David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Mind 115 (459):651-658 (2006)
John Doris has recently argued that since we do not possess character traits as traditionally conceived, virtue ethics is rooted in a false empirical presupposition. Gopal Sreenivasan has claimed, in a paper in Mind, that Doris has not provided suitable evidence for his empirical claim. But the experiment Sreenivasan focuses on is not one that Doris employs, and neither is it relevantly similar in structure. The confusion arises because both authors use the phrase ‘cross-situational consistency’ to describe the aspect of character traits that they are concerned with, but neither defines this phrase, and it is ambiguous: Doris uses it in one sense, Sreenivasan in another. Partly for this reason, the objections Sreenivasan raises fail to block the argument Doris provides. In particular, the most reliable data Doris employs, Milgram’s famous study of authority, is entirely immune to Sreenivasan’s objections. Sreenivasan has not shown, therefore, that Doris provides unsuitable evidence for his claim.
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Citations of this work BETA
Candace L. Upton (2009). Virtue Ethics and Moral Psychology: The Situationism Debate. [REVIEW] Journal of Ethics 13 (2-3):103 - 115.
Jonathan Webber (2013). Character, Attitude and Disposition. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (1).
Guy Axtell (2010). Agency Ascriptions in Ethics and Epistemology: Or, Navigating Intersections, Narrow and Broad. Metaphilosophy 41 (1):73-94.
Gopal Sreenivasan (2009). Disunity of Virtue. Journal of Ethics 13 (2-2):195 - 212.
Nancy E. Snow (2009). How Ethical Theory Can Improve Practice: Lessons From Abu Ghraib. [REVIEW] Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 12 (5):555 - 568.
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