Living Reference Work Entry

Handbook of Virtue Ethics in Business and Management

pp 1-8

Date: Latest Version

Virtues and Psychology: Do We Have Virtues and How Can We Know?

  • Brian RobinsonAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Michigan State University Email author 


Attribution of virtues and vices is commonplace. Saying someone has a virtue helps us explain her behavior and form expectations about how she will behave in the future. Built on the universality of these attributions, virtue ethics has had a long tradition in philosophy, with Aristotle standing at the pinnacle, as well as a modern resurgence. Recently, however, empirical evidence has cast doubt on the existence of virtues and vices. People’s behavior, it seems, is governed more by morally irrelevant situational factors than by robust, internal dispositions like virtues. Yet a new line of argument is beginning to emerge that virtue ethics is still relevant even if virtues do not exist.


Virtues Virtue ethics Situationism