Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99 (1999):315-331 (1999)
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Ordinary moral thought often commits what social psychologists call 'the fundamental attribution error '. This is the error of ignoring situational factors and overconfidently assuming that distinctive behaviour or patterns of behaviour are due to an agent's distinctive character traits. In fact, there is no evidence that people have character traits in the relevant sense. Since attribution of character traits leads to much evil, we should try to educate ourselves and others to stop doing it.



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Gilbert Harman
Princeton University

Citations of this work

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