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Character, Culture, and Humean Virtue Ethics: Insights from Situationism and Confucianism

In Philip Reed & Rico Vitz (eds.), Hume’s Moral Philosophy and Contemporary Psychology. Routledge (2018)

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  1. Minor Tweaks, Major Payoffs: The Problems and Promise of Situationism in Moral Philosophy.Hagop Sarkissian - 2010 - Philosophers' Imprint 10.
    Moral philosophers of late have been examining the implications of experimental social psychology for ethics. The focus of attention has been on situationism—the thesis that we routinely underestimate the extent to which minor situational variables influence morally significant behavior. Situationism has been seen as a threat to prevailing lay and philosophical theories of character, personhood, and agency. In this paper, I outline the situationist literature and critique one of its upshots: the admonition to carefully select one’s situational contexts. Besides being (...)
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  • Confucius and the Effortless Life of Virtue.Hagop Sarkissian - 2010 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 27 (1):1-16.
    Natural talent and diligent practice regularly lead to effortless virtuosity in many fields, such as music and athletics. Can the same be true of morality? Confucius’s wonderfully terse autobiography in the Analects suggests that, given the right starting materials and an appropriate curriculum of study, a program of moral self-cultivation can indeed lead to effortless moral virtuosity. But can we make sense of this claim from a contemporary perspective? This paper evaluates the plausibility of the moral ideal in the Analects (...)
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