What is the role of character in action?

  I've been seriously interested in the question of character since being invited to contribute to a volume on the subject a few years ago. That volume, Questions of Character, has now appeared in print, and it is an excellent and engaging contribution. Iskra Fileva was the director of the project and is the editor …

Historicizing social action

It is self evident that people are influenced by the historical circumstances in which they are raised and live. People are historicized as actors. The hard question is, how deep does that influence go? When we consider the mental features that are invoked within the process of interpreting and acting within the world, there is …

Lack of character?

image: Stanford prison experiment John Doris argues in Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior that the basic theory of action associated with virtue ethics and the theory of moral character is most likely incorrect. The character theory maintains that individuals have stable traits that lead them to behave similarly in a range of relevant …

Observing character traits

  The key idea of moral character is that the actions individuals choose are influenced by enduring features of their mentality. Unlike the situationist who looks at each situation of choice as a solution to achieving goals given current circumstances (Gilbert Harman, "Moral philosophy meets social psychology" link; John Doris, Lack of Character: Personality and …

Character and authenticity

image: Molière's Tartuffe, Comédie Française When we judge that a person has acted on the basis of character in a given situation, we are implying a judgment about his or her inner constitution, and we are judging that the action derived "authentically" from the individual's underlying traits. Character and authenticity go hand in hand.So what is …

Character and personality

    If we want to have a more adequate theory of the actor (link), we need to broaden our understanding of the factors and capacities that affect action.  The categories of personality and character are both relevant to the ways in which we understand how people behave in ordinary and extraordinary circumstances. So a …

Character and history

Source: Gilles Mora and Beverly Brannan, FSA: The American Vision; photos by Dorothea Lange We often think that some historical periods have deep effects on the personalities and character of individuals who came of age and lived adult life during those periods. This implies that specific cohorts of people may have distinctive personality features that differ …

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