Past Meetup

Personal Character (and the Philosophy of Psychology)

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15 people went

Price: $2.00 /per person

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(Thanks to member Caroline for inspiring this topic.)

We might be inclined to say that a person who is honest, trustworthy, hard-working, and compassionate, has a good character, and that a person who is dishonest, untrustworthy, lazy, and callous, has a bad character. But does it really make sense to talk about an inherent difference--called "character"--between these two people? If humans come into the world nearly identical psychologically, and remain so--and there may be scientific reasons to believe this--shouldn't we say that the difference between these two people is due to their different situations and life histories, and not to any inherent differences that might be called "character"? This is roughly what philosopher Gilbert Harman argues, with the aid of social psychological research, in his essay "Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology":

http://www.princeton.edu/~harman/Papers/Virtue.html

At this meet we will discuss the concept of character using Harman's essay as a main reference point. Is 'character' a sound concept? If so, how does it escape Harman's argument? Is Harman right? If so, what are the consequences of this for our ethical reasoning?

I look forward to the discussion.

Cheers,

Paul