Virtue as Social Intelligence: An Empirically Grounded Theory / Edition 1

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Overview

Virtue as Social Intelligence: An Empirically Grounded Theory takes on the claims of philosophical situationism, the ethical theory that is skeptical about the possibility of human virtue. Influenced by social psychological studies, philosophical situationists argue that human personality is too fluid and fragmented to support a stable set of virtues. They claim that virtue cannot be grounded in empirical psychology. This book argues otherwise.

Drawing on the work of psychologists Walter Mischel and Yuichi Shoda, Nancy E. Snow argues that the social psychological experiments that philosophical situationists rely on look at the wrong kinds of situations to test for behavioral consistency. Rather than looking at situations that are objectively similar, researchers need to compare situations that have similar meanings for the subject. When this is done, subjects exhibit behavioral consistencies that warrant the attribution of enduring traits, and virtues are a subset of these traits. Virtue can therefore be empirically grounded and virtue ethics has nothing to fear from philosophical situationism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reports of the death of character are greatly exaggerated. Nancy Snow does a wonderful job of defending the empirical viability of virtue ethics, not by dismissing or ignoring the importance of the social psychological literature, but by properly understanding its significance. This is a must-read for anyone interested in psychologically realistic ethics."

-Edward Slingerland, University of British Columbia, Canada

"Snow’s book is fascinating and timely. No other book on virtue ethics goes nearly so far in dealing with psychological studies. A must-read for anyone interested in virtue as a category for moral evaluation."

-Linda Zagzebski, University of Oklahoma, USA

"Nancy Snow’s book, with its focus on the social psychological underpinnings of virtue ethics, is a major contribution to virtue ethical theorizing. In a much needed and insightful discussion, and opposing the situationist critique, she shows how character traits as traditionally conceived have reality and importance."

-Christine Swanton, University of Auckland, New Zealand

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415999106
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy E. Snow is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She has published on empathy, compassion, humility, and other topics relevant to moral psychology and virtue ethics.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 In Search of Global Traits 17

Chapter 2 Habitual Virtuous Actions and Automaticity 39

Chapter 3 Social Intelligence and Why It Matters 63

Chapter 4 Virtue as Social Intelligence 85

Chapter 5 Philosophical Situationism Revisited 99

Conclusion 117

Notes 119

References 123

Index 131

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