Mark Alfano, a Values and Public Policy Postdoctoral Research Associate at the Center for Human Values, has just published his book Character as Moral Fiction with Cambridge University Press. Although recent psychological investigations have suggested that most people do not have robust character trains such as courage, honesty, and open-mindedness, Character as Moral Fiction argues that we have reason to attribute these virtues to people because such attributions function as self-fulfilling prophecies – children become more studious if they are told that they are hard-working and adults become more generous if they are told that they are generous. Alfano argues that we should think of virtue and character as social constructs: there is no such thing as virtue without social reinforcement. For more information, see http://www.cambridge.org/us/knowledge/isbn/item6970135/Character-as-Moral-Fiction/?site_locale=en_US.
Feb. 14, 2013