From Personality to Virtue: Essays on the Philosophy of Character

ISBN : 9780198746812

Alberto Masala; Jonathan Webber
256 Pages
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Feb 2016
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Character plays a central role in our everyday understanding and evaluation of ourselves and one another. It informs the expectations that ground our plans and projects, our moral responses to other people's behaviour and to opportunities we ourselves face, and our political decisions concerning formal education, criminal punishment, and other aspects of social organisation. The very idea that people have persisting character traits that explain their behaviour is woven throughout the fabric of our culture. These philosophical essays clarify this idea of character, analyse its relation with the findings of experimental psychology, and draw out the implications of this for education and for criminal punishment. They bring together a range of issues in contemporary philosophy, including the nature of agency, the modelling of behavioural cognition, ethical implications of personal necessity, moral responsibility for implicit bias, the prospects for character education, and the nature of rightful criminal punishment. The essays emphasise that character is inherently dynamic, challenging the tendency among personality psychologists and virtue ethicists alike to focus on static snapshots of traits, and they emphasise the close integration of character with the individual's social context, seeking to accommodate the situationist experimental findings within a picture of behaviour as manifesting stable character traits. The volume is intended to demonstrate the deep conceptual affinity of moral philosophy and social psychology and the consequent potential for each to benefit from the other.


Alberto Masala and Jonathan Webber: Introduction
1 Jonathan Jacobs: Character, Punishment, and the Liberal Order
2 Katrina L. Sifferd: Virtue Ethics and Criminal Treatment
3 Roman Altshuler: Character, Will, and Agency
4 Katharina Bauer: Practical Necessity and Personality
5 Jules Holroyd and Dan Kelly: Implicit Bias, Character, and Control
6 Jonathan Webber: Instilling Virtue
7 Christian Miller: Does the CAPS Model Improve Our Understanding of Personality and Character?
8 Mark Alfano: Friendship and the Structure of Trust
9 Nafsika Athanassoulis: The Psychology of Virtue Education
10 Alberto Masala: Mastering Wisdom

About the author: 

Alberto Masala is Post-doctoral researcher at the Sciences, Normes, Decision research centre, Paris-Sorbonne University. He works primarily in empirically informed moral psychology, at the intersection of virtue ethics, social and personality psychology, psychology of expertise, and cognitive learning sciences. He defended his PhD dissertation on empirical approaches to the psychology of virtue and wisdom at the Sorbonne in 2009. ; Jonathan Webber is Reader in Philosophy at Cardiff University. He works primarily on the ethics of character, informed by empirical social psychology and twentieth-century existentialist philosophy. He has published papers in Analysis, European Journal of Philosophy, Journal of Moral Philosophy, Mind, Philosophical Quarterly, and elsewhere. He is the author of the monograph The Existentialism of Jean-Paul Sartre, editor of the collection of essays Reading Sartre: on Phenomenology and Existentialism, and translator of Sartre's book The Imaginary.

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