Michael DePaul
University of Notre Dame
Recently, Gilbert Harman has used empirical results obtained by social psychologists to argue that there are no character traits of the type presupposed by virtue ethics—no honesty or dishonesty, no courage or cowardice, in short, no virtue or vice. In this paper, I critically assess his argument as well as that of the social psychologists he appeals to. I suggest that the experimental results recounted by Harman would not much concern such classical virtue theorists as Plato—particularly the Plato of the Republic—because they are pretty much exactly what these theorists would have predicted. The more difficult thesis that virtuous or vicious character traits exist, I do not here argue. Instead, the results of this paper focus on clarifying some of the ways in which character traits are understood by virtue ethicists, especially those who look to the classical philosophers
Keywords Conference Proceedings  Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 978-1-889680-19-4
DOI wcp2020009104
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Moral Psychology: Empirical Approaches.John Doris & Stephen Stich - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Virtue, Character and Situation.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.
Virtue Ethics.Nafsika Athanassoulis - 2013 - London: Bloomsbury.

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