The VIA Classification of Strengths and Virtues attempts to provide a comprehensive model of character based on 24 character strengths. The present study is the largest study to date exploring the structure of the 24 strengths in youth. One sample completed the VIA-Youth, a teen measure of the VIA Classification. Based on a random subsample, it was determined the data were best modeled using four factors. The remainder of the sample was used to demonstrate measurement invariance for the four-factor model (...) across ages 10–17 and country. Comparison with 471 English academy school students who completed two alternate measures of the VIA Classification also demonstrated measurement invariance. The results suggest a four-factor model that includes two primarily interpersonal factors, one reflecting general engagement, the second other-directedness. Other factors involved intellectual and self-control strengths. Implications for the understanding of character strengths in youth versus adults are discussed. (shrink)
The VIA Classification of Character Strengths and Virtue has received substantial attention since its inception as a model of 24 dimensions of positive human functioning, but less so as a potential contributor to a psychological science on the nature of virtue. The current paper presents an overview of how this classification could serve to advance the science of virtue. Specifically, we summarize previous research on the dimensional versus categorical characterization of virtue, and on the identification of cardinal virtues. We give (...) particular attention to the three-dimensional model of cardinal virtues that includes moral, self-regulatory, and intellectual domains. We also discuss the possibility that these three clusters be treated as fundamental elements of a virtue model, meaning that they clearly and directly contribute to both individual and communal flourishing across various cultures. This discussion includes a summary of previous speculations about the evolution of adaptations underlying the human capacity for using behavioral repertoires associated with the three virtues, as well as discussing ways in which they simultaneously enhance community and individual, in the last case focusing particularly on evidence concerning mating potential. We then discuss the relationship between the evolutionary perspective on virtues and Aristotle’s concept of the reciprocity of the virtues. Finally, we provide speculations about the nature of practical wisdom. While accepting the potential value of future revisions to the VIA model, that model even under its current conditions has the potential to generate a number of intriguing and testable hypotheses about the nature of virtue. (shrink)
The Second Vatican Council has a special significance in Latin America. This is especially true due to the influence of the document Gaudium et Spes. This took place at the Medellín Conference when Bishop Marcus Gregorio McGrath, C.S.C., pointed to this influence through his keynote address “The Signs of the Times.” He was prepared for this moment through his earlier theological training in Europe and his pastoral missions, especially in Chile and Panama. It was his earlier practice of Catholic (...) Action among young lay persons that led him into the “bridge theology” that was to be promoted further by Pope Francis. (shrink)
Revisioning macro-democratic processes in light of the processes and promise of micro-deliberation, Innovating Democracy provides an integrated perspective on democratic theory and practice after the deliberative turn.
Utilitarianism, the great reforming philosophy of the nineteenth century, has today acquired the reputation for being a crassly calculating, impersonal philosophy unfit to serve as a guide to moral conduct. Yet what may disqualify utilitarianism as a personal philosophy makes it an eminently suitable guide for public officials in the pursuit of their professional responsibilities. Robert E. Goodin, a philosopher with many books on political theory, public policy and applied ethics to his credit, defends utilitarianism against its critics and (...) shows how it can be applied most effectively over a wide range of public policies. In discussions of such issues as paternalism, social welfare policy, international ethics, nuclear armaments, and international responses to the environment crisis, he demonstrates what a flexible tool his brand of utilitarianism can be in confronting the dilemmas of public policy in the real world. (shrink)
Maximizing want-satisfaction per se is a relatively unattractive aspiration, for it seems to assume that wants are somehow disembodied entities with independent moral claims all of their own. Actually, of course, they are possessed by particular people. What preference-utilitarians should be concerned with is how people's lives go—the fulfilment of their projects and the satisfaction of their desires. In an old-fashioned way of talking, it is happy people rather than happiness per se that utilitarians should be striving to produce.
The precise application of the term ‘heroic measures’ in the discourse of medicine and medical ethics is somewhat uncertain. What counts and what does not is, at the margins, a perpetually contentious issue. Basically, though, we can say that the term refers to the deployment of unusual technologies or treatment regimes, or of ordinary technologies or treatment regimes beyond their usual limits.
Democracy used to be seen as a relatively mechanical matter of merely adding up everyone's votes in free and fair elections. That mechanistic model has many virtues, among them allowing democracy to 'track the truth', where purely factual issues are all that is at stake. Political disputes invariably mix facts with values, however, and then it is essential to listen to what people are saying rather than merely note how they are voting. The great challenge is how to implement that (...) deliberative ideal among millions of people at once. In this strikingly original book, Goodin offers a solution: 'democratic deliberation within'. Building on models of ordinary conversational dynamics, he suggests that people simply imagine themselves in the position of various other people they have heard or read about and ask, 'What would they say about this proposal?' Informing the democratic imaginary then becomes the key to making deliberations more reflective - more empathetic, more considered, more expansive across time and distance. (shrink)
Bracket out the wrong of committing a wrong, or conspiring or colluding or conniving with others in their committing one. Suppose you have done none of those things, and you find yourself merely benefiting from a wrong committed wholly by someone else. What, if anything, is wrong with that? What, if any, duties follow from it? If straightforward restitution were possible — if you could just ‘give back’ what you received as a result of the wrongdoing to its rightful owner (...) — then matters are morally more straightforward. But in real-world cases that is often impossible, and questions of ‘how much, from whom and to whom?’ become far more vexing. The beneficiary disgorging all benefits of the wrong is part of the story, but where that is not possible or will not suffice to compensate the victim of wrongdoing we discuss various ways of allocating the cost of making the victim whole, including supplementation from public coffers. (shrink)
This volume includes Whewell's seminal studies of the logic of induction (with his critique of Mill's theory), arguments for his realist view that science discovers necessary truths about nature, and exercises in the epistemology and ontology of science. The book sets forth a coherent statement of a historically important philosophy of science whose influence has never been greater: every one of Whewell's fundamental ideas about the philosophy of science is presented here. -/- .
In this strikingly original book, one of the leading scholars in the field focuses on the influential idea of deliberative democracy. Goodin examines the great challenge of how to implement the deliberative ideal among millions of people at once and comes up with a novel solution: 'democratic deliberation within'.
Many in science are disposed not to take biosemiotics seriously, dismissing it as too anthropomorphic. Furthermore, biosemiotic apologetics are cast in top-down fashion, thereby adding to widespread skepticism. An effective response might be to approach biosemiotics from the bottom up, but the foundational assumptions that support Enlightenment science make that avenue impossible. Considerations from ecosystem studies reveal, however, that those conventional assumptions, although once possessing great utilitarian value, have come to impede deeper understanding of living systems because they implicitly depict (...) the evolution of the universe backward. Ecological dynamics suggests instead a smaller set of countervailing postulates that allows evolution to play forward and sets the stage for tripartite causalities, signs, and interpreters—the key elements of biosemiosis—to emerge naturally out of the interaction of chance with configurations of autocatalytic processes. Biosemiosis thereby appears as a fully legitimate outgrowth of the new metaphysic and shows promise for becoming the supervenient focus of a deeper perspective on the phenomenon of life. (shrink)
Philosophers who complain about the ‹demandingness’ of morality forget that a morality can make too few demands as well as too many. What we ought be seeking is an appropriately demanding morality. This article recommends a ‹moral satisficing’ approach to determining when a morality is ‹demanding enough’, and an institutionalized solution to keeping the demands within acceptable limits.
If free markets consist in nothing more than “capitalist acts between consenting adults,” and if in the old legal maxim “volenti non fit injuria,” then it seems to follow that free markets do no wrongs. But that defense of free markets wrenches the “volenti” maxim out of context. In common law adjudication of disputes between two parties, it is perfectly appropriate to cast standards of “volenti” narrowly, and largely ignore “duress via third parties” (wrongs done to or by others who (...) are not themselves party to the action). In economic markets, of course, those third-party effects are rife. But we want them to be rectified systematically, not piecemeal through particular cases between particular parties that happen to come to court. That is the proper province of political philosophers and system-designers, in critiquing and constraining the operation of the market. (shrink)
Physicalism holds that the laws of physics are inviolable and ubiquitous and thereby account for all of reality. Laws leave no “wiggle room” or “gaps” for action by numinous agents. They cannot be invoked, however, without boundary stipulations that perforce are contingent and which “drive” the laws. Driving contingencies are not limited to instances of “blind chance,” but rather span a continuum of amalgamations with regularities, up to and including nearly determinate propensities. Most examples manifest directionality, and their very definition (...) encompasses intentionality. Contingencies, via their interactions with laws, can reinforce and maintain one another, thereby giving rise to enduring, ordered configurations of constraints. All of ordered nature thus results from ongoing transactions between mutualistic contingencies that constrain possibilities and entropic chance events that degrade order but diversify opportunities. Laws do not of themselves determine reality; interactions among contingencies do. For believers, the robust abundance of indeterminacies provides ample latitude for divine intervention, free will, and prayer. The priority of contingency also affords some insight into the meaning of suffering and evil. (shrink)
With their remarkable electoral successes, Green parties worldwide seized the political imagination of friends and foes alike. Mainstream politicians busily disparage them and imitate them in turn. This new book shows that 'greens' deserve to be taken more seriously than that. This is the first full-length philosophical discussion of the green political programme. Goodin shows that green public policy proposals are unified by a single, coherent moral vision - a 'green theory of value' - that is largely independent of the (...) `green theory of agency' dictating green political mechanisms, strategies and tactics on the one hand, and personal lifestyle recommendations on the other. The upshot is that we demand that politicians implement green public policies, and implement them completely, without committing ourselves to the other often more eccentric aspects of green doctrine that threaten to alienate so many potential supporters. (shrink)