David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Noûs 39 (1):1–42 (2005)
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) fragmentation entails indeterminacy. I support (1) by examining psychological experiments in which most participants behave deplorably (e.g., by maltreating “prisoners” in a simulated prison) or admirably (e.g., by intervening in a simulated theft). I support (2) by arguing that, according to certain plausible conceptions, character evaluations presuppose behavioral consistency (lack of fragmentation). Possible reactions to the paradox include: (a) denying that the experiments are relevant to character; (b) upholding conceptions according to which character evaluations do not presuppose consistency; (c) granting that most people are indeterminate and explaining why it appears otherwise. I defend (c) against (a) and (b).
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Aristotle (2006). Nicomachean Ethics. Oxford University Press.
Aristotle (2012). Nicomachean Ethics. Courier Dover Publications.
Nafsika Athanassoulis (2000). A Response to Harman: Virtue Ethics and Character Traits. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 100 (2):215–221.
Neera K. Badhwar (1996). The Limited Unity of Virtue. Noûs 30 (3):306-329.
Paul Benson (1987). Moral Worth. Philosophical Studies 51 (3):365 - 382.
Citations of this work BETA
Jesse Prinz (2009). The Normativity Challenge: Cultural Psychology Provides the Real Threat to Virtue Ethics. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):117 - 144.
Joel J. Kupperman (2009). Virtue in Virtue Ethics. Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):243 - 255.
John M. Doris (2010). Heated Agreement: Lack of Character as Being for the Good. Philosophical Studies 148 (1):135-146.
Candace L. Upton (2009). Virtue Ethics and Moral Psychology: The Situationism Debate. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):103 - 115.
Tamar Szabó Gendler (2007). Self-Deception as Pretense. Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):231–258.
Similar books and articles
Gilbert Harman (2009). Skepticism About Character Traits. Journal of Ethics 13 (2/3):235 - 242.
Günter Abel (1994). Indeterminacy and Interpretation. Inquiry 37 (4):403 – 419.
Patrick Fleming (forthcoming). The Indeterminacy of Desire and Practical Reason. In David K. Chan (ed.), Moral Psychology Today: Essays on Values, Rational Choice, and the Will. Springer: Philosophical Studies Series.
Geoffrey Hunt (1990). Schizophrenia and Indeterminacy: The Problem of Validity. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics 11 (1).
James Montmarquet (2003). Moral Character and Social Science Research. Philosophy 78 (3):355-368.
Rachana Kamtekar (2004). Situationism and Virtue Ethics on the Content of Our Character. Ethics 114 (3):458-491.
Gilbert Harman (2003). No Character or Personality. Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):87-94.
Peter Brian Barry (2010). Extremity of Vice and the Character of Evil. Journal of Philosophical Research 35:25-42.
Erik J. Wielenberg (2006). Saving Character. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (4):461 - 491.
Peter B. M. Vranas (2009). Against Moral Character Evaluations: The Undetectability of Virtue and Vice. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 13 (2/3):213 - 233.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads29 ( #66,053 of 1,168,018 )
Recent downloads (6 months)1 ( #140,193 of 1,168,018 )
How can I increase my downloads?