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Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior

Cambridge University Press (2002)

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  1. The Character of Character: The 2019 Kohlberg Memorial Lecture.Lawrence J. Walker - 2020 - Journal of Moral Education 49 (4):381-395.
    ABSTRACT A crisis we face is that moral character seems to be declining in significance in everyday life and is not particularly relevant in evaluations of current political leaders. A case for character, however, can be mounted through the study of moral exemplars; in demonstrating that character is a viable construct and not an artifact of situational factors, that it explains more of moral functioning than cognition alone, and that it is causally operative in moral action. Aspects of the character (...)
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  • Cultivating Virtue in Postgraduates: An Empirical Study of the Oxford Global Leadership Initiative.Jonathan Brant, Michael Lamb, Emily Burdett & Edward Brooks - 2020 - Journal of Moral Education 49 (4):415-435.
    ABSTRACT Although virtue ethics has emerged as an influential ethical theory within the academy, universities have not generally taken up the practical task of virtue cultivation. Some academics even resist the effort altogether. In response, this article presents an early-stage evaluation of one effort to cultivate virtue in postgraduate students, a theoretically derived and empirically measured character development programme at the University of Oxford. The study uses a pre- and post-test experimental design to assess whether participation results in measurable growth (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • On the Prospects for Aristotelian Character Education.Daniel Lapsley - 2016 - Journal of Moral Education 45 (4):502-515.
    The prospects for Aristotelian character education is considered. Seven important claims that should win wide acceptance are reviewed; and also two challenges that are impediments. I argue many of the assumptions of ACE turn out not to be distinctive. The conflation of realism and naturalism is ill-considered, and the account of phronesis will need additional clarification to be helpful to educators, as will the specific recommendations on offer. I conclude with a suggestion that Dewey offers a powerful, empirically grounded, educationally (...)
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  • Introduction to Virtue and Control: Lessons From East and West.Heather Battaly & Ryan Nichols - 2016 - Journal of Moral Education 45 (2):113-116.
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  • Is Intellectual Character Growth a Realistic Educational Aim?Jason Baehr - 2016 - Journal of Moral Education 45 (2):117-131.
    Responsibilist approaches to virtue epistemology examine the epistemic significance of intellectual virtues like curiosity, attentiveness, intellectual humility, open-mindedness, intellectual courage, and intellectual tenacity. On one way of thinking about these traits, they are the deep personal qualities or character traits of a good thinker or learner. Given the intimate connection between intellectual virtues and good thinking and learning, responsibilist virtue epistemology appears ripe for application to educational theory and practice. At a minimum, growth in intellectual virtues seems like a worthy (...)
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  • The Promising but Challenging Case of Humility as a Positive Psychology Virtue.Peter C. Hill & Steven J. Sandage - 2016 - Journal of Moral Education 45 (2):132-146.
    In maintaining that virtue is a legitimate concept worthy of empirical study, a strong situationist approach to the study of behavior is countered. An earlier analysis is then drawn upon to maintain that virtue has the capability of integrating several themes in positive psychology: ethics and health, embodied character, strength and resilience, communally embedded, meaningful purpose, and capacity for wisdom. The six themes are used to provide a framework for considering the unique case of moral and intellectual humility as a (...)
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  • Tweaking the Four-Component Model.Howard J. Curzer - 2014 - Journal of Moral Education 43 (1):104-123.
    By maintaining that moral functioning depends upon four components, the Neo-Kohlbergian account of moral functioning allows for uneven moral development within individuals. However, I argue that the four-component model does not go far enough. I offer a more accurate account of moral functioning and uneven moral development. My proposal retains the account of sensitivity, divides the judgment component into a theorizing component and a reasoning component, and eliminates the motivation and character components.
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  • On the Fittingness of Agential Evaluations.Roberto Keller - 2021 - Philosophical Explorations 25 (2):251-268.
    According to a leading view, emotions such as admiration, contempt, pride, and shame are important vehicles of agential development. Through admiration and contempt, we establish models and counter...
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  • An Empirical Argument for Mencius’ Theory of Human Nature.Ilari Mäkelä - 2022 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 21 (2):235-259.
    Mencius 孟子 is famous for arguing that human nature is good. In this article, I offer a reading of Mencius’ argument which can be evaluated in terms of empirical psychology. In this reading, Mencius’ argument begins with three claims: humans naturally have prosocial inclinations, prosocial inclinations can be cultivated into mature forms of virtue, and the growth of prosocial inclinations is more natural than the growth of their alternatives. I also argue that each of these claims is well supported by (...)
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  • Non-Ideal Virtue and Situationism.Matthew C. Taylor - 2022 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (1):41-68.
    Several philosophers, known as situationists, have argued that evidence in social psychology threatens to undermine Aristotelian virtue ethics. An impressively large amount of empirical evidence suggests that most people do not consistently act virtuously and lack the ability to exercise rational control over their behavior. Since possessing moral virtues requires these features, situationists have argued that Aristotelianism does not accurately describe the character traits possessed by most people, and so the theory cannot lay claim to various theoretical advantages such as (...)
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  • The Good of Friendship at the End of Life.Christopher Mole - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):445-459.
    This article attempts to explain the value that we assign to the presence of friends at the time when life is ending. It first shows that Aristotle’s treatment of friendship does not provide a clear account of such value. It then uses J. L. Austin’s notion of performativity to supplement one recent theory of friendship – given by Dean Cocking and Jeanette Kennett – in such a way that that theory can then account for friendship’s special value at our time (...)
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  • Measuring ‘Virtue’ in Medicine.Ben Kotzee & Agnieszka Ignatowicz - 2016 - Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy 19 (2):149-161.
    Virtue-approaches to medical ethics are becoming ever more influential. Virtue theorists advocate redefining right or good action in medicine in terms of the character of the doctor performing the action. In medical education, too, calls are growing to reconceive medical education as a form of character formation. Empirical studies of doctors’ ethics from a virtue-perspective, however, are few and far between. In this respect, theoretical and empirical study of medical ethics are out of alignment. In this paper, we survey the (...)
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  • Moral Education in Mainland China Today: A Bio-Ecological Systems Analysis.Chao Yang - 2021 - Journal of Moral Education 50 (4):529-543.
    ABSTRACT It is widely acknowledged that China is much wealthier than ever before. However, many have witnessed rising cases of moral disorders and the inefficiency of school-based moral education. As one of the most widely known theoretical frameworks in the social sciences, Bronfenbrenner’s bio-ecological systems theory of human development can provide an insightful perspective in identifying the root causes of the problem. Based on the theory, this article argues that the longstanding trend of: overstressing school-based values education and moral agency; (...)
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  • What is a Science of Virtue?Nancy E. Snow - 2022 - Journal of Moral Education 51 (1):9-23.
    ABSTRACT My remarks will outline, from a philosopher’s perspective, challenges and opportunities that I see for a science of virtue. I will touch on three topics: ensuring that the studies are philosophically useful; grappling with issues of measurement; and next steps in moving a science of virtue forward. I approach and through reflections on some recent uses of psychology by philosophers and of philosophy by psychologists; and will argue in part that next steps should entail certain kinds of educational efforts (...)
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  • Character, Attitude and Disposition.Jonathan Webber - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (4):1082-1096.
    Recent debate over the empirical psychological presuppositions of virtue ethics has focused on reactive behavioural dispositions. But there are many character traits that cannot be understood properly in this way. Such traits are well described by attitude psychology. Moreover, the findings of attitude psychology support virtue ethics in three ways. First, they confirm the role of habituation in the development of character. Further, they show virtue ethics to be compatible with the situation manipulation experiments at the heart of the recent (...)
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  • Sharing the Responsibility of Dealing with Climate Change: Interpreting the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities.Dan Weijers, David Eng & Ramon Das - 2010 - In Jonathan Boston, Andrew Bradstock & David L. Eng (eds.), Public Policy: Why Ethics Matters. ANU ePress. pp. 141-158.
    In this chapter we first discuss the main principles of justice and note the standard objections to them, which we believe necessitate a hybrid approach. The hybrid account we defend is primarily based on the distributive principle of sufficientarianism, which we interpret as the idea that each country should have the means to provide a minimally decent quality of life for each of its citizens. We argue that sufficientarian considerations give good reason to think that what we call the ‘ability (...)
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  • Choosing and Refusing: Doxastic Voluntarism and Folk Psychology.John Turri, David Rose & Wesley Buckwalter - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (10):2507-2537.
    A standard view in contemporary philosophy is that belief is involuntary, either as a matter of conceptual necessity or as a contingent fact of human psychology. We present seven experiments on patterns in ordinary folk-psychological judgments about belief. The results provide strong evidence that voluntary belief is conceptually possible and, granted minimal charitable assumptions about folk-psychological competence, provide some evidence that voluntary belief is psychologically possible. We also consider two hypotheses in an attempt to understand why many philosophers have been (...)
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  • Is Situationism Conservatively Revisionary for Ethics?Derick Hughes - 2021 - The Journal of Ethics 26 (1):69-91.
    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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  • Teaching phronesis to aspiring police officers: some preliminary philosophical, developmental and pedagogical reflections.Kristján Kristjánsson - forthcoming - International Journal of Ethics Education:1-17.
    According to Aristotle, the crucial meta-virtue of phronesis is cultivated through teaching and experience. But he remains mostly silent on the details of this developmental picture and its educational ramifications. This article focuses on the ‘taught’ element of phronesis development in the context of police ethics education. I begin by piecing together the developmental trajectory that Aristotle suggests towards full virtue, up to and including phronesis development. I also briefly list ten potential weaknesses of this picture. I then present a (...)
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  • Coding Ethical Decision-Making in Research.David J. Hartmann, Thomas Van Valey & Wayne Fuqua - 2017 - Science and Engineering Ethics 23 (1):121-146.
    This paper presents methods and challenges attendant on the use of protocol analysis to develop a model of heuristic processing applied to research ethics. Participants are exposed to ethically complex scenarios and asked to verbalize their thoughts as they formulate a requested decision. The model identifies functional parts of the decision-making task: interpretation, retrieval, judgment and editing and seeks to reliably code participant verbalizations to those tasks as well as to a set of cognitive tools generally useful in such work. (...)
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  • Partiality Traps and Our Need for Risk-Aware Ethics and Epistemology.Guy Axtell - manuscript
    Virtue theories can plausibly be argued to have important advantages over normative ethical theories which prescribe a strict impartialism in moral judgment, or which neglect people’s special roles and relationships. However, there are clear examples of both virtuous and vicious partiality in people’s moral judgments, and virtue theorists may struggle to adequately distinguish them, much as proponents of other normative ethical theories do. This paper first adapts the “expanding moral circle” concept and some literary examples to illustrate the difficulty of (...)
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  • Character-Infused Ethical Decision Making.Brenda Nguyen & Mary Crossan - 2021 - Journal of Business Ethics 178 (1):171-191.
    Despite a growing body of research by management scholars to understand and explain failures in ethical decision making, misconduct prevails. Scholars have identified character, founded in virtue ethics, as an important perspective that can help to address the gap in organizational misconduct. While character has been offered as a valid perspective in EDM, current theorizing on how it applies to EDM has not been well developed. We thus integrate character, founded in virtue ethics, into Rest’s EDM model to reveal how (...)
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  • Utilitarianism and Dewey's “Three Independent Factors in Morals”.Guy Axtell - 2008 - ISUS-X Conference Proceedings, Kadish Center for Morality, Law and Public Affairs, Boalt Hall, Berkeley CA.
    The centennial of Dewey & Tuft’s Ethics (1908) provides a timely opportunity to reflect both on Dewey’s intellectual debt to utilitarian thought, and on his critique of it. In this paper I examine Dewey’s assessment of utilitarianism, but also his developing view of the good (ends; consequences), the right (rules; obligations) and the virtuous (approbations; standards) as “three independent factors in morals.” This doctrine (found most clearly in the 2nd edition of 1932) as I argue in the last sections, has (...)
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  • A Problem for Self-Knowledge: The Implications of Taking Confabulation Seriously.Robin Scaife - 2014 - Acta Analytica 29 (4):469-485.
    There is a widespread assumption that we have direct access to our own decision-making processes. Empirical demonstrations of confabulation, a phenomenon where individuals construct and themselves believe plausible but inaccurate accounts of why they acted, have been used to question this assumption. Those defending the assumption argue cases of confabulation are relatively rare and that in most cases, we still have direct insight into our own decision-making. This paper reviews this debate and introduces two novel points. Firstly, I will point (...)
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  • Can Morality Do Without Prudence?David Kaspar - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (2):311-326.
    This paper argues that morality depends on prudence, or more specifically, that one cannot be a moral person without being prudent. Ethicists are unaware of this, ignore it, or imply it is wrong. Although this thesis is not obvious from the current perspective of ethics, I believe that its several implications for ethics make it worth examining. In this paper I argue for the prudence dependency thesis by isolating moral practice from all reliance on prudence. The result is that in (...)
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  • Autonomy as the Ground of Morality.Allen W. Wood - manuscript
    Those of us who are sympathetic to Kantian ethics usually are so because we regard it as an ethics of autonomy, based on rational self-esteem and respect for the human capacity to direct one’s own life according to rational principles. Kantian ethical theory is grounded on the idea that the moral law is binding on me only because it is a law proceeding from my own will. The ground of a law of autonomy lies in the very will which is (...)
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  • Re-Conceiving Character: The Social Ontology of Humean Virtue.Glen Pettigrove - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (3):595-619.
    Most twenty-first century ethicists conceive of character as a stable, enduring state that is internal to the agent who possesses it. This paper argues that writers in the 17th and 18th centuries did not share this conception: as they conceived it, character is fragile and has a social ontology. The paper goes on to show that Hume’s conception of character was more like his contemporaries than like ours. It concludes with a look at the significance of such a conception for (...)
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  • Malleable Character: Organizational Behavior Meets Virtue Ethics and Situationism.Santiago Mejia & Joshua August Skorburg - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies.
    This paper introduces a body of research on Organizational Behavior and Industrial/Organizational Psychology (OB/IO) that expands the range of empirical evidence relevant to the ongoing character-situation debate. This body of research, mostly neglected by moral philosophers, provides important insights to move the debate forward. First, the OB/IO scholarship provides empirical evidence to show that social environments like organizations have significant power to shape the character traits of their members. This scholarship also describes some of the mechanisms through which this process (...)
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  • Book Review of Alexander, Joshua. Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction.David J. Frost - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):903-917.
  • Introduction: Moral Emotions.Florian Cova, Julien Deonna & David Sander - 2015 - Topoi 34 (2):397-400.
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  • Wisdom as an Expert Skill.Jason D. Swartwood - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):511-528.
    Practical wisdom is the intellectual virtue that enables a person to make reliably good decisions about how, all-things-considered, to live. As such, it is a lofty and important ideal to strive for. It is precisely this loftiness and importance that gives rise to important questions about wisdom: Can real people develop it? If so, how? What is the nature of wisdom as it manifests itself in real people? I argue that we can make headway answering these questions by modeling wisdom (...)
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  • Seeing by Feeling: Virtues, Skills, and Moral Perception.Daniel Jacobson - 2005 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 8 (4):387-409.
    Champions of virtue ethics frequently appeal to moral perception: the notion that virtuous people can “see” what to do. According to a traditional account of virtue, the cultivation of proper feeling through imitation and habituation issues in a sensitivity to reasons to act. Thus, we learn to see what to do by coming to feel the demands of courage, kindness, and the like. But virtue ethics also claims superiority over other theories that adopt a perceptual moral epistemology, such as intuitionism (...)
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  • Comments on Stichter’s The Skillfulness of Virtue. [REVIEW]Mark Alfano - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 24 (2):549-554.
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  • Teleonomy.Boris Hennig - 2011 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 14 (1):185-202.
    The distinction between teleology and teleonomy that biologists sometimes refer to seems to be helpful in certain contexts, but it is used in several different ways and has rarely been clearly drawn. This paper discusses three prominent uses of the term “teleonomy” and traces its history back to what seems to be its first use. This use is examined in detail and then justified and refined on the basis of elements found in the philosophy of Aristotle, Kant, Anscombe and others. (...)
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  • 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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  • Alexander, Joshua. Experimental Philosophy: An Introduction: Malden, MA: Polity Press, 2012. 154pp. Paperback, $22.95, ISBN 978–0745649184.David J. Frost - 2012 - Philosophia 40 (4):903-917.
  • The Oxford Handbook of Philosophical Methodology.Herman Cappelen, Tamar Szabó Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.) - 2016 - Oxford University Press.
    This is the most comprehensive book ever published on philosophical methodology. A team of thirty-eight of the world's leading philosophers present original essays on various aspects of how philosophy should be and is done. The first part is devoted to broad traditions and approaches to philosophical methodology. The entries in the second part address topics in philosophical methodology, such as intuitions, conceptual analysis, and transcendental arguments. The third part of the book is devoted to essays about the interconnections between philosophy (...)
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  • Contributii la psihologia morala: evaluari ale rezultatelor si noi cercetari empirice.Bogdan Olaru & Andrei Holman (eds.) - 2015 - Bucuresti, Romania: Pro Universitaria.
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  • Comparative Philosophy: Chinese and Western.David Wong - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
  • On the Social Dimensions of Moral Psychology.John D. GreenwooD - 2011 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 41 (4):333-364.
    Contemporary moral psychology has been enormously enriched by recent theoretical developments and empirical findings in evolutionary biology, cognitive psychology and neuroscience, and social psychology and psychopathology. Yet despite the fact that some theorists have developed specifically “social heuristic” (Gigerenzer, 2008) and “social intuitionist” (Haidt, 2007) theories of moral judgment and behavior, and despite regular appeals to the findings of experimental social psychology, contemporary moral psychology has largely neglected the social dimensions of moral judgment and behavior. I provide a brief sketch (...)
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  • In Defence of Narrative.Anthony Rudd - 2009 - European Journal of Philosophy 17 (1):60-75.
    Over the last few decades, a number of influential philosophers, psychologists and others have invoked the notion of narrative as having a central role to play in our thinking about ethics and personal identity. More recently, a backlash against these narrative theories has developed, exemplified in work by, for instance, Galen Strawson, Peter Lamarque and John Christman. This paper defends an approach to personal identity and ethics, influenced mainly by Alasdair MacIntyre and Charles Taylor, in which narrative plays a central (...)
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  • Sartre's Theory of Character.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - European Journal of Philosophy 14 (1):94-116.
    Various influential ethical theories propose that we should strive to develop morally sound character traits, either because good actions are those that issue from good character traits, or because good traits are those that generally incline us toward actions that are good for some independent reason such as the intentions with which they are performed or the consequences of performing them. This proposal obviously raises questions about the nature and origins of character traits, and our degree of control over them. (...)
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  • Virtue and Austerity.Peter Allmark - 2013 - Nursing Philosophy 14 (1):45-52.
    Virtue ethics is often proposed as a third way in health‐care ethics, that while consequentialism and deontology focus on action guidelines, virtue focuses on character; all three aim to help agents discern morally right action although virtue seems to have least to contribute to political issues, such as austerity. I claim: This is a bad way to characterize virtue ethics. The 20th century renaissance of virtue ethics was first proposed as a response to the difficulty of making sense of ‘moral (...)
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  • Introduction: Virtue and Vice.Heather Battaly - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):1-21.
    Abstract: This introduction to the collection Virtue and Vice, Moral and Epistemic addresses three main questions: (1) What is a virtue theory in ethics or epistemology? (2) What is a virtue? and (3) What is a vice? (1) It suggests that a virtue theory takes the virtues and vices of agents to be more fundamental than evaluations of acts or beliefs, and defines right acts or justified beliefs in terms of the virtues. (2) It argues that there are two important (...)
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  • Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad.Guy Axtell - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):73-94.
    Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various uses (...)
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  • Self‐Respect and the Respect of Others.Colin Bird - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (1):17-40.
    Abstract: This paper examines the claim that agents' self-respect depends on receiving appropriate respect from others. It concentrates on a particular version of the claim defended by Avishai Margalit. The paper argues that Margalit's arguments fail to explain why the rival stoic view, that agents ultimately retain responsibility for their own self-respect, is incorrect.
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  • Measuring Self-Respect.Kristján Kristjánsson - 2007 - Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 37 (3):225–242.
    Can “self-respect” supplant the now much-maligned “global self-esteem” in psychological research and therapy? The aim of the present paper is to examine this suggestion and develop it further. It is argued that there are two distinct philosophical concepts of self-respect abroad in the literature, Kantian and Aristotelian, between which psychologists need to choose. The main components of Aristotelian self-respect are then worked out. The paper concludes by exploring how, in order to make those components objectively measurable, certain methodological pitfalls must (...)
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  • Feminist Virtue Ethics, Happiness, and Moral Luck.Marilyn Friedman - 2009 - Hypatia 24 (1):29 - 40.
    Can men who dominate women nevertheless be happy or lead flourishing lives? Building on Claudia Card's exploration of moral luck, this paper considers the belief that male dominators cannot be happy. The discussion ranges over both virtue theory and empirical research into the "belief in a just world." I conclude that there are reasons to avoid believing that male dominators cannot be happy or flourish, and that feminism does not need that belief.
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