Character as Moral Fiction

by

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781107026728
  • 9781139603928
  • 9781139610797
Everyone wants to be virtuous, but recent psychological investigations suggest that this may not be possible. Mark Alfano challenges this theory and asks, not whether character is empirically adequate, but what characters human beings could have and develop. Although psychology suggests that most people do not have robust character traits such as courage, honesty and open-mindedness, Alfano argues that we have reason to attribute these virtues to people because such attributions function as self-fulfilling prophecies - children become more studious if they are told that they are hard-working and adults become more generous if they are told that they are generous. He argues that we should think of virtue and character as social constructs: there is no such thing as virtue without social reinforcement. His original and provocative book will interest a wide range of readers in contemporary ethics, epistemology, moral psychology and empirically informed philosophy.
  • Cambridge University Press; February 2013
  • ISBN: 9781139603928
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF or secure ePub format
  • Title: Character as Moral Fiction
  • Author: Mark Alfano
  • Imprint: Cambridge University Press
Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781107026728
  • 9781139603928
  • 9781139610797

In The Press

'The 'character wars' that have unsettled moral philosophy for the past decade or so have resulted not in scorched earth, but in fertile ground, nurturing a genuinely interdisciplinary study of character, drawing researchers with both scientific and philosophical training, and developing insights from both psychology and ethics. Among the most imaginative and provocative contributions to this burgeoning field is Mark Alfano's Character as Moral Fiction. If you work in the area, Alfano's book is a mandatory read; if you're wondering about it, this is where you should start.' John Doris, Washington University, St Louis

Subject categories
ISBNs
  • 9781107026728
  • 9781139603928
  • 9781139610797