Situationism and virtue ethics on the content of our character

Ethics 114 (3):458-491 (2004)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Situationist social psychologists tell us that information about people’s distinctive character traits, opinions, attitudes, values, or past behavior is not as useful for determining what they will do as is information about the details of their situations.1 One would expect, they say, that the possessor of a given character trait (such as helpfulness) would behave consistently (helpfully) across situations that are similar in calling for the relevant (helping) behavior, but under experimental conditions, people’s behavior is not found to be cross-situationally consistent (the likelihood that a person who has behaved helpfully on one occasion will behave helpfully on the next is hardly above chance).2 Instead, across a range of situations, the person’s behavior tends to converge on the behavioral norm for those situations. So situationists reason that people’s situations, rather than their characters, are the explanatorily powerful factors in determining why different people behave differently. They add that if behavior does not covary with character traits, then ordinary people, “folk psychologists” who try to explain and predict..

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 76,199

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
401 (#28,221)

6 months
24 (#48,713)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Rachana Kamtekar
Cornell University

Citations of this work

virtue ethics.Rosalind Hursthouse & Glen Pettigrove - 2009 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Believing For a Reason.John Turri - 2011 - Erkenntnis 74 (3):383-397.
Experimental moral philosophy.Mark Alfano, Don Loeb & Alex Plakias - 2018 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:1-32.

View all 144 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

Add more references