Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology


Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology



Though virtue ethics is enjoying a resurgence, the topic of virtue cultivation has been largely neglected by philosophers. This volume remedies this gap, featuring mostly new essays, commissioned for this collection, by philosophers, theologians, and psychologists at the forefront of research into virtue. Each contribution focuses on some aspect of virtue development, either by highlighting virtue cultivation within distinctive traditions of ethical or religious thought, or by taking a developmental perspective to yield fresh insights into criticisms of virtue ethics, or by examining the science that explains virtue development. The essays by Russell and Driver investigate virtue cultivation or problems associated with it from Aristotelian and utilitarian perspectives. Slote addresses virtue development from the sentimentalist standpoint. Swanton and Cureton and Hill explore self-improvement, the former with an eye to offering solutions to critiques of virtue ethics, the latter from a Kantian ethical vantage point. Slingerland examines contemporary psychology as well as virtue development in the Confucian tradition to counter situationist criticisms of virtue ethics. Flanagan, Bucar, and Herdt examine how virtue is cultivated in the Buddhist, Islamic, and Christian traditions, respectively. Narvaez, Thompson, and McAdams offer descriptive insights from psychology into virtue development. The result is a collection of extremely creative essays that not only fills the current gap but also promises to stimulate new work on a philosophically neglected yet vital topic.



Publication Date



Oxford University Press


New York




Table of Contents


Chapter One: Aristotle on Cultivating Virtue / Daniel C. Russell

Chapter Two: Mill, Moral Sentimentalism, and the Cultivation of Virtue / Julia Driver

Chapter Three: The Roots of Empathy / Michael Slote

Chapter Four: Kant on Virtue and the Virtues / Adam Cureton and Thomas Hill

Chapter Five: Cultivating Virtue: Two Problems for Virtue Ethics / Christine Swanton

Chapter Six: The Situationist Critique and Early Confucian Virtue Ethics / Edward Slingerland

Chapter Seven: It Takes a Metaphysics, Raising Virtuous Buddhists / Owen Flanagan

Chapter Eight: Islam and the Cultivation of Character: Ibn Miskawayh's Synthesis and the Case of the Veil / Elizabeth M. Bucar

Chapter Nine: Frailty, Fragmentation, and Social Dependency in the Cultivation of Christian Virtue / Jennifer A. Herdt

Chapter Ten: The Co-Construction of Virtue: Epigenetics, Development and Culture / Darcia Narvaez

Chapter Eleven: The Development of Virtue: A Perspective from Developmental Psychology / Ross A. Thompson

Chapter Twelve: Psychological Science and the Nicomachean Ethics: Virtuous Actors, Agents, and Authors / Dan P. McAdams


Cultivating Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and Psychology