Vindicating virtue: A critical analysis of the situationist challenge against Aristotelian moral psychology

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This article provides a critical analysis of the situationist challenge against Aristotelian moral psychology. It first outlines the details and results from 4 paradigmatic studies in psychology that situationists have heavily drawn upon in their critique of the Aristotelian conception of virtuous characteristics, including studies conducted by Hartshorne and May (1928), Darley and Batson (1973), Isen and Levin (1972), and Milgram (1963). It then presents 10 problems with the way situationists have used these studies to challenge Aristotelian moral psychology. After challenging the situationists on these grounds, the article then proceeds to challenge the situationist presentation of the Aristotelian conception, showing that situationists have provided an oversimplified caricature of it that goes against the grain of much Aristotelian text. In evaluating the situationist challenge against the actual results from empirical research as well as primary Aristotelian text, it will be shown that the situationist debate has advanced both an extreme, untenable view about the nature of characteristics and situations, as well as an inaccurate presentation of the Aristotelian view.
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First archival date: 2013-09-20
Latest version: 2 (2014-04-16)
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