Abstract: This work presents a reading of the major works of Anthony Ashley Cooper, Third Earl of Shaftesbury which seeks to highlight the need for a critical refinement of reason (or ingenium) as part of the formation of virtuous character. According to this view, the good or moral virtue would appear at the end of a reflective and social process for forming judgments, and not as a fixed principle from which one would deduce normative-coercive ethics. Thus, this work seeks to elucidate three central points: 1) the relationship between mankind and nature illuminated through the key concepts of order, unity, and design; 2) the social character of natural affections, which points to a continuity between the mind and the world, nature, and culture; 3) and how the rule of judgment is inherent to the activity of judging without being implicated in subjectivity; rather, it is built on self-inspection and self-regulation, both through the interior practice of soliloquy and the free exchange of opinions in public life. At the end of the investigation, it will be possible to observe the proximity between ethical and aesthetic values or domains, suggesting that reason, in Shaftesbury, can and should be thought of as the order of an opinion or taste to be refined, as a formant and creative activity inscribed in perception itself (and thus linked to sensitivity). This activity contradicts the modern instrumentalisation thereof, which sees it as a mechanical faculty, detached from affections, whose rules predate the very constitution of human nature and its relationships.