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The Fabric of Character

Nancy Sherman

Published in print March 1991 | ISBN: 9780198239178
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598395 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0198239173.001.0001

Series: Clarendon Paperbacks

The Fabric of Character

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The Fabric of Character explores Aristotle's account of virtuous character and its development. I argue that traditional conceptions of Aristotelian habituation have ignored the critical role of practical reason in both the development of virtue and the emotions constitutive of virtue. Virtue is, thus, neither the product of mindless drill nor of well‐behaved, but ultimately stupid emotions. If the virtuous person is, as Aristotle insists, also practically wise, then the path to a knowing kind of virtue must itself be critical and reflective. Character development is also a social project, on Aristotle's view, and the book explores the role of friendship (philia) in both the early and more mature stages of character growth. Key to a shared life is the possibility of coordinated ends and choices as well as empathetic attunement. I suggest an Aristotelian account of this kind of coordination and its role in the construction of happiness or eudaimonia. Finally, I explore the role of moral perception within virtue, and the epistemic role of emotions in discerning moral salience.

Keywords: Ancient Philosophy; Aristotle; character; choice; emotions; friendship; moral habituation; moral reasoning; practical reason; practical wisdom

Book.  228 pages. 

Subjects: Ancient Philosophy

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Fabric of Character

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Discerning the Particulars in The Fabric of Character

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The Choices of a Character in The Fabric of Character

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The Shared Life in The Fabric of Character

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The Habituation of Character in The Fabric of Character

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