Saving character

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 9 (4):461 - 491 (2006)
In his recent book Lack of Character, John Doris argues that people typically lack character (understood in a particular way). Such a claim, if correct, would have devastating implications for moral philosophy and for various human moral projects (e.g. character development). I seek to defend character against Doris's challenging attack. To accomplish this, I draw on Socrates, Aristotle, and Kant to identify some of the central components of virtuous character. Next, I examine in detail some of the central experiments in social psychology upon which Doris's argument is based. I argue that, properly understood, such experiments reveal differences in the characters of their subjects, not that their subjects lack character altogether. I conclude with some reflections on the significance of such experiments and the importance of character.
Keywords situationism  Doris  virtue  character  moral psychology
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DOI 10.2307/27504417
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Deborah S. Mower (2013). Situationism and Confucian Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):113-137.
Thomas W. Simpson (2013). Trustworthiness and Moral Character. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (3):543-557.

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