The Possibility of Virtue

Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):377-404 (2012)

Abstract
To have a virtue is to possess a certain kind of trait of character that is appropriate in pursuing the moral good at which the virtue aims. Human beings are assumed to be capable of attaining those traits. Yet, a number of scholars are skeptical about the very existence of such character traits. They claim a sizable amount of empirical evidence in their support. This paper is concerned with the existence and explanatory power of character as a way to assess the possibility of achieving moral virtue, with particular attention paid to business context. I aim to unsettle the so-called situationist challenge to virtue ethics. In the course of this paper, I shall defend four claims, namely, that virtues are more than just behavioral dispositions, that at least some virtues may not be unitary traits, that psychologists cannot infer virtues from overt behavior, and that the situationist data do not account for the observational equivalence of traits. Since it rests on a misconception of what virtue is, the situationist objection remains unconvincing.
Keywords Applied Philosophy  Business and Professional Ethics  Social Science
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ISBN(s) 1052-150X
DOI 10.5840/beq201222224
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Alief and Belief.Tamar Szabó Gendler - 2008 - Journal of Philosophy 105 (10):634-663.
Freedom of the Will and the Concept of a Person.Harry G. Frankfurt - 1971 - Journal of Philosophy 68 (1):5-20.
After Virtue.A. MacIntyre - 1981 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 46 (1):169-171.

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