The debate over the situationist critique of ethics. Reply to Gilbert Harman's objections

Diametros:88-112 (2012)
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Abstract

Virtue ethics is one of the most important ethical approaches that developed and reached its position in the heated debate with deontology and utilitarianism. Today it is facing a new challenge from an approach, very popular in psychology, called situationism. An essential assumption of virtue ethics is that a properly formed ethical character enables an agent to act in a morally good way. However, the advocates of situationism, basing themselves on numerous psychological experiments, argue that our actions are under the decisive influence of situational factors, but that no research confirms the decisive influence of what might be called the character factor. Gilbert Harman, inspired by situationism, offers a severe criticism of virtue and virtue ethics. He also calls into question moral education based on forming a morally good character. My article is an attempt to reply to Harman's criticism and defend normatively understood virtue ethics.

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Natasza Szutta
Uniwersytetu Gdanskiego

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