” includes vulnerabilities and resiliencies. The discussion examines these conditions and assesses the system's moral competence. A humanist science treats moral competence as variable, sustained by some actions and diminished by others. The chapter also examines the social and psychological bases of moral well-being. It involves socialization, which transforms human animals into effective participants in a moral order.
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