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  1. added 2019-05-09
    Getting to Know You: Accuracy and Error in Judgments of Character.Evan Westra - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Character judgments play an important role in our everyday lives. However, decades of empirical research on trait attribution suggest that the cognitive processes that generate these judgments are prone to a number of biases and cognitive distortions. This gives rise to a skeptical worry about the epistemic foundations of everyday characterological beliefs that has deeply disturbing and alienating consequences. In this paper, I argue that this skeptical worry is misplaced: under the appropriate informational conditions, our everyday character-trait judgments are in (...)
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  2. added 2019-03-22
    Current Controversies in Virtue Theory, Edited by Mark Alfano. [REVIEW]Alina Beary - 2019 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 16 (1):89-92.
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  3. added 2019-02-28
    Situationism, Manipulation, and Objective Self-Awareness.Hagop Sarkissian - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):489-503.
    Among those taking the implications of situationism seriously, some have suggested exploiting our tendency to be shaped by our environments toward desirable ends. The key insight here is that if experimental studies produce reliable, probabilistic predictions about the effects of situational variables on behavior—for example, how people react to the presence or absence of various sounds, objects, and their placement—then we should deploy those variables that promote prosocial behavior, while avoiding or limiting those that tend toward antisocial behavior. Put another (...)
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  4. added 2018-02-08
    A Plague on Both Your Houses: Virtue Theory After Situationism and Repligate.Mark Alfano - forthcoming - Teoria.
    Virtues are dispositions that make their bearers admirable. Dispositions can be studied scientifically by systematically varying whether their alleged bearers are in (or take themselves to be in) the dispositions' eliciting conditions. In recent decades, empirically-minded philosophers looked to social and personality psychology to study the extent to which ordinary humans embody dispositions traditionally considered admirable in the Aristotelian tradition. This led some to conclude that virtues are not attainable ideals, and that we should focus our ethical reflection and efforts (...)
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  5. added 2017-03-27
    A Limited Skeptical Threat. [REVIEW]Joshua May - 2018 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 41:35-6.
    Doris argues that our choices are heavily influenced by forces that we wouldn’t count as genuine reasons. This unsettling conclusion is motivated by a debunking argument so wide-ranging that it isn’t foisted upon us by the sciences. Doris sometimes seems to lower his ambitions when offering instead a skeptical hypothesis argument, but that conflicts with his aims in the book.
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  6. added 2017-01-16
    A Response to Harman: Virtue Ethics and Character Traits: Discusions.Nafsika Athanassoulis - 2000 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (2):215-221.
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  7. added 2016-10-06
    Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and the Normativity Challenge.Étienne Brown - 2016 - Dialogue 55 (1):131-150.
    Aristotelian virtue theorists are currently engaged in a discussion with philosophers who use psychological findings to question some of their main assumptions. In this article, I present and argue against one of these psychological challenges—Jesse Prinz’s Normativity Challenge—which rests on the claim that findings in cultural psychology contradict the Aristotelian thesis that the normativity of virtues derives from nature. First, I demonstrate that the Normativity Challenge is based on three problematic assumptions about contemporary Aristotelianism. Second, I argue that it presupposes (...)
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  8. added 2016-02-06
    Virtue, Situationism, and the Cognitive Value of Art.Jacob Berger & Mark Alfano - 2016 - The Monist 99 (2):144-158.
    Virtue-based moral cognitivism holds that at least some of the value of some art consists in conveying knowledge about the nature of virtue and vice. We explore here a challenge to this view, which extends the so-called situationist challenge to virtue ethics. Evidence from social psychology indicates that individuals’ behavior is often susceptible to trivial and normatively irrelevant situational influences. This evidence not only challenges approaches to ethics that emphasize the role of virtue but also undermines versions of moral cognitivism, (...)
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  9. added 2015-10-27
    Trust, Trustworthiness, and the Moral Consequence of Consistency.Jason D'cruz - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (3):467-484.
    Situationists such as John Doris, Gilbert Harman, and Maria Merritt suppose that appeal to reliable behavioral dispositions can be dispensed with without radical revision to morality as we know it. This paper challenges this supposition, arguing that abandoning hope in reliable dispositions rules out genuine trust and forces us to suspend core reactive attitudes of gratitude and resentment, esteem and indignation. By examining situationism through the lens of trust we learn something about situationism (in particular, the radically revisionary moral implications (...)
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  10. added 2015-07-15
    Consistent Egoists and Situation Managers: Two Problems for Situationism.Pauline Kleingeld - 2015 - Philosophical Explorations 18 (3):344-361.
    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 (...)
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  11. added 2014-12-17
    Friendship and the Structure of Trust.Mark Alfano - 2016 - In Alberto Masala & Jonathan Webber (eds.), From Personality to Virtue. Oxford University Press. pp. 186-206.
    In this paper, I describe some of what I take to be the more interesting features of friendship, then explore the extent to which other virtues can be reconstructed as sharing those features. I use trustworthiness as my example throughout, but I think that other virtues such as generosity & gratitude, pride & respect, and the producer’s & consumer’s sense of humor can also be analyzed with this model. The aim of the paper is not to demonstrate that all moral (...)
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  12. added 2014-12-17
    Ramsifying Virtue Theory.Mark Alfano - 2015 - In Current Controversies in Virtue Theory. Routledge. pp. 123-35.
    In his contribution, Mark Alfano lays out a new (to virtue theory) naturalistic way of determining what the virtues are, what it would take for them to be realized, and what it would take for them to be at least possible. This method is derived in large part from David Lewis’s development of Frank Ramsey’s method of implicit definition. The basic idea is to define a set of terms not individually but in tandem. This is accomplished by assembling all and (...)
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  13. added 2014-04-02
    Situationism, Responsibility, and Fair Opportunity.David O. Brink - 2013 - Social Philosophy and Policy (1-2):121-149.
    The situationist literature in psychology claims that conduct is not determined by character and reflects the operation of the agent’s situation or environment. For instance, due to situational factors, compassionate behavior is much less common than we might have expected from people we believe to be compassionate. This article focuses on whether situationism should revise our beliefs about moral responsibility. It assesses situationism’s implications against the backdrop of a conception of responsibility that is grounded in norms about the fair opportunity (...)
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  14. added 2014-04-02
    Identifying and Defending the Hard Core of Virtue Ethics.Mark Alfano - 2013 - Journal of Philosophical Research 38:233-260.
    Virtue ethics has been challenged on empirical grounds by philosophical interpreters of situationist social psychology. Challenges are necessarily challenges to something or other, so it’s only possible to understand the situationist challenge to virtue ethics if we have an antecedent grasp on virtue ethics itself. To this end, I first identify the non-negotiable “hard core” of virtue ethics with the conjunction of nine claims, arguing that virtue ethics does make substantive empirical assumptions about human conduct. Next, I rearticulate the situationist (...)
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  15. added 2014-03-29
    Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad.Guy Axtell - 2010 - Metaphilosophy 41 (1-2):73-94.
    Abstract: In this article, the logic and functions of character-trait ascriptions in ethics and epistemology is compared, and two major problems, the "generality problem" for virtue epistemologies and the "global trait problem" for virtue ethics, are shown to be far more similar in structure than is commonly acknowledged. I suggest a way to put the generality problem to work by making full and explicit use of a sliding scale--a "narrow-broad spectrum of trait ascription"-- and by accounting for the various uses (...)
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  16. added 2013-04-18
    Inferential Abilities and Common Epistemic Goods.Abrol Fairweather & Carlos Montemayor - 2013 - Naturalizing Epistemic Virtue (CUP).
    While the situationist challenge has been prominent in philosophical literature in ethics for over a decade, only recently has it been extended to virtue epistemology . Alfano argues that virtue epistemology is shown to be empirically inadequate in light of a wide range of results in social psychology, essentially succumbing to the same argument as virtue ethics. We argue that this meeting of the twain between virtue epistemology and social psychology in no way signals the end of virtue epistemology, but (...)
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  17. added 2013-03-31
    Inner Diversity: An Alternative Ecological Virtue Ethics.Jason Kawall - 2001 - Philosophy in the Contemporary World 8 (2):27-35.
    I propose a modified virtue ethics, grounded in an analogy between ecosystems and human personalities. I suggest that we understand ourselves as possessing changing systems of inter-related sub personalities with different virtues, and view our characters as flexible and evolving.
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  18. added 2013-03-04
    Ethics and Empirical Psychology.Antti Kauppinen - 2013 - In Markus Christen (ed.), Empirically Informed Ethics. Springer. pp. 279-305.
    In this paper, I examine six arguments concerning or making use of empirical psychological evidence in metaethics and normative ethics. Generally speaking, I find that the ambitious ones fail and the more modest ones ought to moderate their conclusions further.
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  19. added 2013-02-13
    Epistemic Situationism: An Extended Prolepsis.Mark Alfano - 2017 - In Mark Alfano & Abrol Fairweather (eds.), Epistemic Situationism. Oxford University Press.
    This paper is an extended prolepsis in favor of epistemic situationism, the thesis that epistemic virtues are not sufficiently widely distributed for a virtue-theoretic constraint on knowledge to apply without leading to skepticism. It deals with four objections to epistemic situation: 1) that virtuous dispositions are not required for knowledge, 2) that the Big Five or Big Six personality model proves that intellectual virtues are a reasonable ideal, 3) that the cognitive-affective personality system framework proves that intellectual virtues are a (...)
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  20. added 2011-02-21
    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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  21. added 2010-03-20
    Against Moral Character Evaluations: The Undetectability of Virtue and Vice.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2009 - The Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):213 - 233.
    I defend the epistemic thesis that evaluations of people in terms of their moral character as good, bad, or intermediate are almost always epistemically unjustified. (1) Because most people are fragmented (they would behave deplorably in many and admirably in many other situations), one's prior probability that any given person is fragmented should be high. (2) Because one's information about specific people does not reliably distinguish those who are fragmented from those who are not, one's posterior probability that any given (...)
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  22. added 2009-08-12
    The Indeterminacy Paradox: Character Evaluations and Human Psychology.Peter B. M. Vranas - 2005 - Noûs 39 (1):1–42.
    You may not know me well enough to evaluate me in terms of my moral character, but I take it you believe I can be evaluated: it sounds strange to say that I am indeterminate, neither good nor bad nor intermediate. Yet I argue that the claim that most people are indeterminate is the conclusion of a sound argument—the indeterminacy paradox—with two premises: (1) most people are fragmented (they would behave deplorably in many and admirably in many other situations); (2) (...)
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