Evil behaviour and character: Virtue ethics versus social psychology


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Sandrine Berges
Bilkent University
Abstract
Is there such a thing as evil character? Philosophers and social psychologists have cast doubt on the idea that evil behaviour is due to a defect in character formation, which some people have, and some have not. I will argue that their claims are misguided by putting forward the following thesis: evil character traits exist, but they are typically less stable, albeit more prevalent, than good character traits. This is because they typically do not receive the backing of formation, which, in the Aristotelian sense, is responsible for the development of firm character traits such as virtues.
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