Consistent egoists and situation managers: two problems for situationism

Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):344-361 (2015)
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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 several rounds of debate, both sides claim victory, and they seem to have reached a stalemate. In this paper, I refocus the debate on the arguments offered in support of situationism itself. I argue that two serious problems have so far gone unnoticed in the literature. First, the argument in support of situationism is unsound. It is based on evidence that agents’ morally relevant behavior reliably covaries with morally irrelevant situationa..

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Author's Profile

Pauline Kleingeld
University of Groningen

References found in this work

Character as Moral Fiction.Mark Alfano - 2013 - New York: Cambridge University Press.
Moral Character: An Empirical Theory.Christian B. Miller - 2013 - Oxford, GB: Oxford University Press.
.Gilbert Harman - 2008 - Cambridge University Press.

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