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Applied Ethics Forum: Erin Frykholm

March 22, 2018 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm

Erin Frykholm (University of Kansas)
‘Humean psychology and the cultivation of virtue’
Thursday March 22nd 2018  •  3:30pm–5:00pm  •  LA1–300

Abstract: Empirical data from moral psychologists suggests that we may have very little rational, intentional control over how we perceive many situations and, consequently, how we respond to them. This data poses a challenge to any virtue theory that relies on the intentional cultivation of stable, causally efficacious character traits. I argue that a Humean view of virtue is uniquely suited to accommodate this data by taking habitual mental associations, which are often non-conscious, to be constitutive of character traits. This account has explanatory power for attributing traits to people as well as for explaining their behavior in various situations as exhibiting stable traits or not. Also, by taking into consideration developments in moral psychology, it offers an explanation of what is required to develop character traits and highlights the extent to which this might involve our social environment.


March 22, 2018
3:30 pm - 5:00 pm