David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Studies 122 (2):133 - 151 (2005)
Character traits have several vital functions. They should enable us to assess others morally, inform us of others’ behavioral tendencies, and accurately explain and predict others’ behavior. But traits of character, as they have traditionally been understood, cannot adequately serve these purposes. For character traits are traditionally thought to be context-insensitive. The Contextual Account of Character Traits, which I here develop and defend, posits traits that are context-sensitive. Context-sensitive character traits are more receptive to the complexity of human psychology and behavior and, hence, they not only adequately, but excellently, satisfy their theoretic and pragmatic functions.
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