Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76 (2):310–332 (2008)
|Abstract||In recent years, there has been considerable debate in the literature concerning the existence of moral character. One lesson we should take away from these debates is that the concept of character, and the role it plays in guiding our actions, is far more complex than most of us initially took it to be. Just as Gilbert Harman, for example, makes a serious mistake in insisting, plainly and simply, that ther is no such thing as character, defenders of character also make a mistake to the extent that they imply there is no problem raised by the psychological literature for either the concept of character or the nature of character-based ethics. My hope for this paper is to avoid both of these mistakes by first, exploring exactly what is the concept of character that is so firmly rooted in our philosophical and everyday thinking; and second, exploring the implications of the psychological literature for this appropriately understood concept of character. In so doing, I will come to a resolution that vindicates the existence of character, while at the same time calls attention to the real and serious problem suggested by the psychological evidence. This, we will see, is a problem of moral motivation|
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