Posts Tagged ‘misguided’

Chat on Virtue

November 1, 2007

Some of us will be attending a departmental chat on virtue scheduled for Friday. No one cares about virtue, so why do I post this? Well, it turns out that people do care about virtue. In fact, I’m one of those people. Additionally, I find the abstract for the talk bold, perhaps misguided, and treading dangerously close to hallowed ground. The abstract follows, sic:


In this paper I intend to salvage virtue, but first, I will criticize neo-aristotelan perfectionism, the most recent effort to revive it. Second, I will review recent research in the field of positive psychology. Third, I will examine recent research on character strengths and virtues and attempt to alter perfectionism to accommodate and incorporate this research. This will depend, I suspect, on a substantive account of well being which accommodates the ‘gratifying’ virtues. Fourth, I will discuss research on affective forecasting. I will examine the theoretical foundations of this research. Fifth, I will propose my own unique account of well-being which is informed by, and can help us interpret the research on, affective forecasting. In the end, I will defend a form of perfectionism based on an objectivist account of well-being which takes into account our capacities and abilities and provides us with personalized positive prescriptions, a moral theory that can tell us who we should be, what we should do, and why; I call this theory personal perfectionism.

Thoughts: positive psychology and ethics? Sounds interesting in a dangerous sort of way. I’m afraid we’re going to see something along the lines of The Good Samaritan experiments, which will make me weep because I cannot believe that people still find this sort of thing compelling. Furthermore, this is a 20-30 minute talk. That outline is more appropriate to a lengthy tome-sized opus.

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