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Moral Character: An Empirical Theory

Oxford University Press (2013)

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  1. 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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  • 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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  • Virtues, Ecological Momentary Assessment/Intervention and Smartphone Technology.Jason D. Runyan & Ellen G. Steinke - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology:1-24.
    Virtues, broadly understood as stable and robust dispositions for certain responses across morally relevant situations, have been a growing topic of interest in psychology. A central topic of discussion has been whether studies showing that situations can strongly influence our responses provide evidence against the existence of virtues (as a kind of stable and robust disposition). In this review, we examine reasons for thinking that the prevailing methods for examining situational influences are limited in their ability to test dispositional stability (...)
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  • Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2018 - Oxford University Press.
    The burgeoning science of ethics has produced a trend toward pessimism. Ordinary moral thought and action, we’re told, are profoundly influenced by arbitrary factors and ultimately driven by unreasoned feelings. This book counters the current orthodoxy on its own terms by carefully engaging with the empirical literature. The resulting view, optimistic rationalism, shows the pervasive role played by reason, and ultimately defuses sweeping debunking arguments in ethics. The science does suggest that moral knowledge and virtue don’t come easily. However, despite (...)
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  • Educating Through Exemplars: Alternative Paths to Virtue.Michel Croce & Maria Silvia Vaccarezza - 2017 - Theory and Research in Education 15 (1):5-19.
    This paper confronts Zagzebski’s exemplarism with the intertwined debates over the conditions of exemplarity and the unity-disunity of the virtues, to show the advantages of a pluralistic exemplar-based approach to moral education (PEBAME). PEBAME is based on a prima facie disunitarist perspective in moral theory, which amounts to admitting both exemplarity in all respects and single-virtue exemplarity. First, we account for the advantages of PEBAME, and we show how two figures in recent Italian history (Giorgio Perlasca and Gino Bartali) satisfy (...)
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  • Get Lucky: Situationism and Circumstantial Moral Luck.Marcela Herdova & Stephen Kearns - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):362-377.
    Situationism is, roughly, the thesis that normatively irrelevant environmental factors have a great impact on our behaviour without our being aware of this influence. Surprisingly, there has been little work done on the connection between situationism and moral luck. Given that it is often a matter of luck what situations we find ourselves in, and that we are greatly influenced by the circumstances we face, it seems also to be a matter of luck whether we are blameworthy or praiseworthy for (...)
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  • Ultrasound Viewers’ Attribution of Moral Status to Fetal Humans: A Case for Presumptive Rationality.Heidi M. Giebel - forthcoming - Diametros:1-14.
    As several studies, along with a book and movie depicting the true story of a former clinic director, have recently brought to the public’s attention, fetal ultrasound images dramatically impact some viewers’ normative judgments: a small but non-negligible proportion of viewers attribute increased moral status to fetal humans and even form the belief that abortion is impermissible. I consider three types of psychological explanation for a viewer’s shift in beliefs: increased bonding or empathy, various forms of cognitive bias, and type (...)
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  • Should Christians Be Worried About Situationist Claims in Psychology and Philosophy?Christian B. Miller - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (1):48-73.
    The situationist movement in psychology and, more recently, in philosophy has been associated with a number of striking claims, including that most people do not have the moral virtues and vices, that any ethical theory which is wedded to such character traits is empirically inadequate, and that much of our behavior is causally influenced, to significant degrees, by psychological influences about which we are often unaware. Yet Christian philosophers have had virtually nothing to say about situationist claims. The goal of (...)
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  • Opacity of Character: Virtue Ethics and the Legal Admissibility of Character Evidence.Georgi Gardiner - 2021 - Philosophical Issues 31 (1):334-354.
    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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  • The Concepts of Virtue After the „Character – Situation” Debate.Natasza Anna Szutta - 2021 - Scientia et Fides 9 (2):55-74.
    The article focuses on a currently hot debate in contemporary ethics that takes place between so-called situationists and the advocates of virtue ethics. The fundamental assumption made by virtue ethics is that developing and perfecting one’s moral character or moral virtues warrants one’s morally good action. Situationists claim that this assumption contradicts the results of the latest empirical studies. From this observation, they conclude that virtue ethics is based on an empirically inadequate moral psychology.In the first part of the article, (...)
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  • How Beliefs Are Like Colors.Devin Sanchez Curry - 2018 - Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania
    Teresa believes in God. Maggie’s wife believes that the Earth is flat, and also that Maggie should be home from work by now. Anouk—a cat—believes it is dinner time. This dissertation is about what believing is: it concerns what, exactly, ordinary people are attributing to Teresa, Maggie’s wife, and Anouk when affirming that they are believers. Part I distinguishes the attitudes of belief that people attribute to each other (and other animals) in ordinary life from the cognitive states of belief (...)
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  • Folk Personality Psychology: Mindreading and Mindshaping in Trait Attribution.Evan Westra - 2020 - Synthese 198 (9):8213-8232.
    Character-trait attribution is an important component of everyday social cognition that has until recently received insufficient attention in traditional accounts of folk psychology. In this paper, I consider how the case of character-trait attribution fits into the debate between mindreading-based and broadly ‘pluralistic’ approaches to folk psychology. Contrary to the arguments of some pluralists, I argue that the evidence on trait understanding does not show that it is a distinct, non-mentalistic mode of folk-psychological reasoning, but rather suggests that traits are (...)
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  • Learning From Failure: Shame and Emotion Regulation in Virtue as Skill.Matt Stichter - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):341-354.
    On an account of virtue as skill, virtues are acquired in the ways that skills are acquired. In this paper I focus on one implication of that account that is deserving of greater attention, which is that becoming more skillful requires learning from one’s failures, but that turns out to be especially challenging when dealing with moral failures. In skill acquisition, skills are improved by deliberate practice, where you strive to correct past mistakes and learn how to overcome your current (...)
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  • No Excuses: Performance Mistakes in Morality.Santiago Amaya & John M. Doris - 2015 - In Jens Clausen & Neil Levy (eds.), Handbook of Neuroethics. Springer. pp. 253-272.
    Philosophical accounts of moral responsibility are standardly framed by two platitudes. According to them, blame requires the presence of a moral defect in the agent and the absence of excuses. In this chapter, this kind of approach is challenged. It is argued that (a) people sometimes violate moral norms due to performance mistakes, (b) it often appears reasonable to hold them responsible for it, and (c) their mistakes cannot be traced to their moral qualities or to the presence of excuses. (...)
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  • Cnota, charakter, dobroć. W nawiązaniu do powieści autobiograficznej Raimonda Gaity Mój ojciec Romulus.Anna Głąb - 2020 - Roczniki Filozoficzne 68 (1):49-75.
    Przedmiotem tekstu jest rozróżnienie między dobrocią i cnotą oraz złem i występkiem, wprowadzone przez Hannah Arendt na podstawie lektury powieści Hermanna Melville’a Billy Budd. Rozróżnienie to analizuję, odnosząc się do historii życia Romulusa Gaity, bohatera powieści autobiograficznej Mój ojciec Romulus, której autorem jest australijski etyk Raimond Gaita. W paragrafie 1 zajmuję się ową dystynkcją, wskazując na przewartościowanie takich pojęć, jak cnota i występek w powieści Melville’a oraz jego rozumienie cnoty. Następnie staram się odpowiedzieć na pytanie, dlaczego Gaita pisze o swym (...)
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  • Précis of Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind.Joshua May - 2019 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 42 (e146):1-60.
    Regard for Reason in the Moral Mind argues that a careful examination of the scientific literature reveals a foundational role for reasoning in moral thought and action. Grounding moral psychology in reason then paves the way for a defense of moral knowledge and virtue against a variety of empirical challenges, such as debunking arguments and situationist critiques. The book attempts to provide a corrective to current trends in moral psychology, which celebrate emotion over reason and generate pessimism about the psychological (...)
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  • Virtues as Reasons Structures.Leland F. Saunders - 2020 - Philosophical Studies 178 (9):2785-2804.
    There is a certain kind of tension in recent accounts of the role of reasons in virtue ethics between two plausible claims that pull in different directions. First, that virtues are the central normative notion in virtue ethics; and second, that virtue is a kind of responsiveness to reasons: that reasons explain both what it is to act from virtue, and what the virtues are. I argue that this is a serious tension and necessitates a different account of the relationship (...)
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  • These Confabulations Are Guaranteed to Improve Your Marriage! Toward a Teleological Theory of Confabulation.Samuel Murray & Peter Finocchiaro - 2020 - Synthese 198 (11):10313-10339.
    Confabulation is typically understood to be dysfunctional. But this understanding neglects the phenomenon’s potential benefits. In fact, we think that the benefits of non-clinical confabulation provide a better foundation for a general account of confabulation. In this paper, we start from these benefits to develop a social teleological account of confabulation. Central to our account is the idea that confabulation manifests a kind of willful ignorance. By understanding confabulation in this way, we can provide principled explanations for the difference between (...)
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  • Assessing Two Competing Approaches to the Psychology of Moral Judgments.Christian B. Miller - 2016 - Philosophical Explorations 19 (1):28-47.
    This paper brings together the social intuitionist view of the psychology of moral judgments developed by Jonathan Haidt, and the recent morphological rationalist position of Terry Horgan and Mark Timmons. I will end up suggesting that Horgan and Timmons have offered us a more plausible account of the psychology of moral judgment formation. But the view is not without its own difficulties. Indeed, one of them might prove to be quite serious, as it could support a form of skepticism about (...)
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  • Consistent Egoists and Situation Managers: Two Problems for Situationism.Pauline Kleingeld - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):344-361.
    According to philosophical “situationism”, psychological evidence shows that human action is typically best explained by the influence of situational factors and not by “global” and robust character traits of the agent. As a practical implication of their view, situationists recommend that efforts in moral education be shifted from character development to situation management. Much of the discussion has focused on whether global conceptions of virtue and character, and in particular Aristotelian virtue ethics, can be defended against the situationist challenge. After (...)
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  • Embodied Situationism.Somogy Varga - 2018 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96 (2):271-286.
    Drawing on empirical material from social psychology, ‘situationism’ argues that the astonishing susceptibility of moral behaviour to situational influences undermines certain conceptions of character. The related, albeit more limited, thesis proposed in this paper, ‘embodied situationism’, engages a larger number of empirical sources from different fields of study and sheds light on the mechanisms responsible for particular, seemingly puzzling, situational judgments and behaviours. It is demonstrated that the empirical material supports the claims of ES and that ES is immune to (...)
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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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  • Moral Luck and The Unfairness of Morality.Robert J. Hartman - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (12):3179-3197.
    Moral luck occurs when factors beyond an agent’s control positively affect how much praise or blame she deserves. Kinds of moral luck are differentiated by the source of lack of control such as the results of her actions, the circumstances in which she finds herself, and the way in which she is constituted. Many philosophers accept the existence of some of these kinds of moral luck but not others, because, in their view, the existence of only some of them would (...)
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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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  • 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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  • This is a Tricky Situation: Situationism and Reasons-Responsiveness.Marcela Herdova & Stephen Kearns - 2017 - The Journal of Ethics 21 (2):151-183.
    Situations are powerful: the evidence from experimental social psychology suggests that agents are hugely influenced by the situations they find themselves in, often without their knowing it. In our paper, we evaluate how situational factors affect our reasons-responsiveness, as conceived of by John Fischer and Mark Ravizza, and, through this, how they also affect moral responsibility. We argue that the situationist experiments suggest that situational factors impair, among other things, our moderate reasons-responsiveness, which is plausibly required for moral responsibility. However, (...)
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  • Wong on Three Confucian Metaphors for Ethical Development.Christian Miller - 2017 - Dao: A Journal of Comparative Philosophy 16 (4):551-558.
    This is my contribution to a symposium on David Wong’s paper, “Early Confucian Philosophy and the Development of Compassion.” I simply grant Wong his reading of the relevant texts and consider the merits of the ideas about ethical development on their own terms. In particular, my aim is to see how fruitful these ideas might be in the contemporary philosophical landscape.
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  • Character and Theory of Mind: An Integrative Approach.Evan Westra - 2018 - Philosophical Studies 175 (5):1217-1241.
    Traditionally, theories of mindreading have focused on the representation of beliefs and desires. However, decades of social psychology and social neuroscience have shown that, in addition to reasoning about beliefs and desires, human beings also use representations of character traits to predict and interpret behavior. While a few recent accounts have attempted to accommodate these findings, they have not succeeded in explaining the relation between trait attribution and belief-desire reasoning. On my account, character-trait attribution is part of a hierarchical system (...)
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  • 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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  • Indirectly Free Actions, Libertarianism, and Resultant Moral Luck.Robert J. Hartman - 2020 - Erkenntnis 85 (6):1417-1436.
    Martin Luther affirms his theological position by saying “Here I stand. I can do no other.” Supposing that Luther’s claim is true, he lacks alternative possibilities at the moment of choice. Even so, many libertarians have the intuition that he is morally responsible for his action. One way to make sense of this intuition is to assert that Luther’s action is indirectly free, because his action inherits its freedom and moral responsibility from earlier actions when he had alternative possibilities and (...)
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  • Difficult Circumstances: Situationism and Ability.Marcela Herdova & Stephen Kearns - 2019 - Journal of Ethical Urban Living 2 (1):63-91.
    Certain aspects of our situations often influence us in significant and negative ways, without our knowledge (call this claim “situationism”). One possible explanation of their influence is that they affect our abilities. In this paper, we address two main questions. Do these situational factors rid us of our abilities to act on our sufficient reasons? Do situational factors make it more difficult for us to exercise our abilities to act for sufficient reasons? We argue for the answer ‘sometimes’ to both (...)
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  • The Practice of Character Strengths: Unifying Definitions, Principles, and Exploration of What’s Soaring, Emerging, and Ripe With Potential in Science and in Practice.Ryan M. Niemiec & Ruth Pearce - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 11.
    What does it mean to be “strengths-based” or to be a “strengths-based practitioner?” These are diffuse areas that are generic and ill-defined. Part of the confusion arises from the customary default of practitioners and leaders across many cultures to label anything positive or complimentary as “strengths-based,” whether that be an approach, a theoretical orientation, an intervention, or a company. Additional muddle is created by many researchers and practitioners not making distinctions between very different categories of “strength” in human beings – (...)
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  • Getting Less Cynical About Virtue.Joshua May - 2017 - In Walter Sinnott-Armstrong & Christian Miller (eds.), Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Character. MIT Press. pp. 45-52.
    This is a commentary on a paper by the social psychologist C. Daniel Batson. I too think virtue is rare, but not so rare as Batson seems to think, despite his ingenious experiments on "moral hypocrisy.".
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  • Experimental Moral Philosophy.Mark Alfano & Don Loeb - 2014 - In Edward Zalta (ed.), Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Experimental moral philosophy began to emerge as a methodology inthe last decade of the twentieth century, a branch of the largerexperimental philosophy approach. From the beginning,it has been embroiled in controversy on a number of fronts. Somedoubt that it is philosophy at all. Others acknowledge that it isphilosophy but think that it has produced modest results at best andconfusion at worst. Still others think it represents an important advance., Before the research program can be evaluated, we should have someconception of (...)
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  • Virtue Ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse & Glen Pettigrove - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Virtue ethics is currently one of three major approaches in normative ethics. We begin by discussing two concepts that are central to all forms of virtue ethics, namely, virtue and practical wisdom. Then we note some of the features that distinguish different virtue ethical theories from one another before turning to objections that have been raised against virtue ethics and responses offered on its behalf. We conclude with a look at some of the directions in which future research might develop.
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  • 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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  • Virtue Measurement: Theory and Applications.Nancy E. Snow, Jennifer Cole Wright & Michael T. Warren - 2020 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 23 (2):277-293.
    Our primary aim in this paper is to sketch the account of virtue that we think most amenable to virtue measurement. Our account integrates Whole Trait Theory from psychology with a broadly neo-Aristotelian approach to virtue. Our account is ‘ecumenical’ in that it has appeal for a wide range of virtue ethicists. According to WTT, a personality trait is composed of a set of situation-specific trait-appropriate responses, which are produced when certain “social-cognitive” mechanisms are triggered by the perception of trait-relevant (...)
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  • Virtue Vs. Virtue Ethics.Christoph Halbig - 2020 - Zeitschrift Für Ethik Und Moralphilosophie 3 (2):301-313.
    The present article sets out to defend the thesis that among the more or less familiar enemies or challenges an adequate theory of virtue has to cope with is another, less obvious one – virtue ethics itself. The project of establishing virtue ethics as a third paradigm of normative ethics at eye level with consequentialism and deontological approaches to ethics threatens to distort not just our ethical thinking but the theory of virtue itself. A theory of virtue that is able (...)
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  • 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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  • Does Situationism Threaten Free Will and Moral Responsibility?Michael McKenna & Brandon Warmke - 2017 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 14 (6):698-733.
    The situationist movement in social psychology has caused a considerable stir in philosophy. Much of this was prompted by the work of Gilbert Harman and John Doris. Both contended that familiar philosophical assumptions about the role of character in the explanation of action were not supported by experimental results. Most of the ensuing philosophical controversy has focused upon issues related to moral psychology and ethical theory. More recently, the influence of situationism has also given rise to questions regarding free will (...)
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  • Trust, Trustworthiness, and the Moral Consequence of Consistency.Jason D'cruz - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3):467-484.
    Situationists such as John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt suppose that appeal to reliable behavioral dispositions can be dispensed with without radical revision to morality as we know it. This paper challenges this supposition, arguing that abandoning hope in reliable dispositions rules out genuine trust and forces us to suspend core reactive attitudes of gratitude and resentment, esteem and indignation. By examining situationism through the lens of trust we learn something about situationism (in particular, the radically revisionary moral implications (...)
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  • What You Don't Know Can Hurt You: Situationism, Conscious Awareness, Control.Marcela Herdova - 2016 - Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4 (1):45-71.
    The thesis of situationism says that situational factors can exert a signi cant in uence on how we act, o en without us being consciously aware that we are so in uenced. In this paper, I examine how situational factors, or, more speci cally, our lack of conscious awareness of their in uence on our behavior, a ect di erent measures of control. I further examine how our control is a ected by the fact that situational factors also seem to (...)
     
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches.John Doris & Stephen Stich - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    Moral psychology investigates human functioning in moral contexts, and asks how these results may impact debate in ethical theory. This work is necessarily interdisciplinary, drawing on both the empirical resources of the human sciences and the conceptual resources of philosophical ethics. The present article discusses several topics that illustrate this type of inquiry: thought experiments, responsibility, character, egoism v . altruism, and moral disagreement.
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  • 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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