Situational Traits of Character : Dispositional Foundations and Implications for Moral Psychology and Friendship
Philosophical tradition holds that character traits are global; if you possess a particular character trait, you will perform trait-related behavior across a broad range of situations. In Situational Traits of Character: Dispositional Foundations and Implications for Moral Psychology and Friendship, a groundbreaking study at the intersection of ethics, moral psychology, and metaphysics, Candace L. Upton offers an intriguing alternative to this philosophical tradition. By appealing to both normative considerations and the metaphysics of dispositions, Upton argues that character traits should be understood situationally. After developing and defending her situational account of character traits, Upon uses this account to adjudicate the debate over the compatibility of the demands of consequentialism with those of genuine friendship in favor of the friendly consequentialist.
- Electronic book text | 120 pages
- 28 Aug 2009
- Lexington Books
- MD, United States
About Candace L Upton
Candace L. Upton is assistant professor of philosophy at University of Denver.
We may want to think of character traits as entirely general, but Candace Upton marshalls strong arguments for a more subtle and complex view. Character traits emerge as often situation-specific and fine grained.--Joel Kupperman, University of Connecticut Recent experimental results in social psychology seem to indicate that people do not have the sorts of global character traits required for classical virtue ethics. Some theorists have concluded we should give up all talk of virtue and character. Some have suggested that it is enough if there are more particularized situational traits. Some have argued that virtues are idealized character traits which can still be pursued as ideals even if they never actually exist. In her new book, Candace Upton argues that all such reactions are based on misunderstanding the way in which character traits are behavioral and motivational dispositions. She concludes that we can and must continue to accept a virtue ethics with global character traits, while understanding what sorts of conditions can interfere with their realization. The book is a significant advance.--Gilbert Harman, Department of Philosophy, Princeton University