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Summary Skepticism about character draws on research in the social sciences (especially social psychology in the situationist paradigm) to argue that both folk psychological and neo-Aristotelian conceptions of character as a robust disposition to act on reasons is empirically inadequate.  In John Doris's formulation, traditional character-based ethical views tend to be globalist in that they are committed to cross-situational consistency of character, temporal stability of traits, and evaluative integration of virtues within individuals.  Psychological research suggests, however, that while traits are stable, they tend to have low cross-situational consistency.  This means that someone who is stably disposed not to lie to his friends may nevertheless be quite prone to stealing from his relatives or cheating on his wife.  Talk of broadly individuated virtues such as honesty might therefore seem empirically inadequate.  Virtue ethicists have replied in a variety of ways.  The three primary responses are (the dodge) virtue ethics is primarily a normative theory, so we should be untroubled if most people are not virtuous; (the retreat) the commitments of virtue ethics can be weakened in such a way that it becomes empirically adequate; and (the counterattack) the evidence from social psychology does not in fact challenge the virtue ethical conception of character.
Key works John Doris's original paper on this topic is Doris 1998, which was quickly superseded by Doris 2002.  Almost at the same time, Gilbert Harman developed his own variant of skepticism about character in Harman 1999, 2000, 2003, and 2009.  Advocates of the dodge include Badhwar 2009 and Kupperman 2009.  Advocates of the retreat include Hurka 2006, Merritt 2000, and Miller 2009.  Advocates of the counterattack include Kamtekar 2004, Russell 2009, and Sreenivasan 2002.  Other related research, such as Sarkissian 2010 and Alfano 2013, has attempted to move past the question of empirical adequacy by focusing on ways in which situations can be modified or framed to promote moral conduct.
Introductions Alfano 2013, Appiah 2008
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  1. Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    [FREE PUBLISHED VERSION AT LINK BELOW]. This chapter provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Alfano’s the-ses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. It also develops a Nar-row-Broad Spectrum of agency-ascriptions in reply to Olin and Doris’ ‘trade-off problem.’ In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between VE and dual-process theories (DPT) in cognitive psychology. A genuine (...)
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  2. A Plague on Both Your Houses: Virtue Theory After Situationism and Repligate.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - Teoria.
    Virtues are dispositions that make their bearers admirable. Dispositions can be studied scientifically by systematically varying whether their alleged bearers are in (or take themselves to be in) the dispositions' eliciting conditions. In recent decades, empirically-minded philosophers looked to social and personality psychology to study the extent to which ordinary humans embody dispositions traditionally considered admirable in the Aristotelian tradition. This led some to conclude that virtues are not attainable ideals, and that we should focus our ethical reflection and efforts (...)
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  3. Can People Be Virtuous?Mark Alfano - forthcoming - In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge.
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  4. Opacity of Character: Virtue Ethics and the Legal Admissibility of Character Evidence.Georgi Gardiner - forthcoming - Philosophical Issues.
    Many jurisdictions prohibit or severely restrict the use of evidence about a defendant’s character to prove legal culpability. Situationists, who argue that conduct is largely determined by situational features rather than by character, can easily defend this prohibition. According to situationism, character evidence is misleading or paltry. -/- Proscriptions on character evidence seem harder to justify, however, on virtue ethical accounts. It appears that excluding character evidence either denies the centrality of character for explaining conduct—the situationist position—or omits probative evidence. (...)
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  5. Situationism, Subjunctive Hypocrisy and Standing to Blame.Adam Piovarchy - forthcoming - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    A number of philosophers have that argued subjects who act wrongly in the situationist psychology experiments are morally responsible for their actions, and therefore blameworthy. In this paper, I argue that though the obedient subjects in Milgram’s obedience to authority experiments are blameworthy, it is inappropriate for most of us to blame them. This is because most of us lack the standing to blame these subjects since we would have acted in the same manner they did. On Todd’s (2019) recent (...)
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  6. In Defense of Ordinary Moral Character Judgment.Evan Westra - forthcoming - Erkenntnis:1-19.
    Moral character judgments pervade our everyday social interactions. But are these judgments epistemically reliable? In this paper, I discuss a challenge to the reliability of ordinary virtue and vice attribution that emerges from Christian Miller’s Mixed Traits theory of moral character, which entails that the majority of our ordinary moral character judgments are false. In response to this challenge, I argue that a key prediction of this theory is not borne out by the available evidence; this evidence further suggests that (...)
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  7. Is Situationism Conservatively Revisionary for Ethics?Derick Hughes - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 25:1-23.
    Psychological situationism is the view that our behavior is ordered by external features of situations as opposed to robust character traits. Philosophical situationists have taken this claim to be conservatively revisionary for ethics; on their view, situationism problematizes only character, not any essential features of our ethical deliberation. Little has been said, however, about how these revisions motivate situationists’ claim that we ought to redirect our attention from cultivating virtues to managing situational influences on behavior. Virtue theorists have typically responded (...)
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  8. Moral Lessons From Psychology: Contemporary Themes in Psychological Research and Their Relevance for Ethical Theory.Henrik Ahlenius - 2020 - Stockholm: Stockholm University.
    The thesis investigates the implications for moral philosophy of research in psychology. In addition to an introduction and concluding remarks, the thesis consists of four chapters, each exploring various more specific challenges or inputs to moral philosophy from cognitive, social, personality, developmental, and evolutionary psychology. Chapter 1 explores and clarifies the issue of whether or not morality is innate. The chapter’s general conclusion is that evolution has equipped us with a basic suite of emotions that shape our moral judgments in (...)
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  9. The Emerging Science of Virtue.Blaine Fowers, Bradford Cokelet, Jason Carroll & Nathan Leonhardt - 2020 - Perspectives on Psychological Science 1:1-30.
    Abstract: Numerous scholars have claimed that positive ethical traits such as virtues are important in human psychology and behavior. Psychologists have begun to test these claims. The scores of studies on virtue do not yet constitute a mature science of virtue because of unresolved theoretical and methods challenges. In this article, we addressed those challenges by clarifying how virtue research relates to prosocial behavior, positive psychology, and personality psychology and does not run afoul of the fact–value distinction. We propose the (...)
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  10. Motivation and the Virtue of Honesty: Some Conceptual Requirements and Empirical Results.Christian B. Miller - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):355-371.
    The virtue of honesty has been stunningly neglected in contemporary philosophy, with only two papers appearing in the last 40 years. The first half of this paper is a conceptual exploration of one aspect of the virtue, namely the honest person’s motivational profile. I argue that egoistic motives for telling the truth or not cheating are incompatible with honest motivation. At the same time, there is no one specific motive that is required for a person to be motivated in a (...)
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  11. Getting to Know You: Accuracy and Error in Judgments of Character.Evan Westra - 2020 - Mind and Language 35 (5):583-600.
    Character judgments play an important role in our everyday lives. However, decades of empirical research on trait attribution suggest that the cognitive processes that generate these judgments are prone to a number of biases and cognitive distortions. This gives rise to a skeptical worry about the epistemic foundations of everyday characterological beliefs that has deeply disturbing and alienating consequences. In this paper, I argue that this skeptical worry is misplaced: under the appropriate informational conditions, our everyday character-trait judgments are in (...)
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  12. Empirical Approaches to Moral Character.Christian Miller - unknown - The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    The turn of the century saw a significant increase in the amount of attention being paid by philosophers to empirical issues about moral character. Dating back at least to Plato and Aristotle in the West, and Confucius in the East, philosophers have traditionally drawn on empirical data to some extent in their theorizing about character. One of the main differences in recent years has been the source of this empirical data, namely the work of social and personality psychologists on morally (...)
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  13. Current Controversies in Virtue Theory, Edited by Mark Alfano. [REVIEW]Alina Beary - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (1):89-92.
  14. Realistic Virtues and How to Study Them: Introducing the STRIVE-4 Model.Bradford Cokelet & Blaine J. Fowers - 2019 - Journal of Moral Education 48 (1):7-26.
    This article argues that ordinary virtue trait attributions presuppose the existence of realistic traits that fall short of, for example, Aristotelian ideals and that debate about the existence of virtue traits should be reoriented in the light of this fact. After clarifying and motivating that basic thesis, we discuss what the existing psychological research shows about the existence of realistic traits and how future psychological research could be designed to show more. Our first conclusion is that current psychological research (weakly) (...)
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  15. Some Philosophical Concerns About How the VIA Classifies Character Traits and the VIA-IS Measures Them.Christian Miller - 2019 - Journal of Positive Psychology 14:6-19.
    Written from the perspective of a philosopher, this paper raises a number of potential concerns with how the VIA classifies and the VIA-IS measures character traits. With respect to the 24 character strengths, concerns are raised about missing strengths, the lack of vices, conflicting character strengths, the unclear connection between character strengths and virtues, and the misclassification of some character strengths under certain virtues. With respect to the 6 virtues, concerns are raised about conflicting virtues, the absence of practical wisdom, (...)
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  16. Some Complexities of Categorizing Character Traits.Christian B. Miller - 2019 - In Elisa Grimi, John Haldane, Maria Margarita Mauri Alvarez, Michael Wladika, Marco Damonte, Michael Slote, Randall Curren, Christian B. Miller, Liezl Zyl, Christopher D. Owens, Scott J. Roniger, Michele Mangini, Nancy Snow & Christopher Toner (eds.), Virtue Ethics: Retrospect and Prospect. Springer. pp. 81-98.
    With the explosion of interest in virtue and virtue ethics, one set of issues that has been comparatively neglected is how to categorize moral character traits. This paper distinguishes three approaches—what I call the Stoic, personality psychology, and Aristotelian—and critically assesses each of them. The Stoic approaches denies that virtues come in degrees. There is perfect virtue or nothing at all. The personality psychology approach denies that virtues have thresholds. So everyone has all the virtues to some degree or other. (...)
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  17. Situationism and the Problem of Moral Improvement.Matthew C. Taylor - 2019 - Philosophical Explorations 22 (3):312-327.
    A wealth of research in social psychology indicates that various ethically arbitrary situational factors exert a surprisingly powerful influence on moral conduct. Empirically-minded philosophers have argued over the last two decades that this evidence challenges Aristotelian virtue ethics. John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt have argued that situationist moral psychology – as opposed to Aristotelian moral psychology – is better suited to the practical aim of helping agents act better. The Aristotelian account, with its emphasis on individual factors, invites (...)
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  18. Experimental Moral Philosophy.Mark Alfano, Don Loeb & Alex Plakias - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-32.
    Experimental moral philosophy emerged as a methodology in the last decade of the twentieth century, as a branch of the larger experimental philosophy (X-Phi) approach. Experimental moral philosophy is the empirical study of moral intuitions, judgments, and behaviors. Like other forms of experimental philosophy, it involves gathering data using experimental methods and using these data to substantiate, undermine, or revise philosophical theories. In this case, the theories in question concern the nature of moral reasoning and judgment; the extent and sources (...)
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  19. Virtue, Vice, and Situationism.Tom Bates & Pauline Kleingeld - 2018 - In Nancy E. Snow (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 524-545.
    On the basis of psychological research, a group of philosophers known as 'situationists' argue that the evidence belies the existence of broad and stable (or 'global') character traits. They argue that this condemns as psychologically unrealistic those traditions in moral theory in which global virtues are upheld as ideals. After a survey of the debate to date, this article argues that the thesis of situationism is ill-supported by the available evidence. Situationists overlook the explanatory potential of a large class of (...)
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  20. A Limited Skeptical Threat. [REVIEW]Joshua May - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41:35-6.
    Doris argues that our choices are heavily influenced by forces that we wouldn’t count as genuine reasons. This unsettling conclusion is motivated by a debunking argument so wide-ranging that it isn’t foisted upon us by the sciences. Doris sometimes seems to lower his ambitions when offering instead a skeptical hypothesis argument, but that conflicts with his aims in the book.
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  21. How Little We Know About Character.Christian B. Miller - 2018 - The Philosophers' Magazine 80:58-63.
    These are early days in the philosophical study of character. We know very little about what most peoples’ character looks like. Important virtues are surprisingly neglected. There are almost no strategies advanced by philosophers today for improving character. We have a long way to go.
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  22. Character, Culture, and Humean Virtue Ethics: Insights From Situationism and Confucianism.Rico Vitz - 2018 - In Philip Reed & Rico Vitz (eds.), Hume’s Moral Philosophy and Contemporary Psychology. Routledge.
    For the past two decades, the empirical adequacy of virtue has ethics has been challenged by proponents of situationism and defended by a wide variety of virtue ethics, working both in Western and in Eastern philosophy. Advocates of Humean virtue ethics, however, have (rather surprisingly) had little to say in this debate. In this chapter, I attempt to help fill this gap in Hume scholarship in three ways. First, I elucidate insights both from Hume and from his commentators to explain (...)
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  23. Virtue and Virtuosity: Xunzi and Aristotle on the Role of Art in Ethical Cultivation.Lee Wilson - 2018 - Journal of Confucian Philosophy and Culture 30:75–103.
    Christian B. Miller has noted a “realism challenge” for virtue ethicists to provide an account of how the character gap between virtuous agents and non-virtuous agents can be bridged. This is precisely one of Han Feizi’s key criticisms against Confucian virtue ethics, as Eric L. Hutton argues, which also cuts across the Aristotelian one: appealing to virtuous agents as ethical models provides the wrong kind of guidance for the development of virtues. Hutton, however, without going into detail, notes that the (...)
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  24. Epistemic Situationism: An Extended Prolepsis.Mark Alfano - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.
    This paper is an extended prolepsis in favor of epistemic situationism, the thesis that epistemic virtues are not sufficiently widely distributed for a virtue-theoretic constraint on knowledge to apply without leading to skepticism. It deals with four objections to epistemic situation: 1) that virtuous dispositions are not required for knowledge, 2) that the Big Five or Big Six personality model proves that intellectual virtues are a reasonable ideal, 3) that the cognitive-affective personality system framework proves that intellectual virtues are a (...)
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  25. Epistemic Situationism.Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.) - 2017 - Oxford University Press.
    Table of Contents -/- Introduction: Epistemic Situationism by Abrol Fairweather -/- 1. Is Every Epistemology A Virtue Epistemology? by Lauren Olin -/- 2. Epistemic Situationism: An extended prolepsis by Mark Alfano -/- 3. Virtue Epistemology in the Zombie Apocalypse: Hungry Judges, Heavy Clipboards and Grou Polarization by Berit Brogaard -/- 4. Situationism and Responsibilist Virtue Epistemology by James Montmarquet -/- 5. Virtue Theory Against Situationism by Ernest Sosa -/- 6. Intellectual Virtue Now and Again by Chris Lepock -/- 7.Responsibilism Out (...)
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  26. Thinking Twice About Virtue and Vice: Philosophical Situationism and the Vicious Minds Hypothesis.Guy Axtell - 2017 - Logos and Episteme 8 (1):7-39.
    This paper provides an empirical defense of credit theories of knowing against Mark Alfano’s challenges to them based on his theses of inferential cognitive situationism and of epistemic situationism. In order to support the claim that credit theories can treat many cases of cognitive success through heuristic cognitive strategies as credit-conferring, the paper develops the compatibility between virtue epistemologies qua credit theories, and dual-process theories in cognitive psychology. It also a response to Lauren Olin and John Doris’ “vicious minds” thesis, (...)
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  27. Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue, Edited by A. Fairweather & O. Flanagan. [REVIEW]Cameron Boult - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (5):604-607.
  28. Iskra Fileva : Questions of Character: New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Paperback £30. Xix + 462 Pp. [REVIEW]Emil Christiansen - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (5):1087-1089.
  29. Character and Situationism: New Directions.Christian B. Miller - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):459-471.
    The early work by Gilbert Harman and John Doris on character and situationism has fostered a vast literature over the past 15 years. Yet despite all this work, there are many important issues which remain largely unexplored. The goal of this paper is to briefly outline eight promising research directions: neglected moral virtues, neglected non-moral virtues, virtue assessment and measurement, replication, non-Aristotelian virtue ethics, positive accounts of character trait possession, prescriptive situationism, and virtue cultivation.
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  30. CAPS Psychology and the Empirical Adequacy of Aristotelian Virtue Ethics.Laura Papish - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):537-549.
    For the past decade and a half, Aristotelians have tried to counter the following criticism articulated by John Doris: if we look at personality and social psychology research, we must conclude that we generally neither have, nor have the capacity to develop, character traits of the kind envisioned by Aristotle and his followers. Some defenses of Aristotelian virtue ethics proceed by trying to insulate it from this challenge, while others have tried to dissipate the force of Doris's critique by showing (...)
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  31. Scepticism About Virtue and the Five-Factor Model of Personality.Panos Paris - 2017 - Utilitas 29 (4):423-452.
    Considerable progress in personality and social psychology has been largely ignored by philosophers, many of whom still remain sceptical concerning whether the conception of character presupposed by virtue theory is descriptively adequate. Here, I employ the five-factor model of personality, currently the consensus view in personality psychology, to respond to a strong reading of the situationist challenge, whereby most people lack dispositions that are both cross-situationally consistent and temporally stable. I show that situationists rely on a false dichotomy between character (...)
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  32. Situationism, Manipulation, and Objective Self-Awareness.Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):489-503.
    Among those taking the implications of situationism seriously, some have suggested exploiting our tendency to be shaped by our environments toward desirable ends. The key insight here is that if experimental studies produce reliable, probabilistic predictions about the effects of situational variables on behavior—for example, how people react to the presence or absence of various sounds, objects, and their placement—then we should deploy those variables that promote prosocial behavior, while avoiding or limiting those that tend toward antisocial behavior. Put another (...)
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  33. Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Character.Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Christian Miller (eds.) - 2017 - MIT Press.
    Philosophers have discussed virtue and character since Socrates, but many traditional views have been challenged by recent findings in psychology and neuroscience. This fifth volume of Moral Psychology grows out of this new wave of interdisciplinary work on virtue, vice, and character. It offers essays, commentaries, and replies by leading philosophers and scientists who explain and use empirical findings from psychology and neuroscience to illuminate virtue and character and related issues in moral philosophy. The contributors discuss such topics as eliminativist (...)
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  34. Responsibilism Out of Character.Kurt Sylvan - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism.
    Recent writers claim that responsibilist virtue epistemology courts skepticism, owing to the fact that most of us lack the virtues it deems necessary for justified belief and knowledge. A powerful version of this objection is the challenge from situationist social psychology pressed by Alfano (2012, 2013) and Olin and Doris (2014). This paper develops a new version of responsibilism that is immune from this objection, and shows that this view has many advantages over other forms of virtue epistemology. My responsibilism (...)
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  35. Epistemic Situationism and Cognitive Ability.John Turri - 2017 - In Epistemic Situationism. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. 158-167.
    Leading virtue epistemologists defend the view that knowledge must proceed from intellectual virtue and they understand virtues either as refned character traits cultivated by the agent over time through deliberate effort, or as reliable cognitive abilities. Philosophical situationists argue that results from empirical psychology should make us doubt that we have either sort of epistemic virtue, thereby discrediting virtue epistemology’s empirical adequacy. I evaluate this situationist challenge and outline a successor to virtue epistemology: abilism . Abilism delivers all the main (...)
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  36. Friendship and the Structure of Trust.Mark Alfano - 2016 - In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 186-206.
    In this paper, I describe some of what I take to be the more interesting features of friendship, then explore the extent to which other virtues can be reconstructed as sharing those features. I use trustworthiness as my example throughout, but I think that other virtues such as generosity & gratitude, pride & respect, and the producer’s & consumer’s sense of humor can also be analyzed with this model. The aim of the paper is not to demonstrate that all moral (...)
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  37. Virtue, Situationism, and the Cognitive Value of Art.Jacob Berger & Mark Alfano - 2016 - The Monist 99 (2):144-158.
    Virtue-based moral cognitivism holds that at least some of the value of some art consists in conveying knowledge about the nature of virtue and vice. We explore here a challenge to this view, which extends the so-called situationist challenge to virtue ethics. Evidence from social psychology indicates that individuals’ behavior is often susceptible to trivial and normatively irrelevant situational influences. This evidence not only challenges approaches to ethics that emphasize the role of virtue but also undermines versions of moral cognitivism, (...)
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  38. Dilemmas for the Rarity Thesis in Virtue Ethics and Virtue Epistemology.J. Blumenthal-Barby - 2016 - Philosophia 44 (2):395-406.
    “Situationists” such as Gilbert Harman and John Doris have accused virtue ethicists as having an “empirically inadequate” theory, arguing that much of social science research suggests that people do not have robust character traits as traditionally thought. By far, the most common response to this challenge has been what I refer to as “the rarity response” or the “rarity thesis”. Rarity responders deny that situationism poses any sort of threat to virtue ethics since there is no reason to suppose that (...)
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  39. Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and the Normativity Challenge.Étienne Brown - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (1):131-150.
    Aristotelian virtue theorists are currently engaged in a discussion with philosophers who use psychological findings to question some of their main assumptions. In this article, I present and argue against one of these psychological challenges—Jesse Prinz’s Normativity Challenge—which rests on the claim that findings in cultural psychology contradict the Aristotelian thesis that the normativity of virtues derives from nature. First, I demonstrate that the Normativity Challenge is based on three problematic assumptions about contemporary Aristotelianism. Second, I argue that it presupposes (...)
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  40. Context and the Ethics of Implicit Bias.Michael Brownstein - 2016 - In Implicit Bias and Philosophy. New York: Oxford University Press.
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  41. Questions of Character.Iskra Fileva (ed.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press USA.
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  42. Talking to Our Selves: Reflection, Ignorance, and Agency, by Doris, John M.: Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, Pp. Xii + 264, £30. [REVIEW]Neil Levy - 2016 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 94 (3):605-608.
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  43. On Kristjánsson on Aristotelian Character Education.Christian B. Miller - 2016 - Journal of Moral Education 45 (4):490-501.
    I pursue three of the many lines of thought that were raised in my mind by Kristjánsson’s engaging book. In the first section, I try to get clearer on what exactly Aristotelian character education (ACE) is, and suggest areas where I hope the view is developed in more detail. In the second and longest section, I draw some lessons from social psychology about the pervasive role of what I call ‘Surprising Dispositions,’ and invite Kristjánsson to take up the difficult challenge (...)
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  44. Empirical Adequacy and Virtue Ethics.Philip Reed - 2016 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 19 (2):343-357.
    Situationists contend that virtue ethics is empirically inadequate. However, it is my contention that there is much confusion over what “empirical adequacy” or “empirical inadequacy” actually means in this context. My aim in this paper is to clarify the meanings of empirical adequacy in order to see to what extent virtue ethics might fail to meet this standard. I argue that the situationists frequently misconstrue the empirical commitments of virtue ethics. More importantly, depending on what we mean by empirical adequacy, (...)
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  45. A Virtue Ethics Response to Implicit Bias.Clea F. Rees - 2016 - In Michael Brownstein & Jennifer Saul (eds.), Implicit Bias and Philosophy, Volume 2: Moral Responsibility, Structural Injustice, and Ethics. Oxford University Press. pp. 191-214.
    Virtue ethics faces two challenges based in ‘dual-process’ models of cognition. The classic situationist worry is that we just do not have reliable motivations at all. One promising response invokes an alternative model of cognition which can accommodate evidence cited in support of dual-process models without positing distinct systems for automatic and deliberative processing. The approach appeals to the potential of automatization to habituate virtuous motivations. This response is threatened by implicit bias which raises the worry that we cannot avoid (...)
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  46. The Empirical Argument Against Virtue.Candace Upton - 2016 - The Journal of Ethics 20 (4):355-371.
    The virtues are under fire. Several decades’ worth of social psychological findings establish a correlation between human behavior and the situation moral agents inhabit, from which a cadre of moral philosophers concludes that most moral agents lack the virtues. Mark Alfano and Christian Miller introduce novel versions of this argument, but they are subject to a fatal dilemma. Alfano and Miller wrongly assume that their requirements for virtue apply universally to moral agents, who vary radically in their psychological, physiological, and (...)
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  47. Instilling Virtue.Jonathan Webber - 2016 - In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 134-154.
    Two debates in contemporary philosophical moral psychology have so far been conducted almost entirely in isolation from one another despite their structural similarity. One is the debate over the importance for virtue ethics of the results of situational manipulation experiments in social psychology. The other is the debate over the ethical implications of experiments that reveal gender and race biases in social cognition. In both cases, the ethical problem posed cannot be identified without first clarifying the cognitive structures underlying the (...)
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  48. Ramsifying Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano - 2015 - In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge. pp. 123-35.
    In his contribution, Mark Alfano lays out a new (to virtue theory) naturalistic way of determining what the virtues are, what it would take for them to be realized, and what it would take for them to be at least possible. This method is derived in large part from David Lewis’s development of Frank Ramsey’s method of implicit definition. The basic idea is to define a set of terms not individually but in tandem. This is accomplished by assembling all and (...)
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  49. Current Controversies in Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano (ed.) - 2015 - Routledge.
    Virtue is among the most venerable concepts in philosophy, and has recently seen a major revival. However, new challenges to conceptions of virtue have also arisen. In _Current Controversies in Virtue Theory_, five pairs of cutting-edge philosophers square off over central topics in virtue theory: the nature of virtue, the connection between virtue and flourishing, the connection between moral and epistemic virtues, the way in which virtues are acquired, and the possibility of attaining virtue. Mark Alfano guides his readers through (...)
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  50. Mixed Traits and Dispositions: Critical Discussion of Christian Miller, ‘Moral Character: An Empirical Theory’ and ‘Character and Moral Psychology’.Tom Bates - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (2):421-424.
    “Moral Character: An Empirical Theory” and “Character and Moral Psychology” represent part of the research output of the Templeton-funded Character Project, which was headed by Christian Miller. In ‘Moral Character’, Miller develops his “mixed trait” account of character. The first two parts consist in conceptual background and the empirical grounding for his account . In part three Miller develops and describes his account, before showing the extent of its application in part four . In ‘Character and Moral Psychology”, he gives (...)
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