Harman vs. virtue theory

Southwest Philosophy Review 21 (1):137-145 (2004)
While there are alternative accounts, many virtue theories are character based, that is, they assert that the primary loci if moral evaluation are a person's character traits. According to these theories, any individual human being is good insogar as she possesses certain character traits, the virtues, and does not possess their antipodes, the vices. Gilbert Harman has attacked this view by citing evidence in empirical psychology that human behaviour is explained by situational factors to the exclusion of stable dispositions of character. In this paper I argue that Harman's attack fails, firstly because his target is too wide, meaning that the traits tested for are not of the type most relevant to virtue theory, and secondly because he cannot dispense with character traits for explaining behaviour.
Keywords character traits  virtues  situationism  social psychology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/swphilreview200521139
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 24,422
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
Gilbert Harman (2009). Skepticism About Character Traits. Journal of Ethics 13 (2/3):235 - 242.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Michael DePaul (2000). Character Traits, Virtues, and Vices. The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy 9:141-157.
Gilbert Harman (2009). Skepticism About Character Traits. Journal of Ethics 13 (2/3):235 - 242.
Miguel Alzola (2012). The Possibility of Virtue. Business Ethics Quarterly 22 (2):377-404.
Deborah S. Mower (2013). Situationism and Confucian Virtue Ethics. Ethical Theory and Moral Practice 16 (1):113-137.
Jonathan Webber (2006). Virtue, Character and Situation. Journal of Moral Philosophy 3 (2):193-213.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

27 ( #177,654 of 1,924,768 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #308,315 of 1,924,768 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.