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Practical Intelligence and the Virtues$
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Daniel C. Russell

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199565795

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199565795.001.0001

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From Situationism to Virtue Theory

From Situationism to Virtue Theory

(p.292) 10 From Situationism to Virtue Theory
Practical Intelligence and the Virtues

Daniel C. Russell (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter turns from social psychology to philosophical psychology, arguing that the positive account of personality suggested by situationism is one that virtue theory can naturally embrace, provided that virtues are forms of responsiveness to reasons. It begins by further defending the empirical adequacy of such a personality theory, which some philosophical psychologists have ignored, played down, or explicitly rejected. The rest of the chapter considers several possible virtue-theoretical responses to John Doris' recent charge that no virtue theory embracing the situationist view of personality could be both empirically and normatively adequate. The chapter rejects Doris' assumption that a normatively adequate virtue theory must depict virtues as proclivities to stereotypically “virtuous” behaviors. Rather, the virtue theorist can define character traits in terms of cognitive-affective personality attributes, and define virtues as character traits that are appropriately responsive to reasons. The chapter concludes that virtue theories that make phronesis part of all virtue are in the unique position of standing firmly on the current evidence from social psychology about the nature of personality.

Keywords:   Aristotle, consistency, John Doris, empirical adequacy, Nicomachean Ethics, normative adequacy, personality theory, reasons, situationism, virtue theory

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