Are conscious states conscious in virtue of representing themselves? Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-8 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9762-x Authors Berit Brogaard, Department of Philosophy, University of Missouri, St. Louis, 599 Lucas Hall, One University Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63121-4400, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Abstract. When I have a conscious experience of the sky, there is a bluish way it is like for me to have that experience. We may distinguish two aspects of this "bluish way it is like for me": (i) the bluish aspect and (ii) the for-me aspect. Let us call the bluish aspect of the experience its qualitativecharacter and the for-me aspect its subjective character. What is this elusive for-me-ness, or subjective character, (...) of conscious experience? In this paper, I examine six different attempts to account for subjective character in terms of the functional and representational properties of conscious experiences. After arguing against the first five, I defend the sixth. (shrink)
In his 1991 book ‘Consciousness Explained', Daniel Dennett presents his “Multiple Drafts” model of consciousness. Central to his theory is the rejection of the notion of ‘qualia'; of the existence of the purported ‘qualitativecharacter' of conscious experience that many argue rules out the possibility of a purely materialist theory of mind. In eliminating qualia from his theory of consciousness, Dennett claims to be following in the footsteps of Wittgenstein, who also had much to say regarding the nature (...) of ‘private' experience. In this paper I reject this claim and argue that the elimination of qualia plays no part in Wittgenstein's radical understanding of conscious experience. S. Afr. J. Philos. Vol.24(1) 2005: 33-43. (shrink)
Shoemaker argues that one could not hold both that the qualitativecharacter of colour experience is inherited from the qualitativecharacter of the experienced colour and that there are faultless forms of variation in colour perception. In this paper, I explain what is meant by inheritance and discuss in detail the problematic cases of perceptual variation. In so doing I argue that these claims are in fact consistent, and that the appearance to the contrary is due (...) to an optional and controversial conception of experience that should be rejected. (shrink)
What is the relation between colors and our experience of them? A na?ve thought is this?the phenomenal character of color experience is determined by the qualitativecharacter of the perceived color. When Norm perceives a red tomato, the qualitativecharacter of his color experience is determined by the qualitativecharacter of the color manifest in his experience of the tomato. If however, colors are mind- independent qualities of material objects, as they seem, pre-philosophically (...) to be, then this can seem to con?ict with the possibility, if it is one, of veridical perceptual variation. Indeed, it is largely on this basis that Shoemaker ?????? criticizes the version of representationalism defended by Hilbert and Kalderon ?????? (shrink)
In this paper I distinguish three alternatives to the functionalist account of qualitative states such as pain. The physicalist-functionalist holds that (1) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states differed in their qualitativecharacter from ours, (2) there could be subjects functionally equivalent to us whose mental states lacked qualitativecharacter altogether and (3) there could not be subjects like us in all objective respects whose qualitative states differed from ours. (...) The physicalist-functionalist holds (1) and (3) but denies (2). The transcendentalist holds (1) and (2) and denies (3). I argue that both versions of physicalist-functionalism inherit the problem of property dualism which originally helped to motivate functionalist theories of mind. I also argue that neither version of physicalist-functionalism can distinguish in a principled way between those neurophysiological properties of a subject which are relevant to the qualitativecharacter of that subject's mental states and those which are not. I conclude that the only alternative to a functionalist account of qualitative states is a transcendentalist account and that this alternative is not likely to appeal to the critics of functionalism. (shrink)
How does the Umwelt concept of Jakob von UexkuÈll ®t into current discussions within theoretical biology, philosophy of biology, biosemiotics, and Arti®cial Life, particularly the research on `autonomous systems' and robots? To investigate this question, the approach here is not historical UexkuÈll scholarship exposing the original core of philosophical ideas that provided an important background for the original conception of the Umwelt in the writings of Jakob von UexkuÈll (some of which seem incompatible with a modern evolutionist perspective); rather, I (...) will show that some aspects of his thoughts are still interesting and provide inspiration in contemporary biology, cognitive science, and other ®elds. Therefore, I will also draw upon his son Thure von UexkuÈll's re¯ections in his further development of the Umwelt theory, which is not anti-evolutionary (his father's approach was anti-Darwinian, which is not the same as anti-evolutionary though often interpreted as such). Speci®cally, I will investigate the plausibility of three theses: (1) The Umwelt theory of Jakob von UexkuÈll, even though his theoretical biology was often characterized as being thoroughly vitalist, can in the context of contemporary science, more adequately be interpreted as a branch of qualitative organicism in theoretical biology. Qualitative organicism is a position which claims, ®rst, a kind of middle road position, that is, on the one hand, there are no mysterious or non-material vital powers in organisms (non-vitalism), but on the other hand, the characteristic properties of living beings cannot be fully accounted for by physics and chemistry because these properties are nonreducible emergent properties (emergentism); second, that some of these emergent properties have an experiential, phenomenal, or subjective character which plays a major role in the dynamics of the living system. Modern biosemiotics (inspired by C. S. Peirce and Jakob von UexkuÈll, instituted by.. (shrink)
Background and objectives: Physicians are exposed to matters of existential character at work, but little is known about the personal impact of such issues. Methods: To explore how physicians experience and cope with existential aspects of their clinical work and how such experiences affect their professional identities, a qualitative study using individual semistructured interviews has analysed accounts of their experiences related to coping with such challenges. Analysis was by systematic text condensation. The purposeful sample comprised 10 physicians (including (...) three women), aged 33–66 years, residents or specialists in cardiology or cardiothoracic surgery, working in a university hospital with 24-hour emergency service and one general practitioner. Results: Participants described a process by which they were able to develop a capacity for coping with the existential challenges at work. After episodes perceived as shocking or horrible earlier in their career, they at present said that they could deal with death and mostly keep it at a distance. Vulnerability was closely linked to professional responsibility and identity, perceived as a burden to be handled. These demands were balanced by an experience of meaning related to their job, connected to making a difference in their patients’ lives. Belonging to a community of their fellows was a presupposition for coping with the loneliness and powerlessness related to their vulnerable professional position. Conclusions: Physicians’ vulnerability facing life and death has been underestimated. Belonging to caring communities may assist growth and coping on exposure to existential aspects of clinical work and developing a professional identity. (shrink)
This paper argues that qualitative research is both useful and necessary, as it provides an essential means of gaining a richer understanding of patients' perceptions, social processes and meanings. In their paper in this edition of Clinical Ethics, Hallowell and Lawton raise many issues relating to the way that qualitative research is treated by RECs in the UK. In this paper I discuss just three key topics stimulated by their paper: the way that methodology relates to ethics, the (...) experience and character of the researcher, and the normative/descriptive distinction. I strongly support Hallowell and Lawton's appeal for greater communication between qualitative researchers and RECs. In other respects, I would argue that they do not go far enough. The recent review of research ethics structures and the review process provides an opportunity to move away from the present 'one size fits all' approach to ethical review. I would argue that this change could only benefit qualitative research and researchers. (shrink)
Simple models for the evolution of qualitative multistate traits are considered, in which the traits are permitted to evolve in time-dependent versus speciation-dependent fashion. Of particular interest are the means and variances of distances for these traits in evolutionary phylads characterized by different rates of speciation, when alternative characters are neutral with respect to fitness, and when the total number of observable characters is limited to small values. As attainable character states are increasingly restricted, mean distance (D) in (...) a phylad decreases, regardless of whether evolution is a function of time or of rate of speciation. The ratio of mean distances in species-rich and species-poor phylads of comparable evolutionary age (DR/DP) remains near one when differentiation is proportional to time, even when attainable character states are severely restricted. DR/DP also nears one as a result of restricting character states when differentiation is proportional to rate of speciation, but the effect is not severe unless the number of character states is very small and the probability of change per speciation very large. These and other results are discussed with reference to available data sets on qualitative multistate traits. (shrink)
This article argues that afirm and consistent editorial focus on a poilitician's public virtue would serve well as the essence of journalistic communication about piitical character. Public virtue is defined as the ethical character traits (a) attributed to a politician by an editorialist, (b) based on direct obsemation, (c) of the politician's words and deeds, broadly construed. After presenting the theoretical foundation of this definition, via qualitative case-study methodology, this essay analyzes the editorial claims made in the (...)Atlanta newspapers about Gov. Bill Clinton's political character during the 1992 presidential campaign. The Atlanta case demonstrates how a clear focus on public virtue can operate in practice. The conclusion discusses expectations that readers, opinion columnists, and newspaper editors should keep in mind as character issue is broughtforth in the press. (shrink)
Background: Islam and Muslims are underrepresented in the medical literature and the influence of physician’s cultural beliefs and religious values upon the clinical encounter has been understudied. Objective: To elicit the perceived influence of Islam upon the practice patterns of immigrant Muslim physicians in the USA. Design: Ten face-to-face, in-depth, semistructured interviews with Muslim physicians from various backgrounds and specialties trained outside the USA and practising within the the country. Data were analysed according to the conventions of qualitative research (...) using a modified grounded-theory approach. Results: There were a variety of views on the role of Islam in medical practice. Several themes emerged from our interviews: (1) a trend to view Islam as enhancing virtuous professional behaviour; (2) the perception of Islam as influencing the scope of medical practice through setting boundaries on career choices, defining acceptable medical procedures and shaping social interactions with physician peers; (3) a perceived need for Islamic religious experts within Islamic medical ethical deliberation. Limitations: This is a pilot study intended to yield themes and hypotheses for further investigation and is not meant to fully characterise Muslim physicians at large. Conclusions: Immigrant Muslim physicians practising within the USA perceive Islam to play a variable role within their clinical practice, from influencing interpersonal relations and character development to affecting specialty choice and procedures performed. Areas of ethical challenges identified include catering to populations with lifestyles at odds with Islamic teachings, end-of-life care and maintaining a faith identity within the culture of medicine. Further study of the interplay between Islam and Muslim medical practice and the manner and degree to which Islamic values and law inform ethical decision-making is needed. (shrink)
Standard characterizations of virtue epistemology divide the field into two camps: virtue reliabilism and virtue responsibilism. Virtue reliabilists think of intellectual virtues as reliable cognitive faculties or abilities, while virtue responsibilists conceive of them as good intellectual character traits. I argue that responsibilist character virtues sometimes satisfy the conditions of a reliabilist conception of intellectual virtue, and that consequently virtue reliabilists, and reliabilists in general, must pay closer attention to matters of intellectual character. This leads to several (...) new questions and (...) challenges for any reliabilist epistemology. (shrink)
This book is a provocative contribution to contemporary ethical theory challenging foundational conceptions of character that date back to Aristotle. John Doris draws on behavioral science, especially social psychology, to argue that we misattribute the causes of behavior to personality traits and other fixed aspects of character rather than to the situational context. More often than not it is the situation not the nature of the personality that really counts. The author elaborates the philosophical consequences of this research (...) for a whole array of ethical theories and shows that, once rid of the misleading conception of motivation, moral psychology can support more robust ethical theories and more humane ethical practices. (shrink)
Philosophers have recently argued that traditional discussions of virtue and character presuppose an account of behaviour that experimental psychology has shown to be false. Behaviour does not issue from global traits such as prudence, temperance, courage or fairness, they claim, but from local traits such as sailing-in-rough-weather-with-friends-courage and office-party-temperance. The data employed provides evidence for this view only if we understand it in the light of a behaviourist construal of traits in terms of stimulus and response, rather than in (...) the light of the more traditional construal in terms of inner events such as inclinations. More recent experiments have shown this traditional conception to have greater explanatory and predictive power than its behaviourist rival. So we should retain the traditional conception, and hence reject the proposed alteration to our understanding of behaviour. This discussion has further implications for future philosophical investigations of character and virtue. Key Words: character traits • situationism • social psychology • virtue ethics. (shrink)
This paper examines the claim made by certain virtue epistemologists that intellectual character virtues like fair-mindedness, open-mindedness and intellectual courage merit an important and fundamental role in epistemology. I begin by considering whether these traits merit an important role in the analysis of knowledge. I argue that they do not and that in fact they are unlikely to be of much relevance to any of the traditional problems in epistemology. This presents a serious challenge for virtue epistemology. I go (...) on to examine the work of two other virtue epistemologists in light of this challenge and then sketch an alternative approach that reveals how the intellectual virtues might merit a substantial role in epistemology even if not a role in connection with more traditional epistemological projects. (shrink)
Attentional character is a way of thinking about what is relevant in a human life, what is meaningful and how it becomes so. This paper introduces the concept of attentional character through a redefinition of attentional capture as achievement. It looks freshly at the attentional capture debate in the current cognitive sciences literature through the lens of Aron Gurwitsch’s gestalt-phenomenology. Attentional character is defined as an initially limited capacity for attending in a given environment and is located (...) within the sphere of attention, primarily as an irrelevant centering in attending. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Modern professional behavior all too often fails to meet high standards of moral conduct. An important reason for this unfortunate state of affairs is the expansive self interest of the individual professional. The individual''s natural desire for his/her own success and pleasure goes unchecked by internal moral constraints. In this essay, I investigate this phenomenon using the psychoanalytic concepts of the ego ideal and superego. These concepts are used to explore the internal psychological dynamics that contribute to moral decision-making. The (...) contrasts between self interest and concern for others, selfishness and moral values, and moral conscience and social conformity are examined in Tolstoy''s study of the modern professional in The Death of Ivan Ilych. By reviewing Freud''s work on the moral conscience, particularly its complex inner structure and liabilities to dysfunction, and applying it to Tolstoy''s penetrating portrayal of Ivan Ilych''s personal and professional life, an understanding of the inner (emotional) foundation of moral character, its dependence on the past through the links between generations, and the need to integrate idealism with moral values is generated. Examples from Enron Corporation will be used throughout the paper to relate the analysis and discussion to contemporary business ethics problems. (shrink)
Perceptual experiences inform us about objective properties of things in our environment. But they also have perspectival character in the sense that they differ phenomenally when objects are viewed from different points of view. Contemporary representationalists hold, at a minimum, that phenomenal character supervenes on representational content. Thus, in order to account for perspectival character, they need to indentify a type of representational content that changes in appropriate ways with the perceiver’s point of view. Many representationlists, including (...) Shoemaker and Lycan, argue that such contents are best construed in terms of mind-dependent properties. Other representationalists, including Tye and Dretske, hold that these contents involve only mind-independent properties. Susanna Schellenberg has recently developed an account of perceptual experience that would serve these latter representationalists extremely well. She suggests that we can do justice to the perspectival character of perceptual experience by appeal to representations of a certain type of relational properties, so-called ‘situation-dependent properties.’ In this paper, I critically engage with Schellenberg’s proposal in order to show how mind-independent representationalists can explain perspectival character. I argue that appeal to situation-dependent properties is problematic. I then show that mind-independent representationalists can account for perspectical character by means of scenario contents in Christopher Peacocke’s sense. (shrink)
In this paper, I defend a local account of character traits that posits traits like close-friend-honesty and good-mood-compassion. John Doris also defends local character traits, but his local character traits are indistinguishable from mere behavioral dispositions, they are not necessary for the purpose which allegedly justifies them, and their justification is only contingent, depending upon the prevailing empirical situation. The account of local traits I defend posits local traits that are traits of character rather than behavioral (...) dispositions, local traits that are necessary to satisfy one of their central purposes, and local traits whose justification is dependent upon theoretical rather than empirical considerations. (shrink)
In this paper it is argued that qualitative theories (Q-theories) can be used to describe the statistical structure of cross classified populations and that the notion of verisimilitude provides an appropriate tool for measuring the statistical adequacy of Q-theories. First of all, a short outline of the post-Popperian approaches to verisimilitude and of the related verisimilitudinarian non-falsificationist methodologies (VNF-methodologies) is given. Secondly, the notion of Q-theory is explicated, and the qualitative verisimilitude of Q-theories is defined. Afterwards, appropriate measures (...) for the statistical verisimilitude of Q-theories are introduced, so to obtain a clear formulation of the intuitive idea that the statistical truth about cross classified populations can be approached by falsified Q-theories. Finally, it is argued that some basic intuitions underlying VNF-methodologies are shared by the so-called prediction logic, developed by the statisticians and social scientists David K. Hildebrand, James D. Laing and Howard Rosenthal. (shrink)
Using evidence from experimental psychology, some social psychologists, moral philosophers and organizational scholars claim that character traits do not exist and, hence, that the philosophical tradition of virtue ethics is empirically inadequate and should dispose of the notion of character to accommodate the empirical evidence. In this paper, I systematically address the debate between dispositionalists and situationists about the existence, status and properties of character traits and their manifestations in human behavior, with the ultimate goal of responding (...) to the question whether virtue ethicists need to abandon the very enterprise of building a character-based moral theory in business ethics and organizational behavior. In the course of this paper, I shall defend the claim that the situationist argument relies on a misinterpretation of the experimental evidence. (shrink)
Deliberation issues in decision, and so might be taken as a paradigmatic volitional activity. Character, on the other hand, may appear pre-volitional: the dispositions that constitute it provide the background against which decisions are made. Bernard Williams offers an intriguing picture of how the two may be connected via the concept of practical necessities, which are at once constitutive of character and deliverances of deliberation. Necessities are thus the glue binding character and the will, allowing us to (...) take responsibility for our characters. Intriguing though the picture may be, it did not receive a thorough elaboration in Williams’s work. My aim here is to work out and defend what I take to be the most valuable aspect of Williams’s view of agency: its model of the way character and the will can jointly determine agency through mutual constitution. However, I argue that Williams’s attempt to use this model to ground his attack on Kantian morality does not succeed, because the primacy Williams accords to character over the will cannot yield the appropriate kind of normative authority, even from the perspective of the agent. I urge that we retain Williams’s model of the interaction between character and the will, modified to allow the will an authority that is not derived from the necessity of character. (shrink)
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. (shrink)
Engineering Ethics literature tends to emphasize wrongdoing, its avoidance, or its prevention. It also tends to focus on identifiable events, especially those that involve unfortunate, sometimes disastrous consequences. This paper shifts attention to the positive in engineering practice; and, as a result, the need for addressing questions of character and imagination becomes apparent.
This article explores the nature of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate reputation using qualitative research approach. Specifically, the relationship between CSR and corporate reputation is examined from the viewpoint of value theory. This paper brings up for discussion the various value priorities lying in the background of CSR actions. The aim is to form categories of value priorities around CSR and reputation, based on qualitative research approach. The main concepts in this paper – CSR, reputation and value (...) – are also defined. This paper further discusses the theory of value structure and content, which identifies certain principal values among different cultures. The data consist of eight interviews with employees of a newspaper company. The results suggest that value priorities play an influential role in CSR actions, influencing to the essence of certain reputation stories in the corporate context. (shrink)
Our focus here is on whether, when influenced by implicit biases, those behavioural dispositions should be understood as being a part of that person’s character: whether they are part of the agent that can be morally evaluated. We frame this issue in terms of control. If a state, process, or behaviour is not something that the agent can, in the relevant sense, control, then it is not something that counts as part of her character. A number of theorists (...) have argued that individuals do not have control, in the relevant sense, over the operation of implicit bias. We will argue that this claim is mistaken. We articulate and develop a notion of control that individuals have with respect to implicit bias, and argue that this kind of control can ground character-based evaluation of such behavioural dispositions. (shrink)
Most traditional accounts of Aristotle's theory of ethical education neglect its cognitive aspects. This book asserts that, in Aristotle's view, excellence of character comprises both the sentiments and practical reason. Sherman focuses particularly on four aspects of practical reason as they relate to character: moral perception, choicemaking, collaboration, and the development of those capacities in moral education. Throughout the book, she is sensitive to contemporary moral debates, and indicates the extent to which Aristotle's account of practical reason provides (...) an alternative to theories of impartial reason. (shrink)
Virtue ethics has often been regarded as complementary or laissez-faire ethics in solving business problems. This paper seeks conceptual and methodological improvements by developing a virtue character scale that will enable assessment of the link between organizational level virtue and organizational performance, financial or non-financial. Based upon three theoretical assumptions, multiple studies were conducted; the content analysis of 158 Fortune Global 500 firms ethical values and a survey of 2548 customers and employees. Six dimensions of organizational virtue (Integrity, Empathy, (...) Warmth, Courage, Conscientiousness and Zeal) are identified through confirmatory factor analysis, and validated against satisfaction measure. Strategic implications of virtue characters are discussed. (shrink)
Much of the philosophical attention directed to pride focuses on the normative puzzle of determining how pride can be both a central vice and a central virtue. But there is another puzzle, a descriptive puzzle, of determining how the emotion of pride and the character trait of pride relate to each other. A solution is offered to the descriptive puzzle that builds upon the accounts of Hume and Gabriele Taylor, but avoids the pitfalls of those accounts. In particular, the (...) emotion and the trait correspond to two employments of personal ideals: personal ideals as standards of self-assessment and personal ideals as practical guides in one’s deliberation and related activities. This account, in turn, provides a framework for solving the normative puzzle. (shrink)
This paper discusses the ways in which a person’s character ( ethos ) and a hearer’s emotional response ( pathos ) are part of the complex judgments made about experts’ claims, along with an actual assessment of those claims ( logos ). The analysis is rooted in the work of Aristotle, but expands to consider work on emotion and cognition conducted by Thagard and Gigerenzer. It also draws on some conclusions of the general epistemology of testimony (of which expert (...) testimony is a special subset), where it is argued that we learn not just from the transmission of another’s beliefs, but from the words they speak. This shifts the onus in testimony away from the intentions of a speaker onto the judgments of an audience, capturing better its social character and reflecting our experience of receiving testimony. I conclude, however, that accepting the arguments of experts involves much more than simply believing what they say. (shrink)
There is an unresolved paradox concerning the role of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in consumer behavior. On the one hand, consumers demand more and more CSR information from corporations. On the other hand, research indicates a considerable gap between consumers’ apparent interest in CSR and the limited role of CSR in purchase behavior. This article attempts to shed light on this paradox by drawing on qualitative data from in-depth interviews. The findings show that the evaluation of CSR initiatives is (...) a complex and hierarchically structured process, during which consumers distinguish between core, central, and peripheral factors. This article describes these factors in detail and explains the complexity of consumers’ assessment of CSR. These insights then serve as a basis for discussing the theoretical and managerial implications of the research findings. To this end, the article contributes to a better understanding of the role of CSR in consumption decisions. (shrink)
This timely and topical look at the role of ethics in fieldwork takes into account some of the major issues confronting qualitative researchers. The main purposes of this book are twofold: to promote an understanding of the harmful possibilities of fieldwork; and to provide ways of dealing with ethical problems and dilemmas. To these ends, examples of actual fieldwork are provided that address ethical problems and dilemmas, and posit ways of dealing with them.
We often speak of a person's character--good or bad, strong or weak--and think of it as a guide to how that person will behave in a given situation. Oddly, however, philosophers writing about ethics have had virtually nothing to say about the role of character in ethical behavior. What is character? How does it relate to having a self, or to the process of moral decision? Are we responsible for our characters? Character answers these questions, and (...) goes on to examine the place of character in ethical philosophy. Both the Kantian and utilitarian traditions, Kupperman argues, have largely ignored the ways in which decisions are integrated over time, and instead provide a "snapshot" model of moral decision. Kupperman demonstrates the deficiencies of a number of classic and contemporary ethical theories that do not take account of the idea of character, and offers his own character-based theory. Along the way he touches on such subjects as personal identity, the importance of happiness, moral education, and the definition of a valuable life. (shrink)
7.1 META-ETHICS AND AN ERROR THEORY ABOUT MORAL CHARACTER It is customary in philosophical ethics to distinguish between meta-ethics and normative ethical theory. Meta-ethics is often characterized as the non-moral study of ...
The goal of this book is to develop a new framework for thinking about what moral character looks like today. My central claim will be that most people have moral character traits, but at the same time they do not have either the traditional ...
This article examines constructivism, a paradigm in qualitative research that has been propagated by Egon Guba, Yvonna Lincoln, and Norman Denzin. A distinction is made between whether the basic presuppositions of constructivism are credible compared to those of a competing paradigm and whether constructivism's beliefs are internally consistent. The latter approach, i.e. whether constructivism is internally consistent, is the focus of this article. The issues singled out for discussion are concerned with the constructivist ontology and epistemology. This article shows (...) that constructivism's paradigmatic beliefs are internally in tension. (shrink)
Qualities of personal character would appear to play a significant role in the professional conduct of teachers. It is often said that we remember teachers as much for the kinds of people they were than for anything they may have taught us, and some kinds of professional expertise may best be understood as qualities of character After (roughly) distinguishing qualities of character from those of personality, the present paper draws on the resources of virtue ethics to try (...) to make sense of the former. In the course of this, it is argued that while the key virtue ethical concept of phronesis orpractical wisdom has been widely deployed to account for aspects of professional teacher expertise, it has also been subject to rather un-Aristotelian interpretation as a kind of situation specific productive reasoning. The present paper seeks to show that it is better employed for understanding character in general and character in teaching in particular. The paper concludes with some observations about the professional education or cultivation of character. (shrink)
Introduction -- Global traits of character -- Traits as dispositions -- Situational traits of character -- Situational traits and social psychology -- Situational traits and the friendly consequentialist.
Richard Levins has advocated the scientific merits of qualitative modeling throughout his career. He believed an excessive and uncritical focus on emulating the models used by physicists and maximizing quantitative precision was hindering biological theorizing in particular. Greater emphasis on qualitative properties of modeled systems would help counteract this tendency, and Levins subsequently developed one method of qualitative modeling, loop analysis, to study a wide variety of biological phenomena. Qualitative modeling has been criticized for being conceptually (...) and methodologically problematic. As a clear example of a qualitative modeling method, loop analysis shows this criticism is indefensible. The method has, however, some serious limitations. This paper describes loop analysis, its limitations, and attempts to clarify the differences between quantitative and qualitative modeling, in content and objective. Loop analysis is but one of numerous types of qualitative analysis, so its limitations do not detract from the currently underappreciated and underdeveloped role qualitative modeling could have within science. (shrink)
The attribution of beliefs and other propositional attitudes is best understood as a form of measurement, however counter-intuitive this may seem. Measurement theory does not require that the thing measured should be a magnitude, or that the calibration of the measuring instrument should be numerical. It only requires a homomorphism between the represented domain and the representing domain. On this basis, maps measure parts of the world, usually geographical locations, and 'belief' statements measure other parts of the world, namely people's (...) aptitudes. Having outlined an argument for this view, I deal with an obvious objection to it: that self-attribution of belief cannot be an exercise in measurement, because we are all aware, from introspection, that our beliefs have an intrinsically semantic form. Subsequently, I turn to the philosophical and methodological ramifications of the measurement theoretic view. I argue, first, that it undermines at least one version of constructivism and, second, that it provides an effective alternative to the residually Cartesian philosophy that underpins much qualitative research. Like other anti-Cartesian strategies, belief-attribution-as-measurement implies that the objective world is far more knowable than the subjective one, and that reality is ontologically prior to meaning. I regard this result as both plausible and welcome. (shrink)
We investigate the extent to which perceptions of the authenticity of supervisor’s personal integrity and character (ASPIRE) moderate the relationship between people’s love of money (LOM) and propensity to engage in unethical behavior (PUB) among 266 part-time employees who were also business students in a five-wave panel study. We found that a high level of ASPIRE perceptions was related to high love-of-money orientation, high self-esteem, but low unethical behavior intention (PUB). Unethical behavior intention (PUB) was significantly correlated with their (...) high Machiavellianism, low self-esteem, and low intrinsic religiosity. Our counterintuitive results revealed that the main effect of LOM on PUB was not significant, but the main effect of ASPIRE on PUB was significant. Further, the significant interaction effect between LOM and ASPIRE on unethical behavior intention provided profoundly interesting findings: High LOM was related to high unethical behavior intention for people with low ASPIRE, but was related to low unethical intention for those with high ASPIRE. People with high LOM and low ASPIRE had the highest unethical behavior intention; whereas those with high LOM and high ASPIRE had the lowest. We discuss results in light of individual differences, ethical environment, and perceived demand characteristics. (shrink)
Qualitativeinquiry is increasingly used to foster change in health policy and practice. Research ethics committees often misunderstand qualitativeinquiry, assuming its design can be judged by criteria of quantitative science. Traditional health research uses scientific realist standards as a means-to-an-end, answering the question “So what?” to support the advancement of practice and policy. In contrast, qualitativeinquiry often draws on constructivist paradigms, generating knowledge either as an end-in-itself or as a means to foster (...) change. When reviewers inappropriately judge qualitativeinquiry, it restricts the ways health phenomena can be understood. Qualitativeinquiry is necessary because it enables an understanding not possible within scientific explanation. When such research illuminates, it can also shed light onto the “So what?” In order to ensure an appraisal of qualitativeinquiry congruent with its paradigmatic premises, we suggest the “Illumination Test,” met when findings foster rich understanding of phenomena, resulting in a reflective “aha!”. (shrink)
‘Of all the difficulties which impede the progress of thought and the formation of well- grounded opinions on life and social arrangements’, wrote John Stuart Mill around 150 years ago, ‘the greatest is now the unspeakable ignorance and inattention of mankind in respect of the influences which form character’. Aristotle is never far in the background of Mill’s moral and political philosophy, a presence weightier than Jeremy Bentham’s in the foreground. That this is often overlooked is not only because (...) thinkers tend to be pigeonholed into a single school and Mill eschews the language of virtue. It is also because moral and political philosophers did not heed Mill’s words and continued for over a century to pay very little attention to the nature and development of character. (shrink)
Character education is a specific approach to morals or values education, which is consistently linked with citizenship education. But how is it possible for a heterogeneous society that disagrees about basic values to reach a consensus on what constitutes character education? This article explores how character education has returned to the agenda of British education policy, having been largely neglected since the 1960s in response to unsatisfactory attempts at character education going back to the nineteenth century. (...) Between 1979 and 1997 Conservative governments attempted to reverse a perceived decline in moral standards, established State control of the schools curriculum, imposed on State schools the duty to provide for moral and other development, and established a National Forum which attempted to articulate a set of consensus values in education. Labour has extended these developments in the curriculum, introduced compulsory citizenship education, and its White Paper of September 2001 speaks of 'education with character'. The character and virtues Labour seeks to promote through schools are pragmatic and instrumental in intention, linked to raising pupil school performance, meeting the needs of the new economy, and promoting democratic participation. Otherwise the vision is pluralistic and evades explicit directives, and there is no explanation or analysis of its theoretical basis. The question of how agreement can be reached on what counts as character education may benefit from Sunstein's analysis of how law is possible in a heterogeneous society - 'incompletely theorized agreements on particular cases' allow for common laws without agreement on fundamental principles. Many schools in fact operate in this way, but such a consensus is not entirely stable and runs the danger of teaching character education as a series of behaviour outcomes taught in a behaviourist fashion. (shrink)