Constancy and integrity: (Un)measurable virtues?

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Abstract

The current article offers a short critique of some of the pre-suppositions of the positive psychology approach. It takes the seminal book 'Character Strengths and Virtues' by Peterson and Seligman (2004) as the key text, and then explores an alternative programme of enquiry offered by virtue ethics as articulated by MacIntyre. The MacIntyrean approach developed here is consciously focused on traditions of virtue ethics, engaging in empirical enquiry from within a particular tradition, and enquiring into the practical ethics of others who may themselves be members of that same tradition, or who may be adherents of some alternative tradition. The purpose of this article is to explore some of the fundamental differences between this kind of virtue ethics approach and that offered by positive psychology. It is suggested that philosophy is much better placed to undertake empirical work than Peterson and Seligman assume, and that their claims to possess superior data should be treated with caution, particularly in respect of their championing of measurement over philosophy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S115-S129
Number of pages15
JournalBusiness ethics: a European review
Volume24
Issue numberS2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2015

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