The Empirics of Virtue Theory: What Can Psychology Tell Us About Moral Character?

  • Miguel AlzolaEmail author


In this chapter, I submit that virtue theory offers the best framework to account for our moral experience in life and in the context of business decision-making. And I argue against an empirically grounded objection to virtue theory, which holds that character traits of the sort postulated by virtue theorists do not exist because differences in social circumstances explain people’s behavior rather than any character trait. The objection does not succeed because virtue is rarer than we may expect, because the experimental evidence does not support the claim that character lacks any explanatory power, because virtues cannot be merely reduced to behavioral dispositions, and because virtue theory is concerned with the whole span of a human life rather than isolated behavior.


Moral psychology Character Virtue ethics Honesty Compassion 


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Legal and Ethical StudiesFordham UniversityNew YorkUSA

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