Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Aristotelian Virtue Ethics and the Normativity Challenge

  • ÉTIENNE BROWN (a1)
Abstract

Aristotelian virtue theorists are currently engaged in a discussion with philosophers who use psychological findings to question some of their main assumptions. In this article, I present and argue against one of these psychological challenges—Jesse Prinz’s Normativity Challenge—which rests on the claim that findings in cultural psychology contradict the Aristotelian thesis that the normativity of virtues derives from nature. First, I demonstrate that the Normativity Challenge is based on three problematic assumptions about contemporary Aristotelianism. Second, I argue that it presupposes the truth of a metaethical framework that Aristotelians reject: moral relativism.

Plusieurs éthiciens de la vertu qui se revendiquent d’Aristote débattent actuellement avec des philosophes qui emploient des données empiriques psychologiques afin de remettre en question certaines des thèses centrales qu’ils défendent. Dans cet article, j’argumente contre l’un de ces philosophes — Jesse Prinz — qui soutient que la psychologie culturelle contemporaine compromet l’idée aristotélicienne que la normativité des vertus dérive de leur caractère naturel. Dans un premier temps, je démontre que le «Normativity Challenge» de Prinz s’appuie sur trois idées préconçues problématiques au sujet de l’aristotélisme contemporain. Dans un deuxième temps, je souligne que l’argumentation de Prinz présuppose la vérité d’une doctrine métaéthique que les aristotéliciens rejettent : le relativisme moral.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*<etienne.c.brown@gmail.com>
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Julia Annas 2005 “Comments on John Doris’s ‘Lack of Character,’” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (3): 636642.

John Darley and Daniel Batson 1973 “From Jerusalem to Jericho: A Study of Situational and Dispositional Variables in Helping Behavior,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 27 (1): 100108.

Ed Diener and Marissa Diener 1995 “Cross-Cultural Correlates of Life Satisfaction and Self-Esteem,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 68 (4): 653663.

John Doris 2002 Lack of Character: Personality and Moral Behavior . Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

David Enoch 2011 Taking Morality Seriously: A Defense of Robust Realism . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Philippa Foot 2001 Natural Goodness . Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Gilbert Harman 1999 “Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99: 315331.

Alice Isen and Paula Levin 1972 “Effects of Feeling Good on Helping: Cookies and Kindness,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 21 (3): 384388.

Richard Joyce 2009 “Review: Jesse J. Prinz: The Emotional Construction of morals,” Mind 118 (470): 508518.

Wesley Kilham and Leon Mann 1974 “Level of Destructive Obedience as a Junction of Transmitting and Executant Roles in the Milgram Obedience Paradigm,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 29 (5): 696702.

Robert Levine , Ara Norenzayan and Karen Philbrick 2001 “Cross-Cultural Differences in Helping Strangers,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology 32 (5): 543560.

David Mantell , 1971 “The Potential for Violence in Germany,” Journal of Social Issues 27 (4): 101112.

Martha C Nussbaum . 1988 “Non-Relative Virtues: An Aristotelian Approach,” Midwest Studies in Philosophy 13 (1): 3253.

Jesse Prinz 2009 “The Normativity Challenge: Cultural Psychology Provides the Real Threat to Virtue Ethics,” Journal of Ethics 13: 117144.

Eunkook Suh , Ed Diener , Shigehiro Oishi and Harry C. Triandis 1998 “The Shifting Basis of Life Satisfaction Judgements across Cultures: Emotions versus Norms,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 74 (2): 482493.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Dialogue: Canadian Philosophical Review / Revue canadienne de philosophie
  • ISSN: 0012-2173
  • EISSN: 1759-0949
  • URL: /core/journals/dialogue-canadian-philosophical-review-revue-canadienne-de-philosophie
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 67 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 184 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 26th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.