Understanding the Virtue-Relevant Self Through Courage


To what extent do differences in who we are predict differences in courage? We propose to de-velop a measure of the virtue-relevant self, which is composed of self-conception, social roles, virtue-relevant values, and personality traits. We will then conduct three studies using this meas-ure to determine the extent to which these various components of the virtue-relevant self pre-dict the types of acts people consider courageous as well as the willingness of people to engage in courageous acts themselves. We believe that individual differences in each of these compo-nents – that is, the content of the virtue-relevant self – will correlate with differences in first, how people rate actions that they themselves have undertaken in the past; second, how people rate actions that other people have taken; and third, the willingness of people to take certain kinds of courageous action. If found, these relations will have broader implications for the self and virtues by indicating that traits of the self beyond character traits affect both the conception of virtuous behavior and virtuous behavior itself.



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Emily Sullivan
Saginaw Valley State University

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