David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 10 (1):89 - 104 (2007)
Gilbert Harman has argued that the common-sense characterological psychology employed in virtue ethics is rooted not in unbiased observation of close acquaintances, but rather in the ‘fundamental attribution error’. If this is right, then philosophers cannot rely on their intuitions for insight into characterological psychology, and it might even be that there is no such thing as character. This supports the idea, urged by John Doris and Stephen Stich, that we should rely exclusively on experimental psychology for our explanations of behaviour. The purported ‘fundamental attribution error’ cannot play the explanatory role required of it, however, and anyway there is no experimental evidence that we make such an error. It is true that trait-attribution often goes wrong, but this is best explained by a set of difficulties that beset the explanation of other people’s behaviour, difficulties that become less acute the better we know the agent. This explanation allows that we can gain genuine insight into character on the basis of our intuitions, though claims about the actual distribution of particular traits and the correlations between them must be based on more objective data.
|Keywords||character traits correspondence bias fundamental attribution error intuition methodology situationism situationalism social psychology virtue ethics|
|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
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
Nancy E. Snow (2009). How Ethical Theory Can Improve Practice: Lessons From Abu Ghraib. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):555 - 568.
Similar books and articles
Christian Miller (2009). Empathy, Social Psychology, and Global Helping Traits. Philosophical Studies 142 (2):247-275.
Steven M. Samuels & William D. Casebeer (2005). A Social Psychological View of Morality: Why Knowledge of Situational Influences on Behaviour Can Improve Character Development Practices. Journal of Moral Education 34 (1):73-87.
Gopal Sreenivasan (2002). Errors About Errors: Virtue Theory and Trait Attribution. Mind 111 (441):47-68.
John Campbell (1999). Can Philosophical Accounts of Altruism Accommodate Experimental Data on Helping Behaviour? Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (1):26 – 45.
Joel J. Kupperman (2001). The Indispensability of Character. Philosophy 76 (2):239-250.
Jonathan Webber (2006). Virtue, Character and Situation. Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.
Gilbert Harman (2003). No Character or Personality. Business Ethics Quarterly 13 (1):87-94.
David Carr (2007). Character in Teaching. British Journal of Educational Studies 55 (4):369 - 389.
Gilbert Harman (1999). Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999):315 - 331.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads39 ( #47,455 of 1,101,860 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #128,836 of 1,101,860 )
How can I increase my downloads?