Anthony Rudd

in Self, Value, and Narrative

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199660049
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744976 | DOI:

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What is it for a self to have a character (i.e. a fairly stable and distinctive personality)? This chapter gives a phenomenological account (also drawing on Wittgenstein) of how we experience people as having characters, arguing that characters express themselves in and through the patterns of our dispositions and traits—and especially in our dispositions to care about (love or hate) things. Itthen considers two main lines of criticism of the notion of character, the first (presented by Peter Goldie) arising from within our everyday ‘folk psychology’, the second (presented by John Doris) basing itself on the results of experimental psychology. I argue that their scepticism about the reality of character is mistaken. However, considering their criticisms can help us to make an important distinction between character as simply given, and character as an (ethical) achievement.

Keywords: character; dispositions; Doris; experimental psychology; expression; Goldie; Wittgenstein

Chapter.  9998 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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