Against Reductivist Character Realism

Philosophical Psychology 1:1-28 (2022)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

It seems like people have character traits that explain a good deal of their behavior. Call a theory character realism just in case it vindicates this folk assumption. Recently, Christian Miller has argued that the way to reconcile character realism with decades of psychological research is to adopt metaphysical reductivism about character traits. Some contemporary psychological theories of character and virtue seem to implicitly endorse such reductivism; others resist reduction of traits to finer-grained mental components or processes; and still others remain silent on the metaphysics of traits. In this paper we argue that character realists do not have to, and in fact should not, be reductivists. We introduce a theoretical dilemma for reductivist character realism. Then we explain how nonreductivists can meet the standards for empirical adequacy laid out by Miller and others. Further, we argue, hylomorphic nonreductivism avoids the theoretical dilemma that threatens reductivism. It also fits nicely the major commitments of recent models of virtue in psychology. Thus, character realists should not be reductivists.

Similar books and articles

Situationism versus Situationism.Travis J. Rodgers & Brandon Warmke - 2015 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 18 (1):9-26.
Character and Situationism: New Directions.Christian B. Miller - 2017 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 20 (3):459-471.
Virtue as a Trait.Christian Miller - 2018 - In Nancy Snow (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Virtue. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 9-34.
How Little We Know About Character.Christian B. Miller - 2018 - The Philosophers' Magazine 80:58-63.
Harman vs. virtue theory: Do character traits explain behavior?Chris Tucker - 2004 - Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (1):137-145.
A New Approach to Character Traits in Light of Psychology.Christian Miller - 2016 - In Iskra Fileva (ed.), Questions of Character. Oxford University Press. pp. 249-267.
Virtue, Vice, and Situationism.Tom Bates & Pauline Kleingeld - 2018 - In Nancy E. Snow (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Virtue. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 524-545.
Virtue, Character and Situation.Jonathan Webber - 2006 - Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.
Character and Moral Psychology.Christian B. Miller - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Character as Moral Fiction.Mark Alfano - 2013 - New York: Cambridge University Press.

Analytics

Added to PP
2022-04-01

Downloads
87 (#142,534)

6 months
72 (#15,158)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author Profiles

Alina Beary
Biola University
Anne Jeffrey
Baylor University

Citations of this work

No citations found.

Add more citations