Category Archives: moral psychology

poverty, willpower, and virtue ethics

Recently, philosopher Michael Cholbi tweeted this story: “Why Can’ More Poor People Escape Poverty?“, along with the suggestion that the findings described therein could have implications for virtue theory. To make a long story short: “In the 1990s, social psychologists developed a theory of “depletable” self-control. The idea was that an individual’s capacity for exerting willpower […]

being judgmental: imprudent and vicious

People seem to like to claim that they aren’t judgmental. Especially the hip, young, urban, liberal people who I encounter regularly. What’s wrong with being judgmental, anyway? There are at least two aspects to it, I think which maybe get conflated. On the one hand, sometimes the badness of being judgmental gets explained something like […]

states of character vs. virtues

Ok, one last bit for now on the situationism stuff (continued from here, here, and here). I think a main source of confusion is the distinction between what empirical claims virtue ethicists make, imply, or are committed to, and what their normative claims are. Here’s my interpretation of at least part of the story: Empirical […]

another stab at situationism

I think maybe I explained situationism rather poorly back here in skepticism about moral character. Some things Adam says over at Sophistpundit about The Nature of Character provide a good opportunity for me to clear things up for him as well as anyone else I may have unwittingly confused. So let me address a few […]

snapshots of moral character

Here is my very late reply to Jim on skepticism about moral character. The short answer: No, in all my moderately extensive reading on this subject, I have not found any “studies that actually involve the observation of a person’s behavior across a wide range of relevant circumstances,” as opposed to studies which deal with […]

skepticism about moral character

The other day, my buddy Adam over at Sophistpundit wrote about Character. I was not surprised that, being an economist and some kind of Humean virtue ethicist, he thinks that morality mostly concerns what kind of people we are, and that actions are signals to other people, providing information about what we’re like. Adam claims […]

how I semi-accidentally became vegetarian

Animal welfare issues are really important to me, but somehow they have failed to make an appearance here so far. Allow me to rectify the situation. This is part 1 of a few posts on my adventures in plant-based eating. Flash back to fall 2007. It was my first semester in graduate school. I was […]

tv violence, part two

Shortly after my last post on tv violence, a friend emailed me with some useful comments on the matter. Her best two points, I think, were about whether or not portrayals of violent situations are realistic, and the importance of the viewer identifying with the right party to the violence. I really should have mentioned […]

tv violence

Last night, I watched an extremely violent movie, “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005, director Ridley Scott). This reminded me of a debate which surfaces in the media from time to time over violence on television: whether it should be restricted from minors, whether it should be produced in the first place, whether watching it is bad […]