Minor Tweaks, Major Payoffs: The Problems and Promise of Situationism in Moral Philosophy

Authors
Hagop Sarkissian
CUNY Graduate Center
Abstract
Moral philosophers of late have been examining the implications of experimental social psychology for ethics. The focus of attention has been on situationism—the thesis that we routinely underestimate the extent to which minor situational variables influence morally significant behavior. Situationism has been seen as a threat to prevailing lay and philosophical theories of character, personhood, and agency. In this paper, I outline the situationist literature and critique one of its upshots: the admonition to carefully select one’s situational contexts. Besides being limited in application, this strategy accentuates an untenable person/situation dichotomy. The deeper lesson of situationism lies in highlighting the interconnectedness of all social behavior—how we are inextricably involved in the actions of others, and how minor tweaks in our own behavior can lead to major payoffs in our moral lives. Situationism is better seen as an opportunity for moral progress than a threat to individual autonomy
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Ethical Automaticity.M. Brownstein & A. Madva - 2012 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 42 (1):68-98.

View all 48 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Situationism and Confucian Virtue Ethics.Deborah S. Mower - 2013 - Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):113-137.
Scripting Situations in Moral Education.Deborah S. Mower - 2010 - Teaching Ethics 11 (1):93-106.
Situationism and Moral Responsibility: Free Will in Fragments.Manuel Vargas - forthcoming - In Tillman Vierkant, Julian Kiverstein & Andy Clark (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford Up.
Character and Moral Psychology.Christian Miller - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
Freedom, Responsibility and the Challenge of Situationism.Dana K. Nelkin - 2005 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 29 (1):181–206.
Character, Situation and Intelligence.Glen Koehn - 2008 - Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 10:245-260.
Dewey, Situationism, and Moral Education.Matthew P. Pamental - 2010 - Educational Theory 60 (2):147-166.
Moral Character.Kevin Timpe - 2007 - Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Harman Vs. Virtue Theory.Chris Tucker - 2004 - Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (1):137-145.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-12-29

Total views
108 ( #61,606 of 2,312,749 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
16 ( #34,383 of 2,312,749 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature