more from Gilbert Harman

Single Idea 5123

[catalogued under 23. Ethics / C. Virtue Theory / 2. Elements of Virtue Theory / e. Character]

Full Idea

It may be the case that there is no such thing as character, no ordinary character traits of the sort people think there are, none of the usual moral virtues and vices.

Gist of Idea

Maybe there is no such thing as character, and the virtues and vices said to accompany it


Gilbert Harman (Moral Philosophy meets social psychology [1999], 10.1)

Book Reference

Harman,Gilbert: 'Explaining Value and Other Essays' [OUP 2000], p.165

A Reaction

This would be a devastating fact for virtue theory, if it were true. I don't believe it. He thinks patterns of behaviour result from circumstances, but we give accurate and detailed pictures of people's characters (esp. in novels).