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Table of contents :
Understanding Virtue
About the Companion Website
1. Our Working Model of Virtue
2. Strategies for Measuring Virtue: A Literature Review and Critique
3. Strategies for Measuring Virtues
4. Integrating Virtues: ​Our Conception of Character
5. Strategies for Character Measurement
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 0190655135, 9780190655136

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Understanding Virtue

Understanding Virtue Theory and Measurement J E N N I F E R C O L E W R IG H T, M IC HA E L T. WA R R E N , A N D NA N C Y E .   SN OW


3 Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University’s objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide. Oxford is a registered trade mark of Oxford University Press in the UK and certain other countries. Published in the United States of America by Oxford University Press 198 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10016, United States of America. © Oxford University Press 2021 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without the prior permission in writing of Oxford University Press, or as expressly permitted by law, by license, or under terms agreed with the appropriate reproduction rights organization. Inquiries concerning reproduction outside the scope of the above should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press, at the address above. You must not circulate this work in any other form and you must impose this same condition on any acquirer. Library of Congress Cataloging-​in-​Publication Data Names: Wright, Jennifer Cole, author. | Warren, Michael T., 1935– author. | Snow, Nancy E., author. Title: Understanding virtue : theory and measurement / Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow. Description: New York, NY, United States of America : Oxford University Press, 2021. | Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifiers: LCCN 2020021951 (print) | LCCN 2020021952 (ebook) | ISBN 9780190655136 (hardback) | ISBN 9780190655150 (epub) Subjects: LCSH: Virtue. | Character. Classification: LCC BJ1521 .W75 2020 (print) | LCC BJ1521 (ebook) | DDC 179/.9—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020021951 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020021952 1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2 Printed by Integrated Books International, United States of America


About the Companion Website vii

Introduction 1. Our Working Model of Virtue 2. Strategies for Measuring Virtue: A Literature Review and Critique 3. Strategies for Measuring Virtues 4. Integrating Virtues: ​Our Conception of Character 5. Strategies for Character Measurement Conclusion References Index Supplemental Materials available online

1 12 61 121 188 254 293 295 325

About the Companion Website A companion website housing additional materials related to the measurement approaches discussed in this book can be found at www.oup.com/us/understandingvirtue.

Introduction The last 30 years has seen a resurgence of interest in virtue among philosophers, psychologists, and educators. In philosophy, virtue ethics, an approach to normative theory that focuses on the character of the agent, has established itself as a legitimate alternative to other ethical theories, such as consequentialism and deontology (e.g., Zagzebski, 1996; Hursthouse, 1999; Slote, 2001; Swanton, 2003; Russell, 2009). Central to most virtue ethical approaches is the idea that virtues are robust or global traits—​that is, traits that are enduring, manifested in mental states and behaviors across many different types of situations. A  courageous person, for example, can be expected to show courage on the battlefield, when combating serious illness, when defending the weak, and so on. Some philosophers, calling themselves “situationists,” adduce evidence from empirical psychology to contest the idea that people have robust or global character traits, thus challenging the empirical viability of virtue ethics at its core (e.g., Merritt, Doris, and Harman, 2010; Doris, 2002, 1998; Merritt, 2000; Harman, 1999).1 This has prompted a robust literature in response, some of which defends virtue on empirical grounds (Snow, 2010; Russell, 2009; Miller, 2003). Other responses have been conceptual, revitalizing conceptions of virtue within the Humean and utilitarian traditions (Merritt, 2000; Driver, 2001) as well as other traditions.2 1 We will not go into the situationist critique of virtue ethics in great detail, as this volume seeks to move well beyond it. We refer interested readers to critiques by Snow (2010) and Russell (2009). 2 The “Humean” tradition is inspired by the philosopher David Hume, who thought that virtues are qualities of character that are useful or agreeable to oneself or to others. Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

2 Introduction Situationist critiques have prompted a lively interest in work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology, as evidenced by the interdisciplinary approaches to the study of virtue and character that have been funded by the John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton Religion Trust. The Science of Virtues Project, administered by the late Dr. Jean Bethke Elshtain at the University of Chicago, The Character Project, administered by Dr. Christian Miller and The Beacon Project, administered by Dr. Will Fleeson, both at Wake Forest University, the Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project, administered by Dr. Darcia Narvaez at the University of Notre Dame and Dr. Nancy Snow at the University of Oklahoma, and the Self, Virtue, and Public Life Project, originally co-​directed by Drs. Snow and Narvaez, are cases in point.3 Several institutes and centers, also funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, now generate interdisciplinary work on virtue. The Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom, as well as the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma, are dedicated in part to research on virtue, often funding collaborative work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology.4 As is often the case with interdisciplinary endeavors, this renewed interest in virtue faces an important challenge—​namely, being able to successfully stand up to the requirements imposed by different disciplinary standards. For virtue in particular, this means

The utilitarian tradition is inspired by thinkers such as Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill, who thought that we should strive to maximize utility, by which they meant pleasure (Bentham) or happiness (Mill). Utilitarian virtue theorists, such as the philosopher Julia Driver, think that virtues are traits that typically maximize happiness. For overviews of work on virtue in other philosophical and religious traditions, see selected chapters in Snow (2018a). 3 Dr. Narvaez will leave the project upon her retirement in June 2020. 4 We are especially indebted to the Jubilee Centre, as earlier work by two of us (Snow and Wright) was presented at The Jubilee Centre’s second annual conference, “Can Virtue Be Measured?,” held at Oriel College Oxford, January 9–​-​11, 2014. We benefited from audience questions and comments. Conference papers can be found at https://​ www.jubileecentre.ac.uk/​485/​conferences/​can-​virtue-​be-​measured.

Introduction  3 developing an account that practitioners from multiple disciplines will find sufficiently rigorous, substantive, and useful. Our volume was born in response to this interdisciplinary challenge. Our objective here is twofold. First, we will offer accounts of virtue and character that are both philosophically sound and psychologically realistic—​ and thus, able to be meaningfully operationalized into empirically measurable variables. Second, we will offer a range of strategies for how virtue and character (so conceived) can be systematically measured, relying on the insights from the latest research in personality, social, developmental, and cognitive psychology, and psychological science more broadly.5

5 We should note that Jacobs (2017, 132–​133) used four passages from earlier work by Wright and Snow (unpublished) to motivate skepticism about the prospects for virtue measurement. He notes approvingly that we do not see our work as displacing philosophical conceptions of virtue and giving primacy to a scientific account (Jacobs, 2017, 132, note 5). That is correct. We see our work as essentially integrative, as aiming to reinterpret essential elements of neo-​Aristotelian virtue ethics within an empirically hospitable framework. Moreover, we agree with two important claims he makes about the complexity of virtue: each virtue is a complex of differing factors, and virtues operate conjointly within what is commonly called, “character” (see Jacobs, 2017, 133–​135). We grapple with these issues of the complexity of virtue and have sought to find suitable ways of measuring them, though we readily admit that many of the nuances of virtue likely elude precise measurement, as well as with Jacobs’ observation that virtue measurement will not lead to law-​like generalizations (Jacobs, 2017, 141). We also agree with Jacobs (2017, 141) that the possessor of practical wisdom is likely to be well placed to judge virtue, whether her own or that of others, but disagree that science has no place in enabling us to better understand or measure virtue. We believe that Jacobs is uninformed about psychology’s ability to provide precision in measurement with regard to virtue, and has misstated the aim of psychologists who are involved in this research. No psychologists, to our knowledge, aim to provide hard and fast evidence of law-​like generalizations or regularities in people’s possession of virtue. In addition, we think that Jacobs underestimates the potential of some measurement techniques to provide genuine insights into whether people possess virtue, and to what extent. These methods include the use of narrative studies, interview techniques, other forms of qualitative research, and the triangulation of data gathered using several methods. Such techniques can help researchers to “get at,” for example, the strength of motivation and the commitment to be virtuous—​about which Jacobs (2017, 137–​138) expresses doubts. In an email to Jacobs, we have noted (and note here) that Jacobs (2017, 132–​133) misattributes our earlier work as Snow and Wright (2015)—​the attribution should be to Wright and Snow (unpublished), and that he incorrectly states (2017, 133, note 5) that the work he used is from a draft of an earlier grant proposal, entitled, “Can Virtue Be Measured?” The draft was actually an early version of the (unpublished) proposal for this book.

4 Introduction We think that both philosophers and psychologists will be interested in what this book has to offer. To the extent that moral psychologists are interested in understanding how, when, and why people behave morally (or not), a virtue-​oriented framework provides a comprehensive and integrated model for how various moral capacities work together to consistently generate right action. In other words, virtues are powerful individual differences that predict a wide range of behaviors that moral psychologists care about. Thus, having a theoretically sound conception of virtue and the means to measure it (and/​or discrete elements of it) provides moral psychologists with an important set of tools for more fully understanding how individual human beings make better or worse moral choices in the context of their daily lives. That said, we expect that the book will appeal to more than moral psychologists. Since virtue is about becoming good people who live good lives, it contributes significantly to our overall well-​ being, both individually and collectively. This means that understanding and studying virtue is of direct relevance to a variety of other psychologists—​positive psychologists, clinical and counseling psychologists, as well as educational psychologists (just to name a few). Philosophers, at least those interested in virtue ethics and virtue theory, should also find something of value in this book. The question of whether virtue is measurable (and, if so, how to measure it) cannot be dismissed out of hand. Indeed, philosophers should take it seriously. This is true for theoretical as well as practical reasons. Philosophers interested in purely theoretical questions about virtue have had to respond to the situationist challenge. As noted, some philosophers responded to this challenge by defending virtue on empirical grounds. Philosophers concerned about the empirical viability of virtue should, therefore, be interested in the question of whether virtue and character can be measured, and, if so, how. Many ethicists who are not especially concerned with defending the empirical viability of robust and global virtues are

Introduction  5 nonetheless interested in empirical questions (see Doris and The Moral Psychology Research Group, 2010). They, too, could be interested in the development of a psychologically realistic account of virtue and character and/​or questions of the measurement that naturally arise from their generally empirically oriented outlook, even if they are not motivated by the desire to see virtue empirically validated. From a practical standpoint, too, philosophers should pay attention to virtue measurement. This is so for two reasons. First, applied virtue ethics—​the notion that virtue ethics can be applied to fields such as medical ethics, business ethics, communications ethics, sexual ethics, and other practical areas of ethical concern—​ has taken off in recent years, and now boasts lively literatures (see Snow, 2018a). Questions of virtue measurement should be of interest to those who tout the practical applicability of virtue in these various spheres. Second, there is a general “empirical” trend in philosophy that seems to be emerging from the confines of the “Ivory Tower,” as many areas of philosophical endeavor have become increasingly engaged with practical disciplines. For example, philosophers of mind now study cognitive science and neuroscience; philosophers of language now immerse themselves in linguistics; epistemologists now flirt with cognitive psychology. Interest in the measurement of virtue and character is consistent with this larger trend of philosophical engagement with more practical disciplines. Educators are also interested in virtue and character development from a practical standpoint. Many books have been written about the development of character, why it is important, and the perils of bad character for our children and our future (see, e.g., Bazelon, 2013; Kristjánsson, 2015; Tough, 2011, White, 2011; and Baehr, 2015). A brief perusal of the web will show that many organizations, projects, centers, and institutes are dedicated to character development in our youth (see, e.g., www.viacharacter.org; www. mcc.gse.harvard.edu). In short, there is currently a veritable wave

6 Introduction of interest in cultivating character in elementary, middle, and high schools, and in some universities (see www.ou.edu/​flourish). Yet, for these efforts to succeed, two things are necessary:  (1) a conception of virtue and character that is both theoretically sound and empirically measurable; and (2) feasible strategies for measuring virtue and character development. Simply put, we cannot know whether efforts to cultivate virtue and character in young people will succeed unless educators have a clear conception of what they are trying to accomplish, have ways of assessing where children are in terms of the virtues before starting their interventions, and have ways of measuring how successful their interventions in fact are. Only then can educators have a valid basis for knowing which interventions work and which don’t, where adjustments are needed, etc. Given this state of affairs, we think the measurable conceptions of virtue and character we advance in this book, as well as the measurement strategies we suggest, will interest character education theorists and practitioners.

Plan of the Book We see Chapters 1, 2, and 3 as “hanging together.” In Chapter 1, “Our Working Model of Virtue,” we present the conception of virtue that informs our thinking throughout the volume. This is a modified Aristotelianism, which we seek to integrate with Whole Trait Theory (WTT), an empirical account of traits recently developed by Will Fleeson and Eranda Jayawickreme. We argue that WTT provides an attractive framework within which to situate a robust account of virtue inspired by Aristotle, whose work on virtue has been especially influential in contemporary virtue ethics. We develop this integrated account of virtue in Chapter 1. We regard it as “ecumenical” in the sense that our account should appeal to a large number of virtue ethicists and virtue theorists, namely, those who endorse a conception of virtue as a type of global trait.

Introduction  7 Chapter 2, “Strategies for Measuring Virtue: A Literature Review and Critique,” provides a review and evaluation of work that has been and is currently being done on virtue measurement. We discuss ways in which current efforts are either capturing or missing important aspects of virtue. We believe that Chapter 2 highlights the need for the more thorough and theoretically framed approach offered here. The aim of Chapter 3, “Strategies for Measuring Virtues,” is to use our working conception of virtue developed in Chapter 1 to anchor an integrated proposal for virtue measurement. More specifically, we argue that what is needed to accurately measure any virtue is a multi-​layered research program that allows us to track the degree to which a person exhibits each of several aspects of trait manifestation: (1) the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli (the “inputs”); (2) the processing of those inputs by various social-​cognitive systems (the “intermediates”); and (3)  the production of situation-​ specific virtue-​appropriate behaviors (the “outputs”). Sensitivity to the connections between these components is of prime importance for accurately measuring virtue. We provide an inclusive overview of these elements of virtue and strategies for their measurement. The pay-​off of this approach is that work on virtue measurement can proceed in a relatively piecemeal fashion; i.e., researchers interested in motivation or affect could exclusively study those elements of virtue yet see how their work can inform and be informed by a virtue-​oriented framework. Yet, we also consider strategies for a more holistic approach to virtuous mental states—​i.e., ways of measuring aggregations of the key elements of virtue, mentioned previously, as they appear in unified mental states—​which will appeal to researchers interested in measuring particular virtues in a robust, thorough manner. In Chapters 4 and 5 we broaden our scope beyond individual virtues to consider character as a whole. Chapter  4, “Integrating Virtues: O ​ ur Conception of Character,” moves beyond providing an account of individual virtues to advance a conception of character.

8 Introduction By “character,” we mean the integration of a constellation of virtues within personality. In Chapter 4, we present and defend an “integration” thesis, by which we mean that the distinctiveness of individual characters can be explained by investigating interrelations among the unique arrays of virtues that people possess and display. The integration thesis is essentially practical, maintaining that virtues develop together uniquely in individual personalities as people respond to the virtue-​relevant circumstances of their daily lives. Character has been much discussed in the history of philosophy, especially in debates about the unity or reciprocity of the virtues. We situate the integration thesis vis-​à-​vis this literature, arguing that it is preferable to a number of views on the virtues and how they are unified (or not) to form character. These views are the “unity of virtue” thesis as articulated by Plato; several versions of the “reciprocity of the virtues” thesis, which originated with Aristotle, but has been the subject of debates among contemporary virtue ethicists; the idea of the incompatibility of the virtues; the “limited unity of virtue” thesis: and the situationist account of the fragmentation of character. In Chapter 5, “Strategies for Character Measurement,” we take on the task of offering strategies for the measurement of character as a whole, not just of specific virtues. Specifically, we discuss measuring virtue constellations to describe the co-​manifestation of multiple virtues that (in part) constitute a person’s character; the measurement of the regulative function of practical wisdom (or phronēsis) as one way of explaining interrelations among virtues, and the measurement of the reflective function of practical wisdom as it contributes to conscious awareness of the dynamics among virtues and manifests in virtue-​relevant goals, values, and identity. A further word on two key points is in order. Practical wisdom, in our view, is crucial both for the possession of individual virtues and for the construction and maintenance of a well-​integrated character. We note that we offer an overview of practical wisdom in Chapter 1, where we identify four roles or functions for practical

Introduction  9 wisdom and five parts of practical wisdom. The first function is to regulate specific virtues. Practical wisdom is intrinsic to specific virtues in the sense that we cannot possess full virtues such as generosity, compassion, and so on, without it. We discuss possibilities for measuring practical wisdom in this role in Chapter  3. In Chapter 5, as noted, we discuss how to measure two further roles for practical wisdom that pertain to character, those of regulating multiple virtues and of guiding reflection on our lives as a whole. We here leave aside a fourth role for practical wisdom, that of emotion regulation.6 We also leave aside discussion of the measurement of the parts of practical wisdom. We draw on Russell (2009, 21–​25) in Chapter 1 to articulate the parts, but note that he (2009, 21, 23) regards these not as parts but as separate virtues, which together form a suite of virtues. We also note that what we take to be the parts of practical wisdom are not well understood, owing to ambiguities in the interpretation of Aristotle’s texts. Because of these imprecisions, we believe that the parts of practical wisdom as explicated in Chapter 1 are not good candidates for measurement. The second key point concerns our conception of a trait. As we explain in Chapter 1, our conception of a trait is inspired by virtue ethics and is consistent with Whole Trait Theory (WTT). WTT is a social-​cognitivist theory according to which traits have both explanatory and descriptive sides. The descriptive side is the frequency with which a person acts in a trait-​relevant manner over time and in a variety of situations; the explanatory side consists of the social-​cognitive mechanisms responsible for producing her trait-​relevant behavior. This differs from other conceptions of traits found in psychology. Consider, for example, this comment: “Traits 6 Our rationale for this is that we believe the emotion regulation role of practical wisdom is subsumed within its other roles. In terms of regulating specific virtues, practical wisdom tells us which emotions to up/​down-​regulate in order to express (emotionally) compassion, courage, justice, and other virtues. The regulation of multiple virtues entails that practical wisdom coordinates the emotional expressions of these virtues. Finally, the reflective role tells us how we are doing with respect to emotional expression and sets the agenda for future effort, e.g., to consciously cultivate feelings of compassion.

10 Introduction are defined in the personality literature as genetically based structures that are immune to contextual influence. As such a character trait would be something that cannot change through education or other contextual influences. Clearly, the concept of traits is antithetical to a developmental perspective. See, for instance, Nucci (2017) and Lerner and Callina (2014).”7 In her earlier approach to finding a hospitable empirical framework for virtue, Snow (2010, 11–​12) confronted a similar issue—​ why not use the Big Five model of traits? Snow (2010, 12) quotes John and Srivastava (1999, 130), who write:  “researchers hold a diversity of perspectives on the conceptual status of the Big Five, ranging from purely descriptive concepts to biologically based causal concepts.” The biologically based causal concept of trait seems to be assumed in the aforementioned comment, according to which traits are genetically influenced and immune to contextual influences. Clearly, this conception would not be useful for understanding virtue in the Aristotelian-​inspired sense adopted here. Moreover, even though John and Srivastava (1999, 130) contend that the diversity of theoretical perspectives on the Big Five is not mutually exclusive, disagreements about the theoretical status of traits is daunting (see Snow, 2010, 12). These two considerations—​ the need for an empirically hospitable framework for understanding virtue, and the theoretical disarray in other conceptualizations of traits, led us to adopt the approach taken by WTT. We hope our account of character and virtue, and the measurement tools that flow from it in the following pages, will inspire frequent, deep interdisciplinary work between philosophers and psychologists. Philosophers who are willing to “get their hands dirty” by subjecting conclusions derived from careful conceptual analysis to concrete empirical tests may find enriching evidence that confirms, refutes, or clarifies boundary conditions around which those conclusions hold true. Indeed, we submit that some 7 Personal communication from Richard M. Lerner to Michael Warren, June 16, 2019.

Introduction  11 philosophers may feel more comfortable playing a role in empirical research that uses measures that were developed to do justice to the nuances of virtue. And for psychologists, we hope our modified Aristotelian, WTT-​based account and measurement suggestions will foster greater empirical interest in virtue and character and encourage collaborations with philosophers, opening possibilities for a wide range of formal scale development studies, and subsequently generate philosophically informed empirical work both at the level of individual virtues and for character as a whole. We wish to express our thanks to The Journal of Research in Personality for permission to use Figure 1.1 in Chapter 1 and to The Journal of Moral Philosophy for their kind permission to use material from Snow (2013) in Chapter 4. Thanks are especially due to Will Fleeson and Eranda Jayawickreme for their comments on an earlier version of Chapter 1; to Blaine Fowers for helpful comments on an earlier draft of the manuscript; to Lucy Randall, our editor Oxford University Press, for her help and advice; and to Jonathan Casad for editorial assistance.

1 Our Working Model of Virtue The position put forth in this volume is that virtues are best understood as a particular subset of personality traits. Conceiving of them as such opens up a rich empirical literature on personality traits, providing us with a useful source of insight into the underlying structure of virtues, as well as how they are instantiated and manifested—​and can be measured—​in everyday life. This literature provides us with the tools we need to think critically about whether or not, and to what degree, it makes sense to say that people can possess stable dispositions of virtue and character, whether virtues can function as robust, enduring (“global”) traits, and if so, when. Over the last forty years personality theorists have had to tackle a thorny problem that directly parallels the “situationist” challenge virtue ethicists have faced. More specifically, they have had to make sense of two seemingly disparate facts: (1) people clearly have different personalities (e.g., some people are generally light-​hearted and funny, while others are dour and serious; some people are quite friendly and outgoing, while others are more shy and socially withdrawn) and yet (2) the manifestation of personality in everyday behavior is also highly sensitive to and influenced by situational variables (e.g., a person may be quiet and withdrawn in one social situation, but talkative and engaged in another). Many researchers have tried to resolve this disparity by arguing for one side over the other. Some have argued for robust personality traits, emphasizing dispositional stability and individual differences (Ashton and Lee, 2009; McCrae and Costa, 1997, 2006; Funder, 1991, 1994; Goldberg, 1993; Wiggins and Pincus, 1992; Wiggins and Trapnell, 1997), while others have argued for Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

Our Working Model of Virtue  13 personality as a set of social-​cognitive systems, highlighting dynamic factors internal to persons, such as desires, beliefs, values, goals, expectancies, emotional states, and so on, that produce intra-​ individual variability in people’s responses to situational variables (Bandura, 1986; Cantor, 1994; Cantor and Kihlstrom, 1987; Higgins, 1990, 1999; Mischel, 1973, 1984, 1990; Pervin, 1990). A third approach has also emerged, which argues that these two seemingly disparate approaches can be united into a robust, and yet situationally dynamic, account of personality (Mischel and Shoda, 1995, 1998; Revelle, 1995). We think this third approach is not only the most promising with respect to providing a theoretically and empirically adequate account of personality, but it also provides the resources we need to do the same for virtue and character. In what follows, we will be relying primarily on a recent version of this approach, namely the theoretical model of personality traits provided by Whole Trait Theory (WTT) (Fleeson and Gallagher, 2009; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015; Jayawickreme and Fleeson, 2017a).1 Our aim in this chapter is to use the whole trait approach to flesh out a working theoretical conception of virtue. To this end, we begin by laying out our preferred “modified Aristotelian” model of virtue. Then we introduce the complexities of WTT, demonstrating how the different elements of the theory would work not only for personality traits, but also for our model of virtues. We will end the 1 The authors of WTT agree with our belief that WTT furnishes a promising empirical approach to understanding virtue; see Jayawickreme and Fleeson (2017a, 2017b). It should be noted that one of us, Snow (2010) took a similar approach in interpreting virtues as subsets of CAPS (cognitive-​affective personality system) traits. Snow (2010) drew on the work of social-​cognitive psychologists Walter Mischel and Yuichi Shoda to argue for her position. Some philosophers have critiqued the use of CAPS (see Papish, 2017; Miller, 2014, Chapter 5; Alfano, 2014, 78–​79). Convinced by some of these critiques and prevailed upon by several psychologists (including the co-​authors of this book) she has since come to view WTT as providing a more promising empirical framework within which to conceptualize virtue, as many of the same types of social-​cognitive units that made CAPS attractive as an empirical framework for conceptualizing virtue are also integral to WTT (see Jayawickreme and Fleeson, 2017b, 76; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015, 84).

14  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement chapter by illustrating how our broadly Aristotelian approach to virtue can be understood in terms of WTT.

Our Theoretical Account of Virtue: A Modified Aristotelianism Introductory Remarks The virtue ethical theory that we will seek to integrate with WTT is a modified version of Aristotle’s view. Our rationale for choosing a modified Aristotelianism is twofold. First, we are interested in an “ecumenical” approach to virtue, by which we mean an account that will have widespread appeal.2 We believe that a broadly Aristotelian approach fits this bill; that is, the conceptions of virtue adopted by many virtue ethicists are either inspired by or are otherwise compatible with Aristotle’s.3 Second, Aristotle’s theory of virtue is arguably the conceptually richest currently on offer. Given the complexity of his theory, if we can show that his conception of virtue is measurable, we will also have opened the way for the measurement of less conceptually rich accounts. In other words, we have tackled what we view as a “hard case,” in the hope that proponents of non-​Aristotelian theories will follow our lead and seek either to adapt the measurement proposals offered here or develop their own measurement approaches to their preferred conceptualizations of virtue. A further caveat is in order. Aristotle thought we have two kinds of virtues, virtues of character or moral virtues, and virtues of thought, or intellectual virtues. In addition, there could be other

2 This was also Snow (2010)’s and Russell (2009)’s strategy. 3 See, for example, Zagzebski (1996), Hursthouse (1999), Foot (2001), Swanton (2003), Russell (2009), and Snow (2010). Non-​Aristotelian-​inspired virtue theorists include Slote (2001), Hurka (2001), Adams (2006), Arpaly and Schroeder (2014), Chappell (2014), Zagzebski (2017), and Bommarito (2018).

Our Working Model of Virtue  15 kinds of virtues, such as prudential or aesthetic virtues. Our focus here is on moral virtues, or virtues of character, though we do not deny that measurable empirical accounts of other types of virtue are possible or desirable.

Our Account We take our ecumenical, Aristotelian-​inspired definition of virtue to be as follows: Virtues are entrenched dispositions of character (i.e., traits) which are consistently manifested in behavior across many different types of situations. Virtuous action is appropriately motivated, that is, motivated in ways that are characteristic of the specific virtue in question, and chosen on the basis of deliberation that is guided by practical wisdom or phronēsis (which, as we will discuss, can often occur largely non-​consciously, via automatic processing developed over time). Virtues develop over time through habituation and guided practice. Several comments on this definition are necessary in order to fully flesh out the ecumenical nature of our broadly Aristotelian account. First, we reject the situationist denial of the existence and/​or importance of global traits in producing behavior (see Harman, 1999; Doris, 2002). Following Russell (2009) and Snow (2010), we look to the resources of social-​cognitivism in psychology for frameworks within which global traits and virtues can be conceptualized. Like Jayawickreme and Fleeson (2017a, 2017b), we believe that WTT is a promising framework. Second, Aristotle holds that virtue is necessary but not sufficient for flourishing, maintaining that virtue plus external goods such as friends, good children, wealth, noble birth, and good looks were necessary and sufficient. The Stoics, by contrast, held that virtue alone is both necessary and sufficient for flourishing.4 We take no 4 See Russell (2012) for a masterful examination of ancient conceptions of the self, virtue, and flourishing.

16  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement stand on the question of the relation between virtue and flourishing here because our focus is on virtue measurement, and we wish our account to appeal to many virtue ethicists, even those not committed to the view that virtue and flourishing are linked. Third, we depart from Aristotle in another respect. Aristotle believes that virtue is what is appropriate or fitting in the circumstances, and that this is a mean or intermediate state between the vices of excess and deficiency. Courage, for example, is the mean between the vices of rashness and cowardice. “Right reason,” or orthos logos, enables us to find this mean state and is the same as practical wisdom (see Russell, 2009, 18–​19; Russell, 2014, 206). Though we agree that practical wisdom is required for fully virtuous action, we do not take a stand on the notion that virtue must be a mean state between only two opposing extremes. We wish to allow for the possibility that multiple states could be in opposition to virtue, either by way of excess or deficiency.5 Fourth, another possible difference from Aristotle concerns our position on the internal structure of virtue and the primacy of virtuous motivation. Following Snow (2010), we believe that the motivations characteristic of each virtue give it a distinctive character, such that motivation has a certain primacy in the structure of each virtue and lends to each virtue its characteristic integrity. For example, seeing someone in need, a compassionate person will be

5 Consider, for example, hope, which is not found on Aristotle’s list of the virtues in Book IV of the Nicomachean Ethics, but arguably, arises in his discussion of courage (see Gravlee, 2000). If we assume for the moment that hope is having just the right amount of confidence that a desired possible outcome will come to pass, then, following Aquinas (whose approach to virtue was inspired by Aristotle), presumption would be an excess of confidence, and despair, a deficiency. But this seems to us to be too narrow. Though one might despair of attaining the desired outcome, one might, either in addition to despairing or instead of it, be fearful that the outcome will not come about or cynical about its coming about. Since fear and despair are different mental states, it is possible that fear could be a second or even a third vice of deficiency that is opposed to hope, yet different from despair. We owe the suggestion that fear, as well as despair, is a contrary of hope to Luc Bovens (personal conversation with Snow, December 28, 2014), and the suggestion that cynicism could be a contrary to Eranda Jayawickreme.

Our Working Model of Virtue  17 moved to help that individual. The motivation to help will activate certain thoughts, desires, goals, and plans that follow in train—​ as, for example, the thought, “She needs help with that large suitcase,” or “I can help her lift it up there,” and so on. Compassionate motivations have primacy in the sense that the other elements of the virtue would not ensue were those motivations changed or removed. Lacking the motivation to help, the thoughts, emotions, and actions that follow could not be said to be truly compassionate.6 While the callous individual might also help, for example, this would not be based on the desire to help, but on other motivations, for example, the desire to relieve herself of the discomfort of witnessing the plight of the other (see Hobbes on pity; also Batson, Fultz, and Schoenrade, 1987).7 Her desire would be to get away from the spectacle of what the other is going through, and her thoughts, desires, goals, and plans would be calibrated accordingly. A clear similarity of our view with Aristotle’s is that, following him, we believe that practical wisdom or phronēsis is necessary for full virtue.8 We note that the possession of full virtue is not the perfect possession of virtue. Given the fallibility of human nature, even those who fully possess virtue can miss occasions for the exercise of virtuous action and response. A perfect person would never be distracted, ill, depressed, or subject to making occasional mistakes in reasoning. In other words, simply by dint of being finite and fallible,

6 We do not deny that Aristotle thinks that having the proper motivation is essential for virtue. We do not know whether he would agree with our claim that virtuous motivation strongly influences the reasoning that leads to virtuous action such that, were the motivation to change, so also would the reasoning. Hence, our view of the motivational structure of virtues may possibly differ from his. That said, we think it is a plausible view that is broadly consistent with an Aristotelian perspective. 7 See Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan (London: Penguin Classics, 1985). 8 A person is fully virtuous if she possesses all of the constituents of virtue: appropriate perception, motivations, thoughts, judgments, and affect, and these components of virtue regularly and reliably produce virtuous actions and responses in appropriate situations.

18  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement even someone who is fully virtuous can, through no grave fault of her own, fail to respond virtuously when the occasion calls for it. How can we know when a fully virtuous person simply fails on occasion to act virtuously, and when the failures reflect more deeply on her status as a truly virtuous person? This raises the issue of finding appropriate standards for virtue attribution—​and finding standards for the attribution of virtue to imperfect beings is a sticky problem. How many lapses of virtue can one afford to have before one can no longer be deemed genuinely generous or honest? One might approach this problem probabilistically—​but the issue is that probabilistically based attributions of virtue seem too blunt an instrument to truly capture the nuances of virtue attributions. In a thoughtful critique of probabilistically based virtue attributions, Adams (2006, 122–​125) suggests that some virtues are virtues of imperfect obligation, while others are of perfect obligation. Virtues of imperfect obligation, like Kant’s imperfect duties, afford their possessor some latitude in the choice of when to exercise a virtue. For example, one can be deemed charitable, yet not give to charity on every single occasion the opportunity arises. One can be considered charitable provided one gives of one’s money, resources, and/​or time on a fairly regular basis—​or gives to a significant degree on less frequent occasions. What about virtues of perfect obligation? Kant thought we have a perfect duty never to lie. Though Adams (2006, 124–​125) views such an absolute standard as too high, he nonetheless argues that one can only be considered honest provided that one has the requisite dispositions and lies only rarely, if at all.9 In a discussion of this issue, Alfano (2014, 31–​ 32), while adopting a probabilistic account, argues that a distinction between high-​fidelity and low-​fidelity virtues captures much of Adams’ explanation without introducing Kantian notions of duty into virtue theoretic thinking. Alfano (2014, 31; see also 136)  states that “A 9 The same could be said for being gentle (non-​violent).

Our Working Model of Virtue  19 high-​ fidelity virtue requires near-​ perfect consistency, whereas a low-​fidelity virtue requires much higher consistency than one would expect without the trait in question.” He is referring to cross-​ situational behavioral consistency. He argues that high-​fidelity virtues require that you express them in all aspects of your life that are relevant to that virtue, and in all relevant situations. Low-​fidelity virtues, on the other hand, require only some level of expression—​ perhaps in certain important aspects of your life, but not others; perhaps in many different situations, but not all. Chastity, fairness, fidelity, trustworthiness, honesty, and justice, Alfano (2014, 31) thinks, are high-​fidelity virtues. Low-​fidelity virtues are charity, diligence, friendliness, generosity, industry, magnanimity, mercy, tact, and tenacity (Alfano, 2014, 32). In his discussion of high-​and low-​fidelity intellectual virtues, Alfano (2014, 136) notes that his lists are meant to be neither comprehensive nor uncontroversial. To be sure, questions can arise. If someone cheats on her spouse once in the drunken aftermath of an office Christmas party, and regrets it ever after, does that mean she can no longer be considered chaste, or that she was never chaste to begin with? If a grandparent is in the habit of favoring one grandchild over others, does that mean she lacks the high-​fidelity virtue of justice? Mercy is a low-​fidelity virtue, but if a judge sentences a prisoner to death when she could reasonably have given a life sentence, is she still to be considered merciful? Our position on this issue is closer to Adams’ than to Alfano’s, but it goes beyond both. Full virtue in our sense involves more than mere probability estimates that one will act virtuously on any given occasion. After all, one could reliably perform virtuous actions, such as truth-​telling, as a matter of blind habit or rote, out of fear of punitive consequences for lying, or for any number of other non-​virtuous motives. One must have appropriately virtuous motives, and this cannot be ascertained on the basis of probability estimates of how frequently one will perform virtuous actions. In addition to the appropriate motives for virtuous

20  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement response, however, having full virtue includes a commitment to being virtuous, expressed as what we call “virtue-​oriented” motivations. These include the desire to be or to become virtuous, to maintain what virtue we have and improve in respects in which we see ourselves as being deficient, and to being a certain kind of person—​for example, someone who “just doesn’t do that sort of thing.” This is not an abstract ideal. It is, by contrast, indicative of the will to strive toward being virtuous (see Annas, 2011). Even someone who possesses the commitment to being virtuous can make mistakes—​sometimes serious ones—​and can have blind spots. After their error or when told about their blind spots, such an individual will experience remorse, regret, and even shame, and will resolve to improve. Thus, we think the commitment to being virtuous can enable one to have full virtue (or something like it), and yet be human and subject to fallibility. Hence, we think that attributing virtue on the basis of probability estimates is an incomplete approach, in large part because it ignores the inner states of agents—​most notably the strength of their commitment to being virtuous, even when they might fail to be so. We note that we do not require the committed agent to conceptualize her commitment to being virtuous (chaste, generous, and so on) in exactly those terms. She could, for example, think of herself as the kind of person who simply doesn’t cheat on her spouse, who is strongly committed to fidelity in marriage in general and to her spouse in particular. When she makes a mistake, she rues it, regarding her commitment as compromised. Relatedly, and consistent with the position taken by McDowell (1979), we believe that a fully virtuous person has a certain perspective such that she perceives virtue-​relevant stimuli differently from people who are not virtuous. She regards being faithful to her spouse or generous to a friend when the circumstances call for it, for example, as not optional, but required. Consequently, she doesn’t feel tempted to cheat or be stingy in the same way that others might.

Our Working Model of Virtue  21 Full virtue should also be distinguished both from less full or undeveloped virtue,10 and from what Aristotle calls “natural virtue.” Natural virtue is not guided by practical wisdom. Aristotle attributes it to children and even animals. Dogs, for example, can be loyal or brave, but they do not deliberate about it. Children can have natural virtue in Aristotle’s sense, but we prefer to view their virtue as being developmental, as in the process of moving from natural virtue to full virtue. Our view of children’s virtue as developmental is subject to certain caveats: that the children are receiving appropriate upbringing, guidance, etc., and that they are not cognitively or emotionally impaired. The development of virtue, we believe, occurs in part through the training of emotions (see Hursthouse, 2006), as well as the training of practical wisdom.11 Practical wisdom is, thus, important not only for full virtue but also for the development of virtue. This is because virtuous action, through which we develop virtue, is based on a choice or decision that results from deliberation. Practical wisdom guides that deliberation, enabling us to make virtuous choices and act virtuously. We believe that virtuous deliberations or patterns of reasoning can become habitual or routinized parts of our nonconscious processing and is one pathway by means of which virtue is developed (see Snow, 2006; 2010, Chapter 2; see also Russell, 2009, 12–​13, 23).

10 We wish to flag a difference between two senses in which virtue can be “less full” or “undeveloped.” In one sense, undeveloped virtue is “in process”—​it is on the way to full virtue, should the requisite conditions for virtue development obtain. In another sense, undeveloped virtue can be truncated or “stuck,” and not susceptible of further development. We see this most clearly in the cases of individuals who have suffered trauma or other forms of emotional or psychological damage. Rape survivors or soldiers suffering from PTSD, for example, could have severely truncated capacities for trust, forgiveness, or compassion that result from their traumatic experiences. In these kinds of cases, we cannot rule out the unfortunate possibility that their capacities for developing certain virtues have been damaged beyond repair. 11 In Chapter 4 we offer a developmental account of practical wisdom in connection with the “integration” thesis—​our view of how the virtues are interrelated into a unified, coherent character.

22  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

The Roles of Practical Wisdom (or Phronēsis) Practical wisdom (also referred to as “phronēsis”) is an essential part of our theoretical model of virtue and character and so it is important that we discuss it specifically and at some length. Laying it out clearly here will not only better clarify our view, but it will also help us to locate it within WTT—​a challenging task, given that “practical wisdom” is not something typically discussed in the personality literature, nor typically accommodated into models of personality traits, WTT included. We take the first two functions of practical wisdom to both be action-​guiding, yet distinct senses. First, it has action-​guiding roles that are intrinsic to each virtue. That is, practical wisdom is integral to the reasoning processes that are shaped by the motivations that are characteristic of each virtue. To claim this is to allow both that the deliberative reasoning intrinsic to virtue can be occurrent and salient to the reasoner’s conscious awareness, and that practical wisdom can become routinized and deeply integrated into our character, so that virtuous reasoning and responses become a kind of “second nature” (see McDowell, 1979). Roles for practical wisdom exceed those which are internal to each virtue; that is, they go beyond the deliberations and judgments that guide the virtuous person in the responses she makes that are specific to each virtue, such as compassion, generosity, justice, and so on. Thus, practical wisdom is also action-​guiding in a second sense, insofar as it involves the regulation of multiple virtues in those contexts where more than one virtue is called for. Perhaps the most obvious of these regulatory roles is cases in which virtues conflict. Does this case require justice or mercy? Practical wisdom helps the virtuous person decide. Aside from adjudicatory roles in cases of conflicting virtues, practical wisdom assists in a person’s ability to “check and balance” the operation of the virtues within her overall character—​e.g., making sure a person’s charitable nature is balanced with a sense of fairness; her honesty softened with a

Our Working Model of Virtue  23 hint of kindness and compassion, and so on. This will be discussed in more depth in Chapters 4 and 5. In other cases, too, practical wisdom can assist in deliberate virtue development and vice inhibition. Practical wisdom is that which enables someone to develop patience as an antidote to inappropriate anger or frustration. It can help one to self-​identify or dis-​identify with certain sorts of traits, and thereby to guide the shaping of one’s character. It allows one to reflect on oneself and make judgments such as, “That’s not the kind of person I want to be,” or “I see myself as that kind of person,” and take steps to change one’s practices and habits accordingly. We believe that these remarks about roles for practical wisdom that are internal or intrinsic to specific virtues and those that involve the regulation of the different virtues that constitute one’s character are broadly compatible with a conception of practical wisdom that is familiar from recent work in neo-​Aristotelian virtue ethics.12 In hypothesizing roles for practical wisdom both intrinsic to each virtue and regulative of all of the virtues, we do not mean to challenge Aristotle’s view that phronēsis is “one” (NE VI 13.1145a1–​ 2). Russell (2014, 208), upon whom we draw, explains this as follows: “the phronesis involved in deliberation about the ends of the virtues is the same no matter which virtue is concerned. There is not one phronesis for generosity and another for justice, say, but the same phronesis for all the virtues.” We agree with this point, and do not mean to posit multiple forms of practical wisdom, one for each virtue. Our claim is that practical wisdom has different roles to play, and, functioning as an intrinsic component of each virtue, it is deeply shaped by the motivations characteristic of those virtues. When playing regulative roles outside the scope of each virtue, the motivations characteristic of each virtue do not shape practical 12 The view of practical wisdom articulated here is indebted to recent work by Russell (2014, 2009). We believe his work is the most exhaustive explanation to date of an Aristotelian conception of phronēsis. See Russell (2009, 141) for remarks similar to ours about the “twin roles of phronesis.”

24  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement wisdom; instead, it is shaped by motivations directed to attaining other ends that transcend the scope of individual virtues, such as the desire to adjudicate a conflict between virtues in order to do the right thing, the desire to develop particular virtues and inhibit particular vices,13 or the desire to become or avoid becoming a certain kind of person. All of these motivations and ends are directed to attaining aspects of the human good. Thus, we believe that our view is largely compatible with Russell (2014, 208)’s claim that “no matter which virtue may be one’s primary concern in deliberation, practical wisdom employs the same global understanding of the human good that is relevant to every virtue.” Thus far, we have identified two action-​guiding roles for practical wisdom. We also believe that our conceptualization of practical wisdom is similar to Russell’s (2009, 20–​25) understanding in another important respect. Discussing Aristotle’s view of practical wisdom, Russell (2009, 21, 23) makes the point that practical wisdom is not a monolithic virtue, but is instead, a suite of virtues of the practical intellect: comprehension, sense, intelligence, deliberative excellence, and cleverness. Though each might be a virtue in its own right, we find it more useful to conceptualize them as different parts of practical wisdom.14 13 Though we do not discuss vice, we agree with Aristotle in thinking that it is not merely the absence of virtue, but a trait that is developed as part of one’s pursuit of what is in fact a bad (e.g., selfish) end, as what happens when one is mistaken in one’s beliefs about what is good and desires what is in fact bad instead of what is good. For example, one might mistakenly believe it is good to poke malicious fun at people suffering from misfortune, and develop cruelty as part of one’s pursuit of that kind of enjoyment. Though it is not good to poke this kind of fun, one mistakenly believes it is because one gets pleasure from it, and becomes cruel as a result. An interesting question is whether vice results not only from adopting a mistaken conception of what is good, but also from the deliberate (that is, knowing) adoption of immoral ends, as in Milton’s Paradise Lost, in which Satan famously proclaims, “Evil, be thou my good” (Milton, 2000). In such cases, one knows full well that one is pursuing an evil end, and does not mistake it for the good. We see no reason to exclude either kind of vice. 14 As Russell acknowledges, Aristotle sometimes says very little about these specific virtues (see, e.g., Russell, 2009, 21, 22). As is well known among philosophers, the exact nature of phronēsis is the subject of considerable philosophical debate. Readers should bear in mind that the interpretations found in these short glosses on the parts of practical wisdom have been hotly debated. As we note in our introduction, what we are calling the

Our Working Model of Virtue  25 Comprehension (sunesis, eusunesis), for example, is the ability to “read” a situation, or to reflect correctly about a person’s words or actions, and is a crucial part of deliberation (Russell, 2009, 20–​21). This skill is obviously essential both to actions that express specific virtues, such as courage or compassion, and to the regulation of virtues as a whole. For example, such tasks as ascertaining whether a situation merits a compassionate response, or whether a just or merciful act is called for in the circumstances, seem to rely in part on comprehending the details of the situation at hand. Sense (gnōmē) is the discrimination of what is reasonable and appropriate. Russell (2009, 21) remarks that in Greek as in English, the cognates of “sense” are both “sensible” and “sensitive.” According to Russell (2009, 21), “Aristotle emphasizes that a person with sense has sympathy (sungnōmē), and, as Robert Louden has remarked, this suggests an ability to see things from another’s point of view in deliberating about what is reasonable or appropriate” (Russell, 2009, 21).15 Again, sense is key to successful virtuous actions and response and can be used both within specific virtues and to regulate different virtues. For example, sense helps us to know how to be generous by taking the perspective of the other and asking ourselves what she would want for a birthday gift. By taking the perspective of another, we might gain insight into which virtue is best suited to the occasion. Perhaps another’s pride would be wounded if an embarrassing moment were treated with compassion, instead of the use of ready wit. Nous or intelligence is more complex, as it “appears in both theoretical and practical reasoning” (Russell, 2009, 22). Aristotle compares intelligence in practical reasoning to visual perception; those with intelligence have acquired through experience something like a perceptual capacity that gives them insight into how “parts” of practical wisdom are imprecise, owing in part to ambiguities in interpreting the Greek. Further conceptual work needs to be done before developing measures of the five parts. 15 This sounds to us like perspective-​taking—​the cognitive aspect of empathy.

26  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement best to act virtuously. It involves problem-​solving abilities that are built up over time through experience (Russell, 2009, 22–​23). Clearly, intelligence can be shaped by virtuous motivations, but can also operate at a higher level by adjudicating conflicts among virtues, and otherwise regulating how they function within the context of one’s character. Deliberative excellence (eubolia) is grasping the correct end in one’s deliberations and how to take the right steps toward them (Russell, 2009, 24). Unlike practical wisdom as a whole, which has a grasp of the global human good, deliberative excellence allows us to aim for more specific goods. Like intelligence, it seems to have roles both internal and external to specific virtues. Deliberative excellence can enable us to achieve a specific good, such as comforting a bereaved friend, or a self-​oriented good, the attainment of which involves more than one virtue, such as shaping one’s personality to become more compassionate and courageous in defending the downtrodden. Cleverness (deinotēs) is good means-​ends reasoning (Russell, 2009, 24–​25). Whereas someone can have cleverness without practical wisdom (someone can be clever without being virtuous), she cannot have practical wisdom without cleverness. The difference between them seems to be that practical wisdom involves a kind of planning toward attainment of a good that one has specified, whereas cleverness is simply the execution of a plan. Thus, cleverness can be used in the service of ends that are good, bad, or neutral. Cleverness, too, can be shaped by the motivations intrinsic to a specific virtue, or be applied to the regulation of more than one virtue, as one crafts plans, for example, to increase one’s compassionate sensitivities and bolster one’s courage. A contentious issue that bears on deliberative excellence as well as cleverness is Aristotle’s provocative claim that practical wisdom is reasoning about means, not about ends (see Russell, 2009, 5; NE III.3, 1112b11–​12, 33–​34; EE II.10, 1226b9–​12, 1227a5ff). Many theorists, such as Russell (2009, 6–​11) do not adopt this narrow

Our Working Model of Virtue  27 conception of the scope of practical wisdom, but have a broader account according to which Aristotle holds a “specificatory” view of ends. On this account, practical wisdom specifies some ends that are not only means to, but also partly constitutive of, larger ends. Good character affords us glimpses of ends that are valuable and worth having in our lives, such as flourishing or living well, and practical wisdom enables us to flesh out or specify the shape those ends will take, that is, to determine how we will flourish—​ by having a family, taking a certain career path or choosing a religious vocation, cultivating good friends, and so on. As Russell (2009, 7) remarks: “on the broader view, phronesis unlike cleverness grasps the very nature and content of virtuous ends. And on the broad view, deliberation reveals character because specifying one’s ends reveals the reasons for which one acts; on the narrow view, it does not.” Some scholars attribute to Aristotle a “grand end” view, according to which practical wisdom both informs and is informed by a comprehensive, explicit, substantial conception of the good, which guides deliberations and choice and would not typically be available to ordinary people, but only to philosophers and experienced statespersons (see Darnell, Gulliford, Kristjánsson, and Paris, 2019, 19; and Kraut, 1993, 361). Others attribute to Aristotle the “blueprint” view, according to which our particular deliberations and choices need to be guided or shaped by a general blueprint or architectonic vision of the good (see Russell, 2009, 27–​30; Kristjánsson, 2015, 100–​101). The “blueprint” view is weaker. Like the grand end view, the blueprint both informs and is informed by practical wisdom, but is available to ordinary persons who have been raised well, and consists of their view of the ends and aims of one’s life as a whole.16 The blueprint orders ends and goods within one’s life, and

16 See also Broadie (1991, 198–​202), and Segvic (2009, 105, 158), both cited in Darnell et al. (2019, 20).

28  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement is, ideally, “on call” to guide action in specific situations (see Darnell et al. 2019, 20). There is considerable complexity in the interpretation of these two positions. Kraut (1993, 362), a proponent of the ‘grand end’ view, writes that, “What is essential to the Grand End view is a thesis about the justification of decisions: if a person of practical wisdom is asked to state his reasons for making a decision, then the full justification must begin with a substantive and correct conception of happiness.” Such a conception of happiness is, presumably, available only to those who have engaged in reflection on what happiness is. Kraut (1993, 362), in his review of Sarah Broadie’s book, Ethics with Aristotle (1991), continues: “What is strikingly original and controversial about Broadie’s interpretation is that this is precisely what she denies. A practically wise person, on her reading, does not need a conception of happiness in order to make good decisions.” Broadie (1991, 199-​201) argues against the grand end view, contending that: The person of practical wisdom would have (on such a theory) to be a philosopher or to have absorbed the teachings of philosophers. How else would he or she come by that comprehensive vision? Aristotle sees the activities of philosophy and theoretical science as perfecting the life of practical virtue so as to render it a life of complete (or perfect) human happiness . . . But in NE VI he shows no sign of holding that practical virtue itself, which includes practical wisdom, necessarily presupposes a command of philosophical ethics.

We will not engage in further discussion of debates about grand end and blueprint views because they take us too far afield of virtue measurement.17 For us their value lies in highlighting yet another 17 Snow is skeptical about needing access to a general blueprint in order to make decisions about the ends that are worth having in our lives. In Snow (2018b) she argues that we can make good choices in a “bottom up” or piecemeal way through the

Our Working Model of Virtue  29 important role for practical wisdom, namely, enabling one to reflect on one’s life as a whole. This type of reflection goes beyond the two action-​guiding functions of practical wisdom mentioned earlier—​that involved in guiding specifically virtuous actions, such as generous or compassionate acts, and those involved in regulating multiple virtues. For example, practical wisdom allows us to stand back from our present place and time and reflect on the entire trajectory of our lives, to construct, as it were, a narrative unity of our life as a whole (see MacIntyre, 1984, 2016) on the importance of the narrative unity of a life for the exercise of virtue. This, we believe, is an important third function of practical wisdom that is especially significant for deliberate virtue cultivation. Whether we possess an actual blueprint or a much more vague notion of what we find good and valuable in life, practical wisdom allows us to step back from our present circumstances, identify the goods we want and think worth having, and think about the kinds of persons we want to be and the virtues we need to possess in order to have those goods and to be those persons. This third function suggests a fourth. Being a virtuous person entails not only acting well, but also having appropriate emotions. Thus, we agree with Darnell et  al. (2019, 19–​20), that practical wisdom regulates virtuous emotions, ensuring that the right kind of emotions accompany virtuous action, for example, that we give open-​handedly and whole-​heartedly, and not grudgingly, and that our emotional reactions hit the right mean, being neither excessive nor deficient. As they rightly note, this emotion regulation should not be understood as a kind of suppression or “policing” of emotions by reason, but in the more complex sense that the virtuous person’s emotions are infused with reason.18 recognition of the various kinds of value—​instrumental, constitutive, and intrinsic—​ that virtue can have in our lives. This approach does not assume the need for a general blueprint. 18 We think it is important to note the separate function of practical wisdom in regulating virtuous emotion, apart from its role in regulating virtuous action. In the

30  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement To recap the main points of this section, we have identified four roles or functions for practical wisdom: guiding the action of specific virtues, regulating interactions among multiple virtues, guiding reflection on one’s life as a whole, and regulating virtuous emotions. We have also followed Russell (2009) in spelling out what we conceptualize as different parts of practical wisdom, as we think they are of interest for virtue measurement, as well as in spelling out what we conceptualize as different parts of practical wisdom, as we think they are of interest for virtue measurement. We turn now to our discussion of WTT. 19

Introductory Remarks on WTT WTT unites the situational variability and flexibility of social-​ cognitive theories of personality with the predictive power generated by traits as individual difference variables, that is, that people can be meaningfully said to differ in their possession of a trait, such as extraversion or conscientiousness (Ashton and Lee, 2009; McCrae and Costa, 2006). It is called “whole trait” theory because it weds the “descriptive side” of a trait, represented by the frequency with which a person behaves in a trait-​appropriate manner

expression of virtue, action and emotion often go hand in hand. However, there are cases in which virtuous action is not accompanied by virtuous emotion, and cases in which virtuous emotion is not accompanied by action. Practical wisdom regulates both. 19 Our account of practical wisdom is similar to that proposed by Darnell et al. (2019). They suggest that phronēsis has four components:  (1) Constitutive function—​helps us to perceive virtue-​relevant stimuli as such; (2)  Integrative function—​helps us adjudicate among conflicting virtues, or otherwise integrate components of a good life; (3)  Blueprint—​provides a general conception of the good life, and moral identity is calibrated to that blueprint; and (4) Emotion regulation—​contributes to the infusion of virtue-​relevant emotion (and thus motivational force) into one’s perceptions, moral judgments, and decisions. Our view also has affinities with that of Schwartz and Sharpe (2006), who hold that practical wisdom plays a role in: (1) Relevance—​identifying the relevant virtue for the situation, (2) Conflict—​adjudicating among two or more virtues that suggest quite different courses of action, and (3) Specificity—​translating the virtue into appropriate action.

Our Working Model of Virtue  31 over time and in different situational circumstances, and the “explanatory side,” which involves the underlying social-​cognitive systems that are responsible for producing this person-​specific distribution of trait-​appropriate responses. For example, extraversion can produce a distribution of consistently friendly behaviors over time and in varying circumstances, and is explained by such social-​ cognitive variables such as the desire to get to know new people, beliefs that people are receptive to friendly overtures, and so on. According to WTT, every person will display some degree of intrapersonal variability in trait-​ expression between situations and over time. Even a very friendly person, for example, will be friendlier toward some people and in some contexts than others; a shy person will fluctuate in the degree to which her shyness is expressed, and so on. That variability can be explained as a function of the way each person’s social-​cognitive systems analyze, interpret, respond to, and interact with the situational stimuli she encounters. In other words, according to this account, personality traits are functional—​their manifestation serves as a “concrete means by which people accomplish their goals,” satisfy their desires, uphold their values, and so on (McCabe and Fleeson, 2016, 287). This means that the intrapersonal variability in a person’s trait-​ expression is robustly dispositional in at least two senses. First, it is the result of the way in which situationally encountered stimuli are processed by dispositionally stable social-​cognitive systems; and second, it can be mapped out over time, providing a “density-​ distribution” which tends to be highly dispositionally stable. By this we mean that the distribution of a person’s trait-​expression produced during one window of time is highly predictive (correlations around .8; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015)  of her trait-​expression in future windows of time.20

20 A correlation (r) of .8 is very strong, suggesting that as much as 64% (r2) of the variability in the person’s Time 2 behavior was predicted by her Time 1 behavior. We provide an overview of correlation and other statistical concepts in Chapter 2.

32  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Whole Trait Theory Input • Environmental Event • Internal Event

Frequency of Actions at that Level of The State


Links Intermediates • Other Environmental or Internal Events • Interpretation of Situation • Activation of Goals • Initiation of Homeostatic Forces Links Output (Increase or decrease in state) • Change in manifestation of each Big 5 trait


0 20 40 60 80 100 State Level at Any Given Moment

Figure 1.1  Whole Trait Theory. TraitDES—​the descriptive part of traits. TraitEXP—​the explanatory part of traits.

Thus, WTT allows us to accommodate the potential for situationally induced variability in a person’s trait-​appropriate responses (e.g., she is honest with her friends, but not her family; friendly when she’s in a good mood, but not when she is under a high degree of stress; etc.), while at the same time being able to meaningfully say that one person can be more honest or more friendly, that is, possessing (or manifesting)21 the trait of honesty or friendliness to a greater degree, than another (see Figure 1.1). 21 While we are inclined to state that people possess traits, WTT theorists are more inclined to say that people manifest traits. The latter approach is thought to be less “essentialist,” speaking as if traits are “things” that a person can have or not have, instead of a range of cognition, affect, motivation, and behaviors that are interconnected and collectively give rise to the manifestation of a trait.

Our Working Model of Virtue  33 Figure 1.1 represents the WTT model of traits, which splits into two parts—​the descriptive part of the trait (how the trait manifests) and the explanatory part of the trait (what generates the trait manifestations). The explanatory part of the trait further breaks down into inputs, intermediaries, and outputs. Reproduced with permission from Fleeson and Jayawickreme (2015) and the Journal of Research in Personality.

TRAITexp: The Explanatory Side of Traits As Figure 1.1 indicates, WTT holds that traits have both descriptive and explanatory parts. Here we explain in some detail the explanatory part of traits. The descriptive part will be discussed later. WTT holds that traits are robust dispositional capacities for trait-​ appropriate behavior. Such behavior is typically manifested to the degree to which there is reason for it to be. Whether there is reason for a trait to be manifested depends upon the presence or absence of situationally encountered stimuli that are “trait-​relevant” (that is, that call for the exercise of the trait). In other words, trait manifestation is typically the result of: the perception of trait-​relevant stimuli (the “input”), which is processed by social-​cognitive systems (the “intermediates”), and results in the production of a set of situation-​specific trait-​appropriate responses (the “output”). Thus, in order to reliably manifest a trait, the person must be disposed to accurately perceive whatever trait-​relevant stimuli are present in the surrounding external and internal environments and process them in such a way as to produce trait-​ appropriate responses.22

22 An example of an external stimulus for trait-​relevant behavior is the sight of someone in need of help (relevant to the trait of compassion). An example of an internal stimulus is the thought that today is a friend’s birthday (relevant to the traits of considerateness or generosity).

34  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Someone who possesses the trait of shyness, for example, will be disposed to accurately perceive stimuli relevant to that trait, for example, a group of peers approaching her; being subjected to intrusive personal questions; being asked by a teacher to speak in front of the class, and so on. She will process those stimuli in such a way as to produce trait-​appropriate responses. She will, for example, move away from the approaching group; politely decline to answer questions; or speak quietly and without making eye contact. Similarly, someone possessing the trait of honesty will be disposed to accurately perceive honesty-​relevant stimuli, for example, an officer asking for her testimony about a situation; a cashier giving her too much money back from a purchase; or someone’s exam answers being within easy viewing range. She will process these stimuli in such a way as to produce honesty-​appropriate responses, such as giving the officer accurate information during her testimony; handing the excess change back to the cashier; averting her eyes from the exam answers. The presence of trait-​relevant stimuli will not always by itself be sufficient to result in a trait-​appropriate response. The stimuli must be perceived as trait-​relevant and then be interpreted, via intermediate social-​cognitive processing, as actually calling for a trait-​appropriate response. Perception plus interpretation are then, ceteris paribus, theorized to produce trait-​relevant responses.23 Let us explain the three steps of perception, interpretation, and response in more detail.

Step 1: Input and Perception of Trait-​Relevant Stimuli For the accurate perception of “trait-​relevant stimuli” two things are required: First, the presence of relevant features of the situation to which the person is responding, such as in the case of seeing a

23 The need for the ceteris paribus clause will become apparent in what follows.

Our Working Model of Virtue  35 person in apparent distress; and second, the perception of those features as relevant to the trait, that is, seeing the person’s distress as being relevant to whether a compassionate response is called for. In other words, the person herself must perceive any trait-​ relevant features of the situation as being trait-​relevant. To illustrate how this model of perception works, let us return again to a trait not considered to be a virtue, namely, shyness. As our discussion proceeds, we’ll flag similarities with a trait that is typically considered to be a virtue, namely, honesty. Consider shyness. What is the difference between someone who is only mildly shy, that is, relatively low in the trait of shyness, and someone who is extremely shy? The mildly shy person can be exposed to the same shy-​relevant stimuli (e.g., a stranger approaching) as the person who is extremely shy, yet not perceive it as relevant. Perhaps she experiences the stimuli as less threatening or less likely to result in a socially awkward situation than the extremely shy person, and therefore it does not rise to the level of triggering the cascade of social-​cognitive processing that results in a trait-​appropriate response (e.g., averting her gaze, turning away). This difference in their perception of stimuli as trait-​relevant is the first step in explaining the difference in their production of shy-​ appropriate responses—​and, hence, why we would be correct in saying that the second person is more shy (i.e., higher in the trait of shyness)24 than the first. This first step provides the extremely shy person with a (defeasible) reason for action. That is to say, when the shy person perceives shy-​relevant stimuli, she has, by her lights, a reason for a shy-​ appropriate response (such as averting her gaze,

24 Whether we should consider someone who does not respond with shy behavior as failing to possess the trait or possessing the trait to a remarkably low degree is an open question and a matter of some disagreement. The authors of WTT tend to lean in the direction of the latter, though it is interesting that we are typically not inclined to attribute a trait to a person (as in, she is a “shy” or “honest” person) unless she is reliably disposed to manifest it in the presence of trait-​relevant stimuli.

36  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement withdrawing, etc.) insofar as the perception of shy-​ relevant stimuli activates certain social-​cognitive systems—​composed of, among other things, beliefs, attitudes, and schemas (e.g., about herself and how others perceive her), as well as motivational states (e.g., the desire to avoid embarrassment, and/​or the goal to protect her privacy). Similarly, when the honest person perceives honesty-​relevant stimuli, this provides her with a (defeasible) reason for an honest response. So, for example, when she notices the cashier giving her more change than she is due, the honest person perceives this fact as a reason to return the change to the cashier. When she is under oath in court, the honest person perceives that fact as a reason to give truthful testimony, and so on. This is not to say that either shy or honest responses to trait-​ relevant stimuli should be understood in behavioristic terms as mere stimuli and response. To be sure, traits, including virtues, can be ingrained parts of our personalities to such an extent that stimuli can activate our traits outside of our conscious awareness. A shy person, for example, doesn’t have to think before averting her eyes when someone tries to make contact. She simply does it as a matter of ingrained habit. Similarly, the honest person doesn’t need to say to herself, “Should I give back this change?” She simply gives it back, as part of her ingrained disposition of honesty. Studies have suggested that such responses can be intelligent and flexible, and need not be considered merely rote responses to behavioral stimuli. Work by Bargh and his colleagues (see e.g., Bargh, 1989; Bargh and Barndollar, 1996; Bargh and Gollwitzer, 1994; Bargh et al., 2001; also Snow, 2006; 2010, c­ hapter 2) indicates that repeated exposure to features of situations activate chronically held goals. Desires to achieve these goals, such as being an honest person, protecting one’s privacy, avoiding embarrassment, and so on, provide agents with reasons for acting. These reasons, though perhaps initially salient to an agent’s conscious awareness, become increasingly routinized over time and repeated activation, even when activation occurs in

Our Working Model of Virtue  37 different types of situations. The reasons then become part of our nonconscious processing systems.25 Taking the point a step further, even having a reason to respond trait-​appropriately does not necessarily trigger trait-​appropriate behavior. A person might have overriding reasons not to respond trait-​appropriately, even if she were otherwise disposed to do so. The shy person, for example, might have reason to override a shy-​ appropriate response when going into an important job interview, as she strongly wants the job, or when trying to make new friends, as she is committed to spending less time alone. The presence of such contradictory goals, desires, and values may reduce, if only temporarily, the manifestation of her shyness. It is also the case that the desires, goals, and values originally satisfied by her trait manifestation could disappear or change over time, making continued manifestation of that trait counterproductive. Similarly, the honest person may have reason to override a particular honesty-​appropriate response, for example, when her young niece asks her whether Santa Claus really lives in the North Pole or when her best friend asks her if she enjoyed her homemade apple pie. In both the cases of shyness and honesty, once trait-​relevant stimuli have been perceived, the intermediate, that is, social-​ cognitive, level of processing is activated. Intermediate level processing then determines whether, in any given situation, to respond trait-​appropriately. This intermediate level of processing will be discussed further in the next section. We should also note that people can take control of their external and internal environments and alter them or features of them in trait-​appropriate ways. Someone who is extremely shy could, for 25 This explanation presupposes a sort of dual-​ processing theory, according to which the mind’s workings can be explained in terms of two systems: conscious and nonconscious processing (see, for example, Snow, 2006; 2010, Chapter 2; Chaiken and Trope, 1999; Kahneman, 2013). We recognize that dual-​processing theories are not the only model available for explaining the division between effortful, conscious processing and automatic, unconscious processing (see Rangel, Camerer, and Montague, 2008). For our purposes, it is doubtful that anything significant hinges on which model we use.

38  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement example, take a job she can do from home, thus minimizing her need to interact with people, or she may actively cultivate only a small group of close, trustworthy friends. Both responses structure her external environment in ways that “fit” her shyness, though they do so in different ways. They also have different implications for changes that occur in her internal environment. The former choice may reinforce her fear of social engagement, strengthening her shyness and making her even more reclusive, while the latter choice might encourage her to open up and share more of herself with others, perhaps helping her to feel less afraid of future social interactions. Similarly, someone who is honest might take steps to distance herself from dishonest people or she could seek out a profession that accepts, even requires, honesty. While both reinforce the importance of honesty through her external environment, the latter is likely to require a greater internal cultivation of honesty as she navigates the difficulties of manifesting the trait in her daily activities. In both cases, possessors of traits are not merely passive reactors. Instead, they actively construct (both consciously and unconsciously) their internal and external environments. Typically, this is not something people do in isolation, but in collaboration with others. Societies make life easier for people with some personality traits than others. For example, we live in a world that tends to value extraversion over introversion and therefore offers environments generally easier for extraverts to navigate (Cain, 2012). Similarly, a society may value or disvalue honesty or compassion, generating norms and incentives that make honest or compassionate responses easier or harder to cultivate and express. In this way, various mechanisms of culture help to shape the contours of the environments people encounter and interact with—​and, thereby, the personality traits and virtues that are most easily manifested.

Our Working Model of Virtue  39 Concluding Remarks: Tying It Back to Our Account of Virtue This first part of the WTT explanatory framework, the input system, is sensitive to the point that trait-​relevant inputs, either from the external environment or internal to the trait possessor, must be perceived as trait relevant. Even at this early stage of input, then, trait-​relevant stimuli must be interpreted as such by the trait possessor. This is consistent with the Aristotelian view that perception is needed for virtuous action, as well as with the notion that nous or practical intelligence is a kind of perceptual capacity that has been built up through experience. It also meshes with the view, held by McDowell (1979), that the virtuous person sees the world in a particular way; that is, her outlook is informed by her virtue. Snow (2010; see also Wright, 2008) also maintains that virtuous and vicious people perceive stimuli in different ways; their perceptions of certain facts are influenced by their virtuous or vicious motivations. Following Aristotle, many philosophers, including McDowell (1979) and Snow (2010), believe that virtue, once habituated, can become a kind of “second nature,” according to which the virtuous need not always stop to deliberate about whether a stimulus calls for a virtuous response. A virtuous person sees a person struggling with a large suitcase, for example, as needing help, and responds accordingly without having to deliberate about whether and how to do so. Such actions are explained in contemporary psychological terms by the fact that routinized virtuous scripts or action sequences have become automatically processed through the workings of the nonconscious mind. Far from being mindless behavioristic reactions to stimuli, they are dynamic:  flexible, intelligent, and responsive to the circumstances. In such cases, practical wisdom has become an embedded part of the virtuous person’s nonconscious processing systems.

40  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Step 2: Interpretation of Input via Intermediate Social-​Cognitive Systems According to WTT, the perception of trait-​relevant stimuli triggers a variety of intermediate systems, which in turn determine when and how trait-​appropriate responses are manifested. These systems, referred to as the “social-​cognitive systems,” include a variety of underlying perceptual, cognitive, affective, and motivational states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures.26 Included in these systems are cognitive states and structures, such as belief and knowledge structures, attitudes, expectancies, and schemas about self, others, and the world more generally. Motivational states and structures, too, are parts of social-​cognitive systems, and include desires, values, goals, commitments, and short-​and longer-​term affective states, including moods. Behavioral structures, such as action scripts and habitual patterns, and physiological structures, such as temperament, are also parts of social-​cognitive systems. WTT organizes these social-​cognitive systems into five sub-​ system types:  interpretative, motivational, stability-​ inducing, temporal, and random processes. Of these, the first two (interpretative and motivational) form the essential core of the trait and will therefore be the focus of our discussion moving forward, though we will briefly mention the other three. None of these system-​types function in isolation, but instead, are an interconnected, dynamic system. Yet it is instructive to consider each separately. While not a part of the original WTT model, it is important to introduce for our purposes the distinction between those states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that are “internal” to the trait (that is, they are essential to the manifestation of the trait in question) and those that are “external” to the trait and which serve to either support trait-​function and manifestation or 26 Referred to also as “characteristic adaptations” in Costa and McCrae (1994), and the “personality scaffolding” of virtue in Snow (2013).

Our Working Model of Virtue  41 suppress it. The importance of this distinction may be fairly minimal when it comes to regular personality traits, but it becomes more critical when discussing virtues. Certain cognitive, affective, and motivational states function together as the “core” of the virtue of honesty, for example, such that without them you could not be said to be honest, while others are merely supportive (or not) of virtue expression. Being generally temperamentally calm in stressful situations, for instance, may make the manifestation of honesty easier for an honest person than it might be for someone who experiences a high level of stress-​induced anxiety, but we would not consider a calm disposition to be an essential part of the virtue of honesty itself. There is yet a further distinction to be made, which will become especially relevant when discussing aspects of the motivational system. This is the distinction between states that are virtue-​ specific (e.g., the commitment to be honest, or to be courageous) as opposed to virtue-​general. The commitment to being honest or courageous is an example of the former; the commitment to being a good person, of the latter. The commitment to being honest or courageous seem to be internal to full virtues in the sense that it is an essential part of what it is to be fully honest or courageous. Virtue-​ general states, such as the commitment to being a good person, strike us as more supportive of trait manifestation across multiple virtues than an internal feature of any particular individual virtue. One might say, then, that such virtue-​general states are internal to the function of character (to be discussed more in Chapters 4 and 5). Pinning down the difference between what is internal to a specific virtue and what is external to it is tricky. As with temperament, it seems that some kinds of schemas, commitments, and other knowledge and motivational structures are external to, yet supportive of, specific virtues. Someone might have the schema of being a good father, which is relevant to his being virtuous in general, and his desire to be a good father may contribute to his becoming more

42  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement patient. Yet the schema of being a good father, though supportive of his being patient, is not part of the specific virtue of patience that he develops. This can be seen by noting that, as he becomes more patient as a father, his patience will also be applicable to situations not pertaining to fatherly activities, such as being a good husband, colleague, or friend. Interpretative System The interpretative system is composed of a broad range of inter-​ related perceptual, cognitive, and affective states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that determine the manner in which trait-​relevant information is analyzed and interpreted, resulting in implications for behavior. It includes what Cattell (1971) called “crystalized” structures, such as propositional, episodic, and procedural (“know how”) knowledge, schemas, prototypes, scripts, roles, episodes, and so forth (Cattell, 1971; Cantor, 1990). These structures allow us to store past experiences and use them to perceive and process new instances of trait-​relevant stimuli efficiently. It also includes what Cattell (1971) called our more “fluid” capacities for analyzing, reasoning, problem-​solving, and perspective-​taking. Included here would also arguably be basic capacities for social cognition—​for example, emotional intelligence and “theory of mind” (Astington, 2003; Goleman, 2006). The interpretative system is central to how stimuli in a person’s environment are perceived as being trait-​relevant and interpreted as calling for trait-​appropriate responses. Take, for example, a friendly person. When faced with friendly-​relevant stimuli—​someone she knows approaching her to start up a conversation—​she must not only accurately perceive the situation as relevant to being friendly, but as we discussed earlier, must also assess whether a friendly response is indeed called for. Perhaps the person approaching her is not worthy of a friendly response (have been incredibly rude to her in a manner uncalled for just a moment ago), or perhaps she is not in a good position, being otherwise occupied with an important

Our Working Model of Virtue  43 matter, to be able to be friendly at that moment. Similarly, the compassionate person, when faced with compassion-​relevant stimuli, must not only accurately perceive them as such, but must also assess whether a compassionate response is indeed called for and whether she is in a good position to successfully offer one. What is more, no two situations are the same, so what counts as a friendly or compassion-​appropriate response will be need to be situation-​specific. Thus, the interpretative system (in conjunction with the other system-​types mentioned previously) must actively guide each specific instance of trait-​expression in order to “hit the mark” in terms of successfully identifying and carrying out trait-​appropriate action. Part of the action-​guiding function of the interpretative system is to help the person attune to trait-​relevant stimuli, ignore irrelevant stimuli, and adjudicate between various options in order to determine the most trait-​appropriate response and the best way to enact that response. People possess traits such as friendliness, shyness, honesty, and compassion in isolation, but rather as a part of a larger constellation of personality traits and virtues. Some of these might be in tension or competition with one another. For example, a person can be both friendly and shy. The interpretative system, once again in conjunction with the other system-​types, functions to coordinate trait-​expression and integrate individual traits into a coherent personality. This includes weighing and balancing the potentially contradictory or enhancing influence of stimuli relevant to different traits (e.g., stimuli calling for an honest, yet compassionate, response), as is often the case in the complex situations we encounter in daily life. It makes sense to think of some parts of this system (e.g., certain beliefs, schemas, etc.) as being internal to individual traits, but much of it operates externally to support the expression of certain traits and not others. Consider the example of the schema of being a good father. This schema is part of the interpretative system and can function as an external support for the virtue of patience (as

44  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement well as compassion and justice), though it is not part of the virtue itself. All of this should sound familiar. As described here, several functions of the interpretative system are in alignment with those performed by practical wisdom—​indeed, we would argue that what is needed for practical wisdom to function properly (comprehension, sense, intelligence, deliberative excellence, and cleverness) is located here and is integrated with the other systems. As discussed earlier, we view practical wisdom as operating both internally to specific virtues, and externally to coordinate virtues into the coherent and nuanced expression of character. Motivational System The motivational system is composed of a broad range of interrelated motivational states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures associated with desired and feared trait-​relevant end-​states. These end-​states are what we desire, fear, strive toward and away from, and are committed to or against, and they create the directional impetus for trait manifestation. For example, if the end-​ state a person desires (e.g., her goal) is learning how to swim, she must overcome her fear of the water by mustering her courage. The goal to learn to swim thus influences the motivational direction of her courage and how it is manifested in the relevant situations. According to WTT, all personality traits involve the activation of the motivational system. Shyness, as we’ve discussed, involves the activation of certain shy-​relevant desires, values, and goals (such as the desire to avoid embarrassment, the value of privacy, and the goal of protecting oneself from socially awkward encounters), just as honesty involves the activation of certain honesty-​relevant desires, values, and goals (such as the desire to provide people with accurate information, valuing sincerity and truth, etc.). This activation, in turn, leads to other levels and types of processing, resulting in specific trait-​appropriate responses.

Our Working Model of Virtue  45 The composition of the motivational system varies within and across individuals, both in content and strength. This fact furnishes an essential insight into individual variation in trait-​manifestation. Two people might perceive the presence of the same trait-​relevant stimuli and perceive them as trait-​relevant, but nonetheless vary in the motivational “weight” given to those stimuli, one feeling much more strongly compelled to respond to them in a trait-​appropriate manner than the other. The manifestation of all personality traits requires trait-​relevant motivations. However, sometimes other types of motivations are involved, namely, those directed at the development and/​or instantiation of the trait itself. We will call these motivations “trait-​ oriented” or “virtue-​oriented.” This is particularly true for virtues, where motivations such as having the goal of being more generous, having the desire to respond to the needs of others compassionately, caring about doing what is right, and so on, are an essential feature of having full virtue. Being fully virtuous does not simply involve engaging in virtue-​appropriate behavior, but doing so for the right reasons—​one is honest, not because of the social benefits that honesty might bring, but because honesty is a virtue, a necessary component of living a good life. Thus, one important difference between virtues and other personality traits is that, while someone might or might not have trait-​oriented desires, values, and goals associated with a personality trait—​such as valuing friendliness, or being committed to becoming more gregarious—​for the manifestation of full virtue, valuing the virtue itself is required. Indeed, the presence of virtue-​oriented motivations is not only an essential feature of virtue possession, they arguably play a central role in providing the underlying motivational structure necessary for virtues to become robust or global traits—​that is, traits that are temporally enduring and reliably expressed over a wide range of trait-​relevant circumstances. To see this, consider the likely differences in response to virtue-​relevant stimuli of a novice and a fully virtuous person. First, we would expect the fully virtuous

46  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement person to have a more robust, nuanced interpretative system, making her better able than the novice to consistently make trait-​appropriate responses, as opposed to making them sporadically. This is because the novice is less likely to be accurate in her perceptions of when virtue is called for. Second, because of this lack of accurate perception, the novice would be more likely to under-​ or overshoot the mark. She would undershoot if her responses were narrower, for example, if she were honest only when it benefited her. But she could also overshoot the mark. She may be inclined to respond more broadly, precisely due to the lack of nuance in her interpretative system. Consider, for instance, a person who reads a book by the Dalai Lama and decides to be compassionate under all circumstances. Subsequently, even when faced with a situation that calls for straightforwardness or courage or some other virtue that is not compassion, she could overlook the need for these virtues and behave compassionately instead. Differences in interpretative systems aside, one important explanation for this difference in their responses is their underlying motivations. While both the novice and the fully virtuous person share a variety of honesty-​relevant motivational states, the novice is likely to have fewer—​being motivated instead by practical, prudential, or egoistical considerations. By contrast, the fully virtuous person will possess strong virtue-​oriented motivation, such as the desire “to always give people the straight story” and the commitment to honesty being the “best policy,” which would either overwhelm or “silence” competing motivations.27 In our view, these sorts of motivational states are the most critical internal features of individual virtue. Without them, the trait would not qualify as a virtue. While some virtue-​general motivational states (such as the desire “to be a good person”) might function externally to and in support of individual virtues, we would nonetheless consider 27 On the “silencing” of non-​virtuous motivations in the fully virtuous, see McDowell (1979).

Our Working Model of Virtue  47 them to be internal to the overarching function of character, to be discussed at more length in Chapter 5. Narrative Identity The distinction between the interpretative and motivational system is certainly useful. Yet we should note that some social-​ cognitive processes encompass or employ both. We would argue that one such example, of particular relevance for virtue, is a person’s narrative identity. By “narrative identity,” we mean her internalized and evolving narrative of herself in relation to the world that incorporates the reconstructed past and the imagined future into a coherent whole and provides her life with unity, purpose, and meaning (see MacIntyre, 1984, 2016; McAdams and Pals, 2006). For example, by identifying herself as “shy,” a person becomes more attuned to shy-​relevant stimuli in her environment and more inclined to respond in a shy-​appropriate manner—​to behave in a manner that is consistent with her own narrative identity as a shy person. This also exerts an influence on the way in which she reconstructs and interprets past events and the sorts of experiences and relationships she can envision for herself in the future. Similarly, by identifying herself as an honest person, she becomes more attuned—​ and more inclined to respond—​ to honesty-​ relevant stimuli in the present, as well as more inclined to envision herself telling the truth in future encounters. Self-​ identifying as an honest person influences the way she reconstructs and interprets past events and shapes the way she sees herself and the sorts of things she strives for, the goals that she sets for her future self. Typically, some parts of narrative identity—​such as identifying oneself as a good person, as someone who cares about doing what is right, generally speaking—​function externally to any particular individual trait. These general parts of narrative identity might be best considered to be internal to the function of character and

48  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement can, but need not, help to generate a coordinated and coherent expression of multiple virtues over time and a range of situations. Even parts of narrative identity that are closely linked with a specific virtue, such as self-​identifying as a generous person, may stand apart from the virtue itself. One can see this by noting that someone can self-​identify as a generous person, yet not actually have the virtue of generosity. She might be mistaken about having the virtue or be self-​deceived about having it. This can occur if someone is mistaken about the kinds of motives actually required for being generous, or if she is self-​deceived about her own motives. Perhaps at a superficial level she believes (or tells herself) that she is being generous with someone out of a genuine concern for another person, whereas at a deeper level, she wishes to control the other person or ingratiate herself with the other. In this case, a part of narrative identity does not help to support a good character. Other Sub-​Systems Stability-​Inducing Processes This system is composed of the set of inter-​ related states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures (some of which are external to the trait itself) that guide the individual toward her typical trait manifestation. In other words, this system helps to establish and determine the chronic accessibility—​that is, the ease and range of activation—​of the trait, that contributes to its dispositional stability. Each person has personality traits that are more chronically accessible than others. Those that are more chronically accessible are more easily and more continuously activated. The chronic accessibility of a trait typically arises out of the interplay of various internal features of the person, such as her underlying physiology, temperament, and conditioning, and external situational features of her environment. Consider, for example, someone who displays the stable

Our Working Model of Virtue  49 trait of shyness. If she expresses a high degree of shy-​appropriate responses over an extended period of time, this could be in part because she has a highly sensitive nervous system (internal), but also because she finds herself in a new place, surrounded by people and situations she is not familiar with (external). For virtues, accessibility and stability increase as virtue-​ appropriate responding becomes habitual. For example, if the person who strives to overcome her inclination to stray from the truth works to respond honestly, over time responding honestly becomes habituated and engrained such that honest responses are manifested without much effort or thought. Of course, the trajectory toward this habitual stability will vary, once again, as a function of the person’s internal contributions and external circumstances—​someone who feels uncomfortable when lying and encounters situations in which the consequences of doing so are severe will likely develop the stable virtue of honesty more easily than the person who lies easily and with little backlash. Temporal Processes At the most basic level, this system is composed of the cyclical influences that exert consistently variable influences on trait-​ expression over time. They might be internal, such as hormonal cycles, or external, such as seasonal weather conditions. For example, people find it harder to be friendly or behave generously when exposed to extreme heat or cold (Anderson and Anderson, 1984). As should be clear, all such influences are external, in the sense of being supportive (or not) to trait-​expression, but are not considered to be part of the traits themselves. At a higher order level of meta-​cognitive processing, experiences of past and anticipation of future events exert an influence on present trait manifestation, introducing both stability and cyclical fluctuation, as when one consistently becomes depressed or angry on a particular day of the year because it is the day a loved one died.

50  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Random Processes This is mainly a theoretical construct, necessary for the statistical modeling of trait manifestation. Nonetheless, it also acknowledges that seemingly unrelated and unconnected stimuli and processes can occasionally be involved in trait manifestation in ways that cannot be predicted. Our focus moving forward will primarily be on the interpretative and motivational subsystems. We will not have much more to say about the other three subsystems. Concluding Remarks: Tying It Back to Our Account of Virtue The intermediate system of WTT consists of the interworking of several sub-​systems. Of special importance for our purposes are the interpretative and motivational systems. The interpretative system gives more detail to the account of the perception of trait-​relevant stimuli, drawing on numerous psychological constructs to explain how and why a person, including a virtuous person, comes to view facts as trait-​relevant—​and then determines whether a trait-​ relevant response is called for, and if so, in what form. It also supports the functions of practical wisdom. All four functions of practical wisdom, as well as its parts, can be conceptualized in terms of the workings of the interpretative system, linked up with and responsive to the other systems. This is because the interpretative system is, in essence, the collection of cognitive processes that produce trait-​ relevant responses. Given that these processes have already been found to be operative in research participants and to result in trait outputs (Fleeson and Gallagher, 2009; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015), we believe that the interpretative system is a promising avenue by means of which to pursue empirical studies and measurement of the operation of practical wisdom and virtue in research populations. The motivational system, too, has roles to play in measuring the kinds of motivations essential for virtue. Both virtue-​ specific motivations (such as the goal to be honest, generous, or

Our Working Model of Virtue  51 patient) and virtue-​general motivations (such as the goal to be a good person, to always do the right thing) contribute to virtue. To reiterate the point made earlier, we contend that motivations shape the other elements of virtue in distinctive ways. In other words, for any given activation of a virtue, the motivation to be kind, compassionate, generous, and so on, influences the cognitions, plans, and goals that ensue. If a compassionate person sees another in distress, she wants to help, and this desire influences her subsequent thoughts and plans. Consequently, distinguishing the motivations that shape the virtue itself, as opposed to those which are external to, but supportive of it—​as we have attempted to do in our earlier discussion—​is of some interest. The processes that enable virtues to become stable parts of an individual’s character are important in the study of virtue development. For purposes of measuring the integration of virtues into a cohesive character, meta-​cognitive systems, especially those supporting the construction of a narrative identity that enables one to see oneself as a certain kind of person, are of special interest. Arguably, these systems enable one to conceptualize what a good person is and what a good life for oneself could be. In other words, they allow one to grasp the contours of the global human good and apply it to one’s own life in the form of specified ends. We view the other sub-​systems—​i.e., the stability-​inducing, temporal, and random processes—​as largely (though not necessarily completely) external to, but under the right circumstances supportive of, both individual virtues and their integration into character. By adding the phrase “under the right circumstances,” we recognize that these systems need not support virtue, but have the potential to do so if used appropriately. They form components of what Snow (2013) calls the “personality scaffolding” of virtue: they are factors that can help, but also hinder virtue.

52  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Step 3: Outputs of Perception and Interpretation: Trait-​Appropriate Responses WTT takes the culmination of trait manifestation to be the production of (a set of) situation-​specific trait-​appropriate responses. So, for example, other things being equal, a shy person will, in response to the presence of shy-​relevant stimuli and her interpretation of them as such, produce shy-​appropriate responses—​that is, thoughts, desires, emotions, motivations, and actions that exemplify shyness.28 She might get butterflies in her stomach, blush, and/​or avoid direct eye contact when someone talks to her directly, worry that she comes across as awkward during interactions with people, and/​or turn down invitations to attend social gatherings. Similarly, an honest person will, other things being equal, in response to the presence of honesty-​relevant stimuli, produce honest responses—​that is, thoughts, desires, emotions, motivations, and actions that exemplify honesty. She might feel motivated to speak frankly with people, without unnecessary embellishment, find it unnatural to lie even in situations where other people would normally do so, avoid people she knows who are frequently dishonest, and/​or experience disgust at the thought of being dishonest in various ways, such as cheating on an exam, lying to a friend, and so on.29 The level, or degree, of shyness or honesty a person manifests can be measured by the consistency and habituality with which she produces shy or honest responses to a variety of trait-​relevant

28 We note that certain states, mechanisms, processes, and capacities (e.g., desires, emotions, motivations, etc.) can be classified as both intermediates and outputs. This highlights the fact that not all trait-​appropriate responses are straightforwardly behavioral. 29 This suggests that virtues, too, can be detected through physiological responses that co-​occur with other indicators of a specific virtue. Does one’s pulse rate change as one overcomes one’s fear and stiffens one’s resolve? Do one’s cortisone levels decrease? These and other interesting questions arise when one seeks empirical methods of identifying and measuring virtue, which we will discuss in Chapter 3.

Our Working Model of Virtue  53 stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. That brings us to the descriptive side of WTT.

TRAITdes: The Descriptive Side of Traits According to WTT, the degree to which a person possesses a trait is determined by the density distribution of their trait-​appropriate responses. “Density distribution” refers to the range of situations in which those responses are produced and the frequency with which the responses occur (see Figure 1.1). We think that density distributions are best understood as a function of both consistency and habituality. “Consistency” is the extent to which a person has trait-​ appropriate responses to trait-​relevant stimuli. It can be measured along two distinct dimensions. The first dimension is depth. “Depth” refers to how frequently someone has trait-​appropriate responses to the same or similar trait-​relevant stimuli. The second dimension is breadth. “Breadth” refers to the number of different trait-​relevant stimuli to which she has trait-​appropriate responses. Breadth, in particular, indicates how global the trait can be considered to be.30 “Habituality” is the extent to which trait-​appropriate responses have become a dynamically automatic response to trait-​relevant stimuli. The use of “dynamically” here is meant to highlight the fact that habitual trait-​appropriate responses, though largely prompted below the level of conscious awareness, are nonetheless intelligently sensitive to often rapidly changing environmental stimuli (see, for example, Wood and Neal, 2007). Returning once again to our example of shyness, a person’s shyness can be measured as the density-​ distribution of her

30 Breadth can also serve as a useful gauge of the scope of people’s practical reasoning, insofar as their responses to different trait-​relevant stimuli must be intelligent and flexible enough to adapt to situational differences in order to be appropriate.

54  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement shy-​appropriate responses—​that is, thoughts, desires, emotions, motivations, and actions that exemplify shyness—​to a variety of shy-​relevant stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. The more frequently (depth) she responds to shy-​relevant stimuli, and the wider range of shy-​relevant stimuli she responds to (breadth), in ways typically considered to be shy, the more strongly she can be said to manifest the trait of shyness. As with most personality traits, these shy responses are likely to become habituated early on, so they largely happen automatically, with little thought, and sometimes with little control. One might object that habituality is out of place in discussing manifestations of personality traits. This is because personality traits appear to be “built-​in” to the person from an early age in the sense that shy or extraverted people do not need to think about responding in a shy or extraverted manner—​ they simply do. However, if people actively attempt to change existing personality traits or develop new ones (Fleeson, 2007; Hudson, Briley, Chopik, and Derringer, 2019; Oltmanns, Jackson, and Oltmanns, 2020), the degree to which these changes can become habituated is important. We will discuss the subject of personality development and change more in a moment. Similarly to shyness, a person’s honesty can be measured as the density-​distribution of her honest responses—​that is, thoughts, desires, emotions, motivations, and actions that exemplify honesty—​to a variety of relevant stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. The more frequently (depth) she responds to honesty-​relevant stimuli, and the wider range of honesty-​relevant stimuli she responds to (breadth), in ways typically considered to be honest, the more strongly she manifests the trait of honesty. Habituality is useful in providing explanations of how virtues can be deliberately acquired as well as exercised without the use of conscious thought (Snow, 2006, 2010, 2016). Virtues can become habituated early on through socialization, though, unlike most

Our Working Model of Virtue  55 personality traits, their full development requires extended conscious guidance and effort on our part. Once a person has become habitually disposed to consistently respond, for example, with honesty to a wide range of relevant stimuli, then she can be said to possess a robust trait. As we explained earlier, when her responses are guided by practical wisdom and appropriately motivated, she can be said to have the full virtue of honesty. People vary in the degree to which they possess various virtues. In the ideal case, virtuous agents possess them fully. This means that their social-​cognitive system consists of a network of interrelated cognitive, affective, and motivational elements which have become linked up with their perceptual, rational, and behavioral capacities in such a way as to result in a robust disposition to accurately perceive and appropriately respond to the full range of trait-​ relevant stimuli (hence, the notion of a robust or global trait). Such dispositions develop over time as a result of repeated activation and feedback to become dynamically automatic, such that trait-​relevant stimuli are often perceived and appropriately responded to without the need for deliberation, or even conscious awareness.

Virtue Development and Change One important issue to reflect upon is that while we often think of people’s personality traits as being largely stable over time (extraverted children are likely to be extraverted adults, etc.), virtues are something that we recognize as being necessarily developmental. As we mentioned earlier in the chapter, Aristotle thought that though children may possess what he called “natural” virtues, those must develop over time into full virtues, becoming linked up to the underlying social-​cognitive systems (and, in particular, to practical wisdom) in the right way.

56  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Fortunately, the theoretical model provided by WTT accommodates the need for change in traits over time. Indeed, WTT theorists argue that personality traits (and therefore, personality itself) naturally change, at least to some degree, as a function of the consequences of their outcomes. According to WTT, trait-​ manifestation is fundamentally tied to people’s social-​cognitive systems—​e.g., whether or not a person will manifest shy behavior depends on whether she believes a given situation is one in which shy behavior is called for and/​or whether doing so is consistent with her goals to protect her privacy and avoid social embarrassment. As such, the density distribution of trait-​manifestation will dynamically shift in response to changes in these underlying states. This can occur with changes in her beliefs about the circumstances that call for shyness and/​or her goals to protect her privacy and avoid social embarrassment (Fleeson, 2007). To illustrate with an example, a person who is not particularly dispositionally extraverted may nonetheless express a higher degree of extraversion when doing so reflects her values (e.g., having more positive relationships) and supports certain goals, such as developing strong social networks in order to function effectively as an advocate for positive change in her community. Such a shift in the density distribution of her trait-​manifestation may be temporary, shifting back to her more introverted “default” distribution, once her goals have been met. Or perhaps the positive outcomes of behaving in a more extraverted manner will create permanent change in her underlying social-​cognitive systems, leading her to become more extraverted. In other words, as she consistently responds in a more extraverted fashion, these responses can eventually become more chronically accessible and habituated (i.e., seeming more “natural” and automatic), and integrated into her social-​cognitive systems, eventually becoming her new default—​ i.e., she has become a more extraverted person. Similarly, a person who is not particularly dispositionally compassionate may nonetheless express a higher degree of compassion

Our Working Model of Virtue  57 when doing so reflects her values (e.g., being a good therapist) and supports certain goals, such as the ability to help the clients she sees recover from traumatic experiences more rapidly and completely. Once again, such a shift in the density distribution of her trait-​ manifestation might be temporary, eventually shifting back to her less compassionate “default” distribution. However, it could also be permanent, especially as the positive outcomes of behaving more compassionately generate shifts in her underlying social-​cognitive systems, such that her capacity for compassion becomes more chronically accessible and habituated, seeming more “natural” and automatic; that is, she becomes a more compassionate person. Sometimes this change in density distributions can happen without the person being particularly aware of it—​the person is simply responding, for example, to changing situational demands (such as a change in jobs). But often, these changes are facilitated and guided by people’s desire to change, as well as their belief that such change is feasible, and that they can accomplish it (Hudson et al., 2018). The desire to change is essential for virtue development, especially in adults. Over time, this can lead to more personality-​wide (and character-​ wide) change, as changes in the density distributions of one trait or virtue are likely to positively or negatively impact the density distributions of others. As a person becomes more extraverted, she becomes more active and outgoing, less shy and reserved, more inclined to seek out novel experiences and take risks, etc. Insofar as this increased engagement and exploration leads her to develop goals and commitments and relationships she values, it could give rise to, for example, the need to become more conscientious (self-​ directed and dependable) and agreeable (trusting, cooperative, and helpful) as well. Similarly, as a person becomes more compassionate, she is also likely to become more patient and kind, more generous with her time and resources, less judgmental and suspicious of others, perhaps more courageous in the battle against unnecessary harm.

58  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement These changes could in turn create other changes, leading ultimately to the transformation of one’s personality and character.31 To complicate the picture yet further, changes in the density distribution of certain personality traits might impact the distributions of certain virtues and vice versa. For example, as a person becomes more extraverted, and more inclined to take risks, she might also become more courageous (e.g., willing to stand up for other people), and more honest (e.g., willing to speak the truth, even when it is uncomfortable), which could further contribute to her development of compassion and generosity, which contributes back to her friendliness and conscientiousness. And so on. All this said, the empirical literature suggests that personality change, as a whole, is fairly rare (Roberts and DelVecchio, 2000). There is some evidence that this might be a function of people not viewing personality change as necessary, desirable, or feasible (Hudson and Fraley, 2015, 2016). Does this mean that change in virtues (and character) is likely to be similarly rare? Perhaps. But we would argue that it is likely to be more common, for several reasons. First, virtues, and character more generally, are normative in a way that personality traits are typically not. We are actively encouraged to develop virtue and character and we recognize the value in doing so when and because we value being virtuous. Second, we are constantly encountering situations within which virtue-​relevant stimuli are present and we are either responding to them appropriately or failing to do so, with our failures often being made evident to us. This creates significant pressure for change, to which we must somehow respond. While the literature also suggests that people are remarkably good at denying or rationalizing these failures (Moore, 2016; Tenbrunsel and Messick, 2004), the failures nonetheless also succeed in facilitating genuine change, especially when encountered in environments that explicitly support change. 31 In Chapter 4, we explore in more detail how virtues can develop together, especially in childhood, to form an integrated character.

Our Working Model of Virtue  59 Third, as we discussed earlier, the underlying motivational architecture for virtues is likely to be less situational and relativized to the specific contexts, and instead to be more generalized and universal. So, for example, while a person’s desire to be more generous might begin as anchored to a specific situation (e.g., toward the homeless individuals she encounters on her way to work), the positive consequences of exercising generosity in those constrained conditions is likely to contribute to a more generalized desire to be generous—​and to ultimately become a generous person. Similarly, her desire to be a good parent (constrained to her specific role as a parent) could contribute to an increased sensitivity to trait-​relevant stimuli that she cannot then help but notice and feel inclined to respond to in other situations, leading eventually to her (perhaps implicit) desire to just be a good person, generally speaking. The very brief glimpse of virtue development and change offered here is by no means comprehensive, nor is it meant to be. It is meant to illustrate that WTT, though not originally intended to apply to questions of how traits and virtues develop, is broadly compatible with a developmental perspective. We offer a more robust developmental account in Chapter 4, where we advance the “integration thesis.” The integration thesis describes how virtues can relate to one another within personality to form a stable character, and is best explained and defended by illustrating how virtues develop together over time. We believe that WTT is compatible with the account offered in Chapter  4. Having shown in this chapter the deep compatibility between WTT and virtue understood along Aristotelian lines, and, indeed, how Aristotelian virtues can be explained in terms of the empirical psychological perspective afforded by WTT, we assume that virtue development does not upset the relationship between the philosophical account of virtue and its explanation in terms of WTT.

60  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Conclusion The aim of this chapter has been to introduce readers to our working conception of virtue. This conception brings together a broadly Aristotelian account of virtue with an empirical psychological theory—​WTT. We believe that the empirical explanation afforded to Aristotelian virtue by WTT offers an advantage to those seeking to advance the science of virtue measurement. It does this by providing an empirical vocabulary that offers insights for conceptualizing virtues in operationalizable terms that will deepen and extend current approaches to virtue measurement in interesting and fruitful ways. In Chapter 2 we turn to an overview and critique of existing work on virtue measurement, and in Chapter 3 we offer our own suggestions for virtue measurement based on the working conception of virtue developed in Chapter 1. Then, in Chapter 4, we turn to the task of articulating and defending our conception of character, and in Chapter 5, to offering strategies for measuring character as a whole.

2 Strategies for Measuring Virtue A Literature Review and Critique

Before we dive into our discussion of strategies for measuring virtue (Chapter 3) and character (Chapter 5), we need to provide an examination of the literature that lays out the various measurement strategies that have already been developed and utilized.1 In truth, this will really be an examination of literatures, because attempts to measure virtue have shown up in a multitude of disciplines, e.g., psychology, education, business administration and management, to name just a few. This chapter is separated into five parts: First, we provide a brief primer on quantitative measurement, in which we outline some of the most common measurement modalities (e.g., self-​ report, behavioral, physiological), present concepts (e.g., reliability, validity) for evaluating a measure’s quality, and conceptually discuss several core statistical techniques (e.g., correlation, factor analysis) that form a basis for evaluating the quality of a measure. Second, we review the strategies that have been developed for measuring discrete, single virtues. Specifically, we will discuss attempts to measure five of the most commonly measured virtues:  gratitude (McCullough, Emmons, and Tsang, 2002; McCullough, Kilpatrick, Emmons, and Larson, 2001;

1 An interesting discussion of virtue measurement issues and strategies can also be found in Kristjánsson (2015, c­ hapter 3). Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

62  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement McCullough, Kimeldorf, and Cohen, 2008; Morgan, Gulliford, and Kristjánsson, 2017; Watkins, Woodward, Stone, and Kolts, 2003), courage (Greitemeyer, Osswald, Fischer, and Frey, 2007; Howard, Farr, Grandey, and Gutworth, 2017; Kastenmuller, Greitemeyer, Fischer, and Frey, 2007; Pury, Kowalski, and Spearman, 2007; Woodard, 2004; Woodard and Pury, 2007), honesty (Harris and Sackett, 1987; Nicol, 2000; Nicol and Paunonen, 2002; Ones, 1994; Ones and Viswesvaran, 1998; Sackett and Wanek, 1996; Schmidt, Viswesvaran, and Ones, 1997), compassion (Burnell and Agan, 2013; Hacker, 2008; Hwang, Plante, and Lackey, 2008; Lown, Muncer, and Chadwick, 2015; Martins, Nicholas, Shaheen, Jones, and Norris, 2013; Pommier, 2011; Sousa, Castilho, Vieira, Vagos, and Rijo, 2017; Sprecher and Fehr, 2005; Strauss et  al., 2016), and humility (Davis, Hook, Worthington, Van Tongeren, Gartner, Jennings, and Emmons, 2011; Elliot, 2010; Hook et  al., 2013; Landrum, 2011; Lee and Ashton, 2004; Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington, and Utsey, 2013; Owens, Johnson, and Mitchell, 2013; Powers et al., 2007; Peterson and Seligman, 2004; Quiros, 2008; Rowatt et al., 2002, 2006; Van Dierendonck and Nuijten, 2011; Wright, Nadelhoffer, Ross, and Sinnot-​Armstrong,  2018). Third, we will turn our focus to strategies for measuring a subset (or cluster) of virtues—​such as the four “cardinal virtues of leadership” measured by the Leadership Virtues Questionnaire (LVQ; Riggio, Zhu, Reina, and Maroosis, 2010). Fourth, we will turn to the relatively few strategies in the literature for measuring virtues comprehensively, such as the Values in Action Questionnaire (VIA; Peterson and Seligman, 2004) and the STRIVE-​4 (Cokelet and Fowers, 2019), as well as a few other approaches. Finally, we will conclude with a discussion of the conceptual and methodological strengths and weaknesses of these various approaches to measuring virtue.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  63

A Brief Primer on Quantitative Measurement In empirical research, various strategies are used to quantitatively measure abstract, unobservable constructs, such as virtues. These strategies have the common goal of operationally defining abstract constructs such as gratitude or compassion into numerical scores on a continuum, where higher scores signal that the person possesses the construct to a greater degree. Inevitably, when an abstract, unobservable construct is measured through observable means—​ through self-​report, behavioral, physiological measures, etc.—​the measure will “miss the mark” to some extent due to various sources of error, including: (1) conceptually defining the construct of interest (e.g., gratitude) in an imperfect way, (2) identifying indicators specific to the construct of interest (e.g., gratitude), which also overlap with related constructs (e.g., optimism), making it less clear which construct is actually being measured, (3) respondents failing to interpret the measurement scenario as intended, or interpreting the measurement scenario differently depending on cultural context, (4) disparate sociocultural norms that influence how respondents construct their responses, (5) respondents’ willingness to respond authentically, and (6) their ability to cognitively access accurate information,2 especially with self-​report surveys, to name just a few.3 2 Self-​report surveys are particularly problematic on the issue of cognitive access. Due to normal memory decay over time, people lack access to accurate information about the experiences they had days, weeks, or months ago—​time frames commonly employed on self-​report measures of affect, behavior, and motivation. Moreover, even at the time of an event, one’s true motivation can be difficult to access, as insight into one’s motives requires sophisticated introspective awareness that people possess to varying degrees. There is also the more general issue of self-​deception bias, by which people tend to hold positive illusions about their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and motivations while remaining authentically unaware of the inaccuracy of these illusions. Thus, at best, self-​reports represent individuals’ perceptions of their experiences that are somewhat accurate but certainly susceptible to error. 3 As noted in point 6, the ability of research participants to cognitively access accurate information is crucial. Deficiencies in cognitive access would result in measurement error that can be broken down into unsystematic error (random error) and systematic error (bias).

64  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement In short, psychological measures always fall short of perfection, but in the words of Box and Draper (1987, 424): “Essentially, all [measures] are wrong, but some are useful.” Despite their flaws, some psychological measures possess compelling evidence of validity (to be further discussed below), and valid measurement is a critical starting point for developing an empirical science of the development of virtues, of the dynamics between the different virtues within a person’s character, and of the role virtues play in a good life. In order to evaluate the quality of extant measures of virtue, it is critical to understand several basic principles of measurement as well as the characteristics that constitute a high-​quality measure. Therefore, in the following pages we provide a brief introduction to the main types of measures used by psychologists, then we discuss how researchers evaluate the validity of these measures using statistical techniques. With this background in place, we then review the literature on extant empirical accounts of virtue.

Methods of Measurement

Self-​Report Measures The most common and convenient type of measurement is self-​ report survey, where people respond to statements or questions With unsystematic error (random error), for example, recent experiences influence measurement results, such that virtue-​consistent recent experiences would lead to overestimates of the virtue, whereas virtue-​inconsistent recent experiences would lead to underestimates of the virtue. Recent experience is one example of unsystematic error because its net effect on an individual’s average score for the virtue is more or less unaffected—​the random error cancels itself out across multiple measurement occasions and the mean or average stays about the same. With systematic error (bias), measurements have consistent error in the same direction, as is the case for self-​deception bias. The tendency here is to systematically inflate virtue scores at each measurement occasion, such that the person’s average score for the virtue is higher than it should be. Both sources of error pertain to cognitive access. A  person’s recent experience obscures access to information about her general disposition on the virtue. In addition, her self-​deception bias (however minor) prevents her from seeing herself as she truly is, and it interacts with both virtue-​consistent and virtue-​inconsistent experiences to exert a global upward influence on her virtue scores.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  65 often using a Likert-​style (e.g., 1 to 7) response scale. For example, McCullough et  al. (2002) created a six-​item gratitude measure with statements such as, “I have so much in life to be thankful for,” and participants are asked to rate each statement using the scale: 1 = strongly disagree, 2 = disagree, 3 = slightly disagree, 4 = neutral, 5 = slightly agree, 6 = agree, 7 = strongly agree. After responding to six such items, scores are averaged for each person, such that higher scores signal a greater manifestation of gratitude. Self-​ report surveys are a convenient measurement strategy, easily administered through online software (e.g., Qualtrics, SurveyMonkey) or in paper-​pencil format. They are useful insofar as individuals are uniquely positioned to provide information about their own inner states and personal qualities, but are limited by a host of issues. The most notable limitation is social desirability bias, which involves both impression management (i.e., the tendency to exaggerate one’s positive qualities and understate one’s negative attributes), and self-​deception (i.e., positive illusions reflecting inaccurate self-​knowledge; Paulhus, 1984; Pauls and Stemmler, 2003). Virtue measurement is believed to be particularly riddled with social desirability bias, since the virtues center on morality and competence—​two issues around which people are especially motivated to maintain adequate (even if inaccurate) self-​ views (Cohen and Sherman, 2014). On the other hand, self-​report may also require people to evaluate themselves on constructs that it could be socially undesirable to rate themselves highly on—​such as bravery, generosity, and most notably, humility.4 This means there can be social desirability error in both directions. In addition, self-​reports often involve retrospectively rating experiences that happened some time before the measurement occasion (e.g., rating feelings of compassion over the past week or month), requiring people to remember and reconstruct their experiences, and making 4 It can seem a bit off-​putting for people to rate themselves as really brave, generous, and humble, even if they are.

66  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement it impossible to tease apart the influence of the context in which the measurement took place (e.g., laboratory). Self-​report surveys are also a questionable means of measuring the motivations underlying one’s behavior, as insight into one’s motives requires a sophisticated degree of introspective awareness that many people might not have. Given that this is a critically important part of virtue manifestation, this makes self-​report surveys somewhat limited in their usefulness for measuring virtue. Unfortunately, they are also currently by far the most common form of measurement being used. Experience Sampling Method Partially addressing these issues, the experience sampling method (Csikszentmihalyi and Larson, 1987) is a self-​report strategy that randomly probes participants several times each day, over the course of one or more weeks, resulting in dozens of measurement occasions across multiple contexts throughout the course of a study. For each measurement occasion, people typically identify their location (e.g., home, work), current activity (e.g., eating, working), and complete a brief self-​report survey on the constructs under investigation, typically using electronic devices such as smartphones (e.g., Cokelet and Fowers, 2019). By probing participants during their daily activities, reliance on memory is minimized, and the influence of contextual factors on survey responses can be measured and taken into account, at least to some degree. Also, by providing a series of data points over time for each participant, scores can be aggregated across measurement occasions, providing robust estimates of each person’s score on the construct. While it does not solve all of the potential problems with self-​report discussed previously, experience sampling may help to mitigate both the impression management and self-​deception aspects of social desirability (Goldstein et al., 2017), because people have a hard time consistently lying (i.e., managing impressions) to the same degree over time and repeated structured self-​reflection during measurement may foster self-​insight and help overcome self-​deception bias.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  67 As discussed at greater length later in this chapter, the experience sampling method is an ideal tool for capturing the density distributions referred to by Whole Trait Theory (Fleeson and Gallagher, 2009; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015; Jayawickreme and Fleeson, 2017a). A  density distribution visually summarizes how frequently a person scores at each level of a trait across many measurement occasions over time and across contexts. For example, assuming a 7-​point Likert scale was used to measure humility several times per day for a week, Person A  might never score “1” or “2.” On most occasions they score “3” to “5,” and on the remaining few occasions they score “6” or “7.” This density distribution thus provides both a convenient summary of Person A’s self-​reports of humility over time and it offers the raw material necessary to estimate their dispositional level of humility by averaging scores across measurement occasions (Person A’s average would be somewhere around “4.5”). It also enables researchers to compare Person A’s distribution of humility scores to those of other individuals who have their own unique density distributions on the humility measure, even if their average humility score looks similar to that of Person A. Other-​Reports Rather than asking research participants to report on their own qualities, the other-​ report method asks close associates (e.g., parents, spouses, colleagues) to serve as informants who rate the target individual on the constructs of interest. Although other-​ reports of virtues are not as likely to be exaggerated as self-​reports, still their validity is questionable because respondents must infer the target’s internal states (affect, cognition, motivation) from their expressed behavior. While some previous research has found a high degree of consistency between self and other reports (see Furr, 2009, for a discussion; also Helzer, Furr, Hawkins, Barranti, Blackie, and Fleeson, 2014; Kenny and West, 2010), others have found only a moderate connection with ratings from a second informant

68  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement (Duhig, Renk, Epstein, and Phares, 2000), and with self-​reports (Bardi and Schwartz, 2003), although informant discrepancies are smaller for observable behaviors such as the frequency of volunteering than for internal states such as feelings of compassion (Achenbach, McConaughy, and Howell, 1987). Thus, other-​reports typically measure observable behaviors, and they often augment self-​reports within a given study. Behavioral Measures Given the limits of self and other reports, recording participants’ actual behavior is useful. For example, Mehl, Bollich, Doris, and Vazire (2015) used Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) technology to randomly record brief intervals (30–​50 seconds) of people’s everyday conversations. Recordings were then coded for evidence of verbally expressed “moral behavior,” such as gratitude, social support, and empathy. Other behavioral approaches rely on non-​verbal actions. For example, Brown et al. (2011) measured a form of honesty using a computerized math test in which participants had to avoid peeking at the correct answer when doing so was easy to rationalize. Evidence relevant to virtue can also be obtained and measured by observing and coding the frequency of virtue-​relevant behaviors within laboratory or naturalistic settings, such as coding how often a young child shares with peers during free play (e.g., Conte, Grazzani, and Pepe, 2018), whether college students honestly acknowledge an overpayment (Frimer and Walker, 2009), or whether children avoid playing with toys they have been told are off limits, even though they are temptingly placed on a shelf nearby, while no one else is in the room (Kochanska, Aksan, and Koenig, 1995). Implicit measures offer yet another behavioral tool where, for example, response times are compared in a computerized cognitive task involving norm-​compatible word pairings (e.g., woman-​ weak; man-​ strong) versus norm-​ incompatible word pairings (e.g., woman-​strong; man-​weak), allowing researchers to measure

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  69 the degree of automatic biases related to the virtue of fairness (Greenwald, McGhee, and Schwartz, 1998). Finally, eye-​tracking has been used to record the allocation of attention to virtue-​relevant information in an honesty task (e.g., Pittarello, Motro, Rubaltelli, and Pluchino, 2016)  and to track whether people paid more attention to those who benefited or suffered from their decisions in moral dilemmas (Wright, DiBartolo, Galizio, and Reinhold, 2019). Collectively, these comprise some of the most commonly used behavioral methods of measurement. Physiological Measures Biological measures offer additional tools in the study of psychological functioning. Ultimately, all psychological phenomena—​ cognition, affect, motivation and so on—​ are associated with activity in the body’s systems, the most pertinent of which include the endocrine, nervous, and cardiovascular systems. While there is no one-​to-​one correspondence between physiological activity and psychological states—​for example, elevated heart rate is associated with both excitement and worry—​physiological measures can be informative when combined with skillful research designs that elicit the states under investigation. For example, mental effort during cognitive tasks is measured by heart rate variability (Luque-​ Casado, Perales, Cárdenas, and Sanabria, 2016), stress is commonly indexed by cortisol levels in the saliva (Hellhammer, Wüst, and Kudielka, 2009), and neuroticism is associated with increased activity in frontal brain regions when viewing negative images (Canli et al., 2001). In a study more aligned with virtue, pupil dilation (an index of sympathetic distress) increased in young children when they witnessed a person in need of help, and once the person received help children’s pupil dilation decreased (Hepach, Vaish, and Tomasello, 2012). Such physiological indicators offer relatively non-​invasive measures of psychological phenomena, rendering

70  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement objective, corroborating evidence of psychological states that could otherwise be obscured through biases in self-​report, other-​report, or even behavioral measurement.

Evaluating Psychological Measures: Correlation, Reliability, Validity, and Factor Analysis In evaluating the quality of a psychological measure (whether self-​report, behavioral, etc.), empirical researchers have methods that, albeit imperfect, help ascertain the extent to which a measure captures the construct it was intended to measure. To lay a foundation for our discussion of measurement reliability and validity, we first briefly introduce the concept of correlation, a statistical method that plays a key role in evaluating the quality of a measure. Correlation Quantifying the degree of a measure’s reliability and validity requires a basic understanding of correlation. The common Pearson’s r correlation coefficient requires measurements on each of two variables for each person in a study, and it expresses the degree of linear relationship between the two variables, with values ranging from -​1 to 1. A correlation value of 0 represents no correlation between the two variables (e.g., height is unrelated to intelligence among adults), a negative correlation indicates that higher scores on one variable tend to be accompanied by lower scores on the other variable (e.g., anxiety is negatively correlated with life satisfaction; on average, highly anxious people tend to be less satisfied with their lives), and a positive correlation indicates that higher scores on one variable tend to be associated with higher scores on the other variable (e.g., gratitude is positively correlated with happiness; on average, highly grateful people tend to be happier whereas less grateful people tend to be less happy).

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  71 Independent of the direction (positive or negative) of a correlation, its magnitude, or distance from zero, expresses the strength of the association between the two variables, where a correlation of + .10 is small, + .30 is medium, and + .50 is large (Cohen, 1988). For example, a large correlation of r = -​.60 between anxiety and life satisfaction is stronger than a medium correlation of r = .30 between gratitude and happiness. In research reports, correlation is typically the basis for researchers’ claims that variables have a statistical “relationship,” “association,” or “link;” that variables have “shared variance;” and claims that one variable “accounts for,” “predicts,” or is “predicted by” another variable.5 As noted previously, correlation is an essential statistical tool for evaluating a measure’s reliability and validity. Reliability and Validity Just as a bathroom scale that reads 150 pounds in the morning, 72 pounds in the afternoon, and 300 pounds in the evening would not be a trustworthy measure of a person’s weight, so reliability is required of psychological measures. If a person’s observed score for IQ is 98 in January and 96 in March, the high consistency between these two scores indicates that the intelligence measure is reliable. Assuming there is similarity in the conditions under which two or more measurements take place (e.g., same time of day, similar social setting), and assuming the construct itself is in fact stable or trait-​like, consistency is expected and lies at the heart of a measure’s reliability. Two kinds of reliability arise in nearly every measurement study: temporal stability and internal consistency. A measure’s temporal stability (or test-​retest reliability) is concerned with the extent to which the same individuals yield similar scores when the 5 Correlation does not imply causation. Thus, for example, the fact that people’s level of compassion (however it is measured) is positively correlated with the number of hours they volunteer in their community does not necessarily mean that their compassion is what causes their volunteering.

72  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement measure is administered at two different points in time (e.g., two weeks apart). Consistency over time is then quantified by calculating a correlation between the two sets of test scores, with r = .70 serving as a minimum threshold for adequate temporal stability.6 Scales that involve several items measured at the same time must additionally demonstrate that the items cohere sufficiently to justify pooling them into one average score for each person. This kind of reliability, internal consistency (or internal reliability), refers to the extent to which scores on the items within a test are consistent with each other, or “hang together.” Based on calculations similar to Pearson’s r, Cronbach’s alpha7 (α) is the most common statistical index of this coherence, with α = .70 serving as a minimum threshold for adequate internal consistency under most research conditions (cf. Cortina, 1993; Cronbach, 1951). Reliability, however, is not the definitive property of a good measure—​validity holds that privileged status. Consider a scale that estimates honesty by counting the letters in one’s last name, 6 Temporal stability is more complex than it might appear on the surface. As the density distribution approach clearly shows, there can be substantial within-​person variability over some periods of time, whereas there may be much more consistency over other periods of time. Temporal stability is also of questionable relevance when the construct under investigation develops, either normatively (e.g., self-​regulation during adolescence) or due to intentional cultivation as might be the case for a virtue intervention. Thus, researchers must quantify the appropriate length of time within which consistency should be expected, as well as consider whether it is fair to expect the construct to remain stable over time. 7 Cronbach’s alpha is closely tied to the concept of split-​half reliability, which involves splitting a measure’s items into two halves (e.g., first half vs. last half of items; odd-​ numbered items vs. even-​numbered items; a random selection of half of the items vs. the other half); averaging scores within each half, resulting in a Half 1 score and a Half 2 score for each person; and computing a correlation between the two halves (similar to temporal stability, but instead of correlating two sets of test scores taken at different times, split-​half reliability correlates two halves of a test taken at the same time). The internal consistency of the measure is indexed by the strength of the relationship between the two halves, with higher values indicating stronger internal consistency. However, correlations resulting from a split-​half approach are contingent on how the two halves are constructed (e.g., random split, odd/​even, etc.). Cronbach’s alpha remedies this by incorporating information from the entire correlation matrix (i.e., correlations between each pair of items on the measure), to produce an internal consistency estimate that does not involve an arbitrary split of the items into halves. Cronbach’s alpha approximates the average of all possible split-​half reliabilities.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  73 and multiplying by 10 (e.g., N-​g-​u-​y-​e-​n = 6 × 10 = 60; R-​a-​o = 3 × 10 = 30). Such a measure of honesty has perfect reliability (it would yield a score of 60 every time for Nguyen, and 30 every time for Rao, absent any counting or arithmetic errors), but the measure has no validity, because it fails to accurately measure the construct it purports to measure. Reliability is, therefore, necessary but not sufficient for validity; a scale must measure something well (reliability) in order to measure the construct of interest well (validity). Researchers evaluate a measure’s validity by amassing an array of complementary pieces of evidence, each of which offers unique insight into whether the measure functions as intended. These categories of evidence include content validity, concurrent validity, predictive validity, convergent validity, discriminant validity, and known-​groups validity. Let us unpack these categories of validity using an example where a researcher tests the validity of a new measure of gratitude. To possess high content validity, her measure must incorporate all of the core affective, cognitive, motivational, and behavioral aspects of gratitude, using items that remain true to every aspect of her rich conceptual definition of gratitude. In addition, her new gratitude measure should have large positive correlations (e.g., r  =  .70) with existing measures of gratitude (concurrent validity); scores on her scale should be positively correlated with the frequency of subsequent behaviors that express gratitude, such as writing “thank you” notes (predictive validity); the scale should have medium-​to-​large correlations (e.g., r = +.40) with constructs that have strong theoretical ties to gratitude, as would be the case with a positive correlation with optimism and negative correlation with entitlement (convergent validity); it should have much weaker correlations (e.g., r  =  + .10) with constructs that have loose theoretical ties to gratitude, such as self-​regulation and dogmatism (discriminant validity); and gratitude scores should be higher for groups of people who are known to possess high levels of gratitude, such as cancer

74  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement survivors, relative to scores in the broader population (known groups validity). Typically, a measure validation manuscript will report most or all of these types of validity (and reliability), although such a manuscript is only the initial step in building a large body of empirical evidence on the new measure’s validity or lack thereof. Relatedly, the validity and reliability coefficients (r, α) in a given study are a result of both the quality of the measure and the sample of individuals who participated in the research—​ just because a measure is valid and reliable for one group (e.g., Mexican adults) does not ensure that it is valid and reliable for another group (e.g., Spanish adults). Factor Analysis A final staple in nearly all published measurement manuscripts is factor analysis,8 a tool that helps ascertain the number of empirically distinct dimensions (factors) in a set of measurement items. Factor analysis uses the correlations among a relatively large number of items (e.g., happy, proud, excited, calm, sad, irritated, bored, angry) to determine how many empirically distinct constructs are represented in the data (perhaps only two:  positive and negative mood). Thus, factors can be thought of as buckets in which the various items belong, and statistical criteria determine which items go together in each bucket. Assuming a two-​factor solution in the mood example mentioned earlier, Cronbach’s α would then be calculated separately for the positive mood items (happy, proud, excited, calm) and negative mood items (sad, irritated, bored, angry), and if the internal consistency is high enough (e.g. α > .70) for each set

8 Factor analysis is differentiated into exploratory factor analysis, which is more data-​ driven, and confirmatory factor analysis, which is more theory-​driven. Here, we limit our conversation to a broad level that for the most part applies to both kinds of factor analysis.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  75 of items, the four items’ scores would be averaged together for each person. Putting it all Together Ideally, researchers strive to incorporate a variety of methods (self-​ report, behavioral, physiological, etc.) to measure a given construct. Each measurement method contains some degree of error, but they miss the mark in different ways. Provided factor analysis justifies averaging the various measurements of a construct into one overall score for each person, the resulting composite score triangulates on the construct, offering a better estimate than any single measure alone. The researcher would then evaluate the quality of the composite variable by conducting reliability and validity analyses. On the other hand, if a factor analysis shows that the various measures (e.g., self-​report, behavioral, physiological, etc.) of the construct do not adequately cohere but instead form two or more factors, then each factor would be treated distinctly, with separate reliability and validity analyses for each factor. Assuming the measures show appropriately strong reliability and validity, researchers are justified in using the measures to test substantive hypotheses about the construct (e.g., a civility intervention would be hypothesized to cause increases in scores on a valid scale of civility). In this section, we have endeavored to provide a foundational understanding of some of the most common and useful concepts in the quantitative measurement of psychological constructs. For additional, accessible overviews on psychological measurement, see Cohen and Swerdlik (2017) and Gregory (2013); for discussion of reliability and validity, see Campbell and Fiske (1959), Cronbach and Meehl (1955), John and Benet-​Martinez (2014), and Messick (1995); for discussion of correlation, see Cohen, Cohen, West, and Aiken (2003; esp. ­chapter 2); for factor analysis, see Fabrigar and Wegener (2012).

76  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Measurements of Single Virtues We now turn to a review of empirical literature pertaining to measurements of five single, discrete virtues:  gratitude, courage, honesty, compassion, and humility. Although measures have been developed for other virtues beyond this list (some of which were incidentally reviewed earlier in the chapter), we take up discussion of these five virtues in part due to their diversity, but also because measurement scholarship for these virtues is developed enough to warrant an overview with critical assessment. We note that the present literature on virtue measurement is characterized by what Kristjánsson (2018, 196)  calls the “problem of heterogeneity.”9 This refers to the fact, evident in philosophical as well as psychological studies of virtues, that researchers often diverge in the meanings they assign to a virtue term—​see also Gulliford, Morgan, and Kristjánsson (2013), on divergences in meanings of the term “gratitude.” Kristjánsson and colleagues (Gulliford et al., 2013; Kristjánsson, 2018) use the term “umbrella concept” to refer to concepts that have multiple, often related, meanings yet fail to cohere around a central core. At worst, researchers use the same term to refer to substantially different concepts (e.g., forgiveness as reconciliation vs. lack of holding a grudge), concealing important differences and yielding a non-​ sensical literature with mixed and conflicting findings. Careful conceptual analysis is often capable of differentiating such meanings (provided researchers are open to acknowledging other uses of the term that extend beyond their work), but empirical methods such as prototype analysis and factor analysis offer data-​ driven tools to assist in identifying distinct constructs for umbrella concepts that share some or much common terrain. The issue of

9 In his book Virtuous Emotions, Kristjánsson (2018, 196–​197) frames the problem of heterogeneity in terms of divergent uses of emotion terms, such as “jealousy,” but it applies to work on virtues more generally.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  77 multiple meanings for the same virtue term will become evident in our literature review.

Gratitude One approach to gratitude is to view it as essentially a positive emotion (McCullough et al., 2001; McCullough et al., 2008), one that typically flows from the perception that we have benefited in some way from the “costly, intentional, voluntary action of another person” (McCullough et al., 2008, 281). Gratitude has been described as “an emotional response to a gift” (Emmons and Crumpler, 2000, 56), an interpersonal emotion that is felt toward other people or entities, and not toward oneself. What distinguishes it from other positive moral emotions, researchers argue, is that it stimulates helping behavior, even when it is costly to the helper (Bartlett and DeSteno, 2006; Tsang, 2006). To measure gratitude, McCullough et al. (2002) developed the 6-​item Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-​6), including questions such as, “I have so much in life to be thankful for,” and “I am grateful to a wide variety of people.” Watkins et al. (2003) took gratitude measurement a step further by developing the Gratitude, Resentment and Appreciation Test (GRAT, 44-​item original, 16-​item abbreviated), which was designed to measure an individual’s dispositional (or trait) gratitude, i.e., the disposition to frequently experience a state of gratitude. They argued that people with dispositional gratitude should display four defining characteristics, which the GRAT was designed to measure: First, they should not feel deprived in life, but instead should have a general sense of abundance. Second, they should be appreciative of the contribution of others to their well-​ being. Third, they should tend to appreciate simple pleasures in life. Fourth, they should acknowledge the importance of experiencing and expressing gratitude itself. The GRAT includes items such as, “Often I’m just amazed at how beautiful the sunsets are,” “I couldn’t

78  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement have gotten where I am today without the help of many people,” and “Sometimes I think, ‘Why am I so fortunate so as to be born into the family and culture I was born into?’ ” Insofar as the GRAT measures a range of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions, it is a more complex measurement of gratitude than the GQ-​6. Nonetheless, it is limited. Both approaches treat gratitude too simply for their measurements to be considered virtue measurements—​at least in the robust sense that we developed in Chapter 1. Both view gratitude as primarily a positive, prosocial emotion and neither provides more than a rudimentary measure of the cognitive (i.e., beliefs, attitudes, schemas, etc.) and motivational aspects of gratitude, nor do they tap into the behavioral aspect of gratitude or integrate the concept of practical wisdom into their measure. Recognizing these limitations, Morgan et al. (2017) adopted a “deeper” neo-​Aristotelian view of gratitude as a virtue—​with “virtue” being defined as an intrinsically valuable trait of character that is constitutive of, rather than simply conducive to, a flourishing life (Kristjánsson, 2015). In contrast to the other approaches to gratitude discussed previously, Morgan et  al. (2017) conceptualize gratitude as a virtue composed of several different dimensions:  cognitive, affective, conative/​attitudinal, and behavioral. In order to measure gratitude along these four dimensions, they created the Multi-​Component Gratitude Measure (MCGM), a multi-​ dimensional scale composed to assess: 1. Conceptions (or understandings) of gratitude:  This component presents people with vignettes, or scenarios, which vary the circumstances around the receipt of an award. Specifically, the scenarios concern a nomination for an award. People first see a baseline scenario, which is subsequently manipulated to examine a series of conceptual controversies (e.g., whether the benefit must be valuable; must be costly to the benefactor; must materialize; must be bestowed with benevolent intentions; etc.).

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  79 This generates what they call a gratitude “profile,” which is a gauge of people’s understanding of when gratitude is called for. 2. Affective component:  This component assesses the strength of people’s grateful feelings, the circumstances under which grateful feelings are experienced, and the range of things gratitude is felt for. It contains six items, such as “I feel appreciative of the support of many people in my life’s journey” and “There are so many people that I feel grateful for.” 3. Attitude component: This component assesses people’s attitudes about gratitude and about expressing gratitude, evaluations of the importance and priority of gratitude, and attitudes about when gratitude is appropriate. It contains 10 items, such as “I don’t think it is necessary to show your gratitude to others,” and “I make it a priority to thank others.” 4. Behavior component:  This component assesses the amount of gratitude-​related behaviors people engage in, extending beyond expressions of gratitude and including the notice of benefits received, reflections of what there is to be grateful for, and reminders about being grateful or showing gratitude. It contains 13 items, such as “I notice the people who are kind to me” and “I remind myself of the benefits I have received.” The MCGM is a more complete measure of gratitude—​one that covers many of the essential dimensions of a virtue—​but is limited insofar as it is a self-​report survey (the limitations of which we have already discussed). It also fails to adequately tap into the full trait-​ model of the virtue (e.g., input, intermediaries, and output), which we contend is a common weakness of nearly every virtue measure.

Courage Shelp (1984, 354)  defined courage as “the disposition to voluntarily act, perhaps fearfully, in a dangerous circumstance, where the

80  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement relevant risks are reasonably appraised, in an effort to obtain or preserve some perceived good for one self or others recognizing that the desired perceived good may not be realized.” Along these lines, Norton and Weiss (2009) developed a 12-​item Courage Measure of self-​perceived courageousness (i.e., persistence or perseverance despite having fear), with items such as “I tend to face my fears,” “Even if something scares me, I will not back down.” Relatedly, Woodard (2004, 180–​181), defined courage as “acting for a meaningful cause despite the fear that results from a threat exceeding personal resources” and developed the Courage Scale, a 31-​item scale that measured courage along four lines: (1) the ability to act for a meaningful or important cause despite experiencing the fear that results from being somehow vulnerable (e.g., “I would enter a burning building for a pet”), (2) willingness to act for the good of others, which creates a sense of meaningfulness or importance (e.g., “I would do without for others in need”), (3) whether the courageous act requires that the person act without the social support of others (e.g., “I would accept a job despite criticism”), and (4) the degree to which the act will generate pain and/​or defy existing social norms (e.g., “I would intervene in a domestic dispute”). Other measurement strategies attempt to break apart the monolith of courage into several different virtue-​types. One example of this is Pury et al. (2007), who distinguish between general courage (actions that would be courageous for anyone) and personal courage (actions that are courageous only for the person in question). Specifically, they asked people to “describe a time in your life when you believe that you acted courageously,” and then rate those actions on a scale of 0 (not at all) to 10 (as much as I can imagine) on questions like “compared to how you usually act, how courageous was this action?” (personal courage) and “compared to the actions of most other people, how courageous was this action?” (general courage). They found that actions that people rated as high in personal courage were accompanied with a greater degree of fear, leading the

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  81 authors to propose that personal courage maps onto what people often refer to as “fearful courage,” whereas general courage maps onto a more “fearless and confident” (or “heroic”) courage. This difference was first noted by Rachman and colleagues (Cox, Hallam, O’Connor, and Rachman, 1983; Rachman, 1984, 1990), who recorded lower than expected physiological and subjective measures of fear in professional bomb disposal operators (compared to a non-​courageous control group) and in British veteran paratroopers (McMillan and Rachman, 1987). In keeping with this, males tend to rate their general courage as higher than females, but there is no gender difference in personal courage ratings (Becker and Eagly, 2004). Lopez, O’Byrne, and Peterson (2003; see also O’Byrne, Lopez, and Petersen, 2000)  suggested that courage can alternatively be broken down into three types: physical, moral, and vital. Woodard and Pury (2007) went further, developing a 23-​item Woodard Pury Courage Scale, which measured courage across four distinct types (or domains) of courage:  work/​employment courage; patriotic, religion, or belief-​based physical courage; social–​moral courage; and family-​based courage. The scale includes a complex mixture of beliefs, attitudes, and emotions captured by items such as, “I would accept an important project at my place of employment even though it would bring intense public criticism and publicity,” “If called upon during times of national emergency, I would give my life for my country,” and “I would endure physical pain for my religious or moral beliefs.” Their results suggest that courage is a complex virtue that involves different forms of expression based on contexts or goals, and threats or outcomes, rather than simply on the perception of threat. Howard et al. (2017) and Greitemeyer et al. (2007) both developed measures of more specific forms of courage—​the former developed a measure of social courage in the workplace context; the latter, a measure of civil courage. By “social courage,” Howard et al. (2017, 673) meant courageous behavior in which the risks involved

82  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement “could damage the actor’s esteem in the eyes of others,” e.g., by damaging the actor’s relationships and/​or the actor’s social image (loss of face). Using their Workplace Social Courage Scale (WSCS), they found social courage to be related to several behaviors in the workplace, such as intentional behaviors that benefit an organization but go beyond formal job requirements, including prosocial rule breaking with the intention of improving some aspect of the company. Item examples are things like: “Even if it would make a bad impression on my coworkers, I would do what I should at work,” and “I would not tolerate when a coworker is rude to someone, even if I make him/​her upset.” Greitemeyer et al. (2007, 115) defined civil courage as “behavior accompanied by anger and indignation intended to enforce societal/​ethical norms [social justice] without consideration for social costs to oneself.” To measure this, Kastenmuller et al. (2007) developed their Munich Civil Courage Instrument, which measures the intention to show civil courage in the workplace, in the face of physical violence, and when encountering racism. They found that the civil courage scale was more predictive of people’s prosocial behavior when there were strong negative social consequences, whereas people’s desire to be helpful better predicted prosocial behavior when there were weaker negative social consequences. Though providing a range of interesting ways to tap into courage, unfortunately all of these instruments are self-​report measures, which come with the limitations already enumerated. Some have been supplemented with physiological measures (Cox et al., 1983; McMillan and Rachman, 1987; Rachman, 1984, 1990), but this is not enough to fully canvas the virtue of courage.

Honesty Honesty (which is sometimes also referred to in the psychological literature as integrity and trustworthiness) has been defined as

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  83 a tendency to avoid three types of behaviors: cheating, deceiving, and stealing (Nicol, 1999; Nicol and Paunonen, 2002). It has mostly been measured in the workplace, for example, with The Workplace Productivity Questionnaire (WPQ; Nicol, 1999). The WPQ honesty measure consists of six separate scales:  (1) Admissions:  the extent to which people willingly admit to past acts of dishonesty, (2) Attitudes: the extent to which people possess favorable attitudes about dishonesty, (3)  Perceptions of Others:  the extent to which people believe that others are dishonest, (4) Punitiveness: the degree to which people possess lenient punitive beliefs toward dishonest behavior, (5) Rationalizations: the extent to which people rationalize dishonest behaviors, and (6) Temptations: the extent to which people fantasize about and feel temptation for committing dishonest acts. These self-​report scales have exhibited criterion-​related validity, in that scores on these subscales were negatively correlated with behavioral measures of cheating on several different tasks, and to stealing beverages, money, and pens/​pencils (Nicol and Paunonen, 2002). Specifically, people are more likely to behave dishonestly when they have high admission scores, express favorable attitudes about dishonesty, believe that others are dishonest, have lenient punitive beliefs toward dishonest behavior, tend to rationalize dishonest behaviors, and more strongly fantasize about and feel temptation for committing dishonest acts. Relatedly, Harris and Sackett (1987) measured honesty using the Personnel Selection Inventory (PSI), a 40-​item overt honesty scale, which was composed of four dimensions:  (1) temptations and ruminations regarding dishonest behaviors, (2)  admissions of dishonest acts, (3) beliefs about the frequency with which other individuals commit dishonest acts, and (4) honesty-​related personality traits such as trustworthiness and impulsiveness. Sackett and colleagues (Sackett, Burris, and Callahan, 1989; Sackett and Wanek, 1996)  have classified honesty (or integrity) tests into two categories:  overt tests and personality-​based tests.

84  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Overt tests were designed to directly assess attitudes regarding dishonest behaviors. In addition to the WPQ and the PSI, they include the Employee Attitude Inventory (EAI; Vangent, n.d.), the Stanton Survey (Klump, 1980; Reed, 1982), the Reid Report (Ash, 1970, 1971, 1972), the Phase II Profile (Lousig-​Nont and Associates, 1989), the Milby Profile (Bradley, 1980), the Trustworthiness Attitude Survey (Cormack and Strand, 1970)  and the Pre-​employment Analysis Questionnaire (Gerhardt, undated). As a whole, there are sizable correlations between the scales, and they have been found to collectively predict a broad spectrum of counterproductive behaviors, including cheating, deceiving, and theft (Ones, Viswesvaran, and Schmidt, 1993; Ones and Viswesvaran, 1998; Schmidt, Viswesvaran, and Ones, 1997). Personality-​based measures indirectly measure honesty/​integrity by measuring personality variables (e.g., conscientiousness, thrill-​seeking) that have been shown to correlate with counterproductive behaviors such as cheating, deceiving, and theft. Examples of personality-​ based measures include the Personal Outlook Inventory (Selection Research Publishing, 1983), the Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB; Gough, 1972)  the Employment Inventory, (Personnel Decisions International, 1985), and the Hogan Personality Inventory Reliability Scale (Ones and Viswesvaran, 1998; Ones, Viswesvaran, and Schmidt, 1993; Schmidt, Viswesvaran, and Ones, 1997). Numerous behavioral measures of honesty have also been developed. For example, Nicole and Paunonen (2002), discussed previously, provided participants with an opportunity to purchase beverages based on the honor system, and counted the number of beverages taken without paying as an index of dishonest stealing. In their measure of deception, participants were given a list of famous people’s names (half of which were fictitious) and were asked to identify the names with which they were familiar. Lying was then measured as the number of fictitious names people identified as familiar. In another study, a computerized behavioral measure of

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  85 cheating was developed by Brown et al. (2011). Participants took a computerized math test that was described as having a “bug” in the system:  Each math problem was followed by the automatic display of the correct answer just one second later, unless the participant pressed the space bar to avoid peeking at the correct answer. Ironically, the researchers lied; the “bug” was a cover story. The number of times participants “peeked” at the correct answer, by failing to suppress its display via the space bar, served as an index of dishonesty. These behavioral examples illustrate how researchers can select behaviors that are closely tied to the target trait of honesty and create experimental settings that maximize the honesty-​ relevance of the behaviors, all without cuing participants into which behaviors are being measured, and thus maximizing the authenticity of participants’ responses.

Compassion Most conceptualizations of compassion have included at least a subset of the following elements:  the recognition of suffering, as well as an understanding of the universality of suffering, emotional resonance (feeling empathy) with the person suffering, the ability to tolerate uncomfortable feelings, and the motivation to alleviate the suffering of others (Strauss et al., 2016). Sprecher and Fehr (2005) developed the Compassionate Love Scale (CLS), a 21-​item scale which measures altruistic love for others. This scale was limited in that it did not contain items explicitly related to recognizing suffering and had several items more related to love and kindness than compassion—​such as “I very much wish to be kind and good to [my friends and family members/​ fellow human beings].” Hwang et  al. (2008; see also Plante and Mejia, 2016)  developed the Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale (SCBCS), a 5-​item scale taken from the CLS, intended to operationalize and measure compassion associated with pro-​ social

86  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement feelings and behaviors referring exclusively to strangers rather than to close others. Examples of items are: “When I hear about someone (a stranger) going through a difficult time, I feel a great deal of compassion for him or her” and “One of the activities that provide me with the most meaning to my life is helping others in the world when they need help.” Pommier (2011; see also Sousa, Castilho, Vieira, Vagos, and Rijo, 2017)  developed the Compassion Scale (CS-​P), a 24-​item scale which assessed compassion for others along several different dimensions:  kindness, common humanity, mindfulness, indifference, separation, and disengagement. It includes items such as “When others feel sadness, I  try to comfort them” and “I notice when people are upset, even if they don’t say anything.” Similarly, Martins, Nicholas, Shaheen, Jones, and Norris (2013) developed another Compassion Scale (CS-​M), which is a 10-​item survey designed to measure five domains of compassion: generosity, hospitality, objectivity, sensitivity, and tolerance, across social networks and relationships. The aim of this scale was to provide a measure of compassion in a way that could be targeted for education, and includes items such as, “How much of your future savings would you give away now to help a stranger in need of financial help?” The Relational Compassion Scale (RCS; Hacker, 2008)  consists of 16 items with four subscales which measure beliefs about how compassionate people are to each other (e.g., “Other people tend to be understanding”), beliefs about how compassionate other people are to one’s self (e.g., “Other people I know are caring when I am in distress”), one’s own compassion toward others (e.g., “I tend to become attuned to other people’s feelings”), and one’s own compassion directed toward one’s self in times of difficulty10 (“When I am emotionally upset I treat myself with kindness and care”). 10 This final aspect—​self-​compassion—​has garnered considerable interest in the psychological literature on compassion. Self-​compassion “involves being touched by and open to one’s own suffering, not avoiding or disconnecting from it, generating the desire to alleviate one’s suffering and to heal oneself with kindness” (Neff, 2003, 87).

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  87 Finally, the Compassionate Care Assessment Tool (CCAT; Burnell and Agan, 2013) is a 28-​item measure of compassion that was developed specifically for nurses providing care for patients in acute hospital settings. It focuses on four domains: the ability of healthcare workers to establish meaningful connection (e.g., having a sense of humor), to meet patient expectations (e.g., giving timely treatments), display caring attributes (e.g., considering personal needs), and exhibit capable practitioner qualities (e.g., appearing competent). On the other side of the relationship, the Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Scale (SCCCS; Lown, Muncer, and Chadwick, 2015) is a 12-​item scale that was developed to measure patients’ ratings of compassionate inpatient care received during hospitalization (e.g., “[How successfully did your doctor] strive to understand your emotional needs?”). Notably, some dimensions of the CS-​P, CS-​M, and CCAT involve qualities that arguably fall outside the scope of compassion. For example, mindfulness (CS-​P) and tolerance (CS-​M) might better be conceptualized as predictors of compassion rather than constitutive elements of it—​and meeting patient expectations (CCAT) seems to be a likely consequence of compassion rather than an indicator of it. Therefore, we submit that researchers must be vigilant that their measures are based on precise conceptual definitions of the virtues, designed to capture the construct itself rather than related but distinct preconditions for it or consequences of it. To bring together these various existing measures of compassion, Strauss et al. (2016) reviewed a range of different approaches to compassion and proposed a new, more comprehensive and inclusive definition of compassion as a cognitive, affective, and behavioral process consisting of the following five elements that refer to both self-​and other-​compassion: recognizing suffering, understanding the universality of human suffering, feeling for the person suffering, tolerating uncomfortable feelings, and motivation to act/​ acting to alleviate the suffering of others. Based on these criteria, they evaluated and ranked nine different compassion measurement

88  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement scales, finding that the Relational Compassion Scale (RCS; Hacker, 2008), the Compassionate Love Scale (CLS; Sprecher and Fehr, 2005), the Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale (SCBCS; Hwang et al., 2008), and the Self-​Compassion Scale (SCS; Neff, 2003, not discussed here11) were the best scales in terms of content and convergent/​discriminant validity, internal consistency, reliability, and interpretability. Nonetheless, none of these scales fully captured their five-​part definition of compassion, suggesting that a more comprehensive, robust measure is in order. Strategies other than self-​report measures have also been developed for compassion, including numerous measures of helping behavior12 relevant to compassion. For example, researchers have coded whether participants in a waiting room gave up their seat to a person on crutches displaying discomfort (Lim, Condon, and DeSteno, 2015), and researchers have measured the amount of money participants donated to those in need from their research participation earnings (Lim and DeSteno, 2016). Physiological measures are also informative, although they must be used judiciously to corroborate self-​report and behavioral measures of compassion, rather than serving as independent measures of the virtue. For example, self-​reports of compassion might be verified by using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure brain activity in the ventrolateral prefrontal cortex and 11 Neff and Pommier (2013) found that self-​compassion has a weak or even non-​ existent empirical correlation with other-​focused compassion, suggesting that self-​ compassion is distinct from the more general virtue of compassion. 12 Helping behavior is a tricky metric because it can express a wide range of virtues. For example, helping can express compassion when one helps a person who is suffering and in need of assistance; it can express courage when one helps by taking a stand for an unpopular perspective; or it might express fairness when one has already given one’s services to one person in need, and one then extends the same help to others who are equally in need of assistance. Importantly, in each of these scenarios the context defines which virtue is most relevant, and thus it is incumbent on researchers to create contexts with virtue-​relevant stimuli specific to the virtue under investigation, as was the case in both the Lim et al. (2015) and Lim and DeSteno (2016) studies. That said, helping behavior (as with behavioral measures of other virtues) can be performed for non-​virtuous or even vicious reasons, as when a person helps an attractive stranger as a means of making one’s spouse jealous.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  89 anterior insula, two brain regions for which activity spikes when a compassionate state is induced among highly trained meditators (Engen, Bernhardt, Skottnik, Ricard, and Singer, 2018). However, using fMRI and other physiological measurement techniques as stand-​alone measures of personality and virtue is unwarranted—​ they must be supplemented with other types of measures.

Humility Humility has been conceptualized and measured as both a moral and an epistemic virtue (in the form of intellectual humility). Here we are only concerned with measurement of the former. Humility has been conceptualized and measured in a variety of different ways. The two most prominent general humility self-​report measures are the Values in Action Inventory Modesty-​Humility subscale (VIA; Peterson and Seligman, 2004), and the HEXACO Honesty-​Humility subscale (Lee and Ashton, 2004). Unfortunately, there are difficulties with both. First, they collapse humility with other related, though arguably distinct constructs, such as modesty (both scales), honesty, sincerity, greed-​avoidance, and fairness (HEXACO only) and both include only a few items actually targeting humility. As we will discuss in more depth later, the VIA’s characterization of “virtues” has also been strongly criticized as being under-​ theorized and conceptualized, as well as largely unsupported by empirical research (Noftle, Schnitker, and Robins, 2011; see also Kristjánsson, 2015; Snow, 2018b). In addition, both scales rely entirely on self-​report questions that ask people about their humility directly, e.g., “I am always humble about the good things that happen to me,” “People are drawn to me because I am humble,” “I never brag about my accomplishments” (VIA), and “I am an ordinary person who is no better than others,” “I wouldn’t want people to treat me as though I were superior to them,” and “I want

90  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement people to know that I am an important person of high status (R)” (HEXACO). Such questions make responses especially vulnerable to the over-​and under-​reporting of actual humility. More recently, Wright, Nadelhoffer, Ross, and Sinnott-​ Armstrong (2018, 94) conceptualized humility as an “epistemically and ethically aligned state of awareness.” Humility is understood as the experience of ourselves as a small part of a larger universe and as one among a host of other morally relevant beings. They measured humility with the Dual-​Dimension Humility Scale (DDHS) along the dual dimensions of low self-​focus and high other-​focus, including items such as “I often feel in touch with Mother Nature” (low self-​focus) and “My actions are often aimed toward the wellbeing of others” (higher other-​focus). They demonstrate that humility, as measured by the DDHS, is positively correlated with people’s general ethical orientation (e.g., empathy, universalism/​ benevolence, and civic responsibility), their well-​being (e.g., sense of autonomy, life-​purpose, and secure attachment), mature religious beliefs and practices, and reactions to disagreement. As for reactions to disagreement, as predicted, people high in humility sat closer and less angled away from their conversation partner with whom they disagreed, which, according to the researchers, suggests they felt less threatened by people who disagreed with them, and displayed a greater openness to hearing what their partner had to say. Some alternatives to direct self-​report have been attempted. For example, the Dispositional Humility Scale (Landrum, 2011) measures humility by asking people how much they like individuals who have certain character traits related to humility, the assumption being that humble people will tend to like other humble people. Unfortunately, little justification for this approach was provided. Other scales rely on informant (third-​person) ratings of humility, such as the Sacred Humility Scale (Davis et  al., 2010)  and the Relational Humility Scale (Davis et al., 2011; see also Hook, Davis, Owen, Worthington, and Utsey, 2013; Rowatt et al., 2006; Owens,

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  91 Johnson, and Mitchell, 2013). Still others have utilized participants’ comparisons of self to others (Rowatt et al., 2002). These approaches to measuring humility have value, but are not without challenges. One worry about third-​person ratings is that while people are likely to pick up on various behavioral manifestations associated with humility, this is neither the same thing as nor is it informative about the underlying cognitive, affective, and motivational states of humility. This fact could explain why measurements given by informants have been inconsistently related to self-​reports (Davis et al., 2010, 2011). Some researchers have attempted a completely different approach, developing implicit association tests, such as Humility IAT and Humility Differentials (Rowatt et al., 2006; see also Powers et al., 2007). Concerns have been raised about these measures, pointing to weak temporal stability and problems with convergent and discriminant validity, making it unclear what is actually being measured (Davis et al., 2010, 2011). Finally, some measurements have been designed to assess humility in a specific context. For example, there are the Expressed Humility Scale (Owens et  al., 2013)  and the Servant Leadership Survey (Van Dierendonck and Nuijten, 2011), which were designed to measure humility as a part of management leadership styles in organizational settings. There are also measurements of humility sub-​types, such as cultural sensitivity in a counseling setting, measured by the Cultural Humility Scale (Hook et al., 2013). These narrow, contextualized scales could to some extent tap into the same broad virtue of humility, but their unique contribution lies in their ability to measure the degree to which the virtue has been fine-​tuned and developed in ways that matter in a particular area of application.13 To illustrate, the fully humble teacher is sensitive to the many ways in which humility is relevant to the 13 Alternatively, high scores on a narrow measure could also suggest that individuals have developed a fairly narrow virtue expressed only in constrained circumstances.

92  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement various aspects of his life, including its expression as cultural humility. As such, the teacher recognizes when his mode of instruction misses the mark with a multi-​culturally diverse class, and he seeks to improve his cultural knowledge and skills to better meet students’ needs, whereas the less fully humble teacher might generally be described as lacking in arrogance, pride, or vanity, yet because his sensitivity to humility-​relevant stimuli is less developed, he does not consider its relevance to cultural issues and thereby fails to see how his habitual teaching methods miss the mark for culturally diverse students. Fine-​tuning a virtue to appropriately meet situational demands is the work of practical wisdom, which we hold to be intrinsic to the virtue of humility. Therefore, someone who possesses humility fully would be expected to receive relatively high scores not only on a broad measure of humility, but also across a range of narrowly focused humility measures that apply to particular aspects of the person’s life, whereas the person who possesses humility less fully might similarly receive a high score on a broad measure of humility, but could fall short on a number of narrow, contextualized measures. The implication for a program of measurement is that using several narrow, contextually focused measures of humility (as opposed to one broad measure) would provide information about a person’s ability to consistently produce humility-​ appropriate responses across a wide range of humility-​relevant contexts that are part of the person’s life. Such an approach might help gauge the robustness14 of the virtue, including its practical wisdom component,

14 We do not mean to imply an “additive” view of humility, by which gauging a person’s humility is achieved by indiscriminately “adding” the extent to which one is humble in a variety of contexts—​potentially including contexts in which humility is not called for, contexts in which “humble” behavior is a sign of vicious servility rather than virtuous humility, or contexts that are not relevant to the person’s life and the roles they inhabit (e.g., expecting high scores on a cultural humility scale intended for counselors when the person is not a counselor). Thus, researchers should recognize that while practical wisdom makes it possible to extend humility (or courage, etc.) to different contexts, to get the most accurate measures of a person’s humility, the contexts under

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  93 both of which are expected to be more developed in the fully humble person. The same principle extends to other virtues as well, suggesting that context-​specific scales (alongside more context-​ general measurements) could play an important role in a virtue measurement program.

Measurements of Virtue Groups/​Clusters Having discussed extant measures of five individual virtues, we now turn to measurement that captures clusters of several interrelated virtues at the same time. Character measures have been developed for both employees and leaders within organizations. For example, Wärnå-​ Furu, Sääksjärvi, and Santavirta (2010) developed a scale to measure employees’ possession of four virtues:  pride, honesty, generosity, and love. Their objective was to examine the relationship between these virtues and the health and well-​being of employees working in a corporate setting. Their 14-​item unnamed scale yielded the four factors listed earlier, and the factors generally had medium or large correlations with each other, indicating that people who excelled in one factor (e.g., honesty) tended to also score high on the other factors (e.g., love). Measures of leaders’ character have also been developed by simultaneously assessing several virtues at a time, with the particular set of virtues flowing from researchers’ a priori theoretical commitments. For example, Riggio, Zhu, Reina, and Maroosis (2010) developed the Leadership Virtues Questionnaire (LVQ) to measure the four cardinal virtues of leadership (Aquinas, 2005; Aristotle, 2005)—​prudence, fortitude, temperance, and justice. The

investigation should apply to the individual’s life and should actually call for humility (or courage, etc.).

94  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement first virtue, prudence,15 is often associated with knowledge, insight, and the ability, often based on experience, to decide what is called for. The second virtue is fortitude (or courage). Leaders act with fortitude when they persevere in the face of adversity. The third virtue is temperance. Leaders with temperance have control over their bodies and emotions and refrain from acts of self-​indulgence or self-​denial. The final cardinal virtue, justice, was given great attention by Aristotle—​specifically, a particular form of justice which deals with fairness where an unjust action is one that is motivated by the desire for unjust gain (Riggio et al., 2010). Leaders behave unjustly when they seek to benefit themselves at the expense of others. Their scale, the LVQ, involved 19 items, five measuring prudence, five measuring fortitude, three measuring temperance, and six measuring justice. Although the 19 items were designed to measure these four discrete virtues, factor analyses indicated that, empirically, the items did not form four separate virtues but instead they all tapped into the same core construct, which the authors called “virtuous leadership.” Their leadership construct was found to be strongly positively correlated with other measures of ethical leadership:  the transformational leadership scale (Multi-​Factor Leadership Questionnaire; Bass and Avolio, 2000), the authentic leadership scale (ALS; Walumbwa et al., 2008), and the ethical leadership scale (ELS; Brown et al., 2005). Grahek, Thompson, and Toliver (2010) explore the “Character to Lead” construct, which encompasses three elements: Personal Integrity and Ethics; Organizational Integrity and Courage; and Humility, Gratitude, and Forgiveness, which were designed to measure nine “dimensions,” or virtues: personal integrity, ethics, openness, organizational integrity, courage, power, humility, gratitude, and forgiveness. Contrary to the LVQ, they found that the best fit of their scale data was a 9-​factor model, emphasizing the

15 What Aquinas calls “prudence,” Aristotle calls “phronēsis” or “practical wisdom.”

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  95 distinctiveness of each virtue. They also found that while personal integrity, ethics, and openness were viewed as important contributors to leaders’ successes, leaders’ humility, gratitude, and forgiveness were viewed as important contributors to their failures. Wang and Hackett (2016) expanded upon this list by developing the Virtuous Leadership Questionnaire (VLQ) to include cardinal virtues drawn from both Aristotelian and Confucian thoughts on virtues—​specifically, courage, temperance, justice, prudence, humanity, and truthfulness (originally identified by Hackett and Wang, 2012)—​in order to develop an other-​report measurement instrument that focused on leaders’ virtuous behaviors. Humanity was included to represent the Confucian virtue “Ren,” a disposition to care for and sympathize with others, and to show concern for relationships with others. Truthfulness was included to represent the Confucian virtue “Xin,” the personal character that underlies “promise-​keeping” and reliability, the disposition to tell the truth and keep promises. The researchers asked followers to rate their leader’s virtuousness with the VLQ, using items such as “My supervisor allocates valued resources in a fair manner,” representing justice, and “My supervisor shows concerns for subordinates’ needs,” representing humanity. While factor analysis indicated that five factors best captured the pattern of correlations among their items, none of the truthfulness (Xin) items coalesced into a factor, nor did they fit well with any of the other five factors. Consequently, the authors dismissed truthfulness as an ordinary (rather than cardinal) virtue. They found that when the remaining five factors were combined into a single leader virtuousness score, the score was positively related to leaders’ self-​assessment of virtues, happiness, and their ratings of their followers’ ethicality. The score was negatively related to leaders’ self-​assessment of Machiavellianism (a personality trait according to which its possessor is so focused on his own interests that he will manipulate, deceive, and exploit others to achieve his goals).

96  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Barlow, Jordan, and Hendrix (2003) developed the Character Assessment Rating Scale (CARS) for measuring leadership qualities, which measured 12 character attributes, including respectfulness, organizational loyalty, integrity, and fairness. Sarros and Cooper (2006) used CARS as well as additional measurements for humor, passion, courage, wisdom, and humility (Sarros and Barker, 2003), amounting to a total of 17 character attributes relevant for good leadership. They administered a self-​report survey and used factor analysis to examine whether a small number of factors might account for the correlations among the 17 attributes. They found that three underlying factors accounted for 15 of the 17 attributes: (1) Universalism (six attributes; e.g., respectfulness, fairness), which represented an understanding, appreciation, and tolerance for the welfare of people generally, and a “big picture” perspective approach to work and life; (2) Transformation (five attributes; e.g., courage, passion), which is consistent with the concept of transformational leadership as an activity that inspires others in the achievement of long-​term, visionary goals; and (3)  Benevolence (four attributes; e.g., organizational loyalty, integrity), which is concern for the welfare of others through one’s daily interactions. Factor analyses from the studies reviewed previously are helpful in determining whether the virtues under consideration cluster together empirically (at least for leaders in organizational settings), yet they paint very different pictures for the number of clusters, and the content of the clusters. Some authors found one factor named virtuous leadership (Riggio et  al., 2010), but others found three factors named universalism, transformation, and benevolence (Sarros and Barker, 2003); five factors named courage, temperance, justice, prudence, and humanity (Wang and Hackett, 2016); or even nine factors named personal integrity, ethics, openness, organizational integrity, courage, power, humility, gratitude, and forgiveness (Grahek et al., 2010), in their respective studies. This kind of disagreement across individual studies is common, and expected when researchers incorporate different sets of virtues into their

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  97 factor analyses. Incorporating different sets of virtues is usually due to varying a priori conceptual commitments regarding which virtues are seen as contributing to good character in leaders. That said, one might also consider these results as a collective, and begin to identify common themes emerging from factor analyses across studies. For example, Sarros and Barker’s (2003) universalism factor might converge nicely with Wang and Hackett’s (2016) humanity factor, and the former’s transformation factor could align with the latter’s courage factor. Ultimately, empirical results from many such studies must be considered together to move the field forward in determining the underlying structure of character—​ including determining which sets of virtues form good character—​ in organizational leaders. Though not a leadership study, Gulliford and Roberts (2018)’s conceptual articulation of virtue clusters is also worth discussing. Proposing a version of the unity of the virtues thesis, they hold that the virtues are “unified” within clusters of virtues. Clusters are formed based on common functions that make virtues within a cluster similar to each other, and that differentiate the clusters from one another. Three virtue clusters are proposed: “virtues of intelligent caring (such as justice, truthfulness, compassion, generosity, and gratitude), the virtues of willpower (such as self-​control, courage, perseverance, and patience), and the virtue(s) of humility (such as being unpretentious, unassuming, gentle, unsnobbish, and properly deferential)” (Gulliford and Roberts, 2018, 210). The authors further distinguish a subset of virtues within the intelligent caring cluster that shares the common function of caring about others. This they call the allocentric quintet: generosity, gratitude, forgiveness, compassion, and (as an “honorary member”) humility. Although the authors do not offer measures for the virtues, they discuss the empirical implications of their model, and review extant empirical research that tests key propositions of their account of a unified allocentric quintet. For example, research shows that inducing states of gratitude (Bartlett and DeSteno, 2006)  and

98  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement forgiveness (Karremans, Van Lange, and Holland, 2005)  cause people to behave more generously, which is consistent with the view that gratitude and forgiveness support the expression of generosity, presumably because all three share the common function of caring for others. Similarly, research shows that people who score higher on self-​report humility measures exhibit greater charitable giving (Exline and Hill, 2012), suggesting that humility and generosity entail each other. More generally, Gulliford and Roberts (2018) comment on the need for deep conceptual accounts of virtues, rather than strictly data-​driven approaches (e.g., exploratory factor analysis), to guide work in determining the number of virtue clusters (factors) and which virtues belong in each cluster. They also lament the limitations of using laboratory studies that induce “virtue states” and measure consequent virtuous behaviors to infer relationships among dispositional virtues. We believe such reservations are well founded, and we offer measurement suggestions to help advance the investigation of virtue clusters. First, their conceptual account of three virtue clusters can be tested in a top-​down, theory-​informed fashion using confirmatory factor analysis (e.g., Riggio et al., 2010), which allows researchers to specify both the number and content of the factors a priori (e.g., three clusters of intellectual caring, willpower, and humility, each with their constituent virtues), then apply statistical analyses to test how well the data fit the theorized model. Second, in addressing the shortcoming of inducing virtue states, researchers can measure (at Time 1) dispositional levels of several virtues (e.g., those within the allocentric quintet) using intensive short-​term longitudinal measurement (e.g., ESM across 2 weeks), then retest participants several months later (Time 2) using the same approach. Such data can then be used to test “cross-​lagged” associations between virtues—​i.e., longitudinal correlations that statistically control for pre-​existing levels of the other virtue(s) in the model—​allowing researchers to see if, for example, Time 1 humility predicts Time 2 generosity, for

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  99 people with the same initial Time 1 levels of generosity, and also if Time 1 generosity predicts Time 2 humility, for people with the same initial Time 1 levels of humility. Such an approach would provide support for the notion that humility and generosity mutually reinforce one another at the dispositional level. Another useful approach to determining how virtues empirically interrelate and work together in forming a person’s character involves comprehensively measuring a broad array of virtues at the same time, a topic we turn to next.

Comprehensive Measurements of Virtue The Values in Action Survey The Values in Action (VIA, Peterson and Seligman, 2004, 13)  surveys16 were designed to measure “character strengths”—​ which they defined as “psychological ingredients, processes or mechanisms, that define the virtues”—​in a comprehensive, holistic fashion. They identify 24 character strengths, which they cluster under six “virtues”:  wisdom/​knowledge, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. They consider virtues to be higher level conceptual constructs than character strengths. Under wisdom/​knowledge, they locate the character strengths of creativity, curiosity, judgment, love-​of-​learning, and perspective. Under courage they locate bravery, honesty, perseverance, and zest. Under humanity they locate kindness, love, and social intelligence. 16 The VIA Institute on Character currently has a number of surveys, three of which (short, medium, and long forms) measure Peterson and Seligman’s (2004) original conceptualizations of strengths and virtues in adults, three of which measure the same strengths/​virtues in youth ages 10–​17, and three of which constitute revisions to the original adult surveys by incorporating both positively and negatively worded items. Additional VIA surveys are also available, one of which aligns with recent factor analytic studies showing that the VIA items capture three distinct virtues: caring, inquisitiveness, and self-​control (discussed later). When we refer to the VIA, we refer to this entire body of work.

100  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Under justice they locate fairness, leadership, and teamwork. Under temperance they locate forgiveness, humility, prudence, and self-​regulation. Finally, under transcendence they locate appreciation of beauty, gratitude, hope, humor, and spirituality. Their measurement scale is comprehensive in the sense that it captures character strengths that have been identified as components of philosophical and religious traditions across the world (Dahlsgaard, Peterson, and Seligman, 2005). They consider these character strengths to be ubiquitous and universal virtues and values that are identifiable across multiple cultures and contexts, and over time. Their resulting framework provides a trait-​based account of character that is grounded in the methodology of personality psychology. Not inconsistent with our own view, according to Peterson and Seligman, a virtuous person has developed habituated strengths that became instantiated as traits in the person. Though one of the most comprehensive measurements of virtue on offer, the VIA is also problematic for a variety of reasons. First, while Peterson and Seligman (2004) developed strict criteria at the outset, their focus was on compiling a comprehensive and universal list of virtues, not on how to develop high-​quality assessments of those virtues. As such, they concentrated on the development of the VIA scale items, paying little disciplined attention to the cognitive, affective, motivational, and behavioral components of virtues, such as we’ve outlined in Chapter 1. This resulted in a particularly thin measurement of virtue. Second, their scale is comprised of a hodge-​podge of different types of items, including global trait ascriptions. For example, they include, “I am strongly committed to principles of justice and equality,” which measures fairness, and statements about global/​ stable mental states, such as “I am never bored,” which measures curiosity. Their scale also seeks to measure more temporary mental states, such as, “Sometimes I  feel like an imposter,” which seeks to measure honesty/​integrity, and descriptions of other people’s emotions and actions, for example, “There are people in my life

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  101 who care as much about my feelings and well-​being as they do about their own,” which measures love (Peterson and Seligman, 2004, 629–​630). Finally, the classical philosophical approach to virtue suggests at least some level of interdependence and mutual entailment of individual virtues (see our discussion of the reciprocity of virtues thesis in Chapter  4), as well as a constitutive relationship between virtuous character and happiness. Yet, these features are absent from the VIA. Indeed, though they cluster different character traits together under particular virtues, there is not a clear theoretical or empirical justification provided for this, nor do they clarify how the virtues themselves are interconnected or related. They provide no guidance or insight into what unifies, harmonizes, or coordinates their development or expression. This is also methodologically problematic, as other researchers have failed to find empirical support for the proposed VIA structure. For example, MacDonald et al. (2008) found that four factors (rather than six) best fit their data, while McGrath (2014) found support for five factors. Noftle et al. (2011) tested several models (ranging from 1 factor up to 6 factors) and failed to find support for any of them. This strongly suggests that the VIA lacks a conceptually and empirically clear hierarchical structure. That said, McGrath (2015) has proposed an empirically well-​ tested alternative character structure, using the 24-​strength VIA test. Specifically, he proposes that the VIA measure of good character breaks down into measures of “goodness,” on the one hand, and “inquisitiveness,” on the other, with goodness further breaking down into “caring” and “self-​control.” Therefore, he proposes that the VIA can best be understood as measuring moral character along two lines: (1) the degree to which a person cares about the well-​being of others and the degree to which she can control her behavior in morally appropriate ways, and (2)  something more like “intellectual” character in terms of the person’s overall level of inquisitiveness about and toward the world. This model was

102  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement reinforced in McGrath, Greenberg, and Hall-​Simmonds (2018), where they also explored the external correlates of these three factors, finding that caring displayed convergent validity with measures of concern for others, tolerance, and interest in social relationships; inquisitiveness converged with measures of interest in intellectual pursuits, positive self-​esteem, and liberalism; and self-​control converged with healthy eating habits, trustworthiness, and punctuality. These findings highlight the uniqueness of caring, inquisitiveness, and self-​control, as they have different correlates, and point to the validity of naming these core factors as caring, inquisitiveness, and self-​control, inasmuch as they each correlated in expected ways with constructs that they ought to correlate with.

Whole Trait—​Density Distribution Models

STRIVE-​4 Model Fowers (2014, 311) argues that virtues have six essential elements. First, they are enacted for the sake of, and make possible the pursuit of, a “good,” conceived of as “a choice worthy for human beings as the kind of creatures we are,” e.g., justice. Second, virtues must show up in observable behavior; they cannot be limited to mental states. Third, they have an affective component, namely, emotions that are congruent with and guide action. Fourth, they are consistent, that is, stable, over time. Fifth, virtues involve knowledge of how best to act, which means that one has to know what is virtuous and knowingly choose to act virtuously. Sixth, they involve practical wisdom, the capacity to recognize and act upon what is called for in a given situation. According to Fowers (2014), someone with virtuous character is guided by and attracted to what is good and admirable. Such a person recognizes virtue as being intrinsically valuable, that is, as worth pursuing for its own sake, and is spontaneously motivated to behave accordingly. Cokelet and Fowers (2019, 20)  further refine this in their STRIVE-​4 Model, in which they describe virtues as “Scalar Traits

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  103 that are Role sensitive and manifest in trait-​situation Interactions inspired by important Values. Moreover, these virtue traits are conducive to, possibly partially constitutive of, Eudaimonia.” Virtues have four components, namely behavior, intentional activity that reflects the agent’s knowledge and values, emotional concordance that reflects the wholehearted desire to act virtuously, and dispositionality (Cokelet and Fowers, 2019, 21). Their model is scalar because virtue traits come in degrees, rather than as a presence-​absence dichotomy. By describing virtues as role sensitive and involved in trait-​situation interactions, they acknowledge that within-​person variability (i.e., the fact that virtue states, such as in-​ the-​moment feelings of compassion, vary for the same person over time) in virtue expression is at least in part due to the various roles, hierarchical structures, and situational dynamics encountered in daily life, some of which are more conducive to virtue expression than others. In this vein, they point to the importance of practical wisdom in appropriately modulating behavior to fit the situational context, while serving to bring fruition to values that are important for human flourishing (eudaimonia). Cokelet and Fowers (2019) recommend using a diachronic approach to measuring virtues. In this approach, data about how people act, think, and feel as they navigate daily life is typically gathered through phones or other electronic devices. Using experience sampling methods (ESM), it is possible to obtain a relatively random sample of people’s virtue enactments (in the form of their actions, thoughts, and feelings) across a variety of different contexts and conditions multiple times per day for a period of time (e.g., for 1–​2 weeks), providing intensive longitudinal data. Such data lend themselves to the construction of density distributions of the measured attributes (Whole Trait Theory, Fleeson, 2001; Fleeson and Noftle, 2008) in order to see if trait-​like patterns of activity emerge. In other words, the data provide evidence for both individual consistency over time and for individual differences in the frequency of expression of particular virtues, as well as individual differences in

104  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement the size and shape of the density distributions. As will be discussed further, this method has already successfully been used (see for example, Bleidorn and Denisson, 2015; Fowers, 2017; Meindl, Jayawickreme, Furr, and Fleeson, 2015). In our view, the STRIVE-​4 Model, and the recommendations for measurement arising from it, shows much promise in advancing a nuanced, empirically testable account of virtue. We will have more to say concerning the strengths and weaknesses of this model and others toward the end of this chapter. ESM in Virtue Measurement ESM is also used more widely in virtue measurement outside the context of the STRIVE-​4 Model. Bleidorn and Denissen (2015) utilized ESM to obtain a density distribution (Fleeson, 2001; Fleeson and Noftle, 2008)  measurement of momentary psychological state manifestations of the six VIA virtues, arguing that people flexibly adjust their virtue states to salient situational demands, and that expressing character traits has consequences for a person’s momentary affective experiences (e.g., Bleidorn, 2009; Denissen and Penke, 2008; Hill and Roberts, 2010; McNiel and Fleeson, 2006). Specifically, participants were asked periodically throughout the day to report on three kinds of momentary psychological states: their virtue states (using bipolar VIA adjectives, such as open-​minded vs. narrow-​minded, to describe the six IVA virtues), personality states (using bipolar Big 5 adjectives, such as withdrawn vs. sociable), and affective experiences, such as the experience of particular positive and negative affective states. They found virtue states internal to specific individuals differed at least as much as, and sometimes more than, individuals differed from each other. Consistent with a density-​distribution approach to virtues, the average individual showed nearly all state levels (from almost no expression to full expression) of wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence at various points in time over the course of only a few days. In addition, the degree

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  105 of this within-​person variation, as well as of each person’s average level of a virtue state, were highly stable over time, demonstrating trait-​like structures in which individuals reliably differed from one another. They also reliably differed from each other in the extent to which perceived role contexts influenced their virtue state expressions. Finally, they found that certain virtues (specifically, wisdom, courage, and justice) were mediators between people’s job roles and their positive affect, supporting the view that virtues have a positive impact on people’s lives (see also Bleidorn and Ködding, 2013; Noftle et al., 2011). Meindl, Jayawickreme, Furr, and Fleeson (2015) also used experience sampling to obtain density distributions of four virtues: honesty, fairness, compassion and moral courage. They took several steps to control for the problem of socially desirable responding, which would cause people to answer the questions more positively than is actually the case. First, they asked concrete rather than abstract questions about virtuous behavior, for example, “Did you try to make someone believe something that you know is false?” instead of “Were you honest?” Second, they used “euphemism/​dysphemism” items designed to make the trait being asked about seem less desirable, e.g., an “evolutionarily unfit” person is “someone who is less concerned about themselves than they are concerned about the wellbeing of others” and a “linguistically creative” person is “someone who intentionally says things that include falsehoods.” The survey they gave participants included four concrete behavior items (one for each virtue), twelve “euphemism/​dysphemism” items, and eight moral thought items, for example, “In the past 3 hours I thought about how to make sure I did not mislead somebody.” Overall, the researchers found that people’s moral thoughts and behaviors (related to the four measured virtues) were robustly consistent across the 9-​day measurement period, even though they varied within each person substantially from situation to situation. They also found that people’s individual differences in choosing

106  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement “no opportunity” to respond morally were highly stable, suggesting that moral perception of opportunities to respond morally is itself a meaningful aspect of virtue—​a point that is entirely consistent with our discussion in Chapter 1. Using a variant of ESM, Mehl, Bollich, Doris, and Vazire (2015) used Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) technology to randomly record brief intervals (30–​50 seconds) of people’s verbal behaviors over one or two weekend periods. These recordings were coded for evidence of verbally expressed “moral behavior,” such as expressing gratitude (or complaining/​whining), showing affection, empathy, or concern, offering praise (or expressing criticism), apologizing (or blaming), expressing hope/​optimism (or pessimism), being supportive (or sarcastic), being condescending or arrogant, and bragging. What they found were individual differences in the frequency with which people expressed these positive and negative behaviors, and these differences were “substantially temporally stable,” providing evidence for what they referred to as a “coherence of moral character” (Mehl, Bollich, Doris, and Vazire, 2015, 643).

Moral Exemplar Research Research on moral exemplars offers a unique approach with ties to virtue measurement. Such research can focus on exemplars of particular virtues, such as bravery or care, or can focus on “morality” in a broad sense, in the service of understanding the characteristics of morally exemplary people (see also Zagzebski, 2017). Such studies begin with the task of identifying criteria for selecting exemplars as research participants. Sometimes this involves soliciting a definition of exemplarity from content experts (e.g., philosophers, theologians, social activists) on the virtues of interest, then having experts nominate exemplars who satisfy all of the definitional criteria (e.g., Colby and Damon, 1992). Alternatively, researchers

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  107 rely on folk conceptions of exemplarity and bypass the construction of a technical definition by asking leaders to directly nominate exemplars, for example, by providing the names and contact information of people “who have shown extraordinary moral commitment” (Matsuba and Walker, 2004, 420), or by simply having research participants “write down the characteristics and attributes of a highly moral person” (Walker, 1999, 151). Other methods of exemplar selection include sampling people who have received awards for their moral virtues (e.g., Walker and Frimer, 2007) or selecting a subset of research participants with particularly high scores across one or more measures of virtue (e.g., Damon, 2008). For further discussion of exemplar methods, see Bronk, King, and Matsuba (2013). Although much could be said of an exemplar approach to virtue measurement, we focus on to two illustrative studies on the personalities of moral exemplars. Walker (1999) asked participants to list the characteristics of a highly moral person and coded their responses into the Big Five personality traits: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, openness to experience, and emotional stability/​neuroticism. Results showed that participants thought the personalities of moral exemplars were marked by high levels of agreeableness and conscientiousness, the former of which included virtue-​related terms such as “caring,” “kind,” and “generous,” and latter of which included the terms, “trustworthy,” “integrity,” and “ethical.” Thus, when lay people think about moral exemplars, agreeableness-​and conscientiousness-​related traits come to mind. In another study, Walker and Frimer (2007) sampled among people who had won awards from the Canadian government for either their bravery or caring for others. Life story narrative interviews were conducted with both brave and caring exemplars, and with demographics-​matched comparison participants for each kind of exemplar. Results showed that relative to non-​exemplar comparison participants, exemplars’ narratives exhibited stronger themes of agency and communion, their narratives more often

108  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement involved redemptive sequences (e.g., overcoming challenges), they mentioned having more helpers and fewer enemies, and their narratives were indicative of more secure attachment relationships during their childhoods. These themes distinguished both the brave and the caring exemplars from their respective non-​exemplar comparison groups, suggesting that these characteristics may reflect core features of a moral personality, regardless of which virtue (brave or caring) the person exemplifies.

Other Measurement Strategies As discussed under the measurements of gratitude above, Morgan, Gulliford, and Kristjánsson (2017) argue, and demonstrate empirically, that to comprehensively examine any moral virtue, it is necessary to explore its cognitive, affective, attitudinal (including motivational), and behavioral aspects. Specifically, an adequate measure has to include a conceptual component that measures people’s understanding of the virtue in question, an emotion component that measures the degree to which they experience virtue-​ relevant emotions, an attitudinal component that measures their attitudes and motivations about the virtue, and a behavioral component that measures the frequency with which they have engaged (and the likelihood they will engage) in virtue-​appropriate behaviors. Thus, similar to the STRIVE-​4 Model and our own account, this approach exemplifies a growing trend to consider a broad array of components that constitute any virtue. Cohen, Panter, Turan, Morse, and Kim (2014) conducted two 3-​month intensive longitudinal studies, along with a large cross-​ sectional survey, identifying distinguishing features of adults with low versus high levels of moral character. They operated under the assumption that moral character is not a single personality dimension, but is instead a multifaceted construct comprised of both broad and narrow traits. To gauge “broad” traits, they measured

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  109 broad personality traits like Honesty-​Humility, Conscientiousness, Agreeableness, and/​or Emotionality (Ashton and Lee, 2007, 2008). To gauge more “narrow,” localized traits, they measured empathy (e.g., Batson et al., 2003), guilt proneness (e.g., Tangney, Stuewig, and Martinez, 2014), Machiavellianism (e.g., O’Boyle, Forsyth, Banks, and McDaniel, 2012), self-​control (e.g., Gino, Schweitzer, Mead, and Ariely, 2011), and moral identity (e.g., Aquino, Freeman, Reed, Lim, and Felps, 2009). Cohen et al. (2014) then used latent profile analysis to empirically identify groups of individuals who shared similar patterns of responses to various moral traits and found that three groups of people emerged from the data (labeled low, average, and high moral character). In identifying which of the 22 measured moral traits best distinguished between the high vs. low moral character groups, they found that individuals with high moral character were more likely to consider the needs and interests of others and how their actions affected other people (e.g., high levels of Honesty-​ Humility, empathic concern, and guilt proneness); they regulated their behavior effectively, specifically with reference to behaviors with positive short-​term consequences but negative long-​term consequences (e.g., high levels of conscientiousness, self-​control, and consideration of future consequences); and they valued being moral (e.g., high levels of moral identity-​internalization). In addition, they found that over the 3-​month period, employees with low moral character committed harmful work behaviors more frequently and helpful work behaviors less frequently than did employees with high moral character. We draw attention to this study not only because of its relevance to our conversation of measuring character as a constellation of virtues, but also because this study’s approach exemplifies the utility of latent profile analysis—​a “person-​centered” analysis that identifies latent groups of individuals who share similar patterns of responses across a range of variables, in this case virtue-​ relevant variables—​to help paint a portrait of the typical ways in

110  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement which multiple virtues cluster together in people’s lives. A related statistical technique that was not used in this paper but builds on latent profile analysis is called latent transition analysis. In latent transition analysis, latent profile analysis is employed at multiple timepoints and the researcher tracks the probability that people belonging to one latent group will move to another group over time (e.g., over the course of a year moving from the low to high moral character group, to use Cohen and colleagues’ group labels). While Cohen et al. (2014) do not offer a theory as to how the virtues might work together as a system, they nevertheless offer a relatively brief list of virtue-​relevant variables that the authors argue form the core of good character, at least among their sample of working adults in the United States. Finally, we turn to two methods—​prototype analysis and factor analysis—​that serve as useful tools for addressing what Kristjánsson and colleagues (Gulliford et al., 2013; Kristjánsson, 2018) call “umbrella concepts.” Although prototype and factor analysis do not tell us who possesses a virtue and to what degree, they are useful for empirically mapping the conceptual space of virtues and other psychological constructs with fuzzy conceptual boundaries (e.g., flourishing, mindfulness). An umbrella concept uses the same term to refer to multiple distinct yet related constructs. For example, forgiveness refers to reconciliation for some but forgetting about the offense to others. As mentioned earlier in this chapter, careful conceptual analysis is invaluable for making such distinctions, but prototype and factor analyses offer empirical means to clue us into the presence of multiple distinct constructs masquerading under the same name. Prototype analysis has helped researchers uncover layperson meanings of gratitude (Lambert, Graham, and Fincham, 2009; Morgan, Gulliford, and Kristjánsson, 2014), love (Fehr and Russell, 1991), forgiveness (Kearns and Fincham, 2004; Joo, Terzino, Cross, Yamaguchi, and Ohbuchi, 2019), and modesty (Gregg, Hart, Sedikides, and Kumashiro, 2008). In this method, participants

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  111 are given a construct such as “gratitude” and are asked to list as many features as possible that describe the focal construct. Then, a second sample of participants rates these features in terms of their prototypicality (or centrality) to the focal construct, perhaps on a 1–​7 scale. Assuming the research participants are representative of the larger population, this method yields a refined list of central features (i.e., items with the highest prototypicality ratings) that get at the heart of the population’s usage of the term. Of equal importance, terms that receive somewhat lower centrality ratings (low in an absolute sense) constitute a secondary list of peripheral features of the construct. For example, Morgan et  al. (2014) found that “thankful” was central to gratitude whereas “money” was peripheral to it. In cases where a construct has widely divergent meanings, they must compete for endorsements and are likely to “split votes” and thereby end up on the peripheral list. Thus, the words that end up on the list of central features tend to be common to all uses of the focal construct (assuming the construct in fact has a conceptual core, which is not always the case). In cases where a construct holds fundamentally different meanings to different subgroups of a population, the list of central features may not be very useful. When such subgroups consist of many people, the central features list may simultaneously involve inconsistent and even incompatible features. For example, Kearns and Fincham (2004) found that both “caring” and “learning from mistakes” were central features of forgiveness, even though caring is part of the forgiver’s experience whereas learning from mistakes would typically be experienced by the offending party. In such cases where prototype analysis yields a murky core, factor analysis may be a helpful alternative to help organize umbrella concepts into distinct constructs. As discussed earlier in the chapter, with factor analysis, participants are first measured on a broad set of items. The resulting data are subjected to statistical analysis to discover which items empirically cluster together (based on high correlations) and

112  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement are distinct from, or less strongly correlated with, items in other clusters. Thus, rather than centrality ratings determining the core of a construct, empirical correlations determine whether a single core is empirically defensible, or whether multiple distinct constructs are at play. Supposing the item clusters (factors) make conceptual sense, the researcher would consider each factor a different construct—​or perhaps as distinct parts of some higher-​order construct. For example, using factor analysis, McGrath and colleagues (McGrath, 2015; McGrath et  al., 2018)  determined that the VIA measures three empirically distinct virtue categories:  caring, inquisitiveness, and self-​control. That said, factor analysis is only as good as the measures that serve as inputs, and the factors that emerge from a factor analysis are a reflection of the psychological make-​up of the respondents in the sample rather than any absolute truth about the nature of the virtues. Thus, factor analysis (as well as prototype analysis) is best employed in conjunction with, and not as a replacement to, judicious conceptual analysis.

Strengths and Weakness of Existing Measurements of Virtue Conceptual/​Theoretical Issues One of the biggest weaknesses of the existing measures of virtues, especially measures designed for specific virtues, is the lack of theoretical depth behind the conception of virtue being employed. Many of the approaches think of virtue along a single dimension—​for example, as a prosocial emotion. While others conceptualize virtue as composed of multiple dimensions (such as cognitive, affective, conative/​attitudinal, and behavioral dimensions), there is still not sufficient development with regard to what those dimensions entail or of what they are composed.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  113 Once we move into the comprehensive empirical approaches to virtue, the theoretical development is much more robust. We have already discussed the VIA at some length, and it certainly has several strengths that any program of virtue measurement should aspire to. First, the authors consulted a wide variety of sources in compiling the list of 24 strengths and virtues, including Eastern and Western religious texts, popular culture icons of present and past, Charlemagne, and so on.17 Second, a considerable body of psychometric research is available for the VIA, including studies with large international samples testing the structure of the 24 strengths (e.g., McGrath, 2015; McGrath et al., 2018)—​which led to the alternative conception of the VIA into the three factors of caring, inquisitiveness, and self-​control—​as well as international studies testing the measure’s invariance (e.g., McGrath, 2016), which led to the important finding that at least some of the VIA items, and perhaps the virtues themselves, seem to be understood differently in certain countries (e.g., Japan, Korea). This highlights the need for virtue models to be sensitive to cultural differences in what counts as a virtue and to cultural variability in how the same virtues are understood, both of which bear on virtue measurement (see Snow, 2019). Third, the VIA model offers a framework for positing interrelations among the strengths and virtues, which could stimulate further research on virtue systems within a person’s character. The VIA also has several critical limitations, some of which are worth noting at this point. First, while the three-​factor VIA model (e.g., McGrath, 2018) is promising, it is still hampered by the weakness of the approach to each of the virtue clusters. As our account of virtue in Chapter 1 makes clear, virtues are complex systems of interconnected cognitive, affective, motivational, and behavioral states, and their activation is multi-​dimensional, starting with our capacity to perceive virtue-​relevant stimuli and 17 See Snow (2019) for a critique of the VIA’s conceptual foundations and measurement issues.

114  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement ending in complex feedback loops between trait-​relevant cognitive, affective, and motivational states and behaviors. Thus, according to our WTT account of virtue, nearly all virtue measures fall short in this respect. Additionally, the revision of the VIA, which is based on empirical work (which we noted as a strength), was largely data-​driven rather than the result of any coherent theory of virtue guiding their analyses (see Gulliford and Roberts, 2018), a deficiency that has been missing since Peterson and Seligman (2004, 6) first proposed the model, acknowledging, “it proved beyond our ability to specify a reasonable theory” of virtue. Second, the VIA model offers no specification as to how individuals identify which virtue(s) are relevant in real life situations, it lacks explanation as to how individuals resolve conflicts among virtues that might prescribe divergent courses of action, and it offers no mechanism through which individuals translate virtues into appropriate action. That is, the role of practical wisdom or a similar concept responsible for such executive functions is absent, a limitation that we are not the first to highlight (e.g., Bright, Winn, and Kanov, 2014; Schwartz and Sharpe, 2006). Third, there is the related issue as to how the virtues are related to each other and the role or roles of the virtues in good character. STRIVE-​4 goes a long way to incorporate some of this complexity into their account of virtue. They acknowledge practical wisdom as an essential part of virtue, as well as the role that virtue plays in a flourishing life, and stipulate the conditions under which virtues are more and less likely to be expressed. For example, a person weak in compassion would be more strongly influenced by situational factors in her compassionate actions and responses, whereas this would not be the case for a person strong in compassion. Moreover, the STRIVE-​4 Model explicitly holds that virtues have several psychological and behavioral components, mentioned earlier, and that virtues are dispositional in nature and are consistently expressed by people who possess a given virtue to a high degree. Consequently,

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  115 the model lends itself to density distribution (e.g., ESM) and other methodologies in the social scientist’s toolkit that can measure these components. However, we believe the STRIVE-​4 could also be improved in various ways, for example, by further describing the nature of practical wisdom in a way that lends itself to measurement, further articulating the processes by which virtues are activated, and discussing the myriad social-​cognitive mechanisms that connect situation appraisal to virtuous behavior, all of which have implications for measurement. In addition, so far, the STRIVE-​4 Model is concerned with virtue and has little to say as to how multiple virtues are interrelated and how they work together in forming a person’s character. We also found the Meindl et  al. (2015) approach promising, in particular because they made inroads into the inclusion of something resembling moral perception, insofar as they found interesting individual differences in people’s recognition of opportunities for virtue-​relevant responses. While the use of the density distribution model in this study and others is a significant methodological advancement that has so far targeted the descriptive part of traits, we have yet to see the full adoption of the theoretical trait-​structure postulated by WTT (Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015) that provides the conceptual architecture that explains why trait expression is both stable and variable, within-​individuals, at the same time. In other words, the explanatory part of traits is lacking in existing models. Finally, Cohen et al. (2014)’s approach of including both broad and narrow traits—​ in particular, moral identity—​ made steps to include a sense of people’s virtue-​ oriented narrative identity, which we argue plays an important role in motivational and stability-​inducing processes (among others) that help establish the dispositionality of a virtue (e.g., by seeing herself as an honest person, she is motivated to seek out opportunities to be honest, and to stay honest in the future). We also think Cohen et al.’s (2014) use of latent profile analysis, in conjunction with measuring many

116  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement virtues simultaneously, shows promise as a methodological tool for examining how virtues cluster together within people.

Other Models of Virtue We are not the only ones who have argued for more complex and comprehensive empirical models of virtue. Below are a few additional views on what it would take to develop an empirically adequate model of virtue that lends itself to measurement. Curren and Kotzee (2014) argue that any adequate measurement of virtue will require being able to successfully measure the following abilities and propensities: Acute moral perception (being able to see and distinguish morally important features in a situation); appropriate moral emotion (having the right emotional response to the situation); correct moral belief and reasoning (knowing or being able to work out what is appropriate and best to do in the situation); and active moral motivation (being motivated to do what one determines is the appropriate and best thing and to persist in seeing one’s action through). Virtue also involves an attachment to and pursuit of what is good because it is good, and self-​determination theory (Deci and Ryan, 2000) offers relevant commentary on this issue. Although it is not a theory of virtue, self-​determination theory holds that when a behavior’s underlying value is internalized, motivation is fully integrated such that what one does is an expression of the underlying value. When people “understand and accept the real importance [of something] for themselves” or have “identified with [its value] for themselves” (Deci and Ryan, 2012, 89), the quality of one’s motivation is intrinsic and one’s behavior is experienced as an autonomous expression of the self. Applying this framework to virtue, we can say that a person who behaves virtuously because the virtue is integral to her values and identity. This description nicely aligns with Aristotle’s ideal of behaving virtuously for the right reasons.

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  117 Thus, Ryan and Connell’s (1989) Self-​Regulation Questionnaires and similar measures that assess the extent to which behavior is experienced as autonomous, that is, intrinsically motivated, could be meaningfully incorporated into virtue measurement. Bright et  al. (2014, 447–​ 448) highlight five properties as assumptions found in most virtue theories that must be empirically accommodated: First, virtues are a “deep property” a person, rooted in habitual patterns of thought, emotion, motivation and action. Second, they are capacities that can be developed, until they become “second nature.” Third, a virtue entails a coordinated system comprising virtue-​ relevant skills, attentiveness to one’s own psychological state, and awareness of others’ needs in the environment, all of which work together in a fluid fashion to bring about virtuous outcomes. Fourth, virtue involves consideration of the context and circumstance; wisdom or phronēsis, “the virtue of habituated excellence in reasoning” (Russell, 2009, 4). Fifth, virtue tends to produce good outcomes, and a full understanding of virtue requires understanding its relation to its consequences for community and individual flourishing. Webber (2006) uses the “cognitive–​ affective system theory” to argue for the empirical possibility of virtue. According to this theory, personality consists in a network of cognitive and affective mental states linked by associative connections that vary in degrees of strength, and behavior is the result of the flow of activity across this connectionist system. It has been argued that becoming virtuous is a matter of gradually tuning this personality system in the right way (Miller, 2003; Kamtekar, 2004; Russell, 2009; Snow, 2010). Before turning to methodological issues, a word is in order concerning how well a model of virtues lends itself to empirical investigation. We have already noted this issue in our discussion of the VIA and STRIVE-​4 models. Reed (2016) defends the empirical adequacy of virtue ethics while simultaneously offering useful tenets for any model of virtues that aims to generate empirical research. Specifically, he holds that an empirically adequate theory of virtues

118  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement focuses on virtues that are: (1) psychologically real (metaphysical), (2) possessed by many or most people (dispersive), (3) something a person could attain (attainable), and (4) explain trait-​relevant conduct (explanatory). He further holds that research evidence generally supports the notion that virtue ethics satisfies each of these tenets, with the caveat that virtues are not as commonplace as the “dispersive” tenet might ordinarily require.

Methodological Issues As we have already noted, single time-​point self-​report surveys are by far the most common approach to virtue measurement, and they suffer from a number of weaknesses as a sole measurement of virtue. Nonetheless, such surveys can provide a useful launching pad for initiating measurement of one or more virtues, with empirical investigations showing self-​report surveys can be reliable and valid. For example, given the assumption within virtue ethics that virtues are generally conducive to and constitutive of human flourishing, it is noteworthy that self-​reported gratitude is negatively associated with inflammatory markers (Mills et al., 2015), and self-​ reported forgiveness is associated with indicators of health and stress (Witvliet, Ludwig, and Vander Laan, 2001). These studies show criterion-​related validity between self-​report virtue measures and physiological functioning. Some research findings may also allay our fears of social desirability bias in self-​report measures of virtue. For example, social desirability scales were only mildly correlated (.19 to .25) with self-​report measures of justice sensitivity (Schmitt, Gollwitzer, Maes, and Arbach, 2005), forgiveness (Brown, 2003), and gratitude (McCullough et al., 2002). It is all the more impressive that these associations are so small given that social desirability scales themselves possess several virtue-​relevant items (e.g., “I am always courteous, even to people who are disagreeable”; Crowne and Marlowe,

Strategies for Measuring Virtue  119 1964). Additionally, substantive research findings involving self-​ reported virtues often remain essentially unchanged after statistically controlling for social desirability (e.g., Meindl et al., 2015). Nevertheless, as discussed earlier in the chapter, self-​report measures of virtues remain critically limited in several respects. For example, self-​report surveys assume people can accurately recall, assess, and report their true thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, sometimes over significant periods of time (e.g., the past year), and sometimes requiring people to discriminate among subtle components of a virtue (e.g., motivations, emotions, habitual sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli, etc.) that a typical person would not be able to access. As we discussed, experience sampling methods can help to address some of these problems, both because they make it harder for people to consistently misrepresent their mental states and behaviors, and also because they make it easier for them to accurately recall, assess, and report them (as they are typically trying to do so for briefer, more specific, periods of time—​e.g., in the last 3 hours). This method does not completely eliminate these problems, however, and especially since many of the projects employing this methodology thus far have utilized the VIA character strengths (which are subject to the conceptual and theoretical problems discussed earlier and in Snow, 2019), these remain relatively “thin” measurements of virtue. More objective measures are clearly needed, including observational and third-​person triangulation. The development and employment of the EAR technology is a solid move in that direction. Of course, this technology comes with its own limitations, not the least of which is that it only allows for the capture of verbally expressed “behaviors,” leaving out important characteristics of virtue, such as underlying motivational states, and other factors, such as context, that affect evaluations of whether an act or response is virtuous. An additional weakness with the existing approaches is that they fail to track anything resembling practical reasoning—​for

120  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement example, the way in which individuals are appropriately attentive to the situation-​specific variables at play in any given situation and adapt their virtue expression accordingly. Indeed, as of this writing there are no published measures of phronēsis (Darnell, Gulliford, Kristjánsson, and Paris, 2019). Findings from density distribution models highlight that people do in fact vary their virtue expression situationally (e.g., Bleidorn and Denissen, 2015; Meindl et al., 2015). Though such findings are expected on the view that practical wisdom guides virtue expression, they do not by themselves implicate practical wisdom because the approach does not determine how or why people make these adjustments. Finally, these accounts by and large were designed, at best, to measure a swath of virtues (e.g., the 24 character strengths)—​but measuring virtue, even comprehensively, is not the same thing as measuring “character,” which (as we will discuss in Chapter 4) is the overarching architecture that activates, modulates, and coordinates virtue expression in a coherent and dispositionally robust fashion, giving rise to each person’s unique character constellation. Chapters 3 and 5 in this volume will build upon these different approaches to measuring virtue and character. Using our theoretical model of virtue, Chapter 3 will develop a comprehensive measurement plan for virtue. Chapter  5 will show how to go beyond measuring virtues to measuring character, building upon the theoretical model of character that we present in Chapter 4.

3 Strategies for Measuring Virtues In this chapter, we move from the theoretical discussion of virtues as traits to a discussion of how they can be measured. To use the language of Whole Trait Theory (WTT; Fleeson and Gallagher, 2009; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015; Jayawickreme and Fleeson, 2017a), traits are robust dispositional capacities for trait-​appropriate behavior that are typically manifested when there is reason for them to be. Whether there is reason to be depends upon the presence or absence of situationally encountered stimuli that are “trait-​relevant,” i.e., that call for the manifestation of the trait. Thus, in order to reliably manifest a trait, the person must be disposed, at least to some degree, to accurately perceive whatever trait-​relevant stimuli are present—​ideally, when and only when they are present—​in their surrounding external and internal environments and process them in such a way as to produce trait-​ appropriate behaviors. For virtue, the story is similar. In accord with the WTT account of traits, we consider virtues to be instantiated through virtue-​ appropriate cognitive, affective, and motivational responses that are activated when there is reason for them to be—​in other words, to the degree that virtue-​relevant stimuli are encountered and successfully perceived in the person’s environments—​and which result in (a set of) situation-​specific virtue-​appropriate behaviors. As we discussed in Chapter 1, full virtue involves a combination of three things: the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli giving reason for a response, virtue-​appropriate mental states of the virtuous agent (explained by the intermediate social cognitive systems, composed of cognitive, affective, and motivational elements), and virtuous Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

122  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement behaviors, which are called for by the encountered stimuli and are appropriately linked to the virtuous person’s virtue-​oriented goals and values and guided by practical wisdom. This means that in order to accurately measure the degree to which a person possesses any particular virtue, we must develop a multi-​layered research program that allows us to identify and track each of these aspects of trait manifestation: • the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli (the “inputs”), • the processing of those inputs by various social-​cognitive systems (the “intermediates”), which • results in the production of (a set of) situation-​specific virtue-​ appropriate behaviors (the “outputs”). For virtues, we will need to be sensitive to the connection between these components—​for example, the degree to which the virtue-​ appropriate behaviors are being generated by virtue-​oriented motivation to respond to perceived virtue-​relevant stimuli, the nuances of which are guided by practical wisdom. According to WTT, a person’s level of trait manifestation can be diagrammed using the “density distribution” of their trait-​appropriate responses (see Chapter  1, Figure  1.1). Density distributions chart the range of situations under which those responses are produced and the frequency with which the same types of situations produce them. In other words, returning to our examples from Chapter  1, a person’s shyness can be measured as the density-​distribution of her shy-​appropriate responses to a variety of shy-​relevant stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. The more frequently she responds to shy-​relevant stimuli, and the wider range of shy-​relevant stimuli she responds to in shy-​ appropriate ways, the more strongly she can be said to manifest the trait of shyness.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  123 Similarly, a person’s honesty can be measured as the density-​ distribution of her honesty-​appropriate responses to a variety of relevant stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. The more frequently she responds to honesty-​relevant stimuli, and the wider range of honesty-​relevant stimuli she responds to in honesty-​appropriate ways the more strongly she manifests the trait of honesty. We must also be able to measure the density-​distribution, which, as we discussed in Chapter 1, can be understood as a function of consistency and habituality, of the virtue-​appropriate “outputs” in order to determine the dispositionality of the virtue. In this chapter, we will revisit each of these components of virtue manifestation and suggest, as we go, what a research program designed to measure them might look like. We begin with a discussion of the first component—​the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli—​and offer suggestions for how various facets of it might be assessed. We will then move to a discussion of the social-​ cognitive intermediates and how their role(s) in producing virtue-​ appropriate responses might be identified and measured. We will complete the discussion by examining the “end-​product” itself—​ virtue-​appropriate behaviors. More specifically, we will discuss strategies for tracking and measuring the density distributions of particular virtues.

Perception of Trait-​Relevant Stimuli (The “Input”) The first component of the manifestation of virtue is the accurate perception of “virtue-​relevant stimuli,” for example, perceiving the compassion-​relevant distress of a fellow traveler on the bus, which requires both the presence of actual virtue-​relevant features for the person to respond to and that those features be perceived

124  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement as relevant to the virtue—​and therefore, as providing a defeasible reason for acting in a trait-​appropriate way, such as coming to that person’s aid.1 This suggests three distinct ways in which a person could fail to manifest a virtue. A  person could fail to behave in a virtue-​ appropriate manner because she: (1) fails to perceive the stimuli as virtue-​relevant, (2) perceives the stimuli as virtue-​relevant, but fails to interpret them as a reason for virtue-​appropriate action, or (3) perceives them as trait-​relevant and as a reason for virtue-​ appropriate action, but fails to produce a virtue-​appropriate response for some other reason. Let us return to our earlier case involving a distressed fellow-​ traveler. If our person of interest encounters a fellow traveler who is clearly in a state of distress, she may fail to come to his aid because she: (1) fails to perceive his distress as compassion-​relevant (perhaps she perceives him as being an addict, and therefore, deserving of his suffering), (2)  perceives that a compassionate response is called for, but not from her, perhaps she does not believe it is her responsibility to respond to a stranger’s suffering, or otherwise finds herself unmoved to do so, or (3)  perceives that a compassionate response is called for, which—​as a compassionate person—​gives her reason to respond accordingly, but she nonetheless fails to act. Perhaps she finds herself unable to approach because the man’s size and erratic mannerisms are intimidating, and she is concerned for her own safety, even though she might feel bad for failing to do so. 1 Even though the presence of trait-​relevant stimuli provides a reason for acting, as discussed in Chapter 1, this reason is defeasible, meaning that it can be overridden by other considerations. Here we need to distinguish between those considerations that can legitimately defeat the reason to act virtuously and those that do not. For example, a person may perceive her fellow traveler’s distress on the bus as him having a heart attack, which she feels unable to appropriately respond to, given her lack of medical expertise, especially if someone with medical experience is readily available. Her lack of expertise and the presence of a qualified expert legitimately defeats her reason to respond. On the other hand, if she failed to respond because she was repulsed by the person—​for example, because of his race or appearance—​the reason for her to virtuously respond has not been legitimately overridden and she is thereby failing to act virtuously.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  125 Thus, it will be important (especially when investigating people’s failure to manifest virtue) to disentangle whether a failure to behave in a trait-​appropriate manner is a function of failing to perceive a trait-​relevant stimulus as trait-​relevant, a failure to experience it as a reason for acting,2 or some other sort of failure. Such failures may be indicative of a lack of virtue or, more seriously, the presence of vice. We will return to this discussion later in the chapter.

Measurement Strategies When it comes to measuring people’s perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli—​which, to our knowledge, has thus far been almost entirely unexplored3—​it would be ideal to present people with a wide range of situational contexts in which virtue-​relevant stimuli are present, as well as a wide range of different virtue-​relevant stimuli, in order to gauge their ability to attend to them, recognize them as virtue-​ relevant, and identify the virtue for which they are relevant. The wider the range of situational contexts and virtue-​relevant stimuli used, the better, as this provides the means to map out individual differences. Thus far we have limited our discussion to measuring the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli that are currently present, but it could also be useful to assess people’s capacity to remember them from past events and to imagine them, especially for situational contexts not yet encountered. After all, we expect those who possess a virtue to find virtue-​relevant stimuli in their environments salient, which would make possessors of virtue more inclined to 2 As discussed earlier, one might not experience a trait-​relevant stimulus as a reason for acting because there are legitimate overriding reasons not to. This would not count as a failure of virtue. 3 Though one could argue that some of the classic social psychology studies—​such as the obedience to authority studies (Milgram, 1963), the Good Samaritan study (Darley and Batson, 1973; Batson et al., 1978), and the bystander studies (Darley and Latané, 1968)—​represent failures of perception. See also footnotes 60 and 62.

126  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement remember the stimuli, whether or not they responded appropriately. We would also expect them to be able to anticipate novel situational contexts in which virtue-​appropriate behavior would be called for. In sum, to measure people’s ability to perceive virtue-​relevant stimuli, we would ideally measure their ability to attend to, recognize, identify, remember, and imagine virtue-​relevant stimuli across a range (the wider, the better) of different situational contexts. Below, we offer a variety of strategies and techniques that could be used to do this. Attention At the most basic level, the question is whether virtue-​relevant stimuli capture people’s attention. When they are present, do people attend to them? In an important sense, this process precedes recognition and identification because (1)  people might not be consciously aware of the fact that they are attending to them, or (2) they might be consciously aware that they are attending to them, but not know why; that is, they might not recognize them as virtue-​ relevant.4 The most effective techniques for assessing people’s perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli at this level will need to track things that people are largely unaware of and cannot (or typically do not) control, such as their eye movements and/​or their physiological arousal, which can be measured through gaze tracking, pupil dilation, heart rate, electrodermal responses, and so on. As mentioned, this could be done across a range of different types of situational contexts, both actual and fictional. The stimuli could come in the form of videos, images, or printed stories (narratives/​ vignettes) about their own or other people’s social interactions (see Narvaez, 2001). This would allow us to explore whether people are attending, either consciously or unconsciously, to virtue-​relevant 4 This could be particularly true of younger people, those for whom virtue development is still in its early stages.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  127 stimuli, and if so, equally so, across a wide range of different contexts. Of special interest would be the degree to which people’s ability to attend to virtue-​relevant stimuli is influenced, positively or negatively, by the presence of other stimuli, especially irrelevant stimuli. For example, how much does people’s ability to attend to virtue-​relevant stimuli decrease as the presence of other potentially distracting stimuli increases?5 Or, when given the opportunity to attend to virtue relevant stimuli or to stimuli that are not virtue-​relevant, which will people attend to first and/​or longest? This could be tested by measuring people’s responses to two images located next to one another on a computer screen, the one, but not the other, presenting compassion-​ relevant stimuli. Materials could be developed that vary the presence of culturally charged stimuli, for example, demographic indicators such as race, gender, sexual-​orientation, religious affiliation, and so on, to see their effects on people’s capacity to attend to virtue-​relevant stimuli. Will the fact that the person who is suffering is male or female, white or a person of color, Christian or Muslim, etc., influence people’s attention to their suffering, especially when given something else that is not virtue-​relevant is present and potentially claims their attention? Here the goal would be to measure the degree to which people’s attending to virtue-​relevant stimuli is being

5 Consider, for example, the Good Samaritan Study (Darley and Batson, 1973), which tested the degree to which distracting factors (being late to give a talk) interfered with people’s willingness to stop and help someone in need. One problem with studies like this, however, is that they do not clearly disentangle where the failure to respond occurred—​was it a failure to perceive the person’s suffering as compassion-​and helping-​ relevant or some other failure? The follow-​up study by Batson et al. (1978) suggests that previous responsibilities and commitments, such as the need to deliver information in a timely manner, could interfere with people’s ability to appropriately respond to virtue-​ relevant stimuli they encounter later on. The nature of the failure is that they perceive the other’s suffering as virtue-​relevant, and thus as providing a reason to respond, but not by them, since doing so would interfere with fulfilling a pre-​existing responsibility.

128  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement guided, shaped, and constrained by the presence of certain cultural values, norms, stereotypes, and other implicit biases.6 The influence of social norms, stereotypes, and implicit biases on our perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli is relatively unexplored terrain, so there is a lot that could be learned. For example, do norms of racial prejudice distort our capacity for fairness? In other words, is our sensitivity to fairness-​relevant stimuli (and/​or compassion-​relevant stimuli) undermined or distorted by prejudiced norms? If so, how does that distortion influence our perception of other virtue-​relevant stimuli? There is a potential for a cascading effect on our character as a whole (to be further explored in Chapter 5). That said, it is also important to recognize that just as culturally charged norms have the potential to distort and dampen sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli, resulting in deficiencies in virtue manifestation, they could also function to heighten awareness and sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli, resulting in enhanced virtue expression. Some other potential techniques for measurement include tracking performance (e.g., response times/​accuracy) across a variety of different cognitive tasks (e.g., Stroop, go/​no-​go, etc.) in order to see if perception of trait-​relevant stimuli is influenced by the presence of embedded virtue-​relevant stimuli. These sorts of tasks are designed to measure executive function and cognitive flexibility. For example, the Stroop task is designed to measure people’s ability to report the color (blue) of a color word (RED) when the color is different from the word—​you see the word RED, but it is blue in color. People automatically read the word RED, interfering 6 As we will discuss more in Chapter 5, it can also be shaped and constrained by other virtues. Take compassion, for example—​it seems likely that fairness and compassion would work together in an integrated fashion (see also Chapter 4), and that a deficiency in fairness might constrain the extent to which a person notices compassion-​relevant stimuli and thereby fully possesses the virtue of compassion.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  129 with their ability to quickly and accurately identify the color in which the word was written (blue). The underlying logic—​namely that automatic processing interferes with task performance—​has been applied to variations on the original Stroop task, using other stimuli besides color words. A  virtue-​relevant Stroop task could be developed, for example, by having people identify the color in which virtue words (e.g., DISHONESTY, HONESTY), are written. One hypothesis would be that performance would decrease (e.g., response times would be slower) for people who automatically attend to the virtue words, since the virtue words would be more “distracting” for them than for people who are not as sensitive to virtue-​ relevant stimuli. For example, an honest person might be particularly sensitive to words such as DISHONESTY and HONESTY, and it might take them longer to report the color of these words than control words (e.g., TABLE, SHOE). The degree of such “impairment” might increase the more honest a person is on other measures. The Go/​No-​Go paradigm is a measure of inhibitory control. Images are displayed on a computer screen for brief periods of time (e.g., 1000 ms) and participants press the space bar as quickly as they can (“go” trials) every time a certain stimulus (e.g., the number “3”) appears on the screen. A small proportion of trials, however, have a different stimulus (e.g., the number “8”), and on such trials participants must inhibit (“no-​go” trials) the now-​automatic tendency to press the space bar. Adaptations to the go/​no-​go paradigm include using various kinds of stimuli (e.g., emoticons, alcohol-​ relevant pictures), with the underlying assumption being that faster and more accurate response times are achieved when “go” stimuli align with participants’ motivation and expertise, and more commission errors are made (pressing the space bar when they shouldn’t) when “no-​go” stimuli align with motivation/​expertise. If virtue words (e.g., versus personality words) were used as “go” stimuli, faster response times and fewer errors would suggest virtue sensitivity; and if virtue words were used as “no-​go” stimuli, we’d

130  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement expect more commission errors among people with greater virtue sensitivity. Finally, it would be important to track both what stimuli people attend to in the moment and also what they remember after the fact (which is an indicator of what information was attended to and stored vs. ignored). The assumption here would be that attending to and storing virtue-​relevant information would be indicative of a greater degree of virtue possessed by the research participant. All of these tests could conceivably be done in other modalities (e.g., auditory, olfactory, etc.) as well—​for example, examining the degree to which distracting stimuli, including demographic markers (high vs. low pitch of voice, the presence of certain accents, educated vs. uneducated speech, etc.), influence people’s ability to attend to sounds of distress, sadness, fear, anger, and so on, across a range of audio clips.7 Recognition Just as people might attend to virtue-​relevant stimuli without necessarily recognizing them as such, people might also recognize them as such without necessarily being able to identify the virtue(s) for which they are relevant. For example, someone might recognize

7 Or consider the studies already conducted (Cecchetto, Lancini, Rumiati, and Parma, 2019; Elton, 2009; Ogien and Thom, 2015) that use variants of smell to influence people’s virtue-​appropriate (in this case, helping) behaviors—​good smells increase helping behaviors, while bad smells decrease them. To be clear, these were studies examining the effects of irrelevant stimuli on virtue-​appropriate behaviors, not on the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli. Nonetheless, it would be interesting to see whether good vs. bad smells actually influence people’s ability to attend to (as well as recognize, identify, and imagine) virtue-​relevant stimuli. This might help to explain why people failed to produce as much helping behavior when bad smells were present—​perhaps the failure happened at the level of perception. In other words, this research would be helpful in observing individual differences in the extent to which the smells influence the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli. Similarly, individual differences in the magnitude with which virtue primes (e.g., word searches that include words like “compassion,” “caring,” or “empathy”) affect virtuous behavior (Van Tongeren, Welch, Davis, Green, and Worthington, 2012), could be due, at least in part, to individual differences in perceptual sensitivity to the virtue-​ relevant stimuli present in the primes.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  131 that the presence of someone’s suffering is virtue-​relevant, in the sense that it calls for some sort of virtue-​appropriate behavior, without necessarily recognizing it as calling for compassion or recognizing the virtue-​appropriate response as compassionate. Admittedly, this is probably fairly uncommon, at least when involving our most well-​known virtues and when encountered within our normal range of culturally mediated situational contexts. More common, however, would be the fact that often virtue-​relevant stimuli are relevant for more than one virtue. So, extending our example, someone might recognize the suffering as virtue-​relevant and identify it more specifically as compassion-​ relevant, but fail to identify the same suffering as also being justice-​ relevant, if, for example, the suffering is a byproduct of an unfair distribution of resources, or of a long-​standing abusive situation. This type of situation could require a more complex and nuanced set of virtue-​appropriate behaviors. There are a variety of techniques that can be used to measure people’s recognition of virtue-​relevant stimuli, even if they can’t identify the virtue for which they are relevant. For example, research participants could be presented with a variety of actual or fictional situational contexts—​once again, presented as videos, images, audio clips, or printed stories (narratives/​vignettes) about their own or other people’s social interactions—​and then asked to indicate (perhaps by pressing a button) whenever they recognize something as virtue-​relevant. They could then be asked to go back through those “hits” and verbally describe or explain what they take the virtue-​relevant stimuli to be, as well as why they are virtue-​relevant. People’s ability to recognize virtue-​relevant stimuli in a more abstract setting could also be measured. Here, a method of abstraction could be used that asks people to consider a wide range of similar situational contexts and indicate what (if any) virtue-​relevant stimuli are shared across them all—​that is, are people able to abstract from specific situational contexts (which will contain a host of different

132  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement situational features) to recognize shared virtue-​relevant stimuli? Relatedly, people could be given an abstract or decontextualized list of stimuli, such as “a person in pain” or “people who are hungry,” outside of any particular situational context, and be asked to indicate which are typically virtue-​relevant and which not, as well as the circumstances under which they are, or aren’t, virtue-​relevant. Identification After attention and recognition comes identification, that is, whether or not people can accurately identify the virtue(s) for which the stimuli they have successfully attended to and recognized are relevant. So, following the examples above, people could be asked why the stimuli they have selected are virtue-​relevant; that is, what it is that makes them virtue-​relevant, and which virtue or virtues the stimuli are relevant for. One method of assessment could start with sets of virtue-​relevant stimuli and then ask which virtues would typically be called for in their presence. For example, does the fact that someone is suffering typically matter for honesty, compassion, generosity, and/​or courage? And if so, why, or why not? Another method would be to start with the virtue(s) and then ask people to consider a range of different sorts of stimuli and indicate which are typically relevant for it. For example, would compassion be called for in situations that involve other people suffering, one’s own suffering, the suffering of a non-​human animal, the suffering of an enemy combatant, etc.? For some people, all of these examples would count as virtue-​relevant stimuli, but for others, they would not. It might also be worth including in the line-​up stimuli no one would identify as compassion-​relevant (e.g., reading a book, eating lunch, etc.) in order to make sure that people’s identification stayed within the appropriate boundaries.8 8 People could also be asked at this point what they think the virtue-​appropriate response(s) would be, which would also be helpful in addressing the third component of virtue-​manifestation (outputs or behaviors).

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  133 People could also be asked to remember past situations in which they encountered virtue-​ relevant stimuli. If this was combined with a longitudinal daily experience sampling or diary study—​one where people were asked to report the virtue-​ relevant social situations as they are being encountered—​then their ability to successfully recall these situations after the fact would count as an important indicator of how salient they found the presence of virtue-​relevant stimuli. Experimental conditions could also be used to create a more controlled longitudinal situation where people are exposed to virtue-​relevant stimuli (perhaps even relevant to more than one virtue) at one point (or various points) during the study and then after a delay asked to recount everything that had happened throughout the course of the study, to see if they can recall the presence of these virtue-​ relevant stimuli or not. This would enable experimenters to track how salient these different virtue-​relevant stimuli were for the participants.9 Finally, research participants could be asked to spontaneously develop a list of stimuli for which the virtue(s) would be relevant—​ though this gets into the subject of imagination, to which we now turn. Imagination In addition to being able to identify virtue-​relevant stimuli when being presented with them, it would be important to see how well 9 It is important to note that for some of the measures discussed, there would likely be a high degree of noise in the data, generated by individual differences in things like memory ability, olfactory sensitivity, intelligence, etc. This would not be problematic in certain contexts—​e.g., when applying such measures to large groups in an experimental context (e.g., as measures of dependent variables) where random assignment would balance the groups on the irrelevant individual differences. However, this highlights the importance of differentiating between measures that will be useful as dependent variables in experiments and measures of individual differences that we obtain naturalistically (through, for example, daily experience sampling), because the latter would need to be held to a much higher standard of reliability and validity in order to control for this noise.

134  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement people can imagine virtue-​relevant stimuli, especially those not yet encountered. Here both narratives and abstraction can be used to measure people’s capacity to spontaneously generate imagined (or hypothetical) virtue-​relevant stimuli. For example, people could be asked to write fictional narratives that display virtue-​relevant stimuli, and then explain why they take them to be such. Or, as mentioned earlier, people could also be asked to consider a virtue, and then spontaneously generate a list of as many circumstances as they can imagine in which a display of that virtue would be appropriate.10 Concluding Thoughts Thus far in virtue research there has been an almost exclusive focus on people’s virtue-​appropriate behavior (or lack thereof), so we know very little about this first level of virtue manifestation; that is, people’s perception of, or in other words, their ability to attend to, recognize, identify, remember, and imagine, virtue-​relevant stimuli. This more nuanced quantitative and qualitative approach is certainly more labor-​intensive and time-​consuming than many of the survey-​based, quantitative measures featured in Chapter 2, yet it has many advantages. One is that this approach could play a role in helping researchers (and philosophers) to see aspects of a virtue that were previously unknown to them, or to identify new virtues that are specific to certain cultural groups (as described in Chapter 4).

10 People could also be asked to generate virtue-​appropriate responses, which would also be helpful in addressing the third component of virtue-​manifestation (outputs or behaviors).

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  135

Issues to Consider When Developing Measurements

Accuracy One overarching issue that arises when we consider the prospect of measuring people’s ability to attend to, recognize, identify, remember, and imagine virtue-​relevant stimuli is the problem of accuracy. This issue is three-​pronged: the first prong is the assumption that there is a right answer about what are or are not virtue-​relevant stimuli; the second prong is the assumption that we can know what that right answer is, thereby enabling a comparison of researchers’ and participants’ lists of virtue-​relevant stimuli to determine the accuracy of the latter; and the third prong is whether we have clear definitional boundaries for the focal virtue—​that we have taken care not to fall prey to the problems of heterogeneity, umbrella concepts, or the so-​ called jingle fallacy, by which distinct constructs are referred to by the same name (Kristjánsson, 2018). Without some level of assurance that we are meaningfully measuring virtue (and we are clear about its definitional boundaries), we cannot develop a robust research program to study it. Consequently, addressing these worries is essential for any successful account of virtue measurement, including ours. The second concern can be partially addressed by applying a method prototype analysis: a method that is used in measuring prototypes (e.g., Fehr and Russell, 1991), which was briefly described in Chapter  2, namely, to develop a “paradigmaticity” index that would allow us to measure how paradigmatic particular virtue-​ relevant stimuli are.11 The idea is that the faster and more frequently 11 Work done in cognitive science in prototype theory is relevant here. Researchers examined the degree to which specific members of a conceptual category (e.g., Robin, Chicken, Penguin) were paradigmatic (or “prototypical”) of the category (in this case, Bird). They found that the more prototypical the member was of the category, the more quickly people were to identify it as a member of that category and the more frequently it would be spontaneously recalled as a member. Different researchers found similar results in terms of prototypicality—​yet  also, some important cultural differences emerged. For example, what people consider the most prototypical member of Bird varies to some degree on which types of birds they are normally exposed to. As mentioned in Chapter 2, prototype analysis has also been employed to study layperson meanings of moral concepts such as modesty, love, gratitude, and forgiveness. For example, Morgan

136  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement examples of virtue-​relevant stimuli are identified or imagined, the more closely related to the virtue in question the stimuli are likely to be—​e.g., the sight of someone crying is more likely to be quickly and frequently identified or imagined as an example of a compassion-​ relevant stimulus than someone expressing anger (even though, depending on the situational context, someone expressing anger could be a compassion-​relevant stimulus as well).12 To create such an index, we would need to collect samples of virtue-​ relevant stimuli for different virtues from a wide range of people (constrained for different researchers, as necessary, by their population and situations of interest) allowing us to create a database of the virtue-​relevant stimuli from which paradigmaticity rankings could be assigned, based on the relative frequency with which different terms/​ descriptions arise in free-​response lists that aim to describe the virtue, the priority with which they occur (i.e., which terms are mentioned first), centrality ratings of the degree to which each stimulus typifies the virtue, judgments as to whether each stimulus is a genuine case of the virtue, as well as the relative speed with which the stimuli are produced or verified as members of the virtue (for additional methods, see Fehr and Russell, 1991; Gregg et al., 2008; Kearns and Fincham, 2004; and Lambert et al., 2009). Ideally such a database(s) would be open to all virtue researchers, allowing them to combine and share stimuli, which could contribute to the development of robust paradigmaticity index(es) for different virtues.13 Initially, different researchers could develop et al. (2014) used prototype analysis to identify the meaning of Gratitude in the United Kingdom and compared their results to data from the United States reported by Lambert et al. (2009). Findings indicated that most of the same key terms were central features of Gratitude across countries (e.g., “thankful”), but that the UK sample used more negative terms (e.g., “guilt”) when generating lists of terms that typify Gratitude. 12 It is important to note that developing this paradigmaticity index is not part of measuring virtue per se, but is rather a step involved in creating materials and stimuli that would later be used in virtue measurement. 13 The Open Science Framework (OSF; https://​osf.io/​) is a useful website that facilitates research collaboration and resource sharing while contributing to best practices of transparency and accountability in science. Some examples of existing “normed” databases

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  137 their own indexes and then use them to examine their own data sets—​and then these could be compared to indexes created by other researchers. Ideally, though, researchers interested in the same virtues would share their index data, so that more comprehensive and robust paradigmaticity indexes could be created.14 Another option would be the more direct approach of having sets of nominated experts—​e.g., philosophers, religious scholars, moral psychologists, etc.—​rate the virtue-​relevance of a range of stimuli (generated either by themselves or other people) for particular virtues. In other words, conducting a prototype analysis in which experts serve as research participants. The stimuli with the highest ratings, the highest agreement among raters, and maybe even the fastest reaction times in determining category membership, would provide paradigmaticity indexes for different virtues. Whatever the approach, once such indexes have been developed for a range of specific virtues, then participants’ responses can be measured in terms of how well they track paradigmatic virtue-​ relevant stimuli. It would be especially interesting to create cross-​cultural indexes and thus be able to examine cultural similarities and differences in paradigmaticity, providing much needed insight into the ways in which virtues are culturally localized as opposed to universal. For example, Morgan et al. (2014) used prototype analysis and found that gratitude was described with more negative terms (e.g., “guilt”) available to and used by researchers globally are the International Affective Picture System (IAPS) and the Open Affective Standardized Image Set (OASIS), the latter of which is available through the OSF website. 14 The point here is that these are not data that would necessarily have to be collected separately from studies already being conducted on virtue, but as a part of them—​so, for example, people already studying people’s responses to, for example, compassion-​ relevant stimuli could contribute the rankings and reaction times for their stimuli to the database. Of course, it would be helpful if researchers interested in contributing to the database agreed upon and adhered to shared guidelines, constraints, and standardizations of stimuli and instructions in order to make sure the procedures used by various researchers are comparable. Having multiple researchers collecting rankings and response times on the same virtue-​relevant stimuli would allow for the development of robust parameters for paradigmaticity.

138  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement in the United Kingdom versus the United States, and Joo and colleagues (2019) found that forgiveness had a stronger focus on relationship harmony in Japan than in the United States. The more comprehensively such data are shared, compared, and discussed by researchers (psychologists and philosophers), the more likely we would be in protecting against researcher bias and other sources of error. Thus, the more assurance we would have that what we are measuring is actually virtue. It is important to recognize that people’s identification or imagination of virtue-​relevant stimuli outside those considered to be paradigmatic could mean very different things, depending on the details. If someone identified non-​paradigmatic stimuli as virtue-​relevant, would this be indicative of virtue perception deficiency, or even pathology? Or, would such a case be indicative of the opposite—​of someone possessing a more highly developed ability to perceive more subtle virtue-​relevant stimuli? To help frame a response to these questions, an approach used by Gregg and colleagues (2008) to understand the prototypicality of modesty is instructive. In their study, terms associated with modesty were classified into four ordinal clusters:  central features (e.g., “humble”) had the highest prototypicality ratings, peripheral features (e.g., “honest”) were slightly less prototypical, marginal features (e.g., “unassuming”) were even less prototypical, and remote features (e.g., “tactful”) were furthest removed from modesty. The central features list represents a “baseline” of the sorts of stimuli that most people, even “novices,” should be able to identify as virtue-​relevant, whereas we would expect that peripheral, marginal, and especially remote features would require increasingly greater expertise, with a catch. The catch is that in order to count the perception of marginal or remote terms as virtue-​relevant, the participant would first need to successfully identify central and peripheral stimuli as virtue-​relevant.15 15 In addition, it would be important to include terms that are completely irrelevant to the focal virtue (e.g., “tree” has nothing to do with modesty) in order to correct for

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  139 To illustrate this with some specific examples, consider someone who identifies damage caused to small living creatures (such as spiders, ants, frogs, etc.) as highly compassion-​relevant—​ something that most people would likely fail to identify as such and may land in the list of marginal or remote features. If, at the same time, this person failed to recognize a range of central or peripheral instances of human suffering as compassion-​relevant, then we might take this as an indicator of virtue distortion or deficiency. But if this heightened sensitivity was instead part of a broad and comprehensive sensitivity to the suffering of all living beings, including humans, then we might instead view it as indicative of full virtue. Consider, for example, the practice of Jainism in parts of India, where practitioners wear masks to avoid inhaling, and walk barefoot with a broom to avoid stepping on, anything living. Of course, much care in both the creation and interpretation of the index would be needed. What we envision is creating an index that describes the virtues and virtue-​relevant stimuli within a specific subject population and is appropriately sensitive to differences between cultures and other socio-​cultural groups. Variations are not only to be expected, but also to be welcomed.16 Nonetheless, what we propose here is a way of getting at people’s actual “normative” ideas about when virtue is called for and what appropriate responses would be, as well as fleshing out the shared and unique cross-​cultural features of these ideas.

the rate of false-​positives, i.e., the number times a participant classifies clearly irrelevant terms as virtue-​relevant. 16 Obtaining this variation not only provides us with a better understanding of what is “normative,” that is, of what is typically viewed as virtue-​relevant, whether across different cultural groups or more globally, but it also provides us with a closer look at the non-​normative. These data will allow for a rich empirically and theoretically grounded exploration of virtue failure, opening up the space to explore difficult questions, such as what counts as mere error (confusion, misidentification, etc.) vs. something more defective or vicious, and why.

140  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Reasons Another issue worth consideration is what precisely it means to perceive something as a reason for action? More importantly for our purposes, how would one go about detecting this? Is perceiving a fact as a reason for action a matter of cognitive judgment only? Or must some sort of affective experience be associated with the perception (e.g., a feeling of concern/​distress, etc.) and/​or should it be accompanied by a distinct motivational component (e.g., a felt need, pressure, or impulse, to act)? Our discussions of moral motivation often involve claims such as “people generally feel moved to do [at least to some degree] what they judge it right to do” (Rosati, 2016, emphasis ours), with the feeling moved to being explained as some sort of affective state (Rosati, 2016). Arguably, affective states are the sort of thing people should be able to recognize and/​or experience and therefore they should be reportable. For example, the sight of someone in distress might create within oneself a belief that one ought to respond and/​or a motivational state to do so, which could be experienced as a desire to act or a felt pressure to respond, that is sufficient to overcome countervailing desires, such as to not draw attention to oneself, to not interact with strangers, and the like. As is much discussed in the literature on altruism (Batson et al., 1987), the nature of this “felt pressure to respond” is open to interpretation and may vary between people (and situations) in a number of virtue-​relevant ways. What if the pressure a person experiences is being generated by her sympathetic nervous system’s sensitivity to potential threat and she is therefore motivated to come to the aid of the sufferer simply to remove the possibility of threat, for example, to calm him down and deescalate the situation? Or, alternatively, to calm her own internal distress experienced at the sight of suffering?17

17 For example, Hobbes (1985) thought that we help others whose plight we pity only to relieve ourselves of the discomfort the spectacle causes us.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  141 One of the things this highlights is the importance of measuring the underlying motivational structure of a person’s responses to virtue-​relevant stimuli, even when those responses are seemingly virtue-​appropriate (to be discussed in the next section). Simply being able to identify or imagine virtue-​ relevant stimuli and responses is not, by itself, full virtue, nor does it exhaust the complexity of the virtuous person’s mental states. Consequently, another important measurement must be the extent to which people provide good reasons for why they consider things to be virtue-​ relevant stimuli, as well as virtue-​appropriate behaviors, or not. This helps to tap into their underlying cognitive states (e.g., beliefs, values, schemas, and practical wisdom) and gauge the extent to which they are virtue-​ appropriate—​ and thus properly attuned to the virtue-​relevant stimuli encountered. In other words, are people with virtue-​appropriate beliefs, values, schemas, and reasoning able to successfully recognize virtue-​relevant stimuli as such because of their virtue-​relevance?18 The same worry expressed earlier is relevant here. That is, participants and researchers might disagree about what count as “good reasons” for considering things to be virtue-​relevant stimuli. For example, a college student might cite the fact that “her outfit made her look like a total slut” as a good reason for why what a friend was wearing was honesty-​relevant stimuli, while others might find this less compelling. We nonetheless think that researchers will generally be able to distinguish reasonable from unreasonable explanations for why a stimulus is virtue-​relevant.19 18 A well-​known example of something similar to this is the different sorts of responses people have given to Kohlberg’s “Heinz dilemma.” While many people have agreed that Heinz should steal the drug, they often have done so for very different reasons that are taken to be indicative of their level of moral reasoning (Kohlberg, 1984). 19 Part of distinguishing reasonable from unreasonable explanations will be taking the participant’s perspective into account. In the example given, for instance, the participant’s response counts as honesty-​relevant by her lights—​she is being a good friend by telling the other person that she thinks her outfit makes her look “slutty.” Therefore, what counts as virtues and virtue-​relevant stimuli needs to be at least partially indexed to the beliefs of research participants (not just those of the researcher). In addition, we need to recognize that certain demographic variables (e.g., age) and cultural

142  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement One thing researchers could look for is whether the reasons people give cite the virtue-​relevant stimuli as virtue-​relevant, as well as whether they cite themselves as being motivated to respond to them because they were virtue-​relevant (e.g., “I simply had to step in and do something because the woman was struggling and clearly needed help. I felt I had to help her out, it wasn’t right to just let her suffer.”). It would also be important to track the degree to which people viewed themselves as someone who is motivated to do what is called for (e.g., “I would have felt like a terrible person if I’d just ignored her. I always try to help other people when I can.”). Responses such as these are clearly qualitatively different from others that could be tied to the same behaviors (e.g., “I had to step in and help the woman, otherwise she wouldn’t shut up! I mean, she was just standing there looking all pathetic and it was really bugging me. People really should take better care of themselves,” and “I’m not the sort of person who normally goes out of my way to get involved in people’s lives—​I figure, to each his own, you know?”). We should note that the reasons recognized or generated by participants after the fact are not necessarily the reasons to which they actually responded. This worry about post hoc reasoning has garnered a lot of concern in the moral psychology literature (e.g., Haidt, 2001; Merritt, Doris, and Harman, 2010), which is attentive to the question of whether the reasons people give for their moral judgments and actions can be trusted as having actually been the reasons to which they in fact responded. We see this as somewhat less of a concern because even if the reasons recognized or generated by participants were only post hoc, they are still reasons participants recognize as being worthy of response, and are, therefore, relevant for our purposes. To see why this is the case, consider that our primary objective is simply to assess whether they are able to give (or, alternatively, to recognize) contexts can at times strongly influence the standards used to determine when stimuli are/​are not virtue-​relevant and when they should/​should not be responded to.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  143 them as good reasons for action. Reminiscent of our discussion in Chapter  1 about the complex, often non-​conscious structure of motivations, we would argue that, at least at this level of measurement, it is not as important whether the reasons recognized or generated by people after the fact were the actual reasons they were thinking about (or that were otherwise causally efficacious) when they decided that particular stimuli were virtue-​relevant. What matters more is whether the reasons, when presented or given, strike the person as actually being reasons, that is, that she experiences those reasons as calling for a response. This suggests that the various elements of her social-​cognitive systems “align” with the reasons in the right way:  she believes them to be good reasons, can see how they fit with her existing values, feels their motivational “pull,” and so on. When asked whether the fact that another person is suffering is a good reason to respond compassionately, presumably most of us would experience this as a good reason. We would feel moved to respond, indicating the alignment of the reason with our own internal motivational structure. Yet, if we were then told that the suffering person was a pedophile who had murdered several young children, some people, though surely not all, would no longer experience his suffering as a good reason to respond compassionately. They would feel “cold” to it, no longer feeling moved to respond. Using a less severe example, what if the person suffering was an extremely disheveled and pungent homeless person? Here again, some might fail to feel moved to respond, an experience that they could report, even though they might be reluctant to admit it. In other words, asking people to attend to and track their motivational responses—​the degree to which they are experiencing the presence of virtue-​relevant stimuli as generating a reason for them to respond—​will help us to map out the underlying topography of people’s virtue.20 20 We might worry that people will often not have the self-​insight to identify their underlying motivations, but what we would be asking them to do here is something more

144  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement This mapping is especially important because it helps us explore in more depth two potential disconnects between people’s experience of virtue-​relevant stimuli as providing them with reasons and their actual responses. The first disconnect occurs because people can sometimes actually perceive a reason as a good reason, a reason for action, and yet still not act upon it (or act, but for other reasons). As we discussed above, reasons are defeasible, and there could be overriding considerations for not acting on them, despite their being good. But there can also simply be a failure to act brought on by other factors, such as fear, exhaustion, lack of will, and so on. This brings us into a complicated space that concerns the potential failures and disconnects that can occur between the different components of trait-​manifestation, which we will touch upon later. The second disconnect occurs because people can sometimes act as if in response to virtue-​relevant stimuli, though they are actually acting for different reasons. In other words, sometimes people respond to the virtue-​relevant stimuli, but not because they feel moved to do so—​they do not perceive them as providing reason for action—​but instead for other virtue-​irrelevant reasons, such as social desirability or egoistic motivations. More worrisome, perhaps, is the potential for people to misreport whether they experience virtue-​relevant stimuli as providing a reason for action (or not), as well as the fact that previous research has clearly demonstrated that irrelevant stimuli can exert an influence on our attention, recognition, or identification of virtue-​relevant stimuli that we are unaware of at the time and would disavow if asked (as in the case of “moral dissociation” and “incongruency”—​see Merritt, Doris, and Harman (2010) for a discussion of the relevant findings in this area). But we see this worry as further justification for the approach we are advocating. The careful and extensive exploration, examination, and questioning basic. It is to identify when they feel moved to respond or not. For this, they do not need to understand what is generating that response—​why they do or don’t feel so moved.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  145 of people’s responses can help to reveal underlying inconsistencies and patterns of inconsistencies, especially when those responses are being given to a range of different situations over an extended period of time. The more comprehensive the mapping of people’s responses to virtue-​relevant stimuli, the more likely such inconsistencies will reveal themselves, allowing for further fruitful reflection and discussion, as well as potential remedial intervention (as described in Merritt, Doris, and Harman, 2010).21 While these complexities and worries may seem daunting, it is important to recognize that the degree to which they will actually interfere with people’s ability to track and access their motivations, especially when asked to carefully and honestly attend to them, is not clear. To our knowledge, no full-​scale and systematic study of these issues has been conducted. Given that appropriate motivation stands at the core of virtue manifestation, we see this as an area of virtue science in desperate need of further exploration.

Processing by the Social-​Cognitive Systems (The “Intermediates”) As mentioned earlier, full virtue is not simply the manifestation of virtue-​appropriate behaviors. Those behaviors must be produced by, and appropriately linked to, virtue-​appropriate mental states of the virtuous agent and guided by practical wisdom. This means that an essential part of measuring people’s virtuous responses is measuring their ability to process virtue-​ relevant stimuli, once perceived, in such a way as to 21 For example, if a person identifies the suffering of a well-​dressed woman to be relevant for a compassionate response, but the suffering of a homeless woman to not be, then a discussion of this inconsistency can help to reveal the fact that the person is relying on appearance (and likely bad inferences drawn from it, such as “she must have brought her misfortune on herself ”), as a reason for why another’s suffering is a virtue-​relevant stimulus in the one case but not the other. Revealing these inconsistencies, and having people evaluate them for themselves, can be very instructive.

146  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement manifest virtue-​appropriate behaviors—​and/​or recognize, identify, remember, and imagine such behaviors—​in response to those stimuli. This involves measuring the relevant content of their “intermediate” social-​cognitive systems, which include a variety of underlying perceptual, cognitive, affective, and motivational states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures. Returning to an earlier example, suppose our busy traveler does notice and attend to her fellow passenger’s distress and recognizes it as calling for a compassionate response—​would she be able to respond compassionately? Many things go into determining this: for example, does she experience the appropriate concern for his distress, does she view him as the sort of person who “warrants” a compassionate response, does she believe that she is a compassionate person and/​or that being a compassionate person requires acting to alleviate another person’s distress (both generally speaking and in this particular context), does she desire to act compassionately, and/​or is she motivated to be a compassionate person? Or might she instead feel inconvenienced and annoyed, believing that people should keep their personal problems to themselves, or embarrassed at the thought of looking foolish to the other passengers on the bus for helping, thus perhaps ignoring his distress entirely, or acknowledging it only with a brusque or patronizing response?22 Further, would she be able to appropriately balance her competing needs, desires, and obligations—​e.g., wanting to respond compassionately to the man in distress vs. wanting to prepare for a very important upcoming meeting in the time the bus ride gives her—​in order to appropriately respond? Would she be able to modulate her response according to her “reading” of the person’s

22 Some of these considerations have already come up in our discussion of the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli. As perhaps won’t be surprising, while it is important to conceptually disentangle the different steps involved in virtue manifestation for the purposes of exposition and study, in reality the perceptual and processing components (as well as the outputs) are all deeply intertwined. Therefore, they will often come together, as part of a comprehensive package, in research on virtue measurement.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  147 distress? Would she recognize someone else’s caring response to his distress, were someone else to intervene before her, as appropriate? Finally, would she also be able to recognize differing degrees of appropriateness in a variety of different potential responses? Needless to say, when it comes to virtue manifestation, this is where “the rubber hits the road,” so to speak. This is where all the important processing between perceiving virtue-​relevant stimuli and successfully responding in a virtue-​ appropriate manner occurs. It is where the most important differences between the virtuous and non-​virtuous, as well as the fully virtuous and the novice, reside. Thus, much of the important work in virtue measurement has to happen at this level—​i.e., at the “intermediate” level of social-​ cognitive processing. We should also remind ourselves at this point of a distinction made in Chapter 1. Some of this intermediate processing will involve states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that are internal to the trait (that is, they constitute the trait in question), whereas others will be external to the trait (serving to support trait-​function and expression or constrain and suppress it). Measurement of both is critical. We will break our measurement discussion down into the different sub-​systems of the social-​cognitive level and provide some ideas for what measurement might look like in each area.

Measurement Strategies

Interpretative System As we discussed in Chapter  1, this system encompasses a broad range of inter-​related perceptual, cognitive, and affective states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that determine the manner in which trait-​relevant stimuli information are analyzed and interpreted.23 It thus includes a wide range of mental 23 The accuracy, or validity, of stimuli used in the study of the interpretative system would need to go through the same rigors (e.g., prototype analysis) as described in the previous section. It is critical to establish that the stimuli are in fact virtue-​relevant

148  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement states and capacities relevant for virtue manifestation, such as belief, attitude, and knowledge structures, values, goals/​commitments, expectancies, and schemas about self, others, and the world more generally. It also includes the social-​cognitive mechanisms—​i.e., perspective-​taking, problem-​solving, means-​end reasoning, etc.—​ that develop into and function as practical wisdom. All of these different elements of the interpretative system will play a role in how virtue-​relevant stimuli are perceived, evaluated, and responded to—​in particular, the degree to which a person is able to reliably manifest virtue-​appropriate behaviors in their presence (as well as the level of virtue-​appropriateness of the behaviors manifested). Thus, needless to say, there is much of value to be measured here and we won’t be able to cover all of it. But we will endeavor to provide examples of the components we think researchers will need to do their best to measure, if they wish to obtain an accurate assessment, as well as a more nuanced understanding, of people’s possession and manifestation of particular virtues. In order to better understand how people possess and manifest particular virtues, here are a few suggestions that we take to be of fundamental importance. First, we need to develop procedures for gathering people’s underlying (explicit and implicit) virtue-​specific beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​ commitments. For example, data should be gathered about the circumstances under which people believe it is okay to lie, what kind of person they regard as compassionate, what sorts of behaviors they think generosity entails, whether someone is committed to being honest, and so on, as well as their underlying (explicit and implicit) virtue-​general beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments. These include, for example, beliefs about what being a good person entails, about the importance of virtue or morality in everyday life, about what being a morally upstanding before using them as a basis for gauging the functioning of participants’ interpretative system.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  149 citizen requires and when, whether people have or think it is important to have a commitment to developing good character, and so on.24 Most, if not all, of the above will count as part of the internal structure of particular virtues, providing the internal context for virtue manifestation. Virtues are traits that are manifested to the degree to which there is reason for them to be, which is at least partially determined by these beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​ commitments. Should we respond to courage-​relevant stimuli by acting bravely? This will depend, in part, on whether we believe ourselves to be capable of bravery and have a positive attitude about it, whether we are committed to acting on others’ behalf even when it puts us at risk, whether we value courage and view it as an important virtue, etc. The more external elements are not far away and are also very important. For example, it would be ideal to have procedures in place for exploring how elements of people’s broader cultural world-​view (i.e., their culturally “normed” beliefs, values, goals/​commitments, identity markers, etc.) influence their perception and processing of virtue-​relevant stimuli. What if, for example, courage is considered a mandatory feature of manhood by one’s culture, such that failing to manifest it will significantly decrease one’s social standing in one’s community—​or, alternatively, is deemed laughable and naive? Surely this will affect one’s manifestation of courage (see, e.g., Bicchieri, 2005, 2016). Or what if our person on the bus strongly believes that homeless individuals are long-​term chronic substance abusers who are a “drain on the system”? She may be less likely to perceive the distress of her fellow traveler (whom she interprets as being homeless) as compassion-​relevant—​she would not want to do what she perceives as further enabling his dependency. Correspondingly, 24 See, as one potential example of this, the moral identity measure developed by Aquino and Reed (2002).

150  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement she may naturally pay less attention to—​and even actively ignore—​ his signs of suffering, dismissing them as indications that he is drunk or high, mentally disturbed, or manipulative, etc. Arguably, beliefs such as this can function to warp and constrain virtue manifestation in problematic ways—​thus efforts to facilitate and promote virtues need to take both internal and external elements into consideration. Relatedly, it is important to employ procedures for measuring people’s working “schemas” (both internal and external to particular virtues).25 Some examples of relevant schemas would be: (1) working models of self and others, (2) moral schemas (such as the “personal interests” vs. “post-​conventional” schemas detected by the Defining Issues Test or DIT; Rest, 1979), and (3) “world view” schemas (such as the “Just World” schema, detectable as per Rubin and Peplau, 1973). Also of relevance would be people’s chronically accessible situational “scripts,” which mark certain responses as being expected or appropriate in particular situational contexts, whereas others are not.26 Documenting people’s schemas and scripts would help us to better understand the ways in which these underlying cognitive structures influence the perception and processing of virtue-​ relevant information, creating increased sensitivity to stimuli in some cases and blind-​spots in others. It would also help us to better understand the ways in which these cognitive structures guide, constrain, and inform people’s responses to virtue-​relevant stimuli. That is, studying schemas and scripts could shed light on which stimuli people are most likely to respond to and the contexts within which they are most likely to respond.

25 Schemas are cognitive frameworks or models that are used to organize categories of information and the relationships between them. 26 Scripts are schemas for routine activities, such as going to a restaurant, going to a birthday party, attending a college class, going to church, and so on.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  151 Practical Wisdom The interpretative system works to coordinate and adapt virtue manifestation, as well as integrate individual virtues into a coherent character (which we will discuss further in Chapters 4 and 5). It must also weigh and balance the potentially contradictory or enhancing influences of stimuli relevant to different virtues (e.g., stimuli calling for an honest, yet compassionate, response), as is often the case in the complex situations we encounter in daily life. Thus, as we discussed in Chapter 1, it does much (if not all) of the work philosophers refer to as “practical wisdom.” This highlights two distinct yet related regulatory, action-​guiding functions for this system (both of which play roles as practical wisdom): the first is intrinsic to each particular virtue, regulating the situation-​specific production of individual virtue-​appropriate behaviors, and the second involves the adjudication and coordination of different virtues to produce overall virtuous behaviors (and good character). We address the first function here, and the second function in Chapter 5. To measure the first function, which translates the needs of the situation into virtue-​appropriate behaviors for a given virtue, people could be presented with a range of situations where new virtue-​ relevant (and irrelevant) stimuli are introduced and/​ or changes to the existing virtue-​relevant (and irrelevant) stimuli are made. This would allow researchers to gauge how changes in the presented stimuli result in changes in the production of virtue-​ appropriate responses—​that is, how and when do the responses generated differ and why? These could be virtue-​specific scenarios that examine when it is appropriate to act in a virtue-​appropriate manner, as well as how the manifestation of that virtue-​appropriate behavior would change as details of the situational context change. Consider a scenario that includes a sequence in which (1) an initial set of virtue-​relevant stimuli are presented, (2) responses are measured, (3) new stimuli are added, and (4) responses are measured again. On the basis of (1)–​(4), we can hypothesize a pattern of

152  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement response change that might be expected for a fully virtuous person, whose responses are guided by practical wisdom, and then compare participants’ actual responses to that pattern. Take the following example: Suppose that we present a person with a situation in which she has to evaluate whether or not (and if so, how) honesty would be called for when responding to an inquiry about the whereabouts of a close friend who hadn’t been seen in a while. This friend has recently voluntarily entered a rehabilitation center for drug addiction. What might her honesty-​appropriate response be if the person making the inquiry was another close friend? Practical wisdom must help her to navigate the nuances of this situation. Does she have reason to believe that the other person would respect the missing friend’s privacy and dignity, keeping this information to himself? Or is it more likely that he will share this knowledge inappropriately with others in a way that might damage the missing friend’s reputation? Is there any reason why he needs to know where the missing friend is—​would he be in any way negatively impacted by her keeping the whereabouts to herself? Even if he would, do his needs override, or have priority over, the need for privacy of the missing friend? This question becomes even more pressing when we add the detail that the missing friend asked her specifically to keep her whereabouts a secret. Would it be acceptable for her to promise to do so? Would her keeping the missing friend’s location secret be consistent with being an honest person? Are there circumstances under which she nonetheless ought to reveal her location—​say, for example, if a family member needs to know her whereabouts because an emergency situation has come up? What if the person seeking the missing friend’s whereabouts is a police officer? Or her college-​aged child? Does any of this new information change whether or not it is acceptable to keep her whereabouts a secret? In short, her ability to articulate, and explain when and how her honesty would be sculpted to fit these situational differences (as well as the degree to which that sculpting seemed virtue-​appropriate)

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  153 would be an important way of gauging the functioning of her practical wisdom. To sum up:  introducing complex, multi-​layered situations like this and asking people to navigate them, reporting step by step what they think they (or someone else) should do in order to remain an honest (or compassionate, generous, courageous, etc.) person—​as well as when it might be appropriate (or at least acceptable) to refrain from being honest or otherwise relevantly virtuous would provide a valuable “live” demonstration of practical wisdom at work. Each time new information is introduced, it would be possible to track whether what people think they (or someone else) should do changes, and whether those changes seem responsive to new (or altered) virtue-​relevant stimuli. It would also be possible to track whether people provide good explanations for how and why they would alter their responses. That is, are they aware of the changes in the virtue-​relevant stimuli present, and are they able to successfully articulate how and why they would respond to them in the way they’ve reported? This sensitivity to and awareness of changes in the virtue-​relevant stimuli that are present and the responses being called for could be tested across a range of different complex situations for each virtue in order to gauge whether people are better at navigating the nuances of certain kinds of situations, or certain virtues. Moral dilemmas offer another fertile context in which to track the activity of practical wisdom. Of particular interest would be the degree to which people recognize and navigate complex situations that pose with conflicting implications for the same virtue, such as when doing something uncompassionate bad is required to avoid a worse outcome, for example, trolley cases. How does a compassionate person respond to a situation where she must do something that will kill one person in order to prevent the deaths of a handful of others? How does she respond when she is being asked to cause (or allow) harm to one person, such as a suspected but not

154  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement confirmed bomber, in order to prevent harm to a building full of people? Or an entire city? Or a school filled with children? Motivational System WTT treats the motivational system as conceptually distinct from the interpretative system, though there is clearly functional overlap. The motivational system is composed of a broad range of interrelated motivational states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures associated with desired and feared trait-​relevant end-​states. These end-​states are what we desire, fear, strive toward and away from, and are committed to or against, and they create the directional impetus for trait manifestation. This system involves a variety of motivational states and structures, including desires, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments, as well as short and longer-​term affective states, including moods.27 As we discussed in Chapter  1, the manifestation of all traits requires trait-​relevant motivations. They are manifested to the degree to which there is reason for them to be. For example, they satisfy a desire-​state, move us toward a goal, respond to the relevant stimuli, and so on. However, sometimes other types of motivations are involved, namely, those directed at or oriented toward the development and manifestation of the trait itself. This is especially true when it comes to virtue:  virtuous responding necessarily involves virtue-​oriented motivational states—​the desire or goal to do the right thing because one wants to be virtuous, because being virtuous is intrinsically valuable, a necessary component of living a good life.28 27 Values and goals/​commitments come up under both the interpretative and motivational systems. This is not surprising, considering that once again we are drawing lines, for the point of clarification and discussion, which are fuzzy in reality. It makes sense to say that values and goals/​commitments have both interpretative functions and motivational functions. For example, my goal to be honest involves both the belief (interpretative) that being honest is a good thing and the desire (motivational) to be good. 28 This is not to say that a person is not responding virtuously when they are responding for virtue-​relevant reasons (without having virtue-​oriented motivations) simply because the virtue is being called for. A person can act compassionately, for example, when they

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  155 Operationally, we can measure these virtue-​oriented motivations as the active (as opposed to inert)29 desire to possess, maintain, and develop sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli and to recognize and manifest virtue-​appropriate responses for the sake of developing and possessing a virtue. Further, the desire to develop and manifest any particular virtue (or virtues in general) is grounded in the beliefs that: (1) the virtue itself is valuable and important, and (2) it is important to be a person who possesses the ability to appropriately exercise that virtue. Thus, above all else, measuring the motivational system’s role in virtue manifestation involves the measurement of the chronic accessibility (i.e., ease and range of activation), of two components: virtue-​oriented values and goals (which we will discuss) and virtue-​relevant identity attributes (which we will discuss later, when we move into narrative identity). Virtue-​Oriented Values/​Goals By this, we mean the goal to become, be, or remain a person who is able to reliably manifest a virtue(s). One way this could be measured is the extent to which people explicitly and implicitly identify virtue-​oriented values/​goals as being important in their lives. For example, as an explicit measurement, people can be asked to generate a list of their most important values/​goals (e.g., to be a good parent, to volunteer their time at a homeless shelter) and/​or to rate a list of values/​goals in terms of their importance (perhaps even put them in rank order). To get at the same thing implicitly, people respond appropriately to compassionate-​relevant stimuli. However, we would not consider a person fully virtuous until they also possess virtue-​oriented motivational states, such as the desire to respond compassionately because doing so is the right thing to do and because they value being a compassionate person. 29 We do not take “active” to mean “conscious.” A motivational state can be active in the sense that it exerts an influence on other mental states and behaviors without our having any conscious recognition of its doing so. One of the main points of therapeutic interventions is to help people recognize and acknowledge the non-​conscious motivational states that were the driving force behind their unhealthy mental states and behaviors.

156  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement can be asked to document their daily activities and how much time they spend on them, and then these activities can be coded for the values/​goals reflected by them. The importance of each value/​goal is implied by the amount of time spent expressing, pursuing, and reflecting upon it (see Frimer, Schaefer, and Oakes, 2014).30 People’s explicitly stated values/​ goals and situation-​ specific values/​goals, such as wanting to get my homework assignment done on time; wanting to make my roommate smile after she’d had a hard day, and so on, are more likely to be chronically accessible than the more context-​general virtue-​oriented values/​goals we identify as necessary components of full virtue. We take this to be the case for two reasons. The first reason is that genuinely action-​generating goals tend to be short-​term and situation-​specific (McCabe and Fleeson, 2012). That a person wants to “be a doctor” is a noble long-​term, generalized goal, but by itself it cannot tell her what she should do from day to day, moment to moment. Therefore, she has to generate more immediate, concrete goals, such as “study for the MCAT.” Such short-​term goals, while inspired by and tied to our long-​term

30 One thing that makes this approach tricky is the role situational context plays in offering opportunities for value expression and pursuit, or providing cues for reflecting upon the value. For example, a person might strongly value civility, but since he works in a harmonious and egalitarian organization, the need for him to spend time expressing, pursuing, and reflecting upon civility is minimized. To help account for this it might also be important to ask questions about the larger overarching structure of their daily lives and the degree to which it reflects their values/​goals (e.g., having chosen specifically to work in a harmonious and egalitarian organization) and/​or ask people to extrapolate from their daily reflections to consider how they might respond, if the situational contexts were different. To what degree, for example, would they tolerate incivility in the workplace before seeking other employment? How important is working in a harmonious and egalitarian environment relative to other values related to employment, such as pursuing a passion, achieving a certain level of status, obtaining a particular level of salary, etc.? Another interesting approach would be to create a simulation study in which virtue-​relevant deficiencies are made salient. One could, for example, bring people into a lab controlled or naturalistic situation, where they must respond to virtue deficiencies, such as getting paid to work in a group that is plagued with incivility), and then measure their responses to these situations, such as the degree to which they attempt to maintain their own civility or the amount of time they spend trying to remedy the lack of civility in the group.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  157 goals, also provide the sort of action-​specific guidance we need to be able to meet them. The second reason is that people are more inclined to reference the value/​goal that best matches the behavior that was generated (McCabe and Fleeson, 2012). To use a virtue-​relevant example, if a man saved a woman who was a stranger to him from drowning and he was asked why he did it (i.e., what motivated him), he might reasonably say something like, “no one should be left to die if you can help,” and “it was the right thing to do.” If, however, the woman whom the man saved was his daughter, these motivations would suddenly sound strange, if not inappropriate. We would expect him to say something like, “because she was my child,” or “because I love her, I’d do anything to protect her.” This does not mean that the previous motivations—​that no one should be left to die if you can help and that it was the right thing to do—​are not appropriate motivations in the case of the man saving his daughter (indeed, some have argued that they are the only genuinely ethical motivations).31 It is that they do not strike us as the best match to the situation at hand. When it is your daughter who needs to be saved, your first and foremost reason for saving her is that she is someone you love and desire to protect (while, at the same time, it was the right thing to do and you are motivated to do the right thing); when it is a complete stranger, you do it because it was the right thing to do and not because of a special relationship. Together, these considerations mean that we can expect people to often explicitly report the more short-​term, situation-​specific values/​goals, especially when they are saliently action-​guiding with respect to, and/​or better matching with, the virtue-​appropriate behaviors we are investigating. In both cases, further questioning could be required to uncover the longer-​term, more generalized values/​goals that ultimately interest us insofar as they serve as the underlying motivational architecture of people’s virtues. One

31 This is a controversial issue among philosophers. For an overview, see Jeske (2019).

158  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement fairly straightforward approach would be to provide research participants with a pre-​established set of context-​general, virtue-​ relevant values/​goals—​mirroring well-​known surveys such as the Portrait Values Questionnaire (Schwartz et al., 2012) and Aspiration Index (Kasser and Ryan, 1996)—​and have them rate or rank the list in terms of their importance. It might also be useful to put people in situations where their values/​goals are tested—​the degree to which people are willing to push back against a situation in order to maintain, protect, and/​or promote virtuous responding is a good indicator of how much it matters to them. As mentioned earlier, one approach would be to create situations in which virtue-​relevant deficiencies are made salient so that people’s responses to them can be documented. In a situation where people are responding without compassion, will they resist, and will they attempt to encourage compassion in others? What are people’s reactions to dishonesty? When other people are cheating, does the person go along with the group and cheat, or does she maintain her honesty? If the latter, does she do so quietly or does she express her disapproval of the dishonest behavior (if not directly to the group, then in some other manner, such as an anonymous message or confidential report)? Overall, these approaches provide us with a rich picture of people’s explicit and implicit virtue-​oriented values/​goals, which can then be linked back to their perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli. For example, are people with compassion or honesty-​ oriented values/​goals more likely to accurately perceive stimuli relevant to those virtues across a range of situational contexts? The measurement of virtue-​oriented values and goals can also be linked forward to virtue-​appropriate behaviors. Are the possessors of virtue-​oriented values and goals more likely to produce a compassionate or honest response (and/​or actually respond accordingly) when the relevant stimuli are present?32

32 Fishbach,

Friedman, and Kruglanski (2003) found that being shown a piece of

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  159 Given many of the concerns voiced in Chapter 2 about self-​report data, we might ultimately want to supplement these first-​person explicit and implicit reports with third-​person other-​reports, especially since previous research has found that sometimes other people know us better than ourselves (Vazire and Carlson, 2011). For example, friends, co-​workers, and family members could be asked to spontaneously generate and/​or rank from a list those virtue-​oriented values/​ goals that they think are most important to a person. These could then be compared to the first-​person values/​goals generated in both the explicit and implicit exercises. The upshot of this would be the ability to coordinate and compare what virtue-​oriented values/​goals people take themselves to be motivated by and what others take them to be motivated by.33 To the degree to which these overlap—​people not only profess to care about being virtuous (whether in a particular way, or more generally) but also show it in their interactions with others, such that those around them notice—​this suggests a higher degree of virtue possession and manifestation. Of course, there could also be a fair degree of disagreement, which could be interpreted in a variety of ways, depending on the specifics of the data collected.34 The possibility of disagreement delicious-​looking chocolate cake can activate overriding goals, thereby helping people to overcome their temptation to eat the cake. This suggests that being presented with a temptation to act contrary to a virtue-​relevant goal could actually activate it, which then generates the motivation to move forward with virtue-​relevant behavior. This would be another interesting line of study—​to investigate situations in which temptations to act viciously (e.g., when tempted to be cowardly in a situation calling for courage) function to decrease virtuous responding, and when, by contrast, they increase virtuous responding, by activating either a virtue-​relevant or a virtue-​oriented goal. 33 Admittedly, it is tricky asking people to report on what other people value, since such things are inherently internal/​subjective. But arguably, those values and goals that are important to us get expressed in ways that others can observe, in how we speak about others, ourselves, and our lives, in how we spend our time and orient our lives, as well as in the ways we behave, especially in situations that place stress upon those values. 34 For example, Bardi and Schwartz (2003) found that self-​partner agreement with regard to 10 value-​behavior domains ranged from .29 to .79 (M = .51), and for self-​peer agreement it ranged from .25 to .63 (M = .39). That is, whereas perfect self-​other agreement would involve a correlation of 1.0 between self-​ratings and other-​ratings, their data showed a wide range of the degree of self-​other agreement, and for some value-​behavior

160  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement implies that there could be an important disconnect between how people view themselves and how they are viewed by others, at least with respect to the possession and manifestation of virtues. While potentially sensitive in nature, once again this provides the opportunity for fruitful reflection and discussion. For example, follow up discussions with respondents about the inconsistencies found, if handled appropriately, might be useful for providing greater insight into the nature of the disconnect, and into the way implicit vs. explicit values/​goals figure into or fail to figure into people’s virtue possession and manifestation. Other Considerations Virtue-​oriented motivational states (e.g., goals/​values) can also possess other characteristics, increasingly so as people become fully virtuous, which would be useful to measure: First, they are normative, which means that people experience a sort of requirement—​something one ought to do; the sort of person one ought to be. Second, they are context-​general, in terms of the breadth and depth of their application. This means that, as virtues become full, they will generally be activated across a wider and wider range of situations. Such context generality helps to provide the stability across situations necessary for robust global traits to emerge. Third, virtue-​oriented motivational states do not entail that their possessors are inordinately focused on developing their own virtue, on becoming or being, for example, perfect in virtue or paragons of virtue. Thus, we reject charges that virtue ethics is necessarily egoistic or that it results in moral self-​indulgence (see Hurka, 2001, 246).35 domains (e.g., benevolence, power) self-​ratings bore little resemblance to partner-​or peer-​ratings. 35 Toner (2006, 2010)  defends virtue ethics against several interpretations of what is commonly known as the “self-​centeredness” objection. For a discussion of the self-​ centeredness objection see Snow (under review).

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  161 Finally, virtue-​oriented motivational states are often implicit, especially as they become embedded in an increasingly robust automaticity developed through habitual activation. This does not necessarily imply that virtuous people will not have post hoc access to their motivations, but they may have difficulty articulating them (just as a ski-​racer may have difficulty describing in detail how to ski moguls with deep powder on them even though she is quite adept at it). Importantly, virtuous people do not have to consciously trigger or access those motivational states (that is, be fully aware of them) in order to determine how to appropriately respond.36

Narrative Identity Probably the most important interaction of the interpretative and motivational systems (which, as we noted in Chapter  1, is deeply interconnected with the other systems), especially when it comes to the measurement of virtue, is a person’s narrative identity. A person’s narrative identity is her internalized and evolving narrative of herself in relation to the world that incorporates the reconstructed past and the imagined future into a coherent whole in order to provide her life with unity, purpose, and meaning (McAdams and Pals, 2006; MacIntyre, 1984, 2016). One important way to assess virtue possession and manifestation is through measurements of narrative identity (such as the Life Story Interview, McAdams, 2008). For example, how does a person spontaneously identify herself? How does she describe various 36 In her book, Intelligent Virtue, Annas (2011, 30) places the “articulacy requirement” on those learning to be virtuous: they must be able to say something about what virtue requires, what virtuous action is, and so on. If the articulacy requirement is meant to apply to experts, this falls foul of psychological work showing that experts are unable to articulate what they are doing and why. In a forum on Annas (2011), Annas (2015, 283–​284) clarifies that the learner needs to articulate what she is doing when performing virtuous actions; those more advanced in virtue often do not consciously articulate the reasons for their virtuous action. For a discussion of the articulacy requirement and other issues pertaining to virtue acquisition, see Snow (2015).

162  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement important events and experiences in her life, as well as goals and values that she possesses? Are virtue/​character attributes integrated into her narrative identity and stories, and if so, at what points and how? Alternatively, when given a list of attributes, will a person select virtue/​character attributes as being a part of her actual self, and/​or her ideal self, toward which she is striving? How often do the stories a person tells about herself, or that others tell about her, include virtue or character attributes? On these topics the work done by Aquino and Reed (2002) on “moral identity” is relevant.37 According to them, when people’s identities come to be organized around a set of moral traits/​ attributes (which they define as “moral identity”) this indicates a prioritization of virtue-​appropriate responding, such that people actively seek opportunities to develop and improve their virtue, coordinating their various motivational states around the importance of being a good person—​being honest and courageous, treating other people with respect and kindness, etc.—​in such a way as to reliably result in virtue-​appropriate behaviors. There are a variety of other measurements of moral identity worth mentioning, such as the measure of Moral Self-​Image (MSI; Jordan, Leliveld, and Tenbrunsel, 2015)  and the Good Self-​Assessment (Arnold, 1993). Also relevant is the wealth of research done on narrative identity and its relationship to personal growth and eudaimonia—​for some good examples, see Bauer and Desautels (2019), Bauer, McAdams, and Pals (2008), Bauer, McAdams, and Sakaeda (2005), and Pals and McAdams (2004). 37 We should distinguish between two uses of the word “narrative.” The first refers to the way in which people construct identities that become incorporated into their own sense of themselves and their own internal “life narrative.” That is, the way in which we think and talk about ourselves, our experiences, and our lives more generally. This is the sense of narrative identity we mean to employ. The second use of “narrative” refers to a methodology employed to collect information about people’s identities, such as the Life Story Interview approach developed by McAdams (2008) and others. Aquino and Reed’s (2002) research on moral identity is narrative in this first sense, but not the second. They do not employ a narrative methodology to measure people’s identities, but instead have developed a survey (the Moral Identity Scale) that asks questions about identity.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  163 Virtue-​Relevant Identity Attributes By this, we mean those attributes that identify one as a person who actually or ideally possesses and can or could appropriately exercise virtue. This can be operationally defined as the extent to which people explicitly and implicitly identify virtue-​relevant attributes as being central to their actual and/​or ideal identities. As an explicit measurement of this, people can be asked to generate a list of the attributes that are most central to who they take themselves to be and/​or to who they ideally want to be. They could also be asked to rank a list of attributes in terms of their centrality to their actual or ideal self-​conceptions. So, for example, when asked to describe themselves, we would be interested in whether people list attributes like “honest,” “loyal,” “kind,” etc., or whether they are ranked highly on lists that have been given to them by the researchers. While most people are likely to include virtues (especially the most commonly valued ones) in their self-​descriptions, as well as rank them highly, interesting individual differences are likely to arise within the rankings of virtues relative to one another—​for example, whether people identify more strongly with honesty than courage or vice versa. They are also likely to arise within the ranking of virtues relative to other kinds of socially desirable identity attributes (e.g., intelligent, good looking, wealthy). In the above examples, chronic accessibility is best determined by the order (those reported early in the list being more chronically accessible than those reported later) and/​or the speed (those reported the fastest being more chronically accessible than those reported more slowly) with which virtue-​relevant attributes are identified and/​or rated. For example, while two individuals might both list “honest” or “generous” as attributes of their identity, if they show up at the top of the list for one person (coming to mind quickly when asked to reflect on how she would describe herself) and close to the bottom of the list for the other (following a host of virtue-​neutral attributes like “funny” or “intelligent”), then we

164  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement would conclude that these virtues are more chronically accessible for the first person than for the second.38 The chronic accessibility of virtue-​relevant identity attributes can also be ascertained implicitly by asking people to write about themselves, at either a one-​time sitting, or on a daily basis for a period of time, and then these descriptions can be coded for the attributes reflected in their writing. The centrality of each attribute is implied by the frequency with which it shows up in self-​descriptions. People can also be asked to write about how they would ideally like to be, in order to assess not only those attributes central to their current self-​conceptions, but also those central to the self-​conceptions they are striving to achieve (for more discussion on the ideal vs. current self-​concept approach, see Argyle, 2008; Baumeister, 1999; and Morse and Gergen, 1970). Aquino and Reed (2002) developed an implicit association test (IAT) for global moral identity (i.e., for a range of virtues), and the same logic could be applied to individual virtues to measure how strongly people automatically associate themselves with the virtue in question. Their IAT measured the strength of participants’ automatic associations between the self and moral terms in general, as indexed by faster response times on a computer task. Specifically, the concepts “me” and “not me” were presented on opposite sides of the screen across many trials, and participants had to quickly identify the side on which “me” appeared. When moral terms (e.g., “honest,” “kind”) were presented on the same side as “me,” participants responded more quickly than when immoral terms (e.g., “dishonest,” “mean”) accompanied “me,” but some people showed a bigger difference between self+moral and self+immoral stimuli. That is, their self-​ morality association was stronger. Critically, participants who displayed stronger self-​ morality associations tended to score higher on an explicit self-​ report 38 See a discussion of this strategy in The Handbook of Research Methods for Studying Daily Life (Mehl and Conner, 2012, Chapter 29).

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  165 measure of moral identity. IATs like this could be developed for individual virtues such as compassion, revealing the strength of people’s automatic associations between the self and compassion, and offering an implicit measure of the degree to which compassion is part of one’s identity. It is also worth noting that people’s explicit and implicit measures have the potential to diverge from one another, providing useful insight into the degree to which people’s explicitly stated values/​goals and identities are truly motivationally linked to their actions and chosen activities in their daily lives (Frimer, Schaefer, and Oakes, 2014; see also Merritt, Doris, and Harman, 2010). For example, consider two different people who explicitly cite valuing compassion, and having the goal of being more generous and other-​oriented. Yet, the first spends most of her time engaged in activities that are intended to advance her social standing and increase her salary, which she focuses on investing in things that will bring her both short-​term and long-​term profit. She spends a substantial amount of her leisure time socializing with friends and shopping—​spending comparatively little time engaged with community organizations or giving of her time or money to those less fortunate. She reads books on how to be more successful and spends time online perusing the homes of the rich and famous. The second person, on the other hand, shows genuine interest in obtaining a career that will meaningfully contribute to her community, while spending much of her leisure time working with local grass-​roots groups and attending community functions. She regularly donates her time and money to charitable organizations and reads books about inequality and other social justice problems, regularly taking her friends to see documentaries on these issues. She attends therapy and group sessions to improve her emotional health and has started practicing loving-​kindness meditation to expand her capacity for empathy. The first person shows clear divergence between her explicitly stated and implicitly expressed values/​ goals and identity attributes, whereas the other shows not only a

166  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement coherent synergy between them, but attentiveness to it and a conscious desire to improve. Once again, it would be good to supplement these first-​person reports with third-​person reports, this time of the virtue-​relevant identity attributes most central to a person’s identity Third-​person reports could be compared to the first-​person identity attributes generated in both the explicit and implicit exercises. We often gain a fairly clear sense of people’s identities in our daily interactions with them and might actually be able to provide a more accurate rating, in the sense that we perceive not only what people do, but the manner and quality with which they do them.39 Finally, previous research by Strohminger and Nichols (2014) has found that people identify virtues, such as being honest, compassionate, etc., as being a part of a person’s “essential self ” more than other types of traits or characteristics. In other words, if a person were to somehow gain or lose a virtue, this would change them into a different person more so than a radical change in their appearance or even a significant loss of their memories, among other things. Thus, it would be interesting to ask people which virtue attributes, if found to be suddenly absent, would fundamentally change them into a different person (once again, this could also be done in the third-​person, about someone else). This provides another important view into the degree to which people possess and manifest (or at least believe they manifest or desire to manifest) particular virtues. For example, a person would only view the loss of compassion as fundamentally changing her as a person if she not only believed that she possessed it but found it central to herself as a virtuous individual. She may be less concerned, on the other hand, about the loss of courage or patience, since these do not figure strongly into her configuration of virtues. Likewise,

39 Philosophers might be reminded of Aristotle’s discussion of friendship in Book IX of the Nicomachean Ethics, in which he famously argues that a friend is “another self,” and that friends live together and observe each other’s actions.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  167 if others viewed her loss of compassion as fundamentally changing her as a person, this would provide important evidence that other people generally view her as reliably possessing and manifesting compassion.40 Stability Inducing and Temporal Processes As we discussed in Chapter  1, the chronic accessibility of a trait typically arises out of the interplay of various internal features of the person, such as her underlying physiology, temperament, and conditioning, and external situational features of her environment. Thus, from a measurement standpoint we are interested in exploring what internal and external features contribute to a trait’s dispositional stability as well as cyclical and random fluctuation.41 The most useful place to look for evidence of these influences on people’s manifestations of virtue is within longitudinal data. Longitudinal data would allow for the tracking of changes in density distributions over time. Does a person’s virtue manifestation become more frequent (i.e., manifested over a range of situations) and/​or more stable (i.e., manifested in similar situations) over time? Returning to an example from Chapter  1, how does a person become stable in her manifestation of honesty? If, say, a person is criticized early in life for being “a liar,” what can she do to overcome her inclination to stray from the truth? What will it take for her efforts to accurately perceive honesty-​relevant stimuli and respond honestly to become habituated and engrained, such that honest responses are reliably manifested? Clearly, the trajectory toward this habitual stability will vary as a function of the person’s internal 40 The opposite approach would also be interesting, though harder to interpret. Say, for example, that the researcher added a virtue attribute that had not already been listed by either the person or their third person rater(s). Suppose that no one has listed “generous” and the researcher added it and then asked whether she, or her raters, would view this as a fundamental change to her personality. Would they? If so, would that be an indicator of a lack of virtue possession/​manifestation? 41 See our discussion of issues to consider developing measures for additional remarks on this issue.

168  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement contributions and external circumstance. Someone who feels uncomfortable when lying and encounters situations in which the consequences of doing so are severe will likely develop the stable virtue of honesty more easily than the person who lies easily and with little backlash. Measurement strategies of these issues will likely need to identify and focus upon those internal and external features that facilitate virtue manifestation. For example, we would likely see changes in a person’s sensitivity to virtue-​ relevant stimuli and certain features of her social-​cognitive processes (e.g., schemas, motivational structures, identity attributes) that correspond with positive changes in her responses. One important area from which to draw will be the literature on habit formation (Gardner, Rebar, and Lally, 2019), as many of the techniques discussed in this literature will have applicability here. Of relevance, for example, is the degree to which people create opportunities to reflect on the value of virtue development and actively practice it, noting failures, and developing positive incentive structures to successful expression. If asked over a period of time to note and discuss (perhaps in a daily journal format) virtue-​relevant situations in one’s life, do we see an increase in a person’s sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli, more of a focus on their importance, and the desire to respond to them more appropriately, over time? Do we correspondingly see a change in their responses, such that they are becoming more able to respond to them appropriately, despite potential interferences and distractions?42

42 Hursthouse (1999) argues for a criterion of virtue ethical right action as that which the virtuous person would, acting characteristically, do in the circumstances. Interestingly, Johnson and Phillips (2003) suggests the kind of method described in the text—​keeping a journal and reflecting on one’s transgressions—​as a means of improving in the virtue of honesty. His argument is that, though this not something that would characteristically be done by a virtuous person (thereby falling short of Hursthouse’s criterion), we would nonetheless consider it the right thing to do for an imperfectly virtuous person who is seeking to improve.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  169

Issues to Consider when Developing Measurements

Broader Personality, Cognitive, and Affective Influence As is true of other personality traits, virtues are not developed, maintained, and expressed in a vacuum. As Snow (2013, 132) states, “they co-​exist with a constellation of other personality structures and processes that can help or hinder the development, sustenance, and exercise of virtue.” Being shy and socially awkward or high in emotional negativity, for example, might make it harder to express compassion, while being high in social intelligence or possessing a calm, “easy-​going” temperament could make it easier. This means that it will be important to take non-​virtue personality traits and other cognitive and affective states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures—​and their potential influence on virtue manifestation—​into consideration. A wide range of these sorts of structures should be considered. For example, underlying temperament and personality structures that seem relevant to virtue manifestation include the Big Five (or Six if you use the HEXACO; Aston and Lee, 2007), the “dark triad” (Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism), and optimism/​pessimism.43 Also to be considered are a variety of underlying cognitive and affective capacities and dispositions, for example, disgust and threat-​sensitivity, the need for cognition, the need for closure, social dominance orientation, and emotional and cognitive empathy. Though outside the program of strict virtue measurement, it would be ideal to explore the ways in which these underlying personality, cognitive, and affective structures and capacities interact with people’s virtue manifestation, especially at the level of character. This is especially true when it comes to better understanding

43 Being naturally optimistic, for example, might make being generous and compassionate easier—​especially in certain contexts, such as helping those who are less fortunate—​because the optimistic person is more likely to view people positively and to think that she can actually make a difference in their lives, whereas a pessimist is more likely to view everything more cynically, decreasing her motivation to act generously or compassionately.

170  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement the conditions under which virtues are more or less likely to take root and develop and hopefully mature. Are cognitive and affective empathy, for example, supportive of at least certain kinds of virtues, and potentially facilitative of their early development? What about being extraverted, optimistic, or open to experience? On the other hand, is being emotionally unstable, temperamentally threat-​or disgust-​sensitive, pessimistic, or high in social dominance likely to interfere with virtue development and/​or sculpt it in a particular direction? Given that a number of well-​established measures for these psychological traits, capacities, and processes exist, it would not be overly onerous to collect data on them, alongside the other virtue-​related measurements being carried out.44

The Reliable Production of (a Set of) Situation-​Specific Trait-​Appropriate Behaviors (The “Output”) We now turn to the “output” of the virtue manifestation process, virtuous behaviors, that is, behaviors that are appropriately linked to virtue-​oriented goals/​values and guided by practical wisdom. We are interested in measuring people’s ability to recognize, anticipate, imagine, identify, remember, articulate, and generate virtue-​ appropriate action.

Measurement Strategies

Recognition/​Recall People’s “recognition” of virtue-​appropriate behaviors can be operationally defined as their ability to identify behaviors as being

44 In particular, experience sampling methods would be useful for performing within-​ person analyses that get at the micro-​level interactions of virtues and other personality traits and processes.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  171 virtue-​appropriate or not, whether we take virtue-​appropriateness to be a “yes/​no” matter, or something that admits of degree. There are several ways in which we can measure recognition. First, a third-​person response method could be employed, in which people are provided with narratives, short-​vignettes, or even shorter, decontextualized, examples of other people’s responses to virtue-​relevant stimuli and ask them to identify which of those responses are virtue-​appropriate and why. Participants’ responses to the “why” question in particular allow us to gauge their practical reasoning, especially in the narrative/​short-​vignette cases, where their reasoning about why a behavior was virtue-​appropriate or not would have to take into account the various details of the situation in which it occurred. A second approach would be to ask people to recall key events and experiences from their own lives where virtue-​relevant stimuli for particular virtues were present, and then to articulate what their own responses to these stimuli were. They could then be asked to evaluate whether or not those responses were virtue-​appropriate—​ i.e., whether they responded virtuously or failed to—​and why (for more on these methods, see Mehl and Conner, 2012, Chapters 4, 5, and 8). Specifically, people’s reflection on their past experiences and events will allow them to identify virtue-​relevant stimuli that were present at the time, but not recognized as such, or if recognized as such, not responded to appropriately. Of particular interest would be people’s ability to recognize certain past behaviors as not virtue-​appropriate and why—​especially if at the time, they believed them to be. This provides a potentially useful way to track the change over time in people’s ability to recognize when a virtuous response is called for and to respond accordingly. This approach could be expanded upon to see if people are able to transform their virtue-​ inappropriate responses into virtue-​ appropriate ones, for example, by imagining what they could have done differently, or what a more appropriate response would have

172  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement been, as well as whether they can identify ways to increase the likelihood that their future responses will be virtue-​appropriate (this gets into “generation”). To illustrate: we could measure the extent to which a person was able to: (1) recognize that her treatment of one of her co-​workers in the past was unfair, (2) articulate how else she could have responded (which alternative responses would have been fair), and (3) identify steps she could take to ensure a fair response in the future. Once again, this approach helps to gauge people’s practical reasoning—​their ability to attend to the specifics of a situation in order to determine what a situationally sensitive virtue-​appropriate response would be, as well as how to successfully execute it. Now, however, it becomes possible to capture changes in their practical reasoning, at least insofar as they are able to articulate differences in how they processed and analyzed the different virtue-​relevant stimuli present at the time, compared to how they would do so now, in order to have come to a potentially different response. More broadly, people’s ability to identify and rectify past failures can provide insight into which cognitive, affective, and motivational states have changed and why, and how those changes have contributed to a greater sensitivity to certain virtue-​relevant stimuli and a more nuanced responsiveness to them. Finally, people could be asked to naturalistically record their “live” responses to virtue-​relevant stimuli as they encounter them in the moment and then to evaluate those responses as virtue-​ appropriate or not, as well as why. This could be done using daily diaries and/​or experience sampling methodology, which samples experiences of people’s daily lives at various points throughout the day. This sampling can be passive, in the form of portable devices that take spontaneous audio and/​or video recordings of the surrounding environment at specific (or random) times throughout the day—​ using, for example, the Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) (see Mehl and Conner, 2012, Chapter 10; see also Bollich, Doris, Vazier, Raison, Jackson, and Mehl, 2016). Or it

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  173 could be active, in the form of a questionnaire filled out on a portable device—​such as a person’s smartphone—​by the participants at specific (or random) times throughout the day (for more on these methods, see Mehl and Conner, 2012, Chapters  4, 5, 7, and 9). Both methodologies could track the degree to which people perceive and respond to virtue-​relevant stimuli throughout the day and are able to recognize their responses as being virtue-​appropriate or not. It also allows us to track the degree to which their responses were sensitive to the features of the situation that made them virtue-​ appropriate or not, and the degree to which they are aware of this. This data collection could be supplemented with later online or face-​ to-​face discussion with the participants about their recorded events, to see if they could provide further reflection on how and why they responded as they did, whether or not their responses were virtue-​ appropriate, and, where needed, how they might have responded differently. One notable enhancement to this design would be to include a quasi-​experimental component. For example, everyone participating in the study could be invited to attend the same events (e.g., a speaker on campus), read through the same materials (e.g., news articles or blog posts), watch the same videos/​movies (e.g., documentaries, movies, or shorter video clips), and/​or participate in the same activities (e.g., volunteering at a local non-​profit), where they would be likely to encounter the same, or similar, virtue-​relevant stimuli. Their responses to these events, materials, and activities could then be gathered, both through self-​report methods and also potentially through video-​footage (e.g., everyone’s time at the local non-​profit is filmed) and through third-​party reports, including confederates that could be planted into certain aspects of the study to specifically interact with the people participating. This type of study could also be done using a “virtual reality” immersion lab, which has the added benefit of also allowing for the recording of physiological responses, such as heart rate, galvanic skin

174  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement response, and pupil dilation.45 Participants could then be asked to reflect upon these various events and encounters to see whether or not they remembered the virtue-​relevant stimuli that were present, recognized them as virtue-​relevant, and could recount and evaluate their responses. Generation/​Anticipation/​Imagination People’s generation of virtue-​appropriate responses can be operationally defined as their ability to articulate and/​or produce what the best virtue-​appropriate responses (in the form of cognitive/​affective states and behaviors) would be, given the presence of particular virtue-​relevant stimuli. Two methods of measurement, largely overlapping with the discussion above, are worth highlighting here. First, people could be given hypothetical narratives, vignettes, visual images, and/​or decontextualized examples of virtue-​relevant stimuli and asked to spontaneously generate either what they think their responses would/​should be or what others’ responses would/​should be. Notice the important distinction here between what people think theirs or others’ responses would be (descriptive) and what they should be (normative). The difference between their descriptive and the normative responses can serve as an important measure of the degree to which people both recognize appropriate responses and believe they or others would be able to perform them. Arguably, one of the things that this approach provides is a clearer picture about when deficiencies in virtue are a failure of 45 Physiological responses (e.g., increased heart rate at the sign of another’s distress) are by themselves not indicators of virtue, yet we consider them to be an important part of trait-​appropriate cognitive/​affective/​behavioral responses. For example, in a study of the helping behavior of young children, Hepach, Vaish, and Tomasello (2012) found that when children witness a person in need of help, they experience sympathetic distress (revealed by increased pupil dilation). This pupil dilation decreases when that person receives help, whether it is the child who helps the individual or a third party, suggesting that the person’s receiving help eases the child’s sympathetic distress, and does not satisfy a more egocentric desire to be the helper. For more on physiological monitoring, see Mehl and Conner, 2012, Chapters 4–​5 and 11–​12.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  175 understanding what is called for (i.e., what should be or should have been done) and when they are a failure of performance (i.e., what would be or was done), whether a failure of motivation (e.g., “I don’t want to do it, it would be uncomfortable for me, too difficult, etc.”) or a failure of practical reasoning (e.g., “I want to do it, but don’t know how to respond, what would be the best course of action in the circumstances, etc.”). As a self-​reflective exercise, this also has a potential remedial benefit, helping people to better understand potential weaknesses in their own cognitive, affective, and motivational states and practical reasoning (i.e., their “intermediate” states) that result in them being able to successfully recognize a virtue-​appropriate response, but not successfully execute it. Second, people could be asked to reflect upon individuals who are considered “moral exemplars”46 and to identify the main ways in which their virtue-​appropriate responses would differ from their own. For example, in particular situations, what would the exemplar notice that they would not, and why? What sorts of mistakes would they make that the exemplar would not, and why? This strategy could be used not only for an exploration of differences in virtue-​appropriate responses, but also for perception of virtue-​ relevant stimuli (what would exemplars notice that novices would not?), as well as differences in the cognitive, affective, and motivational states possessed and used to respond in a virtue-​appropriate manner. This line of questioning has the potential to provide useful insight into the difference between what people are able to understand about virtue and what they are able to do. Are people able to recognize as genuinely compassionate a response toward someone to whom they themselves could not be compassionate? If so, how do they make sense of that disconnect? What reasons do people 46 For example, CNN’s Heroes (https://​www.cnn.com/​specials/​cnn-​heroes) or other local, national, or international awards/​recognition.

176  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement give for the difference between themselves and the moral exemplar? To what degree do they feel motivated to close the gap, to become similarly virtuous, or do they feel the distance is too great? If they do feel motivated to close the gap, what are the processes or mechanisms that enable them to do this? As Zagzebski (2017) argues, do they admire exemplars (or not), and does their experience of admiration move them to imitate or emulate the behavior of exemplars? More generally, one additional outcome of exploring differences in what people view as virtue-​appropriate responses to both actual and hypothetical virtue-​relevant stimuli from people with more and less well-​developed virtues is that this exploration provides insights into how virtue develops. If clear patterns of differences emerge between more fully virtuous people who display higher sensitivity and more nuanced responses to specific types of virtue-​relevant stimuli than novices, information about these patterns could help to direct and hone educational and intervention strategies for facilitating virtue development. Especially if we are interested in promoting full virtue and character, this direction of research could provide insight into what is needed to encourage virtue development as well as barriers and challenges that stand in the way.

Issues to Consider when Developing Measurements We run into the issue of accuracy here—​this time in the form of “appropriateness.” How do we determine when a response is virtue-​appropriate and when it is not? We will have to develop a standard for this—​for more details, please see our discussion of “paradigmaticity” earlier in the chapter—​while at the same time being sensitive to the fact that people who evidence more developed, full virtue might respond in ways not always recognized as virtue-​appropriate. Fully virtuous people will have acquired higher sensitivities to virtue-​relevant stimuli, and have more experience

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  177 in responding, as well as in adapting those responses to best satisfy conflicting needs, desires, and obligations, and accommodate situational details. Thus, we should expect them to see greater opportunities for virtuous behavior, as well as to access a more extensive repertoire of possible virtuous responses, than those who are less developed in virtue. That said, we should nonetheless expect a fairly solid core of paradigmatic responses to emerge—​a range of responses shared by people with varying degrees of virtue manifestation.47

Density Distribution WTT takes the culmination of trait manifestation to be the production of a set of situation-​specific trait-​appropriate responses. An honest person will, other things being equal, produce honest responses when in the presence of honesty-​relevant stimuli—​that is, thoughts, desires, emotions, motivations, and actions that exemplify honesty. She might feel motivated to speak frankly with people, without unnecessary embellishment, find it unnatural to lie even in situations where other people would lie, avoid people she knows who are frequently dishonest, and/​or experience disgust at the thought of being dishonest in various ways, such as cheating on an exam, lying to a friend, and so on. The level, or degree, of honesty a person possesses can be measured by the consistency and habituality with which she produces honest responses to a variety of trait-​relevant stimuli presented across a range of situations over time. 47 We should also recognize the potential for cultural variability. Some virtues and virtuous behaviors could be more ubiquitous in some cultures than in others. For example, virtues pertaining to social harmony and interrelatedness might be prized more highly in some Asian cultures, and thus, more prevalent in those cultures than in Western nations in which individualism, and concomitant values such as autonomy, independence, and self-​reliance are more highly valued. Researchers should be sensitive to these differences in their work.

178  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement When it comes to measuring the development of full virtue, we need to shift away from measuring moment by moment tracking of instances of sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli and the generation of virtue-​appropriate responses, to the more difficult job of determining its dispositionality—​i.e., the degree to which people have virtue-​appropriate responses in the presence of virtue-​relevant stimuli across a wide variety of different types of situations over time. The greater the degree, the more claim they have to possessing a global trait, as opposed to merely situationally induced behavior. According to WTT, the dispositionality of a trait is determined by the density distribution of one’s trait-​appropriate responses—​i.e., the range of situations in which those responses are produced and the frequency with which the responses occur. 48 As we explained in Chapter 1, density distributions are thus best understood as a function of two things: consistency and habituality. Consistency is the frequency with which a person has virtue-​ appropriate responses in the presence of virtue-​relevant stimuli. This can be measured along two distinct dimensions: (1) depth: how frequently people have virtue-​appropriate responses to the same virtue-​relevant stimuli, and (2) breadth: how many different virtue-​ relevant stimuli to which people have virtue-​appropriate responses. We can measure depth by, for example, tracking how often someone responds compassionately to similar compassion-​relevant stimuli. Breadth can then be measured by expanding the range of compassion-​relevant stimuli the person to which the person is exposed in order to diagram where (as well as why) she ceases to respond compassionately. In combination, these measurements

48 According to WTT, a person’s density distribution is determined by their trait-​ appropriate responses—​so, not by their earlier perception of trait-​relevant stimuli (input) or the social-​cognitive processes (intermediates) that connect their perception to their responses. That said, it is clear that both of these play an important role in determining a person’s density distribution insofar as they inform, encourage/​support, and or constrain/​thwart her virtue-​appropriate responses.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  179 (and in particular, the latter) indicate how “global” the trait can be considered to be. The accurate tracking of these features of a person’s virtue-​ appropriate responding would ideally require a fair degree of control. In other words, it would require either setting up laboratory conditions in which people are exposed to a range of virtue-​relevant stimuli, with overlapping exposure to the same stimuli occurring across different time periods, or creating naturalistic settings with some level of monitoring control. One example of this would be asking people to volunteer a number of hours over a period of a few months at a local organization—​such as an animal rescue shelter or a women’s rape or domestic violence shelter—​and then monitor their responsiveness to the virtue-​relevant stimuli they encounter over time (such as how frequently they respond compassionately when encountering suffering, and the degree to which that compassionate responding fluctuates depending on who is suffering and why, or is otherwise constrained or influenced by other features of the situations encountered). Consider now habituality. This is the extent to which trait-​ appropriate responses have become a dynamically automatic response to trait-​relevant stimuli. “Dynamically” highlights the fact that habitual trait-​appropriate responses, though largely prompted below the level of conscious awareness, are nonetheless intelligently sensitive to often rapidly changing environmental stimuli.49 In this regard we have already mentioned the well-​trained ski racer, who is able to respond rapidly and without deliberation to the ever-​ changing environment in which she is skiing. Similarly, a virtuous person is often able to respond to situation-​specific virtue-​relevant stimuli without effort—​the virtue-​appropriate responses simply 49 Clearly, habituality and consistency are tied together—​the more habitual a person’s responding, the more consistently they will respond; the more consistently they respond, the more their responding will become habitual. Nonetheless, they come apart (e.g., habituality cannot be assumed because of consistency) and thus must be considered and measured separately.

180  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement “flow”—​without the need for extended reflection and cognitive evaluation. For example, a parent who sees her child fall from a swing does not need to stop and reflect about whether and how to help. She “automatically”—​that is, without the need for conscious reflection—​goes to the child and offers the aid and comfort she deems necessary, perhaps assuaging the child’s fears while tending to a scraped knee. As people develop full virtue, this habituality expands to include such automatic, yet appropriate, responses to many different people in a wide range of circumstances. This is not to say that practical reasoning plays less of a role in those who are fully virtuous, but rather that the form this reasoning takes shifts from predominantly conscious to non-​ conscious processes. Indeed, insofar as the virtuous person has at her disposal the rapid and highly adaptive automatic processes that have been “trained up” through the development of expertise—​as well as a capacity for increasingly sophisticated conscious reasoning—​it is possible that practical reasoning may play more of a role, not less.50 Measuring habituality could prove to be tricky, though one method for doing so would be to document response times in providing a virtue-​appropriate response to a wide range of virtue-​ relevant situations—​ situations of increasing complexity. Controlling for the amount of time it takes to simply read (or watch) the scenario, how long do people take to decide how to respond? How likely are their responses to be virtue-​appropriate, especially if they are being asked to make them in a time-​sensitive manner? Using a more naturalistic format, it might also be possible to ask people to document characteristic response patterns to virtue-​relevant stimuli in their daily lives (e.g., when you encounter someone homeless on the street, what would you say is 50 By this, we mean that collectively all of the cognitive and affective processes the virtuous person has at her disposal in order to successfully perceive, process, and appropriately respond to the potentially complex, multi-​virtue-​relevant stimuli she encounters is likely to be much greater than for the novice, even though the amount of effortful processing time involved in generating that response is likely to be shorter.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  181 your characteristic response? To what degree does this response flow naturally, as opposed to resulting from having to stop and consider the situation?). This is where third-​person reports could prove useful, for we can often identify the characteristic response patterns of our family and close friends, such as the ways they normally respond to compassion-​relevant, honesty-​relevant, courage-​relevant stimuli, and so on. Indeed, when a person’s responses have become habitual, illustrative examples of such responses are typically easy to recall.

Summing Up: Creating Comprehensive Research Programs Thus far in this chapter, we have discussed measurement strategies broken down into their component parts. Therefore, we would like to conclude the chapter by pulling everything together with some suggestions for creating a comprehensive research program. Further, we will make available online some examples of potential research materials (include link to online resource). If there is one message we have hoped to convey in our discussion thus far, it is that virtues are a complex system of interrelated states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures, and that there are several distinct ways in which manifestation can fail. In order to develop and contribute to a true science of virtue and character, research programs must take this complexity into account. This means that it is highly unlikely that any research program will be able to capture the entirety of virtue possession and manifestation—​instead, what we need are a conglomeration of programs using a range of different methodologies that are cooperatively working together to capture different aspects of virtue possession and manifestation. Ideally, these programs should be dedicated to the collection of “rich” data sets, that is, data sets comprised of both quantitative and qualitative data collected across

182  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement a wide range of situations over an extended period of time—​as opposed to the more expedient techniques that have dominated the field thus far. In terms of developing individual research programs, it strikes us that there are two main ways to go. The first would be to dive deeply into particular aspects of the “causal chain,” so to speak, of virtue manifestation. Consider, for example, the value of developing a program that focuses specifically on the “input” side of the model. As we hope to have made clear, there is much to be learned by focusing more closely on this earliest stage of virtue manifestation—​namely, the perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli. Thus, one very promising research agenda would be to focus on developing methodologies that expose people to a range of virtue-​relevant and irrelevant stimuli across a variety of different conditions and situations, so that we can gain a deeper understanding of how, when, and why people perceive and process these stimuli as virtue-​relevant—​as well as what best predicts their failure to do so. Such a program would arguably shed much needed light on the well-​documented variability in people’s virtue-​appropriate responses to common occurrences (such as the variability found in the oft-​touted social psychology helping and intervention studies, etc.). To what degree are these failures to respond appropriately a failure of perception, as opposed to a failure of behavior? Such a program could also help to better highlight those virtue-​ relevant features of situations that we are potentially “hard-​wired” to attend to and those that require experience and/​or socialization to develop an awareness of and sensitivity toward. Consider, for example, the research suggesting that humans are born predisposed to empathic responding triggered by distress signals from conspecifics (Hoffman, 2000), which then develops into a more robust capacity for empathy in childhood and early adolescence. Research into hard-​wired vs. experientially or socially developed virtue-​ relevant sensitivities would also provide fertile cross-​disciplinary connections between virtue research and the

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  183 well-​established research programs on implicit bias, stereotypes, and social cognition. As we already discussed, such biases, stereotypes, and social schemas are likely to influence people’s perception of virtue-​ relevant stimuli and their understanding of what counts as a virtue-​appropriate response, among other things. But it is also likely that people’s virtue possession will influence their biases, stereotypes, and social cognitions. As virtues develop and become more strongly manifested, a person’s emerging virtue orientation is likely to alert her to the biases, stereotypes, etc., that are operating in the background of her cognition and problematize them as morally suspect. For example, a person’s burgeoning capacity for compassion will start to manifest in response to an increasingly wide and varied range of compassion-​relevant stimuli, including those occurring in situations she would previously not have noticed or even actively dismissed (such as in response to the suffering of someone her culture had previously trained her to ignore or discount). There is also much to be learned about the interpretative and motivational systems—​e.g., how our beliefs, attitudes, values, goals/​ commitments, etc., connect up with and influence our responses to situations once we have perceived stimuli as being virtue-​relevant. Programs designed to explore the complex territory of how and when the content of these systems predicts virtuous responding represent an exciting development that could be easily linked with already existing research programs on schema activation (Narvaez and Bock, 2002; Rest, Narvaez, Bebeau, and Thoma, 1999), narrative and moral identities (McAdams, 2009), and goal satisfaction (Bronk and Baumsteiger, 2017). A range of important questions could be explored. For example, does the strength with which virtue-​relevant and virtue-​oriented beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments are held predict more reliable virtuous responding across a range of different situations? Is more variability predicted by whether they are

184  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement explicitly or implicitly held? What effect does incorporating them into one’s personal life-​narrative and moral identity have on their causal efficacy to reliably produce virtuous behavior? Also of interest is whether context-​general or context-​specific beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments are more efficacious in the development and manifestation of a virtue—​especially the global manifestation of it. For example, which is more predictive of possessing a global trait of honesty—​the possession of the goal to be a good person, or to be an honest person; to be an honest person, or to be honest to one’s friends and family? While we have argued that context-​general beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​ commitments are essential for the global traits necessary for full virtue, it could be that the developmental path for those who are less fully virtuous is actually better traversed through the identification and adoption of more context-​specific beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments. To become a more globally honest person, it could be better to start with the belief that a healthy marriage requires honesty and adopt the goal to strive to be honest with one’s spouse, than to adopt the more context-​general belief that honesty itself is a good thing and endorse the general goal to be an honest person.51 Research programs dedicated to more deeply exploring the longitudinal relationship between people’s beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments and their ability to manifest virtue-​appropriate responses would be able to shed light on these and other important questions. Of special value, in our minds, is the opportunity to develop a robust research program into the operation of practical wisdom in the manifestation of virtue. With practical wisdom standing at the heart of many accounts of virtue—​including contemporary neo-​Aristotelian accounts such as ours—​there is great need for research dedicated to exploring the ways in which people sculpt and nuance their virtue-​appropriate responses to dynamic changes in

51 Snow (2018b) argues along these lines.

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  185 the situational variables they encounter, as well as modulate those responses to best fit the demands of different and potentially conflicting virtues. How do our interpretative and motivational systems interact and influence one another to produce the complex, nuanced virtuous responding of full virtue? How do we best support the development of those systems, particularly within the context of other personality and physiological systems, so that full virtue is possible? Of course, the other viable option would be to develop a research program designed to monitor and measure virtue manifestation through each of these stages. For example, it seems possible to set up a program to track people across a range of contexts over a period of time in order to collect data related to their perception and processing of, and responsiveness to, a particular set of virtue-​ relevant stimuli. While this could be done naturalistically, by regularly and frequently questioning people about the situations they encounter in their daily lives and their responses to those situations, ideally there would be some level of control implemented into the design.52 For example, the frequency with which people report encountering virtue-​relevant stimuli could be used to establish an indicator of “sensitivity” to virtue-​relevant stimuli, further enriched by questions designed to explore people’s understanding of those stimuli (e.g., what made the stimuli virtue-​relevant) and their initial reactions to them. However, in order to be meaningful this frequency measure would have to be compared to a baseline. While this baseline could potentially be calculated as a level of anticipated exposure, using the mean amount of reported exposure across the entire sample, it would be more appropriate to also include at least some degree of known exposure.

52 A  good example of this is the daily ESM data on moral behaviors collected by Jayawickreme and colleagues; see Jayawickreme and Chemero (2008).

186  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement This could be accomplished by making sure that all of the people participating were exposed to the same stimuli. As we have already discussed, this would most likely involve including quasi-​ experimental components in the design, such as having people attend the same events, participate in the same activities, watch the same videos, read the same materials, etc., thereby ensuring that they would encounter the same, or similar, virtue-​relevant stimuli. Though often difficult to organize, this has the substantial benefit of providing a more objective baseline measure of exposure that could then be used to calculate frequency rates, among other things. Indeed, as we’ve also noted, such an approach would provide the opportunity to collect a rich, multi-​layered data set, composed of a combination of self-​report and other-​report measures, along with video-​footage, and potentially even physiological measurements as well. Additional questions could be asked to ascertain people’s underlying beliefs, attitudes, values, and goals/​commitments likely to have been activated by and involved in the processing of the perceived virtue-​relevant stimuli. Finally, questions could be asked to explore people’s self-​reported responses to these stimuli—​e.g., how they responded, whether or not they viewed this response as virtue-​appropriate (and why), how they felt about their response (including whether or not they would change or improve it), what the outcome of the interaction was, and so on. Studies such as these have the potential to generate a substantive body of data that would help us to better understand the real-​time interactions of people’s perception, processing, and responses to, virtue-​relevant stimuli, as they are encountered across a range of different types of situations over an extended period of time in their daily lives. This research could be conducted with people of varying ages, from children in primary and secondary schools, college students, young adults in the work force, to retired and older adults. This would have to be done cross-​culturally and across a wide range

Strategies for Measuring Virtues  187 of different economic, social, and political strata in order to create a comprehensive picture of the functioning of human virtue. As noted, additional concrete suggestions for research designs and instruments are available online. We now turn our focus outward in Chapters 4 and 5 to a discussion of how virtues interact and work together to form the constellation of a person’s character.

4 Integrating Virtues Our Conception of Character

In this chapter, we move beyond analyzing the measurement of individual virtues to sketch a conception of character. We use “character” to refer to the integration of a constellation of virtues within personality. Broadly speaking, personality (e.g., a person’s level of extraversion, openness to experience, etc.), extends beyond and can influence character—​at times interfering with, at other times supporting, its development and expression. As mentioned earlier, Snow (2013) refers to personality factors external to virtue that help or hinder its development and sustenance as the “personality scaffolding” of virtue. In the first part of the chapter, we will sketch what we take character to be. We present and defend an “integration” thesis, by which we mean that the distinctiveness of individual characters can be explained by investigating interrelations among the unique arrays of virtues that people possess and display. The notion of character has been much discussed in the history of philosophy, especially in literature on the “unity of virtues” thesis and variations on it. We will draw on this literature to discuss a range of alternatives to the integration thesis. These alternatives include Plato’s “unity of virtues” thesis, according to which all virtue is a single quality; several variations of Aristotle’s “reciprocity of virtue” thesis, according to which one cannot have any virtue unless one has them all; and the view that an integrated character is impossible because virtues are mutually incompatible. We will also examine a recent situationist challenge to the cohesiveness of character and offer reasons Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

Integrating Virtues: Character  189 for rejecting all of these views. The point of this is not only to show the drawbacks of competing conceptions of character, but also to situate our alternative among options that should be familiar to philosophers.

The Integration Thesis Kamtekar (2004, 460)  offers a description of character found in ancient virtue ethics that we believe captures important aspects of what an idealized conception of character might look like: the conception of character in virtue ethics is holistic and inclusive of how we reason: it is a person’s character as a whole (rather than isolated character traits), that explains her actions, and this character is a more-​or-​less consistent, more-​or-​less integrated, set of motivations, including the person’s desires, beliefs about the world, and ultimate goals and values. The virtuous character that virtue ethics holds up as an ideal is one in which these motivations are organized so that they do not conflict, but support one another. Such an organization would be an achievement of practical reason.

We find this rich conception of character appealing, especially the notion that it is organized by practical wisdom.1 We note Kamtekar’s use of language: character is a “more-​or-​less consistent, more-​or-​less integrated” set of factors, including beliefs, desires, motivations, goals, and values. Integration and consistency are two key elements of this conception, as are organizing roles for practical wisdom. We focus on integration, since that is our main concern,

1 See Russell (2009, 356–​360) for discussion of other factors that might unify the virtues.

190  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement but occasionally remark on roles for practical wisdom and observe how the depth and degree of integration can influence consistency. The integration of virtues is central to character. By “integration thesis,” we mean the conjunction of four separate yet interlocking claims: (a) Virtues, conceptualized in terms of Whole Trait Theory (WTT; assumed throughout the discussion of our view), develop together over the course of a person’s life. This development occurs in practical contexts; that is, personal responses to everyday virtue-​relevant situations the world presents (external factors) are the primary mechanisms of virtue development. (b) The development of virtues influences the manner in which they are integrated in each person’s overall psychological landscape. In other words, given the complex nature of the situations people are likely to encounter, it will be common for certain virtues, such as compassion and forgiveness, to be called for at the same time, and thus to co-​develop. However, because of life’s practicalities, we do not commit ourselves to the conceptual thesis that some clusters of virtues are more likely than others to develop conjointly. (c) Virtues initially develop and are integrated through habituation. As the individual’s capacity for practical wisdom develops, her use of reason affects how well or poorly her virtues are integrated. This habituation is guided, shaped, and constrained by existing social norms, values, and beliefs, as well as by the explicit and implicit instruction and feedback received from caregivers and community. (d) As implied by our remarks about habituation in (c), the development and integration of virtues can be supported or hindered by an array of factors external to virtues themselves, whether other personality characteristics (or “scaffolding” Snow, 2013) or external environmental factors.

Integrating Virtues: Character  191 Before beginning our discussion of the integration thesis, we must acknowledge our indebtedness to two important, yet distinct approaches to virtue that have especially impacted our thinking about how virtues might be integrated in a cohesive and stable character. The first, an interpretation of Aristotle articulated by Nussbaum (1988), draws on the notion of spheres of life or shared human experiences to explain the applicability and scope of Aristotelian virtues. Nussbaum (1988, 35–​ 36) identifies eleven distinct spheres of life and their corresponding Aristotelian virtues. To be sure, the virtues appropriate to one sphere of life, such as generosity, which applies, according to Nussbaum (1988, 35) to the sphere of the “[m]‌anagement of private property, where hospitality is concerned,” can also apply to others, such as one’s “[a]ttitude to the good and ill fortune of others.” The spheres, as we interpret them, are porous and overlapping, not strongly modular and independent of one another. This implies that encountering many different kinds of situations can contribute not only to the development of a single virtue, such as generosity, but also that virtues overlap spheres in such a way that they develop together. We will revisit this point in a moment. The practical approach offered by Nussbaum’s interpretation of Aristotle should be distinguished from another perspective on the organization of virtues from which we have also learned. In their non-​Aristotelian theory of the virtues, Gulliford and Roberts (2018) explore the “unity” of the virtues through an analysis of an “allocentric quintet.” The allocentric quintet is composed of the virtues of generosity, gratitude, forgivingness, compassion, and humility (Gulliford and Roberts, 2018, 4). Their view is that virtues, distinguished by their broad functions within character, are differentiated into three distinct clusters: the virtues of intelligent caring, virtues of willpower, and virtues of humility. A subclass of the virtues of intelligent caring, the allocentric virtues are forms of intelligent caring about people (Gulliford and Roberts, 2018, 1).

192  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement The authors maintain that, “These clusters support and exploit one another in a healthy character” (Gulliford and Roberts, 2018, 1).2 Unlike Gulliford and Roberts (2018), we do not begin with a strong conceptual thesis about how virtues or specific clusters of virtues are organized within a personality. It could well be that empirical studies will bear out the authors’ interesting theory of virtue clusters and how virtues are related both within and between these clusters. We mention their work not only because of its intrinsic interest, but also because it provides a useful foil by means of which to understand our approach. Our view starts with much weaker claims about the integration of virtues and how it might develop in individual personalities. How virtues are integrated in specific cases, we think, depends on individuals’ life circumstances embedded within particular sociocultural contexts. Thus, the theoretical claims we advance are very strongly rooted in life’s practicalities, rather than in a purely conceptual approach. Two further caveats are in order. First, as part of the integration thesis, we advance claim (d, listed earlier) that the integration of virtues can be supported or hindered by an array of factors external to virtues themselves. Yet we will not pursue (d) here, as doing so would require discussion far beyond the conception of character that we put forward in efforts to advance virtue measurement. That 2 From the brief description given here, the place of humility might not be clear. Gulliford and Roberts (2018, 3) write: So far, we have distinguished two main groups of virtues, the virtues of intelligent caring and the virtues of willpower. We think that humility, which we are treating as a guest member of our allocentric quintet, fits in neither of these two classes. We think that any time a person performs a humble action, or expresses humility by way of an emotional state (e.g., joy in another person’s triumph) or lack thereof (e.g., defensiveness), the motivation comes from somewhere other than humility—​say, from one of the allocentric virtues, or the sense of justice, or the love of truth. Humility, as such, seems not to be a source of motivation, but equally, it isn’t a kind of self-​ control. One can summon self-​control in the service of humility—​trying to be humble when one is having vain or arrogant impulses; but to be humble is not to need to try.

Integrating Virtues: Character  193 said, we note that Snow (2013) identifies personality (“scaffolding”) factors, such as temperament and self-​appraisal mechanisms, that can help or hinder virtue development, including the integration of virtues. Ultimately, (d) must be extended beyond the notion of “scaffolding,” as the factors that support and hinder the development and integration of virtues go beyond the ambit of personality. As we note, it can also include existing social norms, values, and beliefs that guide, shape, and constrain virtue expression, as well as the explicit and implicit instruction and feedback received from caregivers and community. A thorough treatment of this topic could well occupy a separate volume, and would include examinations of possible supportive or impeding roles played by neuropsychological and neurophysiological factors (see Corr, 2004, 2008), social practices and traditions (MacIntyre, 1984, 2016), childrearing practices (Narvaez, 2014), and cultural influences (Nussbaum, 1988; Flanagan, 2017). Our second caveat concerns our use of the terms “practical wisdom” and “practical reason” in this section. In the Aristotelian tradition, practical wisdom is integral to the virtues. As explained in Chapter 1, we believe that practical wisdom is an achievement, incorporating a highly developed suite of skills and capacities. In this section, we offer a developmental account of how the integration of virtues into a coherent character can occur. We believe it starts early in childhood and depends, in part, on children’s abilities to reason. Barring some notable exceptions, children typically do have not have practical wisdom.3 Thus, we will use the term “practical reason” in our illustrations about the virtues or proto-​virtues of children to signal that children’s reasoning is typically not practical wisdom, though it can and, we hope, should develop into it. 3 See Hursthouse (1999, 143–​144) for the story of Iqbal Masih, a Pakistani child who was kidnapped and sold into bondage at the age of four. He escaped, and was shot at the age of twelve, after spending two years campaigning for the rights of children in Pakistan. Hursthouse uses this example to make the point that some children, such as Iqbal, possess an extraordinary range of mental capacities for their ages.

194  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement We now move to a more extensive discussion of the other parts of the integration thesis. The first part of our thesis is (a, listed earlier) that virtues, conceptualized in terms of WTT, develop together over the course of a person’s life. This development occurs in practical contexts, and can begin quite early. For example, there is evidence that infants prefer generous to mean characters, suggesting inborn predispositions toward virtue (Hamlin and Wynn, 2011).4 Small children share things with other children and do so apparently because it “feels good”; that is, they respond directly to the needs and happiness of those with whom they share. The child’s responses to situations the world presents (external factors) are important mechanisms of virtue development. We can easily imagine virtue acquisition developing from these early beginnings. As she is exposed to various spheres of life, she learns to be virtuous. On the playground, she learns to be generous by sharing her toys with other children, to be compassionate by comforting playmates who are upset or by assisting them in need, and so on. Her early feelings of happiness in interacting with other children aid and abet this learning (Wright, 2018; Wright, Sedlock, West, Saulpaugh, and Hopkins, 2016). As she grows, she learns other virtues: courage by standing up to bullies, patience by engaging in long-​term projects, and temperance by not eating or drinking more than her fair share or than is healthy for her. Consistent with our view that spheres of life are not strongly bounded and independent modules, but porous and overlapping, it is likely that these virtues will develop together. As we will see in a moment, playground scenarios can easily present occasions for the exercise of many virtues, and these virtues could, through repeated practice and guided habituation, become strongly linked together and integrated to shape a child’s character.

4 That said, if character A  holds preferences different from the baby’s, babies prefer mean characters that punish character A  (Hamlin, Mahajan, Liberman, and Wynn, 2013)!

Integrating Virtues: Character  195 Our position is that the child’s responses to external factors are important mechanisms of virtue development because they are her first foray into her own practical exercise of virtue. Initially, the child’s responses to the situations she encounters are quite primitive (ethically speaking), since she is, in large part, simply following her own feelings or the guidance of others. Indeed, her responses might be more accurately labeled “proto-​virtuous” than “virtuous.” This is, at least in part, because her practical reason has yet to develop. As children’s reason develops, they become more able to act virtuously of their own accord and use practical reason in choosing when and how to act virtuously. At some point in development, the capacity for reason should enable them to take a reflective stance on their behavior, and come to normatively endorse it. Eventually, we hope, children come to see the value in generous or kind behavior, and it becomes ingrained into their narrative identities, as well as their personalities. This brief description aligns with the standard neo-​Aristotelian picture of how virtues develop. One of us has described it in detail in other work (Snow, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2018b). For our purposes, we note that the overall picture does not apply to single virtues, but to any number of virtues that occasions call for—​ there is no reason to think that virtues develop in isolation from one another. Life’s circumstances call for a variety of virtues, several of which could be called upon to function in any given situation. This means that they are encouraged to develop together, and by developing together, become integrated together into larger personalities. This description also meshes well with WTT. As explained in Chapter 1, according to WTT, the input and perception of trait-​ relevant stimuli is a crucial first step in explaining trait-​relevant behavior. The situations that children encounter provide the “inputs” in this process. A three-​year-​old might share her snack with another child—​the input into this behavior is the three-​year-​ old’s noticing that her companion does not have a snack and looks

196  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement hungry, so she shares. Her perception that she has something good to eat, but her friend does not, leads her to proto-​generous behavior, reinforced, perhaps, by her perceptions of the initial sadness, which becomes transformed into happiness and gratitude, of the other child. Step two of the process of explaining trait-​relevant behavior invokes intermediate, social-​cognitive systems to explain how perceptual inputs give rise to behavior. As we noted in Chapter 1, the intermediate systems are organized into different interconnected systems:  the interpretative and motivation, as well as the temporal and the stability-​inducing systems. The interconnectedness of these systems, by means of which a person interprets external stimuli as trait-​relevant, forms the motivation to act in trait-​ relevant ways, forms a stable set of interrelated states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that guide her toward typical trait manifestations, and maintains her capacities for perception, interpretation, and motivation through time. All of this is woven together by a narrative identity that values virtue development in some way (e.g., seeing herself as being—​or as developing toward—​being a good person, honest friend, or loving daughter), and provides the social-​cognitive setting within which virtues become integrated to form cohesive characters. In other words, our psychological processes are themselves integrated, and the integration of virtues into a coherent, stable character proceeds as part of that overall landscape. This sketch provides an idea of how virtues co-​occur and can become integrated. We can expand this by offering a more robust accompanying explanation at the level of psychological processing. This brings us to the discussion of our second claim (listed as b previously) that the development of virtues influences the manner in which they are integrated in each person’s overall psychological landscape. In our example, we noted that playground activities could provide the site for the exercise of multiple virtues, such as generosity,

Integrating Virtues: Character  197 compassion, and courage. It could also offer occasions for forgiveness (when bullies apologize), kindness (when playing with shy children), justice (not taking others’ toys, taking turns, etc.), and friendliness (being open and accepting of others). Consistent with WTT, we believe that traits develop into stable structures through the repeated activation of the social-​cognitive variables that constitute the trait. For example, seeing an occasion for compassion on the playground—​perhaps another child has been hurt—​the first child (let’s call her Sally) will be moved by the plight of the other. Sally will think to herself, “he needs help,” and will desire to help the injured child. Her desire to help will motivate her to look for ways to do so—​then, ideally, she will put her plan into action, and render assistance. Should similar occasions arise, these or similar beliefs, desires, and self-​regulatory plans will become frequently activated social-​ cognitive units, resulting in frequent compassionate mental states and behaviors. The repeated activation of these states will eventually result in traits—​that is, stable structures whose units, being repeatedly activated, are chronically accessible. The chronic accessibility of these elements makes Sally disposed to be compassionate—​ i.e., to express frequent compassionate mental states and behaviors. The density distribution of these expressions—​that is, how frequently they occur and under what conditions—​is an indicator of how robust of a virtue her compassion has become. As with any virtue, her compassion is unlikely to develop in isolation. As we discussed earlier, virtues are responses to the practicalities of everyday life, and as such, they will develop concomitantly, as part of the intermediate social-​cognitive systems mentioned earlier. So as Sally develops her compassion as she tends to her injured playmate (John), she might also have occasion to develop her courage by standing up to another playmate (Tom), who caused John’s injury—​and later forgiveness toward Tom, who apologizes for his actions. Sally might at first be angry with Tom, but, as Tom expresses sorrow, her anger should turn to forgiveness.

198  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Another developing virtue could emerge through this and similar exchanges, namely, generosity. As Sally sees that Tom is genuinely sorry and wants to be reinstated into the good graces of the group, she forgives Tom and generously offers to allow him back into the circle of friends. The trait structure of forgiveness is composed of such elements as the belief that another who has caused harm or offense is genuinely sorry and desires to make amends, the desire to reinstate the other into one’s good graces, and the desire to patch things up and move on. Self-​regulatory plans indicative of forgiveness could include offers to include the other into group activities, offers of renewed friendship, and so on. Sally could, for example, attempt to patch things up by starting a new game in which all three children have roles. Generosity is shown in her efforts at inclusivity, and in her use of ingenuity to find means of repairing injury and moving on. In our scenario, the social-​cognitive variables of each of these traits are activated at roughly the same time, in roughly the same way, and for roughly the same reasons.5 We hypothesize that in common scenarios such as this, in which various traits are being activated simultaneously, there will be overlap among activated elements, though the components have different roles to play within each trait structure. For example, the belief that John is injured is part of the trait of compassion and is part of the belief-​ desire complex that moves Sally to help. This belief is also part of the trait of forgiveness, for it is the commission of injury itself that provides the occasion for forgiveness. But the belief functions in a different way in the trait of forgiveness than it does in compassion. The belief that John has been injured might activate Sally’s compassionate desire to help, while at the same time functioning as part of a more complex constellation of social-​cognitive units related to

5 In our examples, we sometimes use the term “trait” instead of “virtue” to signal that children have not yet fully developed practical wisdom, and thus, do not have fully fledged virtues.

Integrating Virtues: Character  199 forgiveness, in which Sally believes that Tom has hurt John, that Tom is now sorry, that Tom desires to have this offense overlooked, to have his slate wiped clean, so to speak, and be reinstated in the group of friends. Thus, the same beliefs, desires, values, and goals, etc., about the situation form parts of overlapping trait structures, though they function in different ways in the specific activation of each trait, and are themselves influenced by the other beliefs, desires, values, and goals, etc. that are part of the social-​cognitive content of each trait. Given this general scenario, one might think the Gulliford-​ Roberts hypothesis to be very plausible—​that certain virtues do in fact group together. In our example, three of the five virtues of the allocentric quintet, compassion, generosity, and what Gulliford and Roberts (2018) call “forgivingness,” are hypothesized to fairly straightforwardly develop conjointly because of the likelihood of them being co-​relevant in the same common life situations. Given how these situations typically unfold, it could well be that a group of virtues that are all forms of intelligent caring about people develop concomitantly. Though we do not predict that empirical studies will show that virtues integrate in people’s characters in exactly the clusters advanced by Gulliford and Roberts (2018), it would be fine with us if they did. Nonetheless, we suspect that virtue development is messier than this. Seemingly similar kinds of situations will actually require different subsets of virtues. For example, slight tweaks in the playground situation would require somewhat different subsets of virtues. What if coming to John’s aid required Sally to display courage in the face of an older, larger playground bully, to show honesty to the playground monitor in relaying that she had witnessed the wrongdoing done to John, or patience with Tom because he was having a hard time saying that he was sorry? More generally, why wouldn’t the “intelligent caring” of people be just as likely to trigger a cascade of other virtues, such as courage, patience, forbearance, gentleness, politeness, honesty, etc., as it

200  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement would the five virtues that Gulliford and Roberts (2018) identify? In our minds, which virtues the “intelligent caring of others” calls for will depend on the details of the situation in which one is called upon to intelligently care. Thus, we think the interconnectedness of virtues, and their dependency on the situations for which they are manifested, makes it difficult to parse them into precise virtue clusters, such as those that Gulliford and Roberts (2018) identify. Virtue acquisition depends not only on unpredictable factors such as the circumstances one encounters in life, but also on factors such as temperament, early upbringing, and basic levels of intelligence. Sally, for example, could be a smart little girl, and able to find creative ways to include both John and Tom in an activity that heals the wounds and facilitates forgiveness. This allows Sally to successfully exhibit generosity and perhaps also, patience. But the situation could easily be otherwise. What if, instead, Sally is bright but temperamentally impulsive, and her impulsivity leads her to make bad decisions about how she deals with John and Tom? Perhaps her impulsivity causes her to be impatient, overlooking the fact that John is sensitive and needs to be comforted to get over his injury. Sally’s impatience with John could lead her to abandon her compassion and her attitude of forgiveness, and perhaps even think that Tom was justified in hurting John. This possibility highlights the fragility of virtue development and how many factors, including individual differences in intelligence and temperament, can facilitate or hinder virtue acquisition. The foregoing discussion paves the way for our consideration of our next claim (listed as c earlier), which is that virtues initially develop and are integrated through habituation. As the individual’s capacity for practical reason develops, her reason affects how well or poorly her virtues are integrated, as well as how completely her traits are transformed into fully fledged virtues. The importance of correct habituation should be apparent from our remarks about the playground scenario. The reinforcement of virtuous mental states and behavior through habituation

Integrating Virtues: Character  201 renders chronically accessible the underlying social-​ cognitive capacities, processes, etc., that generate virtuous mental states, thereby making it more likely that they will be readily activated in the appropriate circumstances. Chronic activation of these social-​ cognitive units results in greater state density, and eventually, the creation of a stable trait structure. In facilitating the creation of a stable trait structure, correct habituation safeguards against failures of virtue due to personal failings—​such as lack of intelligence, impulsivity, and so on—​as well as external situational influences. Thus, both habituation and stability in trait structure contribute to behavioral consistency,6 making it more likely that people will have greater consistency in acting virtuously than would occur had they not been correctly habituated and not developed a stable trait. Some of this reinforcement comes through the external guidance of others, including parents, other adult figures, and other children. Children need to receive guidance to develop virtue, and correction when they fall short. This can occur through a variety of pathways, such as modeling, vicarious learning, explicit tutelage (instruction), and implicit messaging (approval/​disapproval). If Sally has been guided to be habitually patient, she is less likely to give up on John and more likely to see the situation through to a successful restoration of harmony among the three children. Her patience integrates with and makes possible in these circumstances the successful exercise of other virtues:  compassion, forgiveness, and generosity. For without patience with John, the successful exercise of the other virtues is in jeopardy. Similarly, if it weren’t for her initial compassionate response to John’s suffering, she may have been less inclined to exercise patience with him. Thus, we see again the integration of the virtues, through multi-​directional feedback loops generated through the circumstances of daily life:  in this 6 It is likely that the chronic activation of trait-​relevant social-​cognitive units, habituation, stability of trait structure, and behavioral consistency all mutually influence each other in a suite of processes that work together to entrench the virtue within a person’s character.

202  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement scenario, patience facilitates the expression of the other virtues, just as the other virtues facilitate its expression. Stability and behavioral consistency in one virtue can support those properties for other virtues as well. We can describe this process in terms of WTT’s stability-​inducing system. As we’ve previously discussed in Chapters 1 and 3, the system is composed of the interrelated states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures that help to establish and determine the chronic accessibility of a trait—​the ease and range of its activation. In our example of Sally, virtues themselves have key roles to play in making chronically accessible the other virtues activated by daily situations. Correct habituation by itself cannot give us full virtue, or character. The development of practical wisdom is key to the acquisition of specific virtues and to the integration of virtues within a person’s character. A long and complicated story would need to be told to offer a comprehensive account of how the kind of reasoning that is essential for virtue develops. One of us has begun that story in earlier work (see Snow, 2006, 2010, 2013, 2016, and especially 2018b; relatedly, see Wright, 2018). Here we will only hypothesize that practical reason first develops as children begin to find ways to do as their parents and others tell them—​as they look for ways to share their toys, include others in play and games, and express through their behavior the virtues and values that their parents and community seek to cultivate in them. In such cases, the use of practical reason is solely instrumental, used as a means of bringing about an end that expresses generosity, for example. Eventually, a child’s instrumental use of practical reason expands, extending across situation-​types and expressing an array of different and overlapping virtues that are in the process of becoming integrated in the child’s character. Sally, as we noted, could be quite clever and creative in finding or inventing a game to restore harmony between John and Tom, and in doing so, is integrating the traits of compassion, patience, and forgiveness. But her use of practical reason is still instrumental—​she

Integrating Virtues: Character  203 is using it as a means of bringing about a desired goal. Practical reason starts to develop into something like Aristotelian practical wisdom, we conjecture, when children (most likely around the age of adolescence) begin to see the value of their virtuous actions in non-​instrumental terms, when they see, for example, that it is better to forgive Tom and include him in the circle of friends than to resent and exclude him, or that it is better to use patience and tact in helping John to get over his injury than to give up trying to comfort him, even if their efforts fail. Children then begin to see the virtues and the use of practical reason as more than instrumentally valuable. They begin to see them as constitutive of having good lives.7 Elsewhere one of us has explained how one moves from “ordinary,” unreflective virtue to Aristotelian virtue (see Snow, 2018). We will not repeat that story here, but will point out that recognition of the various kinds of value that virtue has—​i.e., instrumental, that is, helping in the attainment of a desired goal; constitutive, as part and parcel of a worthwhile life; and intrinsic, as having value in its own right, apart from instrumental and constitutive value—​works hand in hand with increasing sophistication in practical reason. The development of practical reason into fully fledged practical wisdom enables one to see the value of virtue, both for its own sake and in living a certain kind of worthwhile life. Progress in the development of practical reason into practical wisdom does not entail that 7 We are not claiming that children recognize the value of practical reason or virtue under the technical philosophical descriptions of “instrumental,” and “constitutive,” nor that they would eventually come to see the value of virtue as “intrinsic” under that descriptor. This is consistent with the position taken in Snow (2018b) about adult virtue development. People, including children, might be able to recognize the various kinds of value that virtue has, yet not be able to articulate that value in philosophical terms. Yet some sort of articulation is possible: one can imagine Sally, for example, communicating in her own words her belief that it is good to be patient with John, not just for the sake of getting past the unpleasantness with Tom, but also because it helps makes her friendship with John better—​it helps her to understand her friend more thoroughly and enhances the quality of their relationship. She recognizes that patience is constitutive of having a good relationship with John. If she expresses these ideas or something like them, she is beginning to recognize the constitutive value of virtue.

204  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement one is immune to making errors in when and how one acts virtuously, for the achievement of practical wisdom is not incompatible with human fallibility. As one achieves practical wisdom, one comes to see oneself in a certain way, to have certain kinds of self-​schemas, and, as we noted in Chapter 1, to construct a narrative identity—​an evolving narrative of oneself in terms of one’s reconstructed past, present, and imagined future—​that involves virtuous content. As part of that narrative identity, one acquires both a virtue-​specific identity, that is, one sees oneself as a compassionate person, and a virtue-​general identity, that is, one sees oneself as a good person in general. Here we add an intermediate state—​a role-​specific identity, where that role typically implies a suite of accompanying virtues. For example, one can see oneself as a good parent, as one who possesses the kinds of virtues that a good parent has. To explain this picture more fully, we believe that the content of specific virtues and when they are called for—​that is, what counts as compassionate thoughts, desires, responses and behavior, and appropriate occasions for their exercise—​is provided, often to rather high degrees, by specific cultural contexts. For example, what counts as compassion in Korean society is highly integrated with the virtue of nunchi. Nunchi is a kind of social intelligence according to which people are able to discern the moods of others and to maintain harmony in social interactions (see Robertson, 2018). We introduce this example to illustrate how a virtue and occasions for its exercise are given specific cultural content. Maintaining social harmony requires that parties to a social interaction be able to maintain “face,” or personal honor, and should be respected in accordance with norms or interaction pertaining to their social standing. Consider a three-​way social interaction among a professor and two students. One of the students makes an embarrassing social blunder that violates local norms of respectful interaction with the professor. As the offended party and the person of higher

Integrating Virtues: Character  205 social rank, we might think the professor could display compassion by turning away from the offender, but this could misinterpret the situation, particularly in a society in which nunchi is highly valued. The professor’s response could instead be one of disdain or even contempt, meant to convey the receipt of an insult from the student, thereby allowing the professor to maintain face in the social interaction with a subordinate. The student is not being treated compassionately, as compassion is not warranted in the situation. Instead, the student is being subtly corrected or admonished. By contrast, a compassionate response, such as overlooking the blunder, could be warranted in societies in which nunchi or other highly developed forms of social intelligence are not considered virtues and the desire for interpersonal harmony (as conceptualized previously) is not prized over other values, such as candor (which might require openly addressing the slight with the student). The example of nunchi and compassion is one in which the content of virtues and norms about how and when they should be exercised are supplied to a large extent by social and cultural context, but it also illustrates how the integration of virtues depends on cultural context. There is much of interest here that could be explored further, but for now, we are satisfied to simply make the point, with the proviso that we do not see our position on the cultural diversity of virtues as slipping into moral relativism. That is because, in accordance with Nussbaum (1988, 48–​49), we see spheres of life and the shared human experiences we have in those spheres, even when infused with cultural content, as forms of human experience that connect with our basic human nature. Similar points about the content of virtues apply to our notions of role-​specific identities and virtue-​general identity: they, too, are infused with culture-​specific content. Conceptualizations of the role of a CEO, for example, differ in Japan and in the United States, and the virtues that accompany those roles differ accordingly. Yet many roles admit of more similarities than differences in both

206  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement cultural content and associated virtues.8 Good parents love and strive to be generous, caring, patient, and fair with their children, and no matter how cultures shape the expression of that love and those virtues, the qualities in question are love, generosity, care, patience, and fairness nonetheless.9 Bearing in mind this reminder about significant cross-​cultural similarities, we can say that what counts as being a good person admits variation from culture to culture, and is often informed not just by the specific virtues that are prized in that culture but also by the roles an individual occupies. To see this last point, consider the extent to which one’s identity is bound up with one’s profession or one’s relationship to others. If a person views herself as a good philosopher, for example, she will seek to cultivate in herself the virtues of a good philosopher—​curiosity, open-​mindedness, thoroughness, fairness in discussion, and so on. If she see herself as a good friend, she will seek to acquire the virtues of a good friend—​ loyalty, kindness, care, generosity, and so on. These are the elements of being and seeing oneself as a good person as they play out in a specific life. We are now positioned to clarify and explain more fully a point of terminology introduced earlier: the difference between having a virtue-​specific identity and having a virtue-​general identity. If one has a virtue-​specific identity, one sees oneself in terms of having specific virtues, such as compassion and justice. In that kind of case, one might view oneself as having and 8 Nussbaum (1988, 46–​49) makes a similar point about cross-​cultural attunement and similarities, as well as human experiences. 9 We allow that even our list of generous, caring, patient, and fair might not be agreed upon across cultures, especially when it comes to who is supposed to express such virtues. In India, for example, patience is often viewed as a vice for a father, because it is equated with permissively allowing the child’s bad behavior to go uncorrected; caring is expressed through disciplining the child to keep him in line; and a good father’s “generosity” would only involve doing one’s duty to support the family financially, not being generous with one’s time, empathizing with one’s child, etc. In short, mothers in India are expected to have these virtues, but for a father these qualities are not generally considered virtuous, and in fact are socially constructed as inherently counterproductive to the virtues of a good father, such as firmness and impartiality.

Integrating Virtues: Character  207 wanting to have these virtues, while not having thought of oneself very much in terms of other virtues, such as generosity or temperance. In this case, one can certainly be said to have a character, but have not reflected on it as extensively as one might. By contrast, to have a virtue-​general identity is to have, or at least be in the process of developing, an expansive suite of virtues, only some of which might be role-​dependent. To have a virtue-​general identity requires a certain amount of reflection and self-​scrutiny, and a commitment to being virtuous across the board. It is to say to oneself not just, “I want to be a compassionate person,” but “I want to be a good person,” where “being good” is holistic and encompassing, and means being virtuous tout court. The notion of wanting to be a good person, of desiring it, expresses a commitment to being virtuous in a holistic way—​to developing virtues in every sphere of life. As we discussed in earlier chapters, this contributes to the development of robust, global virtues—​ which become integrated into the coherent character of a fully virtuous person. A caveat is in order. One can certainly be virtuous and have a good character, both with regard to specific virtues and in more general terms, without doing a great deal of reflection and without having an explicitly expressed commitment to be virtuous. For example, people develop in virtue through guided practice and habituation. They might even reflect on how best to exercise certain virtues in their lives. They could be quite consistent and regular in their exercise of virtuous action. This is all part of developing character. But, in our view, a still higher level of integration of the virtues into character can be achieved, which occurs when someone deliberately decides what kind of person they want to be and opts to be that kind of person—​when, for example (as we discussed in Chapter  3), they adopt virtue-​relevant identity attributes. In this kind of case, a person deliberately adopts virtue-​oriented values and goals (e.g., aspiring to be virtuous), and sets about

208  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement becoming and consistently being, a certain kind of person, one who prizes certain values in her life. This generates a greater degree of integration, as well as a higher level of consistency and robustness of virtue expression, because it creates a generalized motivational structure that prioritizes responding virtuously across situations, making the virtue-​relevant features of situations highly salient and the socio-​cognitive elements of virtue expression chronically accessible. Aquino and Reed (2002)’s work on the self-​importance of moral identity seems very close to what we mean—​someone’s character is important to that person, so much so that he or she intentionally seeks to shape it, to shore up weaknesses and develop strengths, not simply in a piecemeal fashion but in light of a conception of her character as a whole, of the kind of person she is and more completely aspires to be. Aquino and Reed (2002, 1424) write: Moral identity is defined in this article as a self-​conception organized around a set of moral traits. The definition of moral identity presented here is trait specific and based on recent social-​ cognition-​oriented definitions of the self. Hence, moral identity is viewed in this study as linked to specific moral traits, but it may also be amenable to a distinct mental image of what a moral person is likely to think, feel, and do (Kihlstrom and Klein, 1994).

Aquino and Reed (2002, 1424) approvingly quote Damon and Hart (1992, 455): [T]‌here are both theoretical and empirical reasons to believe that the centrality of morality to self may be the single most powerful determiner of concordance between moral judgment and conduct.  .  .  . People whose self-​concept is organized around their moral beliefs are highly likely to translate those beliefs into action consistently throughout their lives.

Integrating Virtues: Character  209 One might think that the notion of a person who deliberately aspires to be virtuous and seeks to cultivate her character is a worthy ideal without much practical benefit or application. We disagree. Consider an example from Wallace Stegner’s novel The Big Rock Candy Mountain. The novel tells of the hardships of the life of the troubled Mason family on the frontier of the United States and Canada in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Elsa Norgaard, a girl of eighteen from Iowa, has left home because her father has married her best friend—​a woman the same age as herself. In the North Dakota town to which she has fled to live with her uncle, she meets Bo Mason, a wild young man who is illegally selling liquor. Bo and Elsa start courting, and take in a day at the state fair with another couple, Jud and Eva. Jud and Eva are sitting in the front of the buckboard wagon on the way home. At the end of the evening, Elsa sees Jud pulling his hand out from under Eva’s dress. Later, after Bo has proposed to Elsa and she has accepted, the two are trapped in her uncle’s home in a snowstorm. Bo wants them to spend the night together, offering to slip out in the morning to avoid town gossip. In response, Elsa says, “Would you want me to be like Eva? . . . Do you want to be like Jud?” (Stegner, 2010, 83). As a result, Bo goes out in the storm and brings her uncle back from his store in town to stay the night. Elsa is an example of a young woman who is true to her moral beliefs and has a firmly formed moral identity, in this case with respect to the virtue of chastity. She is unwilling to compromise herself as someone who has, and sees herself as having, moral principles about sexual morality. Elsa’s response is praiseworthy—​it shows a strong character and a commitment to being virtuous. Yet it is not unfamiliar. Perhaps the notion of someone who is committed to being virtuous tout court, as described, strikes us as alien and unfamiliar, but in everyday life, such holistic commitment is likely to be manifested piecemeal, as occasions that call for specific virtues arise.

210  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement In the story about Elsa, we see her commitment to chastity. But in other vignettes from the novel, we see her dedication to her children—​her care for them as she protects them from the violent Bo and later, from punishment by a cruel headmistress. We also see her compassion and generosity in caring for the sick when a deadly influenza epidemic strikes their town, and her stubborn loyalty and forgiving attitude toward Bo, despite the financial hardship his enduring greed causes his family. In short, the range of Elsa’s virtues—​the overall sweep of her character—​ while not revealed to us in an instant, becomes clear as her life story unfolds. Thus, the fact that we are not always presented evidence of the full scope of a person’s commitment to virtue on one occasion does not preclude the possibility that her character is complex, and that she will, during the course of her lifespan, display evidence of commitments to numerous, interrelated, and integrated virtues. What would evidence of a commitment to virtue involve? One type of evidence would be displaying virtue on occasions that are “diagnostic.” Doris (2002, 19) claims that diagnostic situations are “unfavorable enough to trait-​relevant behavior that such behavior seems better explained by reference to individual dispositions than by reference to situational facilitators.” In the late nineteenth century, we would expect a chaste woman not to sleep with her fiancé before marriage. Elsa’s response to Bo during the snowstorm, is, we believe, strong evidence of a commitment to chastity, as it occurs in a situation that we might regard as strongly diagnostic, for there is temptation to be unchaste along with obstacles to chaste behavior. Similarly, her behavior and attitudes as described during the influenza epidemic give strong evidence of a commitment to compassion and generosity, as she tends to a sick neighbor and a sick person brought to her house without hesitation or fear for her own life. She is virtuous when there are strong temptations to do otherwise, and when obstacles stand in her way. Rising to the occasion in these situations, we believe,

Integrating Virtues: Character  211 provides the best tests of the strength of the commitment to be virtuous. Let us register two objections to our portrayal of Elsa. The first is that we have not discussed her motivation for being virtuous. So, let’s clarify. In the novel, Elsa is not a religious person, so she does not appear to be acting from fear of being punished by God if she fails to be virtuous. The family is, for many years, extremely poor, so she is not motivated to be virtuous because she believes it will bring her money, and her virtuous behavior does not change after the family becomes better off. Nor, for that matter, are her virtuous actions—​her loyalty and forgiving attitude toward Bo, for example—​always met with appreciative responses. Thus, she isn’t virtuous because she always gets pleasure from acting virtuously. Additionally, we cannot conclude that Elsa’s virtuous behavior—​ her chastity, for example—​results from the mindless adoption of prevalent social norms. We have indications that Elsa’s virtue arises from her own intelligent decisions from other vignettes in her story, as when she takes her children away from her violent husband, leaving him to return to the safety of her father’s home. As we read the story of Elsa’s life as told through many revealing episodes, she is motivated to be virtuous because she believes it is the right way to live. The second objection to Elsa’s story is more challenging. As we’ve told it, the story illustrates her commitment to being virtuous but not the cultivation of her character. In the novel we are never told that Elsa thinks to herself, for example, “I should work to become more compassionate.” Consequently, we have no evidence that she intentionally sought to cultivate virtue. She never seems to need to do this, however—​to remind herself of when and how to be more virtuous. A variety of difficult situations arise, and Elsa rises to these challenges seemingly without thinking about the impact doing so has on the cultivation of her character. We would say that the cultivation of her character occurs in and through her rock-​steady, never-​failing commitment to virtue, as it leads her to act virtuously

212  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement in an ever-​increasing variety of challenging circumstances. Thus, a person’s commitment to being virtuous and to cultivating virtue in herself need not always rise to the level of conscious awareness. It could be “second nature,” something that was actively developed at an earlier stage of her life than is featured in the novel—​now operating below the level of conscious awareness, and becoming salient at times when she needs to explain her moral beliefs to others, as in the chastity vignette. Our objector might persist, and claim that we have not yet furnished an example of someone who seeks to cultivate her character intentionally, at the level of conscious awareness. One can give examples of many saints who sought to do this, for example, St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, who devoted his life to God after suffering a severe injury in battle.10 More quotidian examples can be found, we think, in the lives of those who seek to improve themselves in order to obtain an earthly good they desire or to avoid a bad outcome. Consider a student who wants to succeed in an academic field and deliberately cultivates her perseverance and open-​mindedness in order to attain this good. Alternatively, consider a person who blames himself for his failed marriage, and seeks to cultivate kindness, generosity, and compassion in order to avoid relationship failures in the future. Such efforts could, we conjecture, be bound up with the narrative identities and self-​schemas of individuals who find themselves lacking in certain respects, and want to change. Our student could wince at the thought that she failed in her career pursuit because she did not study hard enough, and our divorcee could cringe upon thinking of himself as the man who drove a loved one away by being mean and stingy. In sum, we think that the commitment to being virtuous, as well as to character cultivation, is more common than might appear at first glance. This concludes our main discussion of the integration thesis. We have already noted Kamtekar (2004)’s sketch of character

10 See https://​www.ignatianspirituality.com/​ignatian-​voices/​st-​ignatius-​loyola.

Integrating Virtues: Character  213 as an ideal that we take to be an appealing touchstone for our thinking about the integration of character. We have maintained that virtues reciprocally influence each other’s development as they arise in response to common situations encountered in daily life, even during childhood, and that this process occurs concomitantly with the development of practical reason. We have noted factors external to virtue, such as personality traits and temperament, as well as cultural values and norms that can contribute to and shape, or detract from, virtue development and integration. We have remarked upon Nussbaum (1988)’s influence on our approach, and have discussed the integration thesis’ relation to the work of Gulliford and Roberts (2018) and Aquino and Reed (2002). Finally, we sought to give an example of virtue integration in the literary character, Elsa Norgaard, in an effort to show that having an integrated character is not as uncommon as some might think. We supplemented that with commentary seeking to show that an even higher level of character integration, possessed by those who deliberately seek to be more virtuous, is by no means unheard of. In addition to all of this, the integration thesis can be situated with respect to an impressive and detailed body of philosophical work on the unity of virtue, as well as in relation to recent situationist arguments concerning the fragmentation of character. It is to this that we now turn.

Situating Our Conception We view the integration thesis as preferable to a number of different views that have been taken throughout the history of philosophy on the virtues and how they are unified (or not) to form character: the “unity of virtue” thesis, the “reciprocity of the virtues” thesis, the idea of the incompatibility of the virtues, the “limited unity of virtue” thesis, and the situationist account of the fragmentation of character.

214  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

The Unity of Virtue Thesis In his early or “Socratic” dialogues (see, for example, the Protagoras), Plato has Socrates advance what has been called the “unity of virtue” thesis, according to which all virtues are forms of wisdom or knowledge (knowledge of good and evil) and all form a unity (see e.g., Kamtekar, 2017, 36–​39; Devereux, 1992, 765; Penner, 1973; Aristotle NE VI 13.1147b17–​30; and Russell, 2014, 213 and 213, n.  16). Devereux (1992) offers an interesting discussion of controversies about the unity thesis (also called Socratic intellectualism), including different interpretations of what the “unity” of virtues means. He notes (1992, 766) that recent commentators understand the unity of virtues to mean the identity of the virtues—​ that all virtues are knowledge.11 Why not adopt the unity thesis? We reject it for four reasons: (1) it is unclear what kind of knowledge unifies the virtues, making them all “one”; (2) if virtue simply is the generic knowledge of good and evil, then the unique characteristics of each virtue, for example, what makes courage what it is as opposed to generosity, or compassion what it is as opposed to honesty, seem to be lost; (3) if knowledge is sufficient for virtue, it is unclear how one can be motivated to perform virtuous action, and it is unclear whether there is a role for affect in virtue and character; and (4) maintaining that virtue is knowledge contradicts the conception of virtue that we endorsed in Chapter  1, according to which motivations are key in distinguishing virtues from one another, and shape the cognitions that are intrinsic to each virtue. This conception of virtue is central to the integration thesis. We discuss each of these reasons in turn.

11 The unity of virtue thesis has been attributed to the early Platonic dialogues (see Penner, 1973, 35), and has been called “the theory of virtue of the early dialogues” (see Devereux, 1992, 766, emphasis his). Devereux (1992) argues that a different theory appears in the early dialogue Laches. Plato’s views on virtue become more complex in the middle and late dialogues (see, for example, Vasiliou, 2008; Kamtekar, 2017; and Annas, 2017).

Integrating Virtues: Character  215 First, Devereux (1992, 765–​766) outlines two approaches to the kind of knowledge that commentators think unify the virtues. According to Devereux (1992, 765–​766), Vlastos (1981) argues that the claim that virtue is knowledge should be interpreted so that “each virtue is identical with a particular form of knowledge; for example, courage = knowledge of P, temperance = knowledge of Q, and so forth.” This, however, is the minority knowledge view. Most commentators, says Devereux (1992, 776), “believe that Socrates rejects the view that the virtues are distinct parts of a whole, and that he holds, rather, that the names of the different virtues all refer to a single entity or quality, a particular form of knowledge that might be called “knowledge of good and evil.’ ”12 On this view knowledge of courage = knowledge of good and evil, knowledge of temperance = knowledge of good and evil, and so on. As Devereux (1992, 766; emphasis his) puts it, “The unity of virtues is thus understood as identity.” Devereux (1992, 766)  acknowledges that passages in the Protagoras provide prima facie support for Vlastos’ position as well as the identity thesis, but believes a stronger case can be made for the identity thesis. If the unity thesis is an identity thesis, our second concern comes into play. According to the Socratic intellectualism of Plato’s early dialogues, knowledge is both necessary and sufficient for virtue (see, e.g., Vasiliou, 2007, 10). But if knowledge of each virtue is generic knowledge of good and evil, as most commentators argue, then the distinctiveness of each virtue seems to be lost. That is, what makes compassion distinctively compassion as opposed to some other virtue, such as honesty, is lost, and what makes honesty distinctive as opposed to generosity is lost, and so on. Perhaps what Plato means is that the knowledge of good and evil that is required for being virtuous is shaped by the context in which a virtuous person finds herself, so that when she is called upon to be generous, for example, she knows that it is good to give wholeheartedly and

12 See, for example, Penner (1973).

216  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement that it is evil to be stingy or wasteful. But if so, the identity thesis seems to collapse into Vlastos’ interpretation (or something like it), according to which the kind of knowledge sufficient for each virtue is specific to and characteristic of each virtue, and not generic knowledge of good and evil.13 Leaving aside concerns about the kind of knowledge that is necessary and sufficient for virtue, both versions of the unity thesis face the third and more difficult problem: neither allows roles for motivation or affect as parts of virtue.14 On this point, Aristotle famously parts ways with Plato. In the Nicomachean Ethics, Book VI (13.11b17–​30), he claims that Socrates is wrong to think that all virtues are the same as practical wisdom, but is right to think that practical wisdom is implicated in virtue (see also Russell, 2014, 213). Practical wisdom is necessary for virtue, Aristotle thinks, but not sufficient. As Russell (2014, 212) notes, “for Aristotle to say that a person has a virtue is to say something deep about the person’s character.” It is to say not only that the person exercises practical wisdom in choice and action, but also that she has certain desires and ends, that is, that she is motivated in particular ways; that she experiences appropriate affect in making virtuous choices and performing virtuous actions; and that she is reliably disposed to be virtuous and to act and react virtuously. These themes are developed in various passages in the Nicomachean Ethics, Books II and VI. But if, following the unity thesis, knowledge is all that is needed for virtue, these other elements drop out of the picture, leaving a severely truncated conception of virtue. Citing a passage from the Magna 13 Devereux (1992, 766–​ 770) discusses the debate between Vlastos and other commentators, offering reasons to doubt Vlastos’ view. 14 An implication of the unity thesis is that wrong action results from a lack of knowledge of what is good and evil; that is, it can be due only to ignorance. Plato’s view changes in the Republic and other middle dialogues with the division of the soul into rational, appetitive, and spirited parts. The addition of non-​rational parts of the soul allows for explanations of how we can fail to be virtuous because of failures in motivation, as opposed to failures in knowledge. It thus explains phenomena such as akrasia—​weakness of will—​according to which one knows the good but fails to do it. See Vasiliou (2007, 10–​11).

Integrating Virtues: Character  217 Moralia (1182a19–​13), Devereux (1992, 765) notes Aristotle’s view that Socrates’ conception of virtue apparently takes no account of character. For those seeking to develop a conception of character, then, the unity thesis is singularly unpromising. Our final reason for rejecting the unity thesis is that it contradicts the conception of virtue we have endorsed throughout the book thus far, according to which virtues are tightly integrated traits that involve social-​cognitive systems and are significantly shaped by motivational elements. As noted, we believe that motivations, such as the desire to help others in need or to give freely, shape the cognitive elements of virtues such as compassion and generosity. This is incompatible with Socratic intellectualism. For these reasons, we believe the unity of virtue thesis, though instructive and interesting to explore, is not a promising candidate for a conception of character, and is at odds with the conception we have advanced here.

The Reciprocity of the Virtues Thesis We have seen that Aristotle rejects Plato’s strong unity of virtue thesis. He maintains what has been called the “reciprocity of the virtues” thesis (see Aristotle NE VI 13.1144b30–​1145a a2; Russell, 2014, 213). This is the thesis that practical wisdom is necessary for every virtue, and that every virtue is connected to every other through practical wisdom. Though virtue is not identical to practical wisdom, the virtues are strongly unified by practical wisdom in the sense that one cannot truly have one virtue without having all of the others. The practical wisdom that informs one necessarily informs the others. The virtues are thus united by practical wisdom. As Russell (2014, 208–​212) reminds us, the kinds of virtues that are united by practical wisdom are those that Aristotle regards as rational excellences. They enable their possessors to act reliably in attaining the ends of virtuous action. Aristotle allows that children

218  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement and animals can have other types of virtues, called “natural” virtues, for example, natural dispositions to be generous or loyal. Lacking practical wisdom, however, these natural virtues cannot be rational excellences because of the possibility that their possessor could be no more than a “bungling do-​gooder” (see NE VI 13.1144b1–​19; Russell, 2014, 209, 212). Russell (2014, 212) summarizes Aristotle’s views on this point: In sum, Aristotle holds that virtue in the primary or strict sense must be reliable in acting well, and that this reliability is impossible without phronesis. Even if there are other sorts of virtues that lack phronesis, still these are unreliable in practice and are not genuine human excellences. For that reason, it is impossible to possess a virtue in the strict sense without also having phronesis.

Let us call the view mentioned earlier—​namely, that virtues are strongly unified by practical wisdom such that one cannot have one virtue without having all of the others—​the “strong reciprocity” thesis. In the following discussion, we interpret the strong reciprocity thesis as an attributive thesis or claim about the attribution of virtue; that is, the strong reciprocity thesis maintains that no one can actually possess any virtue unless she possesses them all.15 As with Plato’s unity thesis, many philosophers have written on Aristotle’s strong reciprocity thesis (e.g., Russell, 2014, 213–​217; Russell, 2009, ­chapter 11; Wolf, 2007; Lemos, 1994; Flanagan, 1991, 261ff; and Watson, 1984). To the best of our knowledge, the only contemporary philosopher who holds the thesis in its strong form 15 Russell (2009, 362ff) distinguishes between the “attributive” and “model” versions of what we are calling the “strong reciprocity” thesis. The attributive version is a claim about the actual possession of virtues; the model version is a claim about the “natural makeup of the virtues” and what people should aspire to as they seek to possess virtue. We elaborate on what Russell (2009) means by the natural makeup of the virtues and the model or aspirational version of the strong reciprocity thesis after our discussion of attributive versions.

Integrating Virtues: Character  219 is McDowell (1979). According to McDowell (1979, 331–​333), to be reliably virtuous one must have a certain kind of knowledge. The knowledge in question is reliable sensitivities to the specific kinds of virtues called for in any given situation. These are not just blind, non-​rational habits or propensities, but intelligent sensitivities or perceptual capacities.16 McDowell (1979, 333) writes: If a genuine virtue is to produce nothing but right conduct, a simple propensity to be gentle cannot be identified with the virtue of kindness. Possession of the virtue must involve not only sensitivity to facts about others’ feelings as reasons for acting in certain ways, but also sensitivities to facts about rights as reasons for acting in certain ways; and when circumstances of both sorts obtain, and a circumstance of the second sort is the one that should be acted on, a possessor of the virtue of kindness must be able to tell that it is so. So we cannot disentangle genuine possession of kindness from the sensitivity that constitutes fairness. And since there are obviously no limits on the possibilities for compresence, in the same situation, of circumstances of the sorts proper sensitivities to which constitute all the virtues, the argument can be generalized:  no one virtue can be fully possessed except by a possessor of all of them, that is, a possessor of virtue in general. Thus the particular virtues are not a batch of independent sensitivities. Rather, we use the concepts of the particular virtues to mark similarities and dissimilarities among the manifestations of a single sensitivity, which is what virtue, in 16 For distinctions similar to that between blind, non-​rational habits or propensities and intelligent sensitivities, see Russell (2014, 208–​212), on the difference between natural virtues and the virtues as rational excellences, and (2009, 339–​343), on the “trajectories” and “directions” views of virtues; see also Watson, 1984, 57ff, on the “straight” and the “due concern” views of virtue; and Swanton (2003, 286–​288)’s critique of Walker’s view of virtues as “firm and unshakeable tendencies.” For Russell, Watson, and Swanton, the preferred conception of virtue is as a disposition informed by phronēsis. This contrasts with, for example, Walker (1993), who views virtue as a more or less blind tendency not informed by phronēsis. We discuss these views later in this chapter.

220  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement general, is:  an ability to recognize requirements that situations impose on one’s behaviour. It is a single complex sensitivity of this sort that we are aiming to instill when we aim to inculcate a moral outlook.

Watson (1984, 59–​ 60) argues against McDowell’s position, contending that it establishes, at most, a “weak” thesis, showing that, in order to possess one virtue, one must at least “be alive” to considerations that would support another virtue, but not that one must possess the other virtue. He writes (59): Proper sensitivity to others’ welfare means that characteristically one will act rightly where others’ welfare is concerned. But nothing follows about one’s behavior in other contexts. One may regularly go astray where others’ welfare is not at stake. So it is consistent with the possession of benevolence (as proper sensitivity to the well-​being of others) that one fails to possess some other virtue.

Watson illustrates this point by asking you to imagine that you are a benevolent person who is entrusted with your employers’ funds. You would not characteristically use these funds to help others, which shows a sensitivity to justice—​that is, you do not use the funds of others that are entrusted to you, presumably for other purposes, to promote your own benevolent aims. But this sensitivity doesn’t necessarily amount to the virtue of justice, since it’s entirely possible for you to misuse your employers’ funds in other ways, for example, by gambling at the racetrack (on the assumption that doing so would not adversely affect your employers’ welfare). Watson’s argument hinges on the notion that in order to be said to truly possess a virtue, one must not only be responsive to considerations pertaining to that virtue in some sorts of contexts (e.g., those which also involve others’ welfare), but to a range of different types of situations (e.g., those not involving others’ welfare).

Integrating Virtues: Character  221 We have other reasons for rejecting the strong reciprocity thesis. As many philosophers note, the thesis jars with commonsense (e.g., Russell, 2009, 336; Wolf, 2007, 146; Lemos, 1994, 86).17 Why think that someone who fails to possess one virtue is thereby lacking in them all, especially when an individual’s behavior, emotional responses, perceptions, judgments, etc., over a long period of time, reliably exhibit other virtues? To pursue this thought in more detail, we believe that a fatal error occurs in McDowell’s argument with the generalizability premise: “And since there are obviously no limits on the possibilities for compresence, in the same situation, of circumstances of the sorts proper sensitivities to which constitute all the virtues, the argument can be generalized: no one virtue can be fully possessed except by a possessor of all of them, that is, a possessor of virtue in general” (McDowell, 1979, 333). We believe the phrase “there are obviously no limits” is ambiguous. In a strictly logical sense, it seems true that there are no limits on the possibilities for compresence as described by McDowell. But in the actual world, it seems that at least two kinds of limits constrain these possibilities:  those imposed by human psychology, and those imposed by context and situation. Examining the interplay between these limits exposes another assumption in McDowell’s argument that we find questionable: that there is a finite list of identifiable virtues, all of which people can be expected to know, possess, and exercise in the circumstances that call for them. Consider first the limits of human psychology. In his argument for the reciprocity of virtues, McDowell is presumably referring to the possibilities for the compresence of circumstances that could call for a range of virtuous responses after a person’s sensitivities to virtue have been developed. Yet, the limits of psychosocial development need to be factored into this argument. Social learning 17 See also Badhwar (1996, 306)  for mention of other philosophers who reject the strong reciprocity thesis.

222  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement histories shape our sensitivities to circumstance, and thereby affect, and sometimes constrain, the sensitivities we are able to develop.18 Suppose that Alfred has been raised in a small town in rural England in peacetime, and has chosen to pursue accounting as a career. Though it might be logically possible for him to develop the sensitivities needed to rise to occasions calling for physical courage, it’s entirely possible, in the practical order, that he has not been exposed to the circumstances that would enable them to be inculcated. These same circumstances would not, however, inhibit his development of kindness or honesty, nor his sensitivity to the presence of those virtue-​relevant features of his daily life.19 To generalize, it could very well be that in the ordinary course of their lives, people are not exposed to the circumstances in which they would develop the sensitivities needed for certain virtues. Should people be considered bereft of any virtue, if, through no fault of their own, the circumstances of their lives have not allowed for the normal psychological development of all virtuous sensitivities? McDowell’s argument is troubled not only by the limits of human psychology but also by the fact that the actual circumstances calling for virtuous sensitivities often do not invoke all of the virtues, even readily identifiable virtues on a finite list, such as Aristotle’s. An example will illustrate this point.20 Suppose a parent has two children, ages eleven and thirteen. Both children wish to participate in school sports, and there are sufficient family funds for both to do so. Moreover, neither child has health problems or other factors 18 We do not mean to invoke standard philosophical arguments about “moral luck,” in which how we are raised and habituated into virtue is mainly a matter of having good or bad moral luck. It is an ordinary albeit important fact of life that if we are raised by just and caring parents, our chances of developing the virtues of justice and kindness are greatly improved over the chances we would have had if we had lacked good parental upbringing. That said, our concerns could be considered specific variations “in the general neighborhood” of typical “moral luck” arguments. 19 Considerations such as these lead us to think that the integration thesis, which relies upon claims about how virtue develops, offers a more promising approach to understanding the coherence of character. 20 We draw here on Snow (2019, 181–​182).

Integrating Virtues: Character  223 that would bar participation; each is quite athletic and talented, etc. In other words, both have an equal claim to be considered good candidates for participation in school sports. Intuitively, it would be unfair of the parent to allow one, but not the other, to play. Justice requires that, if the parent were to allow one, she should allow both. It seems that this decision need not implicate practical concerns involving an array of Aristotelian virtues, such as courage, temperance, magnificence, and so on, though other virtues could be involved, such as the parent’s generosity in providing transportation and sports supplies, patience in dealing with the children, and so on. But if making a virtuous decision in the circumstances would not require sensitivities to considerations invoking an array of virtues, need the parent even know of their existence? Couldn’t she make the decision without having to know, for example, that temperance, ready wit, or magnificence is a virtue, or without having developed sensitivities to circumstances in which these virtues are called for?21 We should note that this example differs from our previous example of Alfred, who did not have the opportunity to develop the sensitivities needed to have all of the virtues. In this case, we claim that virtuous decisions can be made even when a person has no knowledge that certain qualities are in fact virtues. Alfred might know that physical courage is a virtue, yet not have had the opportunity to develop it. By contrast, our parent can be just, it seems to us, without having to know that temperance, ready wit, etc., are in fact virtues. Our second example calls into question McDowell’s sotto voce assumption that there is a finite and identifiable list of the virtues. Harkening back to Aristotle as it does, the reciprocity thesis was 21 Russell (2014, 216–​217) compellingly presses another point against Aristotle. Aristotle includes two virtues on his list, magnanimity and magnificence, which are restricted to virtuous people of great wealth and virtuous people of exceptional social status, respectively. If the reciprocity thesis is true, these people are the only ones capable of having all of the virtues. On the other hand, if Aristotle thinks that other virtues, such as generosity and proper pride, can be possessed by those without great wealth or social standing, then it seems he has abandoned the reciprocity thesis.

224  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement meant to encompass the virtues on Aristotle’s list, and it seems that this is the assumption that McDowell and other defenders make. But some virtues seem to be deeply rooted in specific cultural contexts and unavailable to those living outside of those contexts. The Korean virtue of nunchi, mentioned earlier, is a case in point, though similar remarks might be true of the Finnish virtue of sisu or the South African virtue of Ubuntu. Nunchi, as noted earlier, is a virtue that seems to be a complex form of social intelligence; sisu is a Finnish cultural virtue similar to perseverance; and Ubuntu is a South African virtue akin to fellow-​feeling.22 Both the conceptualizations and the expressions of these virtues are heavily shaped by and dependent on specific cultural norms, expectations, and practices. If, living in the United States, one hasn’t lived in these places and thus, hasn’t developed these virtues, is one then lacking virtue? In other words, how far does the reach of the reciprocity thesis extend—​which virtues does it purport to encompass? The arguments we press against McDowell might seem to be no more than elaborations on our earlier commonsense observation that people seem able to lack one virtue while possessing others, but we believe they gesture toward a deeper point about ethical theory construction. Should our theories about virtues—​about what they are, and how they are instantiated in personalities and individual lives—​be driven by logical, i.e., purely theoretical considerations, or should they be informed by knowledge of human psychology and of how virtues are actually developed in situ in the course of human lives, as traits that develop along with other personality traits through the course of a person’s life? Given our challenges to McDowell and the approach we’ve taken in this book, it should be obvious that we prefer to use an empirically informed method instead of pure theorizing. We rely not only on a practical approach

22 See Snow (2019, 189).

Integrating Virtues: Character  225 in sketching our conception of character, but also draw on the insights afforded by taking a developmental—​and empirical—​ perspective on virtues. Taking an empirically informed approach, we believe it is unlikely that there is a finite and specifiable list of virtues; this seems to us to be a desideratum of pure theory. Instead, we believe that any list of virtues must be indefinite. Our argument is not only premised on the empirical cultural diversity of virtues, but also on the following argument. 1. Virtues are traits that are oriented toward the human good. 2. The human good is indefinite in content and is capable of being specified in a multiplicity of ways. 3. Consistently with Nussbaum (1988), the ways in which the good is specified are culturally dependent. 4. Cultures are not fixed and stable, but are in constant states of flux and growth. 5. Given these constant states of flux and growth, it is likely not only that further cross-​cultural research into the virtues will yield new conceptions of virtues that are not on traditional western philosophical lists, such as nunchi, but also that new virtues will be developed as new spheres of life and experiences in those spheres arise, such as those created by developments in artificial intelligence and technology.23 6. If so, there are indefinitely many virtues, some of which are yet to be discovered, and some of which are yet to be cultivated.

23 We believe that advances in technology present novel challenges that require expansions to traditional lists of virtues (see Snow, 2019). For an extensive discussion of “technomoral” virtues, see Vallor (2016). This kind of phenomenon is not new. The emergence of environmental ethics has prompted discussions of how to expand virtues applicable to the sphere of human relations with the environment (see, for example, Hursthouse, 2007; Williston, 2015; and Kawall, 2018).

226  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement The possibility of indefinitely many virtues tells against the reciprocity thesis as an attributive thesis. If there are indefinitely many virtues, we cannot specify in advance the virtues that people clearly lack, as we could if we had a finite list of virtues. But there is another interpretation of the strong reciprocity thesis that we should consider.

The Reciprocity Thesis as an Aspirational Ideal The foregoing arguments apply to the reciprocity thesis considered as an attributive thesis, as a claim about attributions of virtues to individuals. This is how the reciprocity thesis has traditionally been understood. However, Russell (2014, 215–​216; 2009, c­ hapter  11) argues that instead of regarding the reciprocity thesis as a claim about attributions of virtue, we should regard it as a claim about the “natural makeup of the virtues” (2009, 362) and an ideal to which we should aspire. Russell (2014, 215) notes that Aristotle does not suggest the reciprocity thesis as an aspirational ideal, but, instead, believes that virtues are acquired in the midst of a surrounding culture, especially by imitating those who are already virtuous. Russell’s aspirational interpretation of the reciprocity thesis relies on his view of virtue, which he calls the “directions” view: every virtue is a form of responsiveness to practical reasons within its sphere of concern, where those reasons are situated within a broader range of other sorts of practical reasons. Consequently, on that view, it is part of the natural makeup of every virtue to unfold so as to take into consideration the perspective of every other virtue in practical deliberation about ends. (2009, 371)

Thus, virtues, unified by phronēsis, ideally develop together in a balanced and integrated way (Russell, 2009, 372). Interpreted as an

Integrating Virtues: Character  227 aspirational ideal, we should expect improvement in one virtue to contribute to, and even require, improvement in others as virtuous sensitivities develop and mature (Russell, 2014, 216)—​something we ourselves discussed in Chapters 1 and 3. Russell (2009)’s view is similar to Kamtekar’s conception of character, which we quoted approvingly earlier in this chapter. Though both views offer appealing ideals, attaining these ideals is not without challenges. For one thing, the natural unfolding of the virtues in a balanced and integrated way, which is informed by phronēsis, is subject to the vicissitudes of practical life. That is, the unfolding of virtues is not only subject to the influences of reason, but also to those of temperament, impulsivity, and a host of other personal failings, as well as situational barriers and contingencies. In the practical order, as opposed to the realm of ideals and aspirations, our failings often overcome our rational capacities. We are sure that both Russell and Kamtekar would readily acknowledge this, and would remind us that they are advancing ideals to be sought, which implies that challenges exist and need to be overcome. A second difficulty (which they would likely not acknowledge as such) is that the ancients and many philosophers who follow them, such as Russell (2009, ­chapters 5 and 6) endorse the idea that there is a finite list of specifiable virtues. Russell (2009) argues that there is a finite list of specifiable virtues on purely theoretical grounds, and maintains that there are four cardinal virtues to which other virtues are related as specializations. We have articulated a different approach, according to which virtues are applicable to various porous and interdependent spheres of life, or what Russell might call “spheres of practical concern.” Some of these spheres, we believe, emerged more recently than ancient times (see note 121 about environmental and technological virtues), are still emerging (e.g., virtues relating to spheres of life created by technology)—​and all are porous and interdependent.

228  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Does this practical vision, according to which there is not a finite list of specifiable virtues, allow for virtues to be unified in a single personality? Perhaps. Ideally, the virtuous person would possess all the virtues necessary to flourish and live a good life within her own cultural/​historical contingencies. This allows for the possibility that what the list of virtues needed to flourish might be differs between people and changes over time—​though it will always be constrained by the universal limitations of human nature and requirements for human flourishing. This possibility allows for the integration of the virtues that an individual in fact possesses into a coherent and stable character. In the following sections, we address three more challenges to the idea that character can be unified.

The Incompatibility of Virtues The first challenge is the claim that the virtues are incompatible. Walker (1993, 47–​48) sketches his preliminary argument for the incompatibility of the virtues as follows: There is, it seems, a range of situations in which we can exercise the virtue of truthfulness only at the expense of not exercising the virtue of tact, as when we are asked a question to which the straightforward answer will pain our questioner. In these situations the person who would give a straightforward answer would seem to be conspicuously truthful, to possess the virtue of truthfulness to a higher degree than the person who responds more evasively, whereas the person who prefers tactful evasion would seem to be conspicuously tactful, to possess the virtue of tact to a higher degree than the person who gives a more straightforward response. But since the two responses are mutually exclusive, does it not follow that, at least in some measure, the degree to which a person possesses the virtue of truthfulness

Integrating Virtues: Character  229 must correlate inversely with the degree to which he possesses the virtue of tact?24

Walker’s (1993, 48)  argument relies on two assumptions:  the conflict assumption and the correlation assumption. At first glance, the conflict assumption seems relatively mundane: sometimes the exercise of one virtue conflicts with that of another. We will see later, however, the falsity of Walker’s claim that truthful and tactful responses, for example, are mutually exclusive. Walker (1993, 48)’s correlation assumption is this: “the degree to which a person possesses a virtue correlates directly with the extent of its exercise, so that the greater the degree to which a virtue is possessed, the more extensively it would be exercised.”25 The correlation assumption applies to all virtues—​not only to truthfulness and tact—​but it is at work in Walker’s example using these two virtues. The person who chooses truthfulness over tact would possess the former more strongly than the latter, and the strength of her possession of these two virtues would correlate directly with the extent of their exercise. When Walker (1993, 48) states in the passage quoted above, “the degree to which a person possesses the virtue of truthfulness must correlate inversely with the degree to which he possesses the virtue of tact,” the inverse correlation of the degree of his possession of truthfulness with the degree of his possession of tact relies on the correlation of the extent of his prior exercise of the virtues of truthfulness and tact. Truthfulness would have been exercised more than tact. As we will see, the correlation assumption—​that

24 Walker (1993, 48, n. 4 attributes the example to Watson (1984). 25 As Russell (2009, 349) notes, the correlation assumption is not the view that the strength of one’s virtue correlates with the bare frequency of one’s exercise of the virtue. Walker (1993, 54, emphasis his) states: “the Correlation Assumption concerns itself with the extent to which a virtue would be exercised in action, i.e., with the range of different types of situations in which it would be exercised.” Russell (2009, 349, n. 14) also points out that in the absence of a principled way of individuating types of situations, Walker (1993)’s view could collapse into the frequency view.

230  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement the degree of the possession of a virtue directly correlates with its exercise, is false. It is worth mentioning that Walker’s claim is a psychological and developmental one, not conceptual. He is not contending that the virtues are necessarily incompatible (see Walker, 1993, 44–​ 48; see also Russell, 2009, 341). To us, the most interesting claim of Walker’s argument seems to be that virtues can develop within a single personality in such a way that their exercise can become mutually incompatible. Take, for example, the virtues of truthfulness and tact, the expression of which could seem incompatible, generating conflict. One potential scenario is that a person develops one of these virtues at the expense of the other—​such as someone who consistently acts truthfully at the expense of tact (or vice versa), as in the scenario described in the passage quoted from Walker. In such a case, she has developed one virtue at the expense of the other. But given that the developmental result of this would be a strong capacity for one of the virtues and only a weak capacity for the other, this doesn’t necessarily involve conflict. A person who possessed the virtue of truthfulness more strongly than that of tact mightn’t even be tempted to respond tactfully, or might see occasions that others would see calling for either tact or truthfulness or a combination of both as only calling for truthfulness. To use the language we introduced in Chapter 1, they are simply less attuned to tact-​relevant stimuli than they are honesty-​relevant stimuli. Nonetheless, genuine conflict could arise—​ along with the resulting psychological strain—​under circumstances where the person possessed both virtues strongly enough that both became “activated” in the same situation, creating a conflicting tension: a person wants to be honest, yet at the same time, she wants to be tactful. But (as we discussed in Chapters 1 and 3, and will articulate more fully in a moment) this tension could push the person to more fully integrate her virtues, via the employment of practical

Integrating Virtues: Character  231 wisdom, until she finds the sweet spot in which she can be both honest and tactful—​thereby improving her character overall. Several philosophers have discussed versions of the incompatibility view (e.g., Watson (1984); Swanton, 2003, 286–​290); and Russell, 2009, 340–​ 355). The general consensus of these philosophers, with which we agree, is that Walker’s argument relies on an impoverished conception of what a virtue is. On Walker’s view, a virtue is apparently a tendency or propensity to act that is not informed by practical wisdom. Yet practical wisdom is central to the full development and expression of virtues, and to those virtues being integrated into character. Any plausible conception of virtue must incorporate practical wisdom into the notion of what a virtue is. For example, Watson (1984, 57ff) defends what he calls the “due concern” conception of virtue, opposing it to the “straight” view. Watson (1984, 57–​58) construes the “straight” view as a simple tendency to act in a certain way, that is, generosity is a tendency to give up something of significant material value to oneself—​and the stronger the tendency, the stronger the virtue.26 On the straight view, virtues are identified with devotion to a specific good or value (see Watson, 1984, 64), so virtues can easily come into conflict. One’s honesty, e.g., one’s devotion to truth, can easily conflict with one’s tact, which we would regard as a devotion to compassion or benevolence. By contrast, the “due concern” conception “construes a virtue as a characteristic readiness to feel, desire, deliberate, choose, and act well in certain respects” (Watson, 1984, 58–​59). Moreover, “On the due concern view moral excellences involve the capacity to strike and pursue a proper balance of conflicting values (where a proper balance is possible)” (Watson, 1984, 64). When the matter is indeterminate, that is, there is no “right answer” as to whether one should be tactful or

26 Watson (1984, 57–​58) interprets Wallace (1978) as holding the “straight” view, and articulates his “due concern” view in contrast to it. We think the straight view is quite similar to Walker (1993)’s conception of virtue.

232  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement honest, just or merciful, and so on, focusing on one value instead of the other is not contrary to any virtue (Watson, 1984, 64). The “due concern” view clearly incorporates practical wisdom, whereas the “straight view” seems not to. Similarly, Russell (2009, 339–​ 343) defends the “directions” against the “trajectories” view of virtues, but is more explicit than Watson (1984) about roles for practical wisdom in each conception. Russell (2009, 342; emphasis his) contends that on the trajectories view, the virtues “tend toward certain sorts of actions or considerations, and as such, exercising a virtue will result in good action if the trajectory is unobstructed and tending in what happens to be the right way, but there is not internal to a virtue an excellence by which a virtue apprehends the correct direction all things considered.” Russell (2009, 343) lists Brandt (1981) and Wallace (1978) as proponents of what he calls the “trajectories” view and he notes (2009, 342, n. 7) that Watson (1984) calls some views of this sort the “straight view.” Russell claims that Watson (1984)’s discussion focuses on simple tendencies to action, and this is a narrower class of views than what he is calling “trajectories.” Russell (2009, 348–​355) discusses Walker (1993)’s view at length, arguing that, though not obvious at first sight, “his view of the virtues must be a form of the trajectories view” (351). By contrast, Russell’s “directions” view of the virtues “holds that while each virtue operates primarily within its own characteristic sphere of concern, to have a virtue involves understanding and deliberating about things in that sphere as bearing on the spheres of concern characteristic of other virtues as well” (342). He traces this view to Aristotle, whose conception of virtue, he (342–​343) contends, is of a tendency to choose, act, and feel in accordance with practical wisdom, which Russell (2009, 343) avows, “transcends all the various spheres of concern of the particular virtues.” Finally, noting that Walker seems to interpret virtues as “firm, unshakeable tendencies,” Swanton (2003, 288)  contends, “But at the level of the particular, flexibility is necessary, for the exercise of

Integrating Virtues: Character  233 phronēsis demands that one judge when it is appropriate to manifest this tendency. The firm, unshakeable tendency to give of one’s resources is not the firm, unshakeable tendency to give of one’s resources whenever one detects need, or whenever one is asked.” Thus, for each philosopher—​Watson (1984), Russell (2009), and Swanton (2003)—​the preferred conception of what a virtue is incorporates discernment or practical wisdom (see also note 114). Walker’s view, on the other hand, relies on a conception of virtue that does not seem to be informed by practical wisdom. It seems to us that the conception of virtue in question is one key to understanding how the virtues might be integrated within a single personality in a way that does not involve incompatibility or strain, or, if incompatibility or strain do arise, the possessor of virtue has a resource, namely, her practical wisdom, that enables her to think through the issues involved and, if possible, resolve them. On our view (and presumably Watson’s, Russell’s, and Swanton’s), Walker (1993)’s correlation thesis is false: there is no direct correlation between the strength of the possession of a mature virtue and its exercise. The exercise of a mature virtue in any given situation, including those in which virtues conflict, is informed and mediated by practical wisdom. Practical wisdom enables its possessor to check and balance the exercise of potentially conflicting virtues in any given situation. Russell (2009, 351–​352) describes something similar when he writes of “tempering.’27 Tact would temper truthfulness when someone tells another a hard truth in a compassionate way, seeking to avoid hurting the other as much as possible. Her choice to balance truthfulness with tact would then be adjudicated and informed by the desire to be truthful without being hurtful, not the expression of a strong propensity to truthfulness which excludes tact, or vice versa. But this shows the falsity of Walker (1993, 48)’s

27 Russell (2009, 352)  observes that “Presumably, Walker does not count such “tempering” as an exercise of a virtue, apparently because he thinks of exercising a virtue as doing what one, insofar as one has the virtue in question, would prefer to do.”

234  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement conflict assumption, that “the two responses [truthfulness and tact] are mutually exclusive.” We now see that they need not be: practical wisdom enables us to temper truthfulness with tact or vice versa. The role of practical wisdom in integrating virtues into a single personality, which requires adjudicating conflict and tempering virtues when appropriate, provides a way of explaining how virtues can co-​exist and be exercised without undue strain within a single personality. Watson (1983, 63–​66) and Wolf (2007, 156–​163) bring to the fore another dimension of the incompatibility issue as an objection to the reciprocity thesis.28 This is the notion that the values or ideals to which someone might devote their life—​creativity, benevolence, justice, security, and so on—​are not harmonious.29 The essential idea is that lives can be directed toward the attainment of a plurality of ideals or values that are at least sometimes in conflict. Effectively pursuing them would require cultivating incompatible virtues. Someone devoted to pursuing artistic creativity might be less concerned with becoming conscientious about family life, say, than someone for whom domestic values have primary importance. As Watson (1983, 64) puts it, “In general, there is an irreducible plurality of admirable and choiceworthy ways of human life, each entailing the cultivation and exercise of a distinctive complex of virtues.” The irreducible plurality of values, then, reverberates in the choices one makes about living, with implications for the extent to which all virtues can become a fully unified constellation of qualities within a single personality. On what basis, then, can we judge 28 We note that both authors refer to what we are calling the “reciprocity” thesis as the “unity” thesis. 29 Wolf (2007, 156)  distinguishes pluralism about individual ideals from pluralism about values, and discusses the former. She writes, “A pluralist about individual ideals believes that there are a variety of admirable ways to live” (156), and “At a minimum, a pluralist about individual ideals must acknowledge that there are more worthwhile things to do and ways to be than can be captured or realized in a single life” (157). Because of passages such as these, we believe that Wolf ’s distinction between pluralism about individual ideals and pluralism about values does not make a difference to the view being advanced here.

Integrating Virtues: Character  235 that a person has even one virtue, or that the virtues she has are unified into a coherent whole, such that she can be said to be virtuous tout court? Watson (1984, 65) answers as follows: We cannot look merely at the frequency with which someone manifests concern for others to determine whether he or she has the virtue of benevolence. The form and extent of the expression of that concern (in thought and action) must be viewed in relation to the person’s other attachments and undertakings. To a significant degree, the attribution of a virtue depends upon a judgment about a person’s entire way of life. In this sense, the criterion of due concern is “holistic.”

He elaborates further: In sum, to say that possessing one virtue requires possessing them all is not to say that all morally good lives will manifest each of the virtues equally. To live a life for which one cannot be faulted morally—​a morally good human life—​is to live a life informed by due concern for all morally relevant considerations. Such concern will take many different forms. In this variety, individuals (and cultures) may express their distinctive moral styles. (Watson, 1984, 66; emphasis his)

We take it that Watson is expressing three key points. First, the judgment that a person possesses a single virtue must depend on the judgment of how it relates to other factors in her life, and indeed, to her entire way of life, and not some other criterion such as the frequency of virtuous action. This is what he means by saying that the criterion of judgment is “holistic.” Second, Watson frankly acknowledges that not all morally good people (people of good character) will manifest each virtue equally. Finally, a morally good life must be informed by thoughtful attention to all morally

236  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement relevant considerations. We think this is what Wolf (2007, 156–​161) is getting at when she argues that the kind of knowledge needed for virtue is evaluative, and that evaluative knowledge is unified; that is, the evaluative knowledge required for each virtue requires the evaluative knowledge needed for every other virtue if one’s life is to be judged virtuous tout court. We agree with Watson and Wolf in many respects. We agree, for example, with the notion that judgments about whether someone is virtuous tout court—​in other words, judgments about someone’s character—​should be holistic, taking into account many factors about how a person perceives, thinks, feels, acts, and in general, lives her life. We also find appealing Wolf ’s idea that the evaluative knowledge of a truly virtuous person whose choices have taken her down one specific path, say, career pursuit, should reflect evaluative knowledge and appreciation of the different values and ideals that motivate the life choices of others. For example, it seems churlish and petty of women who have chosen career pursuit over motherhood to denigrate “stay at home moms” for the choices they’ve made. A  more knowledgeable, and we think, charitable outlook would recognize the value of others’ life choices, within morally appropriate limits. That said, our view that there is no finite and specifiable list of the virtues informs our approach to Watson and Wolf, and, indeed, our general approach to the reciprocity of the virtues thesis. We agree with Watson (1984, 66)’s claim that not all morally good lives need manifest every virtue, but we disagree with the notion that they need to possess every virtue to some degree. If the list of virtues is not finite, but indeterminate, and includes virtues such as nunchi that are culture-​specific, it seems unreasonable to maintain that a morally good person cannot be truly said to possess the virtues (in the form of moral character) if she is lacking a virtue she does not know exists and cannot reasonably come to know exists, and that she never had the opportunity to develop. We believe that

Integrating Virtues: Character  237 the weaker integration thesis provides a more reasonable way of conceptualizing how virtues can be united within a personality. On our view, the virtues are acquired and expressed as there is reason for them to be in specific cultural contexts—​and if virtue-​relevant stimuli are not present in those contexts, it is unreasonable to fault someone for not having the corresponding virtue. Similarly, the trajectory of personal virtue development—​how virtues are acquired and integrated over a person’s lifetime—​is part of a person’s unique social learning history. This introduces a respect in which we part ways with Watson (1984, 66)’s notion that a morally good life must express due concern for all morally relevant considerations and Wolf (2007, 156–​161)’s conception of the unity of evaluative knowledge. Ideally, a fully virtuous person would have given due concern to all morally relevant considerations in her life choices and would have evaluative knowledge and appreciation of values and life choices that differ from hers—​at least those she has encountered and/​or has knowledge of. Even in less than ideal circumstances, a woman dedicated to career pursuit might have considered the option of being a stay at home mom and duly appreciate and respect the values expressed by a stay at home mom’s life choices. The assumption in this case is that she has access to the relevant knowledge and is capable of appreciating different choices. However, through no fault of their own, some virtuous people do not and cannot have knowledge of different life options. Impoverished villagers in India, for example, might not have knowledge of and thus, cannot appreciate, the values expressed by a life devoted to the production of music or sculpture, or the study of advanced science or philosophy. Because their circumstances prevent them from having this knowledge, they are not able to give due concern to the moral considerations that motivate these life choices. Perhaps Watson would say that a range of otherwise morally relevant considerations are not, in fact, relevant for them, given their circumstances. But

238  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement both Watson and Wolf might say that such people cannot be considered morally good tout court. We believe this sets too high a bar for evaluations of moral goodness tout court in these kinds of cases. Presumably, however, Watson and Wolf would agree with us when we say that the impoverished villagers in India and others like them can be, and many likely are, morally good people, that is, people of good character, living virtuous lives within the range of choices that are available to them. Judgments of their moral goodness or virtue, we believe, could rest on the unity of the evaluative knowledge that is available to them, but more nuanced judgments must be grounded in the extent to which they have actually integrated into their characters the virtues that are available to them, responding in virtue-​ appropriate ways to the complex features of the environments that they encounter in their daily lives. In a footnote, Wolf raises a more serious problem for her view about the generality of evaluative knowledge that she does not pursue in her essay. She writes (2007, 158, n. 17): There is a stronger form of pluralism with respect to individual ideals, however, that does seem to be in tension with the unity thesis. On this stronger version, what makes one life admirable might essentially include evaluative judgments that are incompatible with judgments fundamental to what is admirable in another life. The deep and single-​minded political commitment one admires in one person may make her oblivious to the power of works of art that express conflicting political visions or to the humour of comedians who take political values less seriously than she is willing to do. What is admirable in her character, one might think, makes it not only unnecessary but impossible to possess other sorts of virtues—​she cannot, for example, possess the virtues one admires in the artist or comedian in question, or in the art critic who is able to suspend some kinds of evaluative

Integrating Virtues: Character  239 belief enough to be open to appreciating different works of art on their own terms. Someone who subscribes to this strong form of pluralism might think that what is admirable in one life may essentially require its subject to have views that are incompatible with views that are essential to some other admirable way of life. If one endorses this view, then one cannot believe that the virtues, or the knowledge they require, are unified in any straightforward sense. According to this form of pluralism, the possession of one virtue not only does not require, it actually forbids the possession of the knowledge required for some of the rest.

If this is true, we believe that Watson’s and Wolf ’s requirements that possessors of morally good lives have knowledge of and give due concern to a wide range of moral and evaluative life options, thus displaying a background of “unity” in the choices they make, lacks nuance, and in some cases, sets too high a bar for attributions of moral goodness tout court. It sets too high a bar in cases in which people, through no fault of their own, lack access to knowledge needed to evaluate radically different life choices from those that are available to them. It lacks nuance in cases such as Wolf (2007, 158, n.  17)  describes. This can be illustrated by considering that her example can be analyzed in at least two ways. According to the first, the person who is strongly committed to a political ideal such that she is unable to appreciate other political perspectives is not virtuous at all, but is instead, myopic, for the strength of her commitment prevents her from attaining the expansive vision needed for the development of other virtues, such as open-​mindedness and tolerance. On this construal, it is not the case that one strongly held virtue, such as loyalty to a political ideal, prevents her from attaining others. Her loyalty is not a virtue to begin with. Our second interpretation of Wolf ’s example allows that the person strongly committed to a political ideal is indeed virtuous and is

240  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement prevented by her virtuous commitment from having tolerance or open-​mindedness in the political domain. However, we do not see why the strength of her political commitment would prevent her from having these virtues in other areas of her life. On neither interpretation would one be able to say that she is morally good tout court, and this seems, to us, a reasonable judgment, given that she has access to the kinds of evaluative knowledge needed to have virtues, such as tolerance and open-​mindedness, in which she is lacking. At least in the second case, however, we could acknowledge that she has a moral “blind spot” in the area of her political commitments, and offer a more nuanced judgment of her character, namely, that the integration of virtues throughout her character is incomplete, and this is caused by the strength with which she holds her political commitments. Referring to the integration thesis allows us to diagnose why she lacks virtues in some domains. In both our interpretations, her loyalty to her political ideals, we think, should be tempered by practical wisdom, which could make her more tolerant and open-​minded about alternative political perspectives. In sum, we think that neither Watson nor Wolf succeeds in their attempts to defend the reciprocity thesis. Both seek to defend the thesis by contending that, even in lives that do not manifest all of the virtues, judgments of moral goodness tout court can be made by appealing to holistic judgments of due concern for all morally relevant considerations or the unity of evaluative knowledge. Yet there are examples that suggest that attributions of moral goodness tout court made on the grounds that Watson and Wolf advocate set too high a bar and must be qualified to take into account various kinds of moral nuance, such as the existence of moral blind spots in a person’s character. We believe that the integration thesis provides a more practical and nuanced way of making attributions of moral goodness, as well as of explaining how virtues can be combined (or not) to form a morally robust and integrated character.

Integrating Virtues: Character  241

The Limited Unity of Virtues In an influential paper, Badhwar (1996) argues against the strong reciprocity thesis and in favor of what she calls the “limited unity of the virtues (LUV).” LUV consists of three distinct claims: (1) The existence of a virtue in one domain of a person’s life does not imply the existence of that virtue or of any other virtue in any other domain; (2) The existence of virtue in one domain implies the absence of vice and ignorance in most other domains; and (3) Within the same domain, every virtue requires the others; thus no virtue is incompatible with any other virtue or independent of any other virtue. (Badhwar, 1996, 308) Badhwar (1996, 308)  writes:  “The most fundamental difference between the limited unity and the unity [strong reciprocity] theses—​the difference that explains all the other differences—​is the rejection by LUV of an assumption that is implicit in UV [unity of virtue thesis], namely, that if someone has a virtue, she must have it in all areas or domains of her life, i.e., that every virtue is global or comprehensive in scope.” In an insightful discussion of Badhwar (1996)’s view, Russell (2009, 365)  raises the question:  is the courage that would be exhibited in one domain, say, social settings, the same trait as that which would be displayed in another domain, for example, that of physical danger, or is it the same in name only?30 Russell (2009, 365, n. 25) observes that the notion that a virtue is the same in name

30 A related issue concerns trait names for gender-​based virtues. For example, in India men are encouraged to be courageous by taking risks in the face of fear, whereas women are encouraged to accept their lot in life, and “courageously” keep silent. To us this would be the same in name only, with actual courage being prescribed for men, but something altogether different, perhaps not virtuous at all, being prescribed for women, yet calling it “courage.’

242  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement only across domains seems to be held by Adams (2006, 179–​184).31 But if virtues aren’t the same traits across domains, character is extremely fragmented. Russell (2009, 365)  believes, as we do, that Badhwar (1996) opts for a weaker account, according to which courage is the same trait across domains, but emerges piecemeal, in a domain-​specific fashion. We think that even this weaker position, according to which, as Russell (2009, 366) puts it, “virtues are domain-​specific only in their development and exercise, not in their natures,” encounters difficulties. One challenge is that of delimiting domains. According to Badhwar (1996, 316; emphasis hers), “For the purposes of LUV, then, I shall understand a domain to mean any area or realm of practical concern that can be psychologically isolated from other practical concerns, and that is important enough to justify the ascription of practical wisdom and virtue (or their contraries).” She explains that the psychological claim about isolation or compartmentalization is empirical, and subject to revision by developments in psychology, but notes also that there is a normative requirement—​ namely, importance—​that a realm of concern must meet to qualify as a domain of virtue (Badhwar, 1996, 317–​318). In a later work, Badhwar (2014, 166) modifies her conception of a domain:32 In “LUV” I  thought of domains as neatly demarcated areas of concern, such as social danger or physical danger. I  am now 31 Adams (2006, 125–​127) also adopts a modular approach to virtues. He makes two causal claims that we do not endorse. The first is that behavioral dispositions are modular in that they are mutually independent and domain-​specific. The second is that such modules can be “added together to form a more inclusive composite disposition” (Adams, 2006, 126). We do not know what it means to “add” virtues that are operative in one domain to those operative in another to form a “composite” virtue. Though we make no claims about the modularity of virtuous dispositions, Snow (2009, 2016, 2018b) adopts the view that virtues which at first appear to be operative in only one domain or area of one’s life can be generalized throughout different domains. 32 Our discussion of Badhwar (2014)’s change of view about domains draws on Snow (2015, 216–​217).

Integrating Virtues: Character  243 persuaded that an individual’s virtue is unlikely to fall into such neatly demarcated domains. For example, an individual is more likely to be courageous in the face of some kinds of social danger and some kinds of physical danger than in the face of social danger tout court, or physical danger tout court.

Additionally, she believes that the domains of individuals are formed by our shared evolutionary history (thus, we have domains in common) as well as by our individual social learning histories, biological endowments, and personalities (thus, we have domains unique to each person) (Badhwar, 2014, 166). The crucial change here is the admission that domains are neither neatly demarcated, nor psychologically insulated from the influence of other domains. This seems right to us. It seems artificial to think that domains are psychologically compartmentalized and immune to influence from other domains. But if so, this opens the way for the development of virtue across domains. The fact, for example, that a person is able to overcome her fear of a bully at school might also help her to overcome her fear of water so that she decides to learn to swim. This is because domains are psychologically porous, and we have practical reason, which seems applicable across domains. She can say to herself, for example, “You were able to buck yourself up and respond to that bully. Your success depended on a strategy for dealing with him. You can buck yourself up now and use a strategy for getting in the water and learning to swim.” Her courage in both cases—​which we regard as the same in nature across domains and not the same in name only—​depends on features of both the interpretative and motivational systems (such as the belief that she can conquer her fears, the desire to be strong, her valuing courage, her goal to be braver in the face of scary obstacles, etc.) and practical wisdom. She wants to stop being bullied and wants to learn to swim. As such, her desires work in conjunction with her practical wisdom to come up with strategies in each case, to find ways in which she can overcome her fears and accomplish her goals.

244  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement We are not sure what the concept of domains adds to this scenario. Perhaps it provides the background conditions that activate and shape one’s motivations and cognitive responses. More robustly, perhaps the concept of a domain is also helpful in conceptualizing the conditions under which the virtue is likely to be enacted in the future. At first, we might only see the virtue as relevant in the particular circumstances in which it was initially cultivated. Then, through the use of practical wisdom, we see the relevance of the virtue in circumstances that bear obvious similarities to the original circumstances. Harder still would be extending the virtue into relevant domains that are furthest removed from the one in which the virtue was initially cultivated, especially if the far-​removed domain is an area of personal weakness (e.g., having the courage to stand up to a parent with whom you have a complex history or to ask a woman out on a date). In this way, the notion of domains might help us to understand why a person is “better” at a virtue under some circumstances than others—​why some virtues are expressed more “locally,” rather than “globally.” Another challenge for LUV is Badhwar’s view of practical wisdom. She writes (1996, 308):  “The premise that practical wisdom is an all-​or-​nothing affair is also essential to the argument for UV, but this premise . . . is false: practical wisdom can be, and almost always is, exhibited only in some domains of an individual’s life.” We believe there is a middle ground between viewing practical wisdom as an all-​or-​nothing affair—​which, for Badhwar, seems to mean that practical wisdom is applicable to all domains of a person’s life or to none—​and viewing it as bounded by domains. As the example in the previous paragraph illustrates, the porosity of domains implies the generalizability of practical wisdom and motivations to be virtuous, and thus, of virtue, across domains. For the foregoing reasons, we reject LUV. Yet Badhwar’s concern with whether virtues are global or domain-​specific raises serious questions, both about the nature of virtue, as Russell (2009, 365–​ 366) points out, as well as about the scope of virtue and practical

Integrating Virtues: Character  245 wisdom—​global, local, or somewhere in between. The notion of a domain also brings to the fore questions about delimiting the contexts or spheres of applicability within which virtues are exercised and developed, sustained and nurtured, or impeded and stunted. As stated earlier, we follow Nussbaum (1988) in believing that virtues are operative within various spheres of life, but we also believe those spheres are porous and interdependent, such that there are often no clear boundaries between spheres.33 As we discussed in Chapters  1 and 3, we think that as virtues develop, it becomes increasingly likely that people will adopt context-​(or domain-​) general virtue-​oriented motivational states (e.g., desires, values, goals, etc.) and virtue-​relevant attributes into their narrative identities. This provides a “bridge” of sorts between domains, helping to generate more globalized virtue functioning. Our discussion of Badhwar concludes our engagement with variations on the themes of the unity of virtues and the reciprocity of virtues. A very different and more radical challenge to the notion of character comes from philosophers who have become known as “situationists.’

Situationism and the Fragmentation of Character To understand the situationist challenge to virtue ethics, let’s briefly review some of the main points of received philosophical wisdom 33 We do not believe that what Badhwar (1996, 2014) means by a “domain” is the same as what Nussbaum (1988) means by a “sphere of life.” As we mentioned, Nussbaum (1988, 35–​36), following Aristotle, lists eleven spheres of life and their corresponding virtues. We believe the list is more extensive, and now includes spheres of life pertaining to human interactions with the environment and with technology, as well as corresponding virtues. These spheres of life demarcate general areas of practical concern for all humans. Badhwar’s conception of a “domain,” we think, is more limited and refers to an area of practical concern within a person’s life. Domains are shaped by our shared evolutionary history as well as by the unique social learning histories, biological endowments, and personalities of individuals, and thus, seem to be person-​specific (see Badhwar, 2014, 166).

246  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement about virtue. In traditional philosophical accounts of virtue, such as Aristotle’s, virtues are assumed to be global traits, that is, traits that are consistently manifested in actions across different types of situations. For example, if someone is considered honest in the Aristotelian sense, she can reliably be expected to be honest in business transactions, when under oath in court, in conversations with her spouse, and so on. Contemporary virtue ethicists generally follow Aristotle in this assumption.34 Contemporary virtue ethicists also typically endorse Aristotle’s rich conception of virtue or something like it. On this view, virtues are character states or dispositions that are entrenched in the sense of being deep-​seated parts of someone’s personality, and are temporally enduring. Virtues reliably give rise to virtuous actions, that is, actions that are motivated by the desire to act virtuously in the circumstances, and are guided by practical wisdom. Virtues in this sense are formed early in life through habituation—​that is, action that is guided by parents or others concerned to teach the young to be virtuous. Ideally, specific virtues, such as courage, generosity, and compassion, become well-​integrated components of personality, forming what we would call “character.” Practical wisdom, as well as appropriate motivation, is essential for virtuous action, yet at some point, virtues should become “second nature,” in the sense that possessors of virtue should become able to act virtuously without the need for conscious deliberation about whether and how to act. As should be clear, the account of virtue and character we have presented thus far, grounded in WTT, accords nicely with this overview. Basing their arguments on social psychological studies, several philosophers, who have come to be known as “situationists,” contend that global traits such as this are scarce, and have little, if anything, to do with producing behavior. More broadly, they maintain that virtue ethics lacks adequate empirical grounding.35 34 Badhwar (2014, 1996) and Adams (2006) are exceptions. 35 E.g., Gilbert Harman, “Moral Philosophy Meets Social Psychology: Virtue Ethics and the Fundamental Attribution Error,” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 99

Integrating Virtues: Character  247 A large literature of philosophical and more recently, psychological work, seeks to refute situationism and to establish empirical bases for Aristotelian virtue ethics.36 For example, while situationists have long pointed to weak correlations between traits and trait-​expressive behavior, recent work stemming from WTT (e.g., Fleeson, 2001; Fleeson and Jayawickreme, 2015) refutes this critique by first showing that acknowledging that trait-​expressive behaviors do in fact vary tremendously across even one or two days as a function of situational needs, behavioral constraints, mood, and so on (as situationists have pointed out), yet the data also show that when traits are measured as density distributions constructed from dozens of measurement occasions for the same person, the resulting distribution of trait-​expressive behavior is extremely consistent, or trait-​like, and individuals’ distributions reliably differ from one another, another requirement of traits. However, situationists have extended their critique to practical rationality (what we have been calling “practical wisdom”) by arguing that nonconscious or automatic processes, which operate outside of conscious awareness, are often in conflict with the dictates of reflective reason.37 We discussed conscious and nonconscious processing—​and its role in virtue expression—​in Chapters 1 and 3. Situationists cite empirical psychological studies to highlight the ways in which conscious and nonconscious processing comes apart—​and, indeed, often conflicts. They argue that because of this, cognition is too fragmented to support the kind of integrated personality needed to sustain robust virtues. We believe they overstate the case for fragmentation and underestimate the coordination of conscious and nonconscious processing that (1999):  315–​331; John M. Doris, Lack of Character:  Personality and Moral Behavior (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Doris (1998), and Merritt (2002). 36 Philosophical work includes Sreenivasan (2002), Miller (2003), Kamtekar (2004), Annas (2005), Sabini and Silver (2005), Russell (2009), and Snow (2010). 37 Maria W. Merritt, John M. Doris, and Gilbert Harman, “Character,” in The Moral Psychology Handbook, ed. John M. Doris and the Moral Psychology Research Group, pp. 355–​401 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

248  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement both produces and is produced through the kinds of habituated structures that form and sustain virtuous character. The authors motivate their views on practical rationality by attempting to explain a phenomenon they call “moral dissociation” (Merritt, Doris, and Harman, 2010, 367–​370). Moral dissociation, as they define it, is shown by many of the subjects in the social psychological experiments situationists cite: the subjects engage in behavior that is at odds with their moral commitments. The authors argue that behavior inconsistent with subjects’ endorsed values is owing to what they call “depersonalized response tendencies” (370–​371). These are tendencies to respond to situational factors that operate below the level of conscious awareness. To illustrate, the authors present a number of automaticity studies, mainly illustrating the effects of priming on behavior. Behavior is primed by presenting subjects with non-​consciously registered cues that are shown to influence their subsequent behavior. For example, the authors cite experiments in which subjects’ polite or rude behavior was primed by their having read scrambled sentences containing embedded descriptions of polite or rude behavior (374). Such studies are ubiquitous in the literature on social cognition. The authors use them to support what they call “incongruency” (375). Incongruency results when automatically produced behavior is at odds with the individual’s normative commitments such that the person would reject or condemn such behavior were she consciously aware of it. Examples of incongruency can be found in literature on social stereotypes: we often have stereotypically aversive reactions based on race, gender, age, disability, and other factors which we would reject or condemn were we made aware of them. The authors go beyond the claim that automatic processes can explain the apparently conflicted behavior of subjects in situationist experiments to critique practical rationality: “To the extent that automaticity is pervasive, it renders the virtue-​ethical model of practical rationality problematic. Most obviously, incongruency

Integrating Virtues: Character  249 unsettles notions of well-​integrated deliberation” (375). Their treatment creates the impression that automatic processes undermine conscious deliberation, thereby resulting in fragmented cognition. Yet they pull back from this stance to some extent, noting work within automaticity literature on self-​monitoring and self-​control as well as on the nonconscious effects of interpersonal influences on moral cognition (387ff). They write:  “By way of remediation, then, the traditional virtue-​ethical approach can prescribe, in effect, an agenda of deliberate self-​improvement: e.g., ‘Note to self: pay better attention to how the other person is doing’ or, ‘If I encounter someone in distress and other bystanders are around, do not look to the others to figure out what to do’ ” (388). But they caution against the usefulness of such strategies: “given the ubiquity and power of behavior-​influencing cognitive processes that may resist reflective supervision, and the limitations on the cognitive resources required to implement such supervision” (388). We believe that three different lines of research, not discussed by the authors, offer a more unified picture of how practical rationality functions. This research does not negate the possibility of conflict in conscious and nonconscious processing, but it does explain why we’re not wholly at the mercy of nonconscious forces. First, the authors fail to discuss research on goal-​dependent automaticity, which provides evidence that automatic processes are used in the service of consciously chosen goals.38 In goal-​dependent automaticity, the frequent and consistent pairing of situational features with goal-​directed behaviors develops chronic situation-​ to-​representation links. Representations of an individual’s enduring goals can repeatedly become activated in the same type of situation so that the mental association between situational features and goal-​directed behavior becomes automatic. When an individual

38 We draw on Snow (2010, 43–​45; 2006, 538–​549) for the ideas in this and the next three paragraphs. For more information, see, for example, Bargh and Gollwitzer (1994, 71–​124), and Bargh et al. (2001, 1014–​1027).

250  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement encounters the relevant situational features, the representation of the associated goal is non-​consciously activated. The activated representation sets in train plans to achieve the goal which flexibly unfold in interaction with changing information from the environment. Non-​consciously activated goal-​directed behaviors are not reflex reactions to stimuli, but are intelligent, flexible responses to unfolding situational cues and have many of the same qualities as consciously chosen actions. Researchers have shown that both cognitive processing goals and social behavioral goals can be non-​ consciously triggered (Bargh and Barndollar, 1996, 466ff; Bargh and Ferguson, 2000, 928ff; Bargh et  al., 2001; Chartrand and Bargh, 1996). For example, an early study on cognitive processing goals by Gollwitzer et al. (1990) shows how a goal adopted in one context carries over to a completely different context (Bargh and Barndollar, 1996, 467; Chartrand and Bargh, 1996, 465–​466). Subjects were instructed to adopt either a deliberative or an implemental mindset by thinking about a personal problem either in terms of alternative approaches to solving it (deliberative), or in terms of actions they would actually take to solve it (implemental). Next, they were instructed to complete a fairy tale about a medieval king who had to go to war but did not want to leave his daughter unprotected. Those previously instructed to take a deliberative outlook were more likely to discuss the possible options the king could take, whereas those who previously thought implementally were more likely to complete the story by describing what the king actually did to solve the problem. Social behaviors, such as cooperation and performing well, have also been elicited through nonconscious goal priming (Bargh et al., 2001). Reactive goals, such as the goals of cooperation or competition, have been activated in response to the perceived goals and intentions of one’s interaction partners (Bargh, 1990, 100–​101). Researchers have also found that mental representations of significant others can affect goal pursuit (Fitzsimons and Bargh, 2003; Fitzsimons et al., 2005; Shah, 2003). Furthermore, when habits are

Integrating Virtues: Character  251 established, the activation of the goal to act automatically elicits habitual behavior (Aarts and Dijksterhuis, 2000). Finally, merely thinking about a means to a goal can bring the goal to mind and can facilitate goal attainment by improving task persistence and performance (Shah and Kruglanski, 2003). Interestingly, temptations have been shown to activate overriding goal pursuits. For example, an encounter with a piece of delicious-​looking chocolate cake can activate the representation of a goal to lose weight (Fishbach, Friedman, and Kruglanski, 2003). These findings distinguish automatic goal activation from situational control, suggesting that automatic goal activation can promote the personal control of action in accordance with someone’s values. The second line of research that counters the portrayal of rationality as fragmented comes from the work of Lapsley and Hill (2008), who have developed a social cognitive account of moral personality. Central to this account is the notion of moral schemas. Schemas are “general knowledge structures that organize information, expectations and experience” (Lapsley and Hill, 2008, 322). Moral schemas organize a person’s moral beliefs, values, expectations, and so on. On Lapsley and Hill’s view, one’s moral personality is explained by the chronic accessibility of one’s moral schemas. Chronically accessible schemas are easily primed by environmental cues, and can approach automaticity. They enable their possessors to appraise and respond in reliable ways to the social landscape. Moral schemas function similarly to enduring goals: both are enduring knowledge constructs, which, when activated by environmental stimuli, enable an individual to respond with little or no conscious processing. Yet, neither goals nor moral schemas are irrational. Each type of construct is the product of rational processes, and, when automatically primed, can work cooperatively with conscious rational processing, thereby unifying moral personality. The third line of research is from neuroscience. Imaging studies of the brain support a model of brain functioning as a confederation

252  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement of different systems (Cohen, 2005). Generally, these systems cooperate to guide behavior. Disagreements, for example between beliefs and behavior, reflect competition among the systems.39 Admittedly, this line of research partially supports the view of fragmented rationality put forward by Merritt, Doris, and Harman. Yet it offers a more balanced perspective, explaining both how we can act consistently with consciously chosen beliefs, and what happens when incongruency occurs. In sum, the fragmentation of character touted by situationists is more apparent than real. Moreover, the studies they adduce to support their claims can be balanced by other empirical work that indicates greater unity between conscious and nonconscious processing than situationists want to allow. For these reasons, our position is that situationist claims about the fragmentation of character should be rejected.

Conclusion The aim of this chapter was to introduce our conception of character. We did this through our introduction of the integration thesis, which involved four separate yet interlocking claims. First, virtues, conceptualized in terms of WTT, develop together over the course of a person’s life; this development occurs in practical contexts. Second, the development of virtues in situ influences how they are integrated in each person’s overall psychological landscape. Given the messiness of life, we do not make a priori conceptual claims about clusters of virtues that might develop conjointly. Third, virtues initially develop and are integrated through habituation, along with the capacity for practical wisdom. People’s use of

39 Future research might test the hypothesis that cultivation of practical wisdom reduces incongruence among brain systems, thereby reducing value-​ behavior inconsistencies.

Integrating Virtues: Character  253 practical reason affects how well or poorly their virtues are integrated. Habituation into virtue guided, shaped, and constrained by existing social norms, values, and beliefs, as well as by the explicit and implicit instruction and feedback received from caregivers and community. Finally, consistently with our remarks about habituation, we contend that the development and integration of virtues can be supported or hindered by factors external to virtues themselves, whether other personality characteristics or external environmental factors. Thus, as we have argued, our approach to the integration of virtues into a coherent character is avowedly practical and developmental, and is supported by our WTT-​based account of virtue introduced in Chapter 1 and expanded upon in Chapter 3. We hypothesize that how virtues cohere and are integrated into character depends on individual life circumstances, culture, habituation, and the development and use of practical wisdom. A more comprehensive account of the explanation offered here would include discussion of external factors that help or hinder virtue development and integration. We opted not to pursue this topic not only because it would take us too far afield of our concern with virtue measurement, but also because a thorough discussion could require a separate volume. Instead, we sought to situate our conception among a range of philosophical views mostly attempting to conceptualize character in terms of the unity or reciprocity of virtues. We noted similarities to and differences from our view, and gave reasons for preferring it to the alternatives currently on offer. We also considered and rejected a more radical challenge to the integration of character from situationist philosophers. We turn now to the question of how character, conceived of as a constellation of integrated virtues within a personality, can be measured.

5 Strategies for Character Measurement As we discussed in Chapter 4, we view character as the integration of a constellation of virtues—​namely, those virtues we develop in response to the virtue-​relevant situations encountered in our daily lives. Some of this development, especially the early stages, which typically occurs when we are young, happens without conscious thought or reflection, as a function of our cultural training and socialization, and through repeated exposure to the virtue-​relevant features of our daily lives. In order to have a fully-​blown virtuous character, virtue development eventually needs to become a conscious, reflective, and effortful endeavor that is linked up with our narrative identity as a moral person who is committed to living a good life. In such cases, we prioritize the development and exercise of a comprehensive range of virtues, even when it is not easy or expedient to do so. All of this happens within the larger context of both internal and external factors that either support or interfere with virtue development and expression—​namely, other personality traits and underlying physiological and physical capacities, as well as our broader socio-​cultural environment. We will now consider how all of this can be situated within the framework of WTT and then offer strategies for measurement.

Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

Strategies for Character Measurement  255

Integrating WTT with Our Conception of Character WTT was developed as a theoretical account of traits (rather than “personality” as a whole) and therefore is more directly useful as a map of individual virtues. Nevertheless, we should recognize how it intersects with the conception of character developed in Chapter 4. As we have articulated, just as the accurate perception of virtue-​ relevant stimuli (eusunesis; the comprehension part of practical wisdom) is necessary for the development and exercise of particular virtues, such accurate perception is also a necessary foundation upon which to integrate those virtues into a coherent character. Many of the situations we encounter in our lives that call for virtuous responses require us to navigate and manifest more than one virtue. Sometimes this is because we must choose between virtues—​e.g., whether to punish someone in the name of justice or to be merciful—​whereas other times it is because we need to synchronize several virtues into a “blended” virtuous response, such as being compassionately honest (or honestly compassionate).1 Arguably, most of the situations we encounter in our daily lives are like this; they require us to first accurately read the situation, such that we can know which virtues are called for, then adjudicate between conflicting virtues and balance between competing virtues, generating nuanced responses appropriate to specific situations. What is more, the situations we encounter in our daily lives are rarely limited to one specific point in time, where only one virtuous response is called for. Instead, they often extend over time, requiring virtues such as patience and perseverance to enter into 1 The difference here is simply a question of which is the primary virtue being expressed and which is the virtue generating nuance in that expression. You could imagine, on the one hand, a person being compassionately honest when she reveals a difficult truth to someone with compassion (instead of, say, self-​righteousness), and on the other hand, a person being honestly compassionate when they allow their expression of compassion toward someone’s suffering to be infused with a willingness to speak the truth.

256  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement the complex system of virtue-​appropriate responses, as well as requiring a dynamic monitoring and regulation of multiple virtues in order to adapt our responses to best fit the changing demands of the situation as it evolves. Take, for example, a fairly simple and ordinary occurrence:  a heated conflict has arisen between two close friends, where one friend has clearly offended the other. Repairing the friendship is something that will take time and a variety of different virtue-​ appropriate responses from both parties. The offender, for example, will need to be able to recognize the harm she has caused, to experience guilt for her actions and sympathy for her friend. She will need to express genuine regret and compassion in her apology, and honesty in being able to acknowledge the offensiveness of her action. It is likely that this honesty will also need to go deeper in order to expose the reasons for her offensive behavior—​perhaps, for example, she is jealous of her close friend’s recent success, afraid her friend will leave her behind; perhaps she is angry and harbors resentment that her life seems so much harder than her friend’s. These negative feelings, which she may be embarrassed to admit, expressed themselves in her hurtful action toward her friend. Being able to admit this—​which requires a mixture of honesty and courage, and perhaps some self-​compassion—​would be an important part of repairing the relationship. Similarly, the offended must be willing to forgive her friend, perhaps after having an honest, yet compassionate, conversation with her about why she was hurt and why she felt that the friend’s actions were offensive. She will have to acknowledge the worries possessed by the friend, even if she does not agree with them, and be willing to be patient with her as she works through her insecurities. It might occur to her that she has been insufficiently sensitive to the hardships of her friend, and that she could try harder to express her loyalty and commitment to their friendship.

Strategies for Character Measurement  257 This process of reconciling and repairing—​and perhaps even strengthening—​their friendship will inevitably take time. This means that as they work through the conflict, their interactions with each other will require (1) the combination of different virtues at different times throughout the process, as well as (2) the expression of particular virtues over the extended period of time—​e.g., engaging in extended honest dialogue, compassionate patience, and loyal commitment to the value of the friendship itself. The element of time provides scope for the relevance of these latter virtues within the larger system of virtue-​appropriate responses. In short, most of the situations we encounter in life require complex and nuanced virtuous responses that must often be carried out over an extended period of time and must be adaptable to changes in the situation. Aligned with this account, WTT holds that it is important to measure virtues with density distributions across time precisely because traits dynamically respond to contextual needs that arise over the course of everyday life, and we manifest traits when there is reason for us to do so. As we’ve discussed in Chapters  1 and 4, our capacity to produce and adapt virtue manifestations requires that we be sensitive to a wide range of virtue-​relevant stimuli. This sensitivity draws upon, and feeds back into, a host of intermediate constructs that appropriately interpret the stimuli and activate the relevant cognitive, affective, and motivational states, mechanisms, processes, capacities, and structures, which have become stable and chronically accessible over time through habituation and which guide us to the complex, nuanced virtue-​appropriate responses required. In other words, we are able to successfully employ practical wisdom to ascertain what is called for and activate the internal resources necessary to manifest it. Thus, practical wisdom functions to provide a situationally sensitive system of “checks and balances” between the virtues (i.e., the second role of practical wisdom discussed in Chapter 1, in which interactions among multiple virtues are regulated). But it also has a more global role, which is to function as a self-​reflective monitoring

258  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement of those virtues, identifying a person’s strengths and weaknesses as they are activated across a range of contexts and life domains (i.e., the third role of practical wisdom discussed in Chapter 1, in which practical wisdom guides reflection on one’s life as a whole). For example, one might have little trouble being honest, but might struggle to be consistently generous, especially with strangers. Oriented toward virtue at the most general, comprehensive level—​ i.e., in terms of being a decent person and pursuing a good life—​the virtuous person uses information gained through the reflective use of practical wisdom to maximize strengths and correct weaknesses, thereby actively working to improve character over time. What counts as a “good life” is culturally shaped and structured. Culture is an influence on character that could strengthen or weaken the role of specific virtues in one’s constellation. If a woman grows up in a culture that looks sternly upon women who display courage—​or a man grows up in a culture that discourages men from showing compassion—​then these will likely be areas of weakness in their overall character, as their culture’s norms and expectations will be virtue-​constraining (at least within that culture).2 Although in any particular context the subset of virtues that a person manifests is likely to be different (insofar as what is called for varies), we consider a person’s character to be the full constellation of virtues that they possess, whether these are active or latent at any particular point in time. Thus, her character will include not only those virtues that she regularly manifests in her daily life, but also those that stand in reserve, so to speak, for the less common situations in which they are called for. Although the latter virtues are directly called upon less frequently, they are nonetheless important parts of her virtue constellation. Arguably, her less commonly

2 Though a “weakness” might not count as such in one’s home culture, it could become one when a person shifts into a cultural context with different norms—​something that is increasingly common in our modern mobile global society.

Strategies for Character Measurement  259 manifested virtues will meaningfully shape and inform her character, as they are operating in the background. To see this, consider:  someone who is courageous whenever called upon to be so is also likely to find it easier to be compassionate and honest across a wider range of situations than someone who is not courageous—​namely, in those situations where it is intimidating or a little frightening to express compassion and honesty. Thus, her virtue constellation will look different than another’s not simply in her manifestation of courage, but also in terms of her manifestation of compassion and honesty. In WTT terms, a person’s average level of courage (across her density distribution) would not just describe her manifestation of courage but would also serve as a social-​cognitive mechanism for the “explanatory side” of other virtues—​namely, her possession of courage helps us explain why she also manifests a high personal average in her compassion (or honesty) density distribution. To sum up, we propose a model of character in which individual virtues are developed and manifested as a function of a person’s life circumstances, experiences, and culture. In other words, as WTT holds, virtue-​traits are part of a dynamic system in which virtues are manifested in ways that are adaptive to the context and at the same time energized and constrained by one’s internal social-​ cognitive resources. Two such resources include the regulative and reflective functions of practical wisdom, which play key roles in gradually integrating the virtues into a dynamic constellation that constantly evolves toward the good. Her dynamic constellation of virtues includes both active and latent virtues that shape via practical wisdom each other’s manifestation, and is influenced by cultural forces that encourage or suppress their development and expression. In addition, her character is embedded within a larger personality structure, which involves a range of other traits (e.g., extraversion, shyness, and openness to experience) that shape the contours of her character, making some virtues easier to develop and manifest and others more difficult.

260  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Strategies for Measurement Given this discussion, any comprehensive measure of a person’s character needs to measure not only those virtues most obviously active in her daily interactions, but also those operating in the background. In addition, character measures will need to go beyond measuring individual virtues operating in isolation (as we discussed in Chapter 3) in order to capture the complex ways in which multiple virtues guide, shape, constrain, contradict, or complement one another as they become integrated into the constellation of virtues that is a person’s character. At the heart of this lies the “governing” of virtues by a person’s underlying cognitive, affective, and motivational processes that monitor and regulate the potentially competing and interacting inputs and outputs of different virtues. This means that to measure character, we need to measure at least three things. First, we need to measure the constellations of virtues that make up each person’s character. This requires not only measuring the presence of particular virtues—​both in the foreground and the background—​but also the integrative relationships between these virtues. In other words, we are interested in mapping out how virtues individually and collaboratively contribute to a person’s character. Second, we need to measure practical wisdom. The regulative and reflective functions of practical wisdom are especially relevant for character. The regulative function governs the interactions of multiple virtues, and the reflective function requires stepping back and evaluating whether we possess and are able to exercise the set of virtues we need to have a good life. This goes beyond the first measurement goal, which aims only to describe relationships among several virtues. The regulative and reflective roles of practical wisdom are theorized to account for the interrelations among virtues, in addition to being constitutive of character.

Strategies for Character Measurement  261 Third, we need to measure people’s social cognitive mechanisms (values, goals, and identities) as another means of explaining interrelations among virtues. That is, we need to measure the degree to which people have adopted the virtues found in their constellations as a part of their character narrative and identity. Social cognitive mechanisms involve (among other things) the motivational system by which people explicitly seek to cultivate and manifest various virtues in their daily lives, in an effort to become a person of good character—​someone who is able to reliably do what is called for, from the perspective of virtue. The explicit cultivation and manifestation of various virtues is part of the reflective function of practical wisdom. Now let’s look at each of these in turn.

Measuring Virtue Constellations The first thing we need to measure are the constellations of virtues that make up each person’s character. Here we are interested in mapping out how these virtues individually and collaboratively contribute to a person’s character. How might this be carried out? To begin with, it would involve mapping out the density distributions of particular virtues. Using some combination of measurement techniques identified in Chapter  3, a map of people’s virtue-​ constellations could be generated by measuring the dispositionality of their manifestation of different virtues—​i.e., measuring people’s sensitivity to virtue-​relevant stimuli and their ability to recognize and generate virtue-​appropriate responses across a wide range of situations. The density distributions generated through these measurements could be collapsed into average levels of manifestation over a given period of time or over a range of different measurement contexts, thereby generating an average score for each person for each of the virtues in question. These averages could then be used to create a

262  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement multi-​dimensional map illustrating the distribution of the measured virtues, and could be used to highlight individual differences in virtue constellations. This graphic representation of people’s strong (or weak) manifestation of specific virtues would help us to better visualize the different constellation patterns that make up people’s character, facilitating the identification of constellation-​types.3 Figure 5.1 represents a hypothetical construction of how three people (or groups of people) might fare with respect to the manifestation of individual virtues—​the higher the numerical score, the more robust the virtue manifestation. Plotting these scores for several virtues into the virtue map yields a potentially useful approximation of the constellation of virtues that constitute their character. Figure 5.1 illustrates one way of representing people’s performance on the measures of individual virtues discussed in Chapter  3. However, it is important to note that while this map and the other maps are useful for visualization and interpretation purposes, the underlying data from which the maps are constructed would also need to be submitted to formal statistical analyses. Such analyses would, for example, tell us how many truly distinct virtue constellation patterns exist in a population. Supposing that such an analysis resulted in a solution in which three constellation patterns performed well in approximating the full variety of individuals’ patterns, a map such as Figure 5.1 would help us to interpret how combinations of virtues tend to manifest in different people’s (or groups of people’s) lives.

3 As we have already mentioned, we expect the development of virtues and character to be different for each person, which means that each virtuous person will have her own unique constellation of virtues. That said, we also think that certain virtue constellation patterns will likely emerge, both cross-​culturally and within certain socio-​cultural roles. For example, it seems reasonable to expect that similar virtue constellations would be found among members of specific professions, such as teaching, military, and nursing professions. This would be predicted both because people with certain virtue constellations might be attracted to certain types of professions, and also because functioning well in certain professions would require habitual manifestations of a certain constellation of virtues.

Strategies for Character Measurement  263 Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0





Benevolent and Strong-Willed Benevolent but Weak-Willed Callous but Strong-Willed

Figure 5.1  Hypothetical virtue constellation patterns for three people (or groups of people).

In the hypothetical example in Figure 5.1, the first person (or group of people) have a virtue constellation distinguished by high levels of all five virtues—​a pattern we might label “benevolent and strong-​willed character.” The second person’s (or group of people’s) virtue constellation involves high levels of kindness and generosity, but moderate-​to-​low scores for courage, loyalty, and honesty, suggesting that a deficiency in will might be compromising the expression of some of these virtues in their character. We might label this virtue constellation “benevolent but weak-​willed character.” The third person (or group of people) presents yet another common virtue constellation typified by low levels of kindness and generosity, but high levels of courage, loyalty, and honesty, suggesting that a sense of callousness could be undermining the expression of certain benevolence virtues. We might label this group “callous but strong-​willed character.” Follow-​up analyses might further examine factors that help explain why these groups’ virtue constellations differ from each other—​ for example, participants in the “benevolent and

264  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement strong-​willed” group might have higher scores on practical wisdom (discussed in the next section). Supposing the three constellations in Figure 5.1 each represent a group of people who share a similar pattern of scores across the five virtues, we would nevertheless expect some heterogeneity within each group—​some individuals’ scores would more closely adhere to their group’s pattern whereas others would deviate from it. Thus, each individual’s virtue constellation could be compared to their group’s (average) pattern to identify the outliers—​people whose unique virtue constellations deviate substantially from their group (e.g., a person with low levels across all virtues)—​and in-​depth qualitative interviews with these participants might reveal narratives and life circumstances that help us understand why their virtue constellation deviates in the manner that it does. Similar approaches could be used to examine differences in virtue constellations across time or across situations, rather than across people (or groups of people). Let us first consider how one would examine changes in character over time and what kinds of questions such an approach could answer. Ideally, each person would be repeatedly measured on the virtues of interest (again, using methods described in Chapter 3) during a short period of time (e.g., three weeks) such that density distributions could be produced for each virtue. So far, this is identical to the approach described in Figure 5.1. Additionally, several such measurement bursts would be conducted, with long time intervals separating the bursts (for discussion of burst designs, see Nesselroade, 1991; Sliwinski, 2008). For example, college students could be repeatedly measured on a set of virtues for three weeks during the beginning of their first, second, third, and fourth years of school, with separate virtue constellations produced each year. This kind of measurement design would allow us to identify changes in virtue constellations during a developmental period when students explore their identities, make commitments to the kinds of people they want to be, and (for some) construct cohesive narratives that

Strategies for Character Measurement  265 reconcile how “conflicting” virtues should be integrated into one’s character.4 For example, Figure 5.2 depicts hypothetical changes in one person’s (or a group of people’s) virtue constellation over the course of four years of college. Let us consider the kind of developmental journey that might be behind the data in Figure 5.2. In Year 1, our student entered college with high levels of kindness and generosity; perhaps her parents modeled these virtues and raised her to see their importance across a wide variety of situations. However, her honesty and loyalty were not as high because she lacked the courage to express these virtues under difficult circumstances. As she settled into college, she periodically received advances from boys that made her feel uncomfortable, in response to which she sought support from girl friends who stressed assertiveness and boundary setting, resulting in the development of courage in her virtue constellation. In Year 2, her newly developed courage supported her ability to exercise loyalty and honesty when it was hard to do so, and thus these two virtues increased relative to the previous year. However, our student’s scores for kindness and generosity were blunted by her near-​ exclusive focus on courage and by the boundaries she established to protected herself from others. By Year 3, courage had become a habitual part of her character, enabling her to express it across a variety of situations with little effort. In addition, this courage further supported her ability to be honest and loyal, even under challenging circumstances. By contrast, her generosity and kindness continued 4 Given recent critiques of commonly used analyses for longitudinal data, it is advisable to separately examine changes in each person’s virtue constellation over time, then combine the data for people with similar developmental patterns in order to obtain high-​ quality estimates of intraindividual change. The more typical approach—​which involves averaging data from all research participants to identify overall patterns of growth for the collective—​requires researchers to assume that each person is interchangeable with every other person (homogeneity assumption) despite their unique developmental histories, and that each person’s average score on a virtue is unchanging over the long term (stationarity assumption)—​an assumption that is inherently at odds with the notion of human development in general (Molenaar & Nesselroade, 2015), and with the notion of character development in particular.

Year 1



Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0

Year 2





Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0

Year 3





Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0

Year 4





Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0



Figure 5.2  Hypothetical virtue constellation patterns for the same person (or homogeneous group of people) across four years of college. Note that in order to combine individuals into a group, their data must meet certain statistical criteria that demonstrate their homogeneity (i.e., the homogeneity assumption—​that individuals within a group are interchangeable or, realistically, sufficiently similar—​must be met).

Strategies for Character Measurement  267 to lag behind, and the reflective role of practical wisdom helped her comprehend (eusunesis) that she hadn’t considered how she might preserve these two virtues without being tread upon by others. This recognition led her to decide that it would be best to find ways to express generosity and kindness toward others while still standing up for herself, thereby exhibiting deliberative excellence (eubolia). By Year 4, our student’s virtue constellation was characterized by moderate-​to-​high levels of all five virtues, suggesting that practical wisdom helped her develop an integrated virtues system, where each virtue works in harmony with the other virtues. In a later section, we will return to practical wisdom to provide ideas for its measurement and how such measures might enable us to test the role of practical wisdom in character development as just described. As mentioned, a similar approach could be used to examine differences in virtue constellations across situations (rather than across time) for the same individuals. Say, for example, that virtue constellation maps were generated for each of several pre-​arranged situations. This would allow researchers to visually represent people’s virtue constellations across contexts, to see how virtue expression dynamically changes in response to the presence of a range of virtue-​relevant stimuli. For each person a map could be produced that represented their virtue responses for each of several hypothetical scenarios. These scenarios might include the following: A close friend (1) asks you to keep a secret about his infertility; (2) asks for your help when he confronts his boss; and (3) asks for candid feedback as to whether he or his partner is on the right end of a disagreement. Figure 5.3 illustrates possible virtue constellations for each of these situations. Data deriving from this approach would provide a description of what virtues people manifest most strongly under specific virtue-​relevant conditions—​though it does not say much about the integration of these virtues into one’s character. Nevertheless, this kind of cross-​situation comparison could provide insight into how

Situation 1: Keep Secret



Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0



Situation 2: Help Confronting Boss



Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0



Situation 3: Candid Feedback



Kindness 5 4 3 2 1 0



Figure 5.3  Hypothetical virtue constellation patterns across three scenarios for the same person (or homogeneous group of people).

Strategies for Character Measurement  269 certain virtues but not others clearly “cluster” (see Chapter 4 for more discussion of this thesis) or co-​manifest across situations. For example, across all three hypothetical situations depicted in Figure 5.3, moderate-​to-​high levels of courage tend to be accompanied by moderate-​to-​high levels of honesty, suggesting that courage and honesty are inherently compatible with one another. Were these measurements collected during more naturalistic, daily activities (utilizing strategies such as ESM, discussed in Chapter 3) over a period of time, we could map the tendency for sets of virtues to co-​ manifest throughout the course of people’s everyday lives. Measuring each person multiple times across a variety of situations would also help identify the degree to which the relationships between virtues are local (i.e., an artifact of the demands created by certain types of contexts), as opposed to more global—​and thereby likely to be a representation of the interconnectedness of the virtues themselves. In other words, we would be able to determine whether the co-​manifestation of a set of virtues (honesty and compassion, for example) is limited to, or at least much more likely to occur in, certain types of contexts. To the extent that the co-​manifestation of honesty and compassion occurs only under highly specific conditions, we would say that context strongly shapes the coupling of these virtues, and that the virtues are not interconnected at a more fundamental level. On the other hand, a more stable co-​manifestation of the virtues in response to a wide range of different virtue-​relevant stimuli would provide strong evidence of their inherent compatibility. For example, if high levels of honesty were nearly always accompanied by high levels of compassion (and low levels of honesty were accompanied by low levels of compassion) across a wide range of situations, we would conclude that these virtues are internally “linked up” in some fundamental way—​perhaps they share certain underlying cognitive, affect, and motivational bases, or are sensitive and responsive to an overlapping set of virtue-​relevant stimuli. Thus, even in situations where only one virtue is explicitly called for, the virtues’ mutual

270  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement compatibility would lead the other virtue to follow suit—​so, for example, we would expect people to be regularly “compassionately honest” when honesty is called for and “honestly compassionate” when compassion is called for, and so on. We will discuss potential ways to measure this in the next section. A host of different statistical tools are available to analyze the relationships between different virtues and how they tend to cluster within individuals and across situations. For example, latent profile analysis (sometimes called latent class analysis) could help us determine if there are groups of people5, latent in the data, who exhibit similar patterns of scores (across multiple virtues) as one another but different patterns than other people. This goal aligns with the virtue constellation comparisons in Figure 5.1. On the other hand, if we were interested in developmental questions about changes over time in a person’s virtue constellation (Figure 5.2), latent transition analysis would help us determine the likelihood that a person exhibiting a given virtue constellation would shift to each of several different virtue constellations over time. Alternatively, developmental questions can be answered with regression analyses to see if scores on one virtue at Time 1 predict changes in scores on a second virtue at Time 2. Whereas if the aim was to determine which virtues tend to “hang together” across situations (Figure 5.3) or time, or across people, P-​technique factor analysis would align with the former two whereas R-​technique factor analysis6 would align with the latter (Cattell, 1952).7 5 By “groups of people” we do not mean to differentiate character along the lines of sociodemographic variables such as gender, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and the like. Rather, the groups (or classes) of people are latent within scores on the measured virtues. Groups are constructed based on the similarity of scores across several virtues, such that each group has a distinctive pattern of scores. Once the groups are identified through the analysis, subsequent analyses can determine if sociodemographic variables predict group membership (e.g., whether women are more likely than men to belong to—​i.e., display the virtue constellation of—​the first group). 6 See, for example, our discussion of Gulliford and Roberts (2018)’s “allocentric quintet” in Chapters 2 and 4. 7 In this book we have provided descriptions of several key statistical techniques that readers are either likely to encounter in empirical studies of virtue, or that we believe

Strategies for Character Measurement  271

Other Considerations

Development of Virtue Constellations Over Time Beyond our discussion of longitudinal research connected to Figure 5.2, we highlight several additional offerings that can come from longitudinal work on virtue constellations, especially when measurements are administered repeatedly over substantial periods of time—​ideally over the course of people’s lives. Though a logistically and financially daunting task, longitudinally tracking the development of people’s virtue constellations would provide tremendously valuable insight into several things—​for example, whether certain virtues cluster together and develop alongside one another at the same time, whether the development of certain virtues are necessary preconditions for others, the developmental feasibility of certain virtues during childhood and adolescence, and so forth (see, for example, Shubert, Wray-​Lake, Syvertsen, and Metzger, 2018). Tracking the relationships among virtues over time would allow us to identify the different potentially causal relationships between them (as discussed earlier, this is otherwise difficult to do unless experimental methodologies are employed—​for some examples of this see Gulliford and Roberts, 2018; Karremans, Van Lange, and Holland, 2005). Longitudinal methods would also allow us to track changes in people’s practical reasoning and wisdom capacities over time (a topic we turn to later), especially through certain developmentally relevant transition periods (e.g., the transition from adolescence into adulthood or from middle to late adulthood), as well as through particularly difficult—​even traumatic—​turning points in a person’s life.8 will be particularly useful in the study of virtue. However, statistics is a broad and constantly developing field, and we have only scratched the surface of available statistical tools. Additional techniques can be found in the following books: Cohen, Cohen, West, and Aiken (2003); Fabrigar and Wegener (2012); Howell (2010); Kline (2015); and Tabachnick and Fidell (2019). 8 This would have direct relevance to claims made in the post-​traumatic growth literature—​e.g., that hardship can help to make people “practically wise” (Jayawickreme and Blackie, 2016).

272  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Establishing a longitudinal methodology such as this would also provide us with the much-​needed tools to track the effectiveness of certain pedagogical interventions, trainings, and more long-​ term educational strategies.9 Are there techniques for introducing virtues and providing people with the opportunity to practice them and receive guidance and feedback in their development that are effective at promoting long-​term development of these virtues? If so, is there an age at which introduction of this technique is most efficacious? And what characteristics of a program (length, types and modes of intervention, etc.) matter the most? It would also give us much-​needed insight into the effects of different life experiences. How important, for example, are early emotional relationships for the development of virtue, generally, and certain virtue constellations in particular? According to research on early childhood experiences, secure attachment, and authoritative parenting strategies can strongly bolster prosocial affect and behaviors (Thompson, 2014). But how do these kinds of relationships affect the development of a person’s virtue constellation and the coordination of their virtues via practical wisdom? This could be explored in a number of ways, the easiest of which would be simply to measure certain aspects of early childhood experiences (such as attachment) in an adult population—​the precedence for which is well established (Fraley, 2019; Fraley and Roisman, 2018)—​and then explore their relationship to people’s virtue constellations, as well as their character identity and narrative 9 Evaluating virtue interventions by using self-​report surveys raises the thorny issue of “reference bias.” Intervention recipients may develop a more nuanced understanding of the virtues—​what they entail, what their exemplary expression looks like, increased sensitivity to a range of virtue-​relevant stimuli, etc.—​that non-​recipients do not. In turn, recipients and non-​recipients develop different frames of reference from which to judge their behavior. Intervention recipients may see their own shortcomings more clearly, may hold themselves to a higher standard, and so on, resulting in scores that are not comparable to those in a control group. For example, intervention recipients’ scores on self-​report virtue scales may be lower than those of non-​recipients, even in cases where their actual possession of virtue is higher. This problem can be treated, in part, through the use of ESM self-​reports and by using some of the methods that go beyond self-​report that have been described throughout this book.

Strategies for Character Measurement  273 (see also Narvaez, Wang, and Cheng, 2016). A more complicated approach could be to begin tracking this relationship in a group of children, which could be followed over a period of time. While there are standardized and “battle-​tested” measurements of attachment, etc., for children readily available, the measurement of virtue constellations could prove to be more challenging. Nonetheless, it is possible that simplified and age-​appropriate versions of virtue scenarios could be created for children to read (or have read to them) and respond to. And by preschool age, children can be asked to evaluate their own and others’ behaviors as being appropriate (or not) and simple responses to why (such as “because it isn’t nice”) can be expected.10 However pursued, a well-​established method for measuring and tracking the development of virtue constellations would help us to further explore and understand the nature of this relationship—​along with many others. Longitudinal methodology would allow us to track the developmental relationship between people’s virtue-​relevant values, goals, activities, and identities and their actual virtue manifestation, helping us to better understand the potentially bi-​directional nature of the relationship between these variables—​for example, the degree to which valuing honesty helps to scaffold the development of honesty-​appropriate behaviors, as well as the degree to which increased manifestations of honesty foster our identification with the virtue, recognizing it as an important part of who we are—​as they become increasingly integrated into a person’s character. More importantly for character, we could examine these effects across virtues. Does, for example, valuing honesty and being committed to being honest help to bolster a person’s courageous responding (as it can take courage to be honest in difficult 10 For researchers interested in the potential of studying young children’s virtue development, we strongly recommend reviewing the literature on children’s prosocial behaviors, capacity for moral reasoning, and empathy (Bloom, 2010; Dunn, 1987; Eisenberg & Fabes, 1998; Harris & Nunez, 1996; Hoffman, 1982, 2000; Martin & Olson, 2015).

274  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement situations, such as speaking truthfully to someone in a power position)? It is easy to see how this might be the case. And then perhaps the bolstering of a person’s courage contributes to identifying herself as a social activist, which has cascading effects on her ability to express compassion and loyalty by standing in solidarity with groups who are being ostracized or mistreated. Longitudinal research would also help us understand the kinds of contexts that contribute to virtue and character development, for example, by providing repeated exposure to virtue-​relevant stimuli, supportive relationships for internalizing the value of the virtues, opportunities for virtue-​consistent behaviors, etc. In short, a longitudinal program would allow us to begin to explore the deep interconnectedness and bi-​directional influence of the virtues as they work together and become integrated into a coherent character, especially as we must navigate the demands of their collective requirements in our daily lives, and incorporate them more deeply into our sense of ourselves—​who we are, what we value, what we are striving to accomplish and experience, and what makes our lives worthwhile. External Factors: Personality and Culture Character is situated within the larger context of personality and the external features of one’s environment. Therefore, it is important to explore how people’s virtue constellations are guided, supported, and constrained by:  (1) other personality structures (along with virtue-​specific, role-​specific, or virtue-​general motivations, such as values and goals), and (2) specific practical or cultural contexts within which they developed.11 11 All of this could be done both with an eye to identifying the unique characteristics of each person’s character, but also to identifying nomothetic patterns common to groups of individuals, such as members of the same community or culture. The latter would allow us to examine both the degree to which certain virtues tend to cluster together with others (providing evidence of a profile of character types—​more to be said on this momentarily) and the degree to which certain virtue constellations tend to develop together under certain socio-​cultural conditions (e.g., in certain types of cultural

Strategies for Character Measurement  275 One simple way to do the former is to explore the relationship between people’s virtue constellation maps and other features of their personality and social-​cognitive architecture (e.g., values and goals). These could be collected alongside people’s virtue-​ appropriate responses to the hypothetical or real situations discussed above, in order to explore the relationship between these different external variables and virtue manifestation—​for example, do we find a particularly strong correlation between certain personality variables and the manifestation of particular virtues? Analyses could also determine whether personality variables are linked to certain virtue constellation patterns—​for example, are individuals with higher narcissism scores more likely to display a callous but strong-​willed character than other virtue constellation patterns in Figure 5.1? Measurements could also be taken repeatedly over time (e.g., through ESM or long-​term longitudinal studies), which would enable us to examine real-​time relationships and begin to test cause-​ effect relationships between personality variables and virtues. For example, ESM could be used to collect data to test whether occasions in which people express higher disgust sensitivity tend to be accompanied by the expression of certain kinds of virtues (e.g., courage, honesty) but not others (compassion, generosity)? We could also explore potential cause-​effect connections between pairs of constructs, for example, by repeatedly measuring both extraversion and courage, with an appropriate window of time separating the measurement occasions during which development might occur (e.g., six months). Then, statistical analyses could test whether people’s extraversion levels at Time 1 positively predict their courage levels at Time 2 (among people with the same Time 1 courage scores).12 One reasonable interpretation of this kind of environments, under certain socioeconomic conditions, in response to certain systemic situational demands, etc.). 12 Quantitative researchers will recognize this as an autoregressive, cross-​lagged longitudinal model.

276  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement relationship is that people’s extraversion could provide a basis from which to build skills in courage over time. Such an approach tests the feasibility of hypothesized causal relationships between pairs of constructs, although it is important to acknowledge that causality cannot be definitively established with such a design—​it provides clear evidence of a relationship with a strong reason to hypothesize a causal connection. Given that other methodologies for gathering causal data involve experimental interventions, this naturalistic longitudinal tracking of people’s virtue constellations provides tremendously important data for understanding how virtues and personality interact to produce virtue manifestation and character. The influence of culture might be somewhat trickier to measure, but people’s responses to a battery of culturally-​driven beliefs, attitudes, values, and practices could be collected. These measurements would then serve as a basis for testing relationships between cultural variables and virtue manifestation. For example, are men who firmly believe that men should be strong and not show emotion more variable in their display of compassion, or perhaps more easily dissuaded from expressing it? Links between cultural variables and particular virtue constellations, such as those displayed in Figure 5.1, could also be tested. While personality and culture are not elements of character per se, their measurement is important for understanding how character development is supported or thwarted. What is more, they would ideally provide empirical support for our view that character is necessarily situated in, and influenced by, a variety of factors external to it, such as personality and culture.

Measuring Regulative Roles for Practical Wisdom in Integrating Character Thus far, we have discussed mapping constellations of virtues, but we have not yet delved into the question of how the virtues present

Strategies for Character Measurement  277 in one’s character interact with one another, which they must. Character is not just a hodge-​podge collection of different virtues, but an integrated system of virtues that work together in a variety of ways, e.g., by sharing certain underlying cognitive, affective, and motivational bases, and by being sensitive and responsive to an overlapping set of virtue-​relevant stimuli to produce virtuous responding. Therefore, we need to explore ideas for measuring the role of practical wisdom in regulating the expression of multiple virtues as they are integrated (or not) into a person’s character. In this section we turn to practical wisdom as a key capacity for regulating the interrelations among virtues. In the next section, we address the role of practical wisdom in reflecting upon one’s life as a whole in the service of identifying which virtues need to be developed. Regarding its regulatory function, practical wisdom integrates competing, conflicting, and interacting virtues into a person’s coherent character. This suggests measuring people’s ability to coordinate the virtues within their virtue constellations such that they work together to reliably produce situation-​ specific virtuous responses. Sometimes that “working together” will involve one virtue tempering or blending with another as discussed in Chapter  4. Other times, particularly in situations where virtues conflict, it will require that some virtues step forward into manifestation while others are momentarily muted. Regarding its reflective function, practical wisdom involves being responsive not just to the specific requirements of particular virtues, but to being a “good person,” someone living a virtuous life as a whole. As discussed in Chapters 1 and 4, we argue that practical wisdom needn’t require a person to have a full-​fledged blueprint of the contents of a good life. Rather, practical wisdom entails having a conception of what is valuable in life, what goods we think are worth having, and the ability to step back to take inventory on how our lives align with these ideals and what virtues we need to cultivate to give us a better chance at attaining those goods.

278  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement Practical Wisdom’s Regulatory Function One way of measuring how people integrate multiple virtues into a coherent character is to track the way in which these virtues compete, conflict, and interact in their daily lives. The measurement strategies for this have been already largely covered, both in Chapter 3 and above. Here the issue is the degree to which these complex interactions between people’s virtues reliably result in virtue-​appropriate responses, and whether people are aware of the complex dynamics between virtues. A useful method for measuring complex interactions among virtues is by presenting participants with a set of scenarios that differ slightly in the virtues that are called for and tracking how people’s responses change across the range of scenarios. We describe a set of such scenarios, then we explain how they could be utilized to help measure the regulative role of practical wisdom. The following sketch of scenarios all involve the virtue of honesty, but they differ as to whether compassion and courage are additionally relevant. People could first be introduced to a hypothetical situation in which accurate information is required (honesty)—​e.g., a situation in which someone is asked for information that would help determine the whereabouts of another individual—​and is then asked how they would respond and why. Then the situation could be altered slightly: now, the reason why this information is needed is because the spouse of the person who needs to be located has been injured (compassion). How do people’s responses change as a function of this new information? Perhaps in both situations they felt inclined to provide the information because this is the appropriate thing to do, but in the latter situation, they felt more strongly compelled to do so, and perhaps will offer to do more to help, because they are concerned about the well-​being of the spouse. In the former situation, they felt a general inclination to be honest, but in the latter situation they additionally felt sympathetic distress at the idea of the spouse’s suffering and a desire to connect this person with him or her by providing

Strategies for Character Measurement  279 an honest and accurate response. In other words, their compassion energized their honesty. Now consider a third situation in which providing this information could lead to risk of one’s own personal well-​being (courage)—​ perhaps revealing this person’s location will be viewed negatively by others. Perhaps the desire to be honest and to help connect this person with her spouse becomes tinged with trepidation at the idea of getting oneself into trouble. It is possible that at this point, some people would decline to provide the information (indicating a potential weakness in their character), while others would activate their courage to provide the information anyway. They would perhaps report feeling afraid, but at the same time report feeling determined not to give in to that fear, because helping the injured spouse by locating the missing person is the right thing to do, despite the risks. One goal of a battery of such scenarios is to see how the manifestation of any particular virtue (in the above case, honesty) is informed, enhanced, influenced, etc., by the need for the manifestation of other virtues. In addition to obtaining a picture of how well people adapt their virtuous responses to different situations (a topic also explored in Chapter 3), this would allow us to systematically explore how virtues work together13—​or fail to—​to produce virtue-​appropriate responses to complex situations. How exactly would researchers utilize the scenarios described above to measure the regulative role of practical wisdom? Two related ways involve presenting each scenario in turn and 13 A  key research goal will be to differentiate between general fundamental compatibilities and conflicts among virtues on the one hand (i.e., so-​called main effects in the methods literature), and the manner in which various personal attributes change the nature of these relationships among virtues (i.e., “interaction effects”) in specific individuals. For example, honesty and compassion might be positively correlated overall, perhaps reflecting a shared motivational foundation of benevolence. However, people with low levels of practical wisdom might feel they need to choose between honesty and compassion, resulting in a negative correlation between these virtues for the unwise. Thus, practical wisdom (or a lack of it) would change the nature of the relationship between these two virtues.

280  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement immediately after each scenario either:  (1) providing several multiple choice responses to the situation, where the responses have already been ranked by researchers in terms of their level of virtue-​appropriateness, and (2) allowing people to spontaneously report their chosen responses to situations as they change, in an open-​ended fashion, which researchers could later code for their virtue-​appropriateness. The former approach is easy to score once the measure is developed, but it demands that for each scenario researchers develop a range of responses that vary in virtue-​appropriateness (e.g., using prototype analysis) yet are equally compelling to a person with poor practical wisdom. Such an approach is also limited by the fact that some participants might not see a response that suits them, as the options provided rely on researchers’ assumptions of how a person might respond. On the other hand, the latter, open-​ended approach allows for any response participants wish to provide, and it will yield responses that the researcher overlooked, including highly virtue-​appropriate ones. However, once the data are collected, such an open-​ended approach requires considerable effort creating a coding scheme that can be applied to the full range of responses, training a research team to apply the coding scheme in a reliable manner, and reading through each participant’s qualitative responses and assigning codes. Still, both approaches provide measurements of people’s ability to successfully modulate and integrate virtues to produce virtue-​appropriate responses. Thus far the discussion has focused on people’s responses to hypothetical scenarios, but responses to actual situations would also be of value (e.g., using the quasi-​experimental design discussed in Chapter 3). Extending beyond quantitative and qualitative self-​ reports, behavioral and physiological measures would also be useful, including reaction time, eye tracking, and galvanic skin response measures. For example, reaction time tasks can measure the chronic

Strategies for Character Measurement  281 accessibility of virtues and the degree to which conflicting information interferes with it. Of course, greater chronic accessibility does not, by itself, represent the use of more practical wisdom. Faster reaction times could indicate less practical wisdom if they respond without acknowledging the complexity of the situation and they don’t realize the conflict among virtues, or they could indicate more practical wisdom because fast responses suggest fluent negotiation of conflicting information. Therefore, the best way to ensure that we are tracking practical wisdom would be to only analyze response times for people who explicitly recognize the complexity present in the same set (or subset) of scenarios—​or rate high in complexity-​ recognition through some other independent measurement—​and disregard response time data for those who do not. For those who recognize virtue complexity, faster response times could be a good indicator of the degree to which practical wisdom has become routinized. Other technology, such as eye tracking and galvanic skin response monitors, could be used to measure attention and sensitivity to certain virtue-​relevant stimuli, as additional stimuli relevant other virtues are added to the situation. The degree to which responses change in light of changes in the stimuli presented would reflect people’s sensitivity to virtue-​relevant features for multiple virtues simultaneously—​a necessary but by no means sufficient skill for the regulative function of practical wisdom.14 Once again, these approaches—​taken in combination—​would provide insight into people’s use of practical wisdom to monitor and later regulate among competing and interacting virtues in order to determine the best virtue-​appropriate response in

14 Previous research has found that experts in other domains, such as artists attend to and perceive domain-​relevant information differently than novices do. For example, they are more efficient with their eye movements and more selective in what information they attend to when evaluating artistic pieces (Ylitalo, Särkkä, and Guttorp, 2016; see also Wright, DiBartolo, Galizio, and Reinhold, 2019).

282  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement situations where a mixture of potentially conflicting virtue-​relevant stimuli are present. It would also be interesting to explore the ways in which the presence of some virtues meaningfully guide, shape, and change the nature of the manifestation of other virtues in a person’s constellation. For example, do people who manifest relatively high levels of honesty express other virtues (such as compassion, generosity, respectfulness, etc.) differently than people who manifest low levels of honesty? One way this might play out is for the strong presence of a particular virtue to change the way other virtues are expressed—​for example, someone who is strongly honest may be less inclined to lie or omit information when responding compassionately, respectfully, or with generosity toward another person. Thus, a person’s strong commitment to honesty might make her responses appear to be less compassionate, respectful, or generous (insofar as she just tells it as she sees it). Alternatively, if her commitment to honesty is informed by practical wisdom, specifically, eusunesis (the comprehension part of practical wisdom), this might help her to behave more compassionately, respectfully, and generously, as her enhanced sensitivity to the facts of the matter required for honesty also helps her to perceive situations more accurately, allowing her to hone her responses to better fit the demands of the situations she encounters. On the flip side, the fact that she is also compassionate, respectful, and generous, could help her to express honesty in a more compassionate, respectful, and generous manner. How might we measure this? One possible route would be to establish a baseline level of one particular virtue (such as honesty) ahead of time and then administer a battery of hypothetical scenarios in which other virtues (such as compassion, courage, generosity, etc.) are called for. This would allow researchers to test whether people who previously measured high (versus low) in honesty respond differently to situations in which other virtues are called for. For example, we might expect people who are high in

Strategies for Character Measurement  283 honesty to infuse honesty-​related concerns into their courageous, compassionate, or generous responses. A highly honest individual might decide that giving someone the truth—​even though the information has the potential to be painful—​is ultimately the most compassionate thing to do, because people always deserve to have the truth and they can use it to prevent future suffering. To measure the extent to which honesty-​related concerns enter into people’s responses, researchers might have all participants read a scenario in which another virtue is called for (in this case, compassion), then have them write a paragraph describing how they would respond. Researchers would then code these paragraphs for honesty content using a rubric such as: 1 = no mention of honesty concerns, 2 = vague mention of honesty concerns, 3 = clear mention of honesty concerns. Finally, we would test whether those who previously scored high (versus low) on baseline honesty tended to infuse more honesty concerns into their compassion-​relevant responses. A critical limitation to the above method is the possibility that the degree to which honesty enters into people’s responses will vary not just as a function of practical wisdom, but also as a function of other things, such as verbal ability. For people with the same degree of practical wisdom, those with higher verbal ability will likely provide more elaborate written responses, giving them a higher probability of mentioning honesty, even if by chance. Researchers often remove such confounding influences by statistically controlling for word count (a proxy for verbal ability), but this method may fall short if participants’ written responses do not provide sufficient text to enable the researcher to adjudicate the presence of honesty (though participants can certainly be encouraged to write more by using techniques such as a word-​count minimum, etc.). Therefore, we believe this approach needs to be supplemented, perhaps by follow-​up interviews in which participants explain the reasoning behind what they wrote in their paragraphs. Follow-​ up is important for two reasons. First, follow-​up interviews could

284  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement provide a useful corrective for individuals who provided less text in their written response, enabling people to further explain their reasoning about the scenarios until sufficient information is provided for researchers to make informed judgments when coding responses for the presence of honesty-​related concerns. Second, follow-​up interviews could be leveraged to elicit further information pertinent to the measurement of practical wisdom, beyond the initial goal of coding for the presence of honesty-​related concerns in response to a compassion scenario. Specifically, participants could be asked to additionally explain how and why honesty might be important in a scenario that otherwise focuses on compassion (this may be the first time honesty enters onto some participants’ radar). Recall from Chapter 4 the difference between two conceptions of virtue—​one in which virtue is a propensity or tendency that is uninformed by practical wisdom, and a more sophisticated conception in which virtue is shaped and guided by practical wisdom (also called, in the work of Watson [1984], the “straight” and “due concern” views). Those whose deliberations about honesty reason in the way described earlier—​i.e., in which someone concludes that being honest about a painful truth need not be at odds with compassion, that honesty, even when painful, manifests respect toward another, and so on—​are showing practical wisdom. They seem to be using and displaying it more than those who justify their honesty with simplistic phrases such as, “I call it as I see it,” or other popular catchphrases. The use of such phrases suggests the “straight” view of honesty, according to which due concern for other virtues has not entered into deliberations about how honesty applies to the scenario. A final way to measure the regulative function of practical wisdom would be through coding responses to narrative identity measures, such as McAdams (2008)’s Life Story Interview or Damon and Hart (1988)’s Self-​Understanding Interview. Narrative identities represent how people internally organize and construct

Strategies for Character Measurement  285 relations among virtues.15 For example, Frimer and Walker (2009) used a version of the Self-​Understanding Interview to elicit self-​ narratives without explicitly asking participants about virtue, thereby mitigating socially desirable responses. Then, narratives were coded for the presence of each of two types of values—​agency and communion, which often conflict with one another—​in a manner similar to the method described above for coding honesty in response to certain scenarios. They found that participants who used both agency and communion themes in the same segments of their narratives tended to score higher on a separate measure of moral behavior. They argue that in such individuals, “agency breathes life into communion, and communion gives agency a greater purpose” (p.  1677)—​a true integration of values that are often in tension. This approach has strong implications for the integration of conflicting virtues within one’s narrative identity. By developing a coding rubric similar to Frimer and Walker’s, but for virtues instead of agency and communion values, evidence of virtue integration could be distilled from individuals’ self-​narratives. A step in this direction would entail developing a list of conflicting virtue pairs (e.g., honesty-​kindness, civility-​courage, fairness-​compassion), then coding each thought-​segment in a person’s narrative for the presence or absence of each virtue in the pair. In instances where a thought-​segment involves both elements of a virtue pair, these receive an “integrative” point, such that integrative points can be summed into an overall score representing the degree to which that individual possess the regulative function of practical wisdom. The regulative role of practical wisdom could also be examined by presenting participants with untenable scenarios that involve conflicting virtues. What should a person do when being honest to one friend means being disloyal to another (or being loyal to one friend means being dishonest to another)? Would it be acceptable

15 See also Bauer and DesAutels (2019) and Bauer and DesAutels (2020).

286  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement to cheat on an important exam that cannot be postponed and for which failing would have serious consequences, when you were unable to prepare for it because of an unanticipated emergency situation that required all of your attention? These sorts of examples provide valuable insight into how people navigate untenable situations, the degree to which the way they navigate them is sensitive to the presence of virtue-​relevant stimuli from many different virtues, and the degree to which they are aware of this. What do people think is the most virtuous way to respond in such bad situations, and why?16 Similarly, people could be asked how they might adjust the expression of one virtue in the presence of others. What would manifestations of “compassionate honesty,” “courageous honesty,” “generous honesty,” and honesty in the name of justice look like? In what ways would they involve similar virtue-​appropriate responses and in what ways would they differ? Presumably, each of these responses would require practical wisdom in its role of regulating or “tempering” different virtues.

Measuring Reflective Roles for Practical Wisdom in Integrating Character Having discussed the regulative role of practical wisdom, we now turn to its reflective function, by which people are responsive not just to the specific requirements of particular virtues, but also to being a “good person,” that is, to living a virtuous life as a whole. As discussed in Chapters 1 and 4, we argue that practical wisdom

16 These responses could also be compared with the analyses of what virtuous people would do in such situations provided by virtue ethicists. For example, Hursthouse (1999) discusses cases involving resolvable and irresolvable dilemmas. These cases could be given to people to evaluate in order to compare the similarities and differences between novice and expert assessments. This would have the advantage of connecting the measurement of people’s responses directly to the neo-​Aristotelian virtue ethics literature.

Strategies for Character Measurement  287 needn’t require a person to have a full-​fledged blueprint of the contents of a good life. Rather, practical wisdom entails having a conception of what is valuable in life, what goods we think are worth having, and the ability to step back to take inventory on how our lives align with these ideals and what virtues we need to cultivate to give us a better chance at attaining those goods. Doing so also requires people to become aware of the complex dynamics between virtues, lest a superficial or naïve grasp of the facts prevent one from attaining one’s virtue-​relevant goals. We begin our discussion by showing how the same set of scenarios described in the previous section—​an initial scenario with honesty-​relevant stimuli is presented, followed by variations of the same scenario but with stimuli relevant to compassion and courage, respectively—​can be utilized to measure the reflective function of practical wisdom. Recall that in the previous section we noted that presenting a series of slightly altered situations would allow us to track whether people’s responses to the situations also changed, and we suggested using multiple choice and free responses formats to measure the extent to which people’s responses provide evidence for the regulative function of practical wisdom. Building on this approach, people could be asked to reflect upon the reasons behind their chosen responses to see whether the changing situations (as well as the different virtues that are called for) are reflected in their reasoning processes. This would allow us to gauge the degree to which people are able to consciously monitor their responses and evaluate how well their performance aligns with their ideals. Relatedly, people could be asked to map out their own trajectory toward “exemplarhood”—​i.e., how they envision the virtues they possess (and/​or wish to develop) playing out in their lives, who they are/​will be, and what they will accomplish.17 Could they have the sort of life they envision for themselves without virtue? In 17 Similar to Hardy, Walker, Olsen, Woodbury, and Hickman (2014)’s notion of the moral ideal self.

288  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement what ways have their virtues (functioning collectively as their character) positively impacted their lives thus far—​and how do they see them contributing to the quality of their life moving forward? How has their character contributed to the sort of people they have become, and are becoming? Why is possessing and manifesting virtues important—​is their value purely instrumental or is there value in possessing them for their own sake? Asking people to reflect on these sorts of questions would provide insight into their understanding of character and the contribution it makes to who they are as people and the sorts of lives it is possible for them to live, all of which are theorized as parts of the reflective role of practical wisdom. Alternatively, they could be asked to reflect on the role of virtues (and character) in other people’s lives, especially those considered moral exemplars and/​ or social activists (e.g., Francis Perkins, Dorothy Day, Martin Luther King, etc.)—​what contribution to their “good works” was made by their capacity for virtue expression, their character? When and where did weakness in their characters interfere with these goals and ideals? And so on.

Social-​Cognitive Mechanisms and the Reflective Role of Practical Wisdom Asking people to reflect upon who they want to be also provides access into social-​cognitive mechanisms—​values, goals, identity—​ that support virtue manifestation. These social-​ cognitive mechanisms, when tuned into virtue, are key manifestations of the reflective role of practical wisdom, and they can be measured in various ways. Here, we are interested in two things. First, we are interested in the degree to which a person’s virtue constellation is reflected in their self-​reported values, goals, and identities—​i.e., the degree to which they have consciously adopted and incorporated the virtues

Strategies for Character Measurement  289 found in their constellations into their character narrative and identity. Evidence of this would bear upon their use of the reflective function of practical wisdom. Second, we are interested in the degree to which they explicitly seek to cultivate and manifest those virtues in their daily lives and choices, with the goal of becoming the kind of person they wish to be. With respect to the first of these, how many virtues do people list when they are asked what sort of person they are or strive to be? Of those virtues, which take priority? These self-​produced lists could be compared between people who have otherwise shown a high degree of character (e.g., high scores on multiple virtues) vs. those who have not, in order to determine whether these are valid measures of the reflective role of practical wisdom—​the group with higher character scores should tend to produce a more robust list of virtues in response to queries into who they want to be. The same would hold true for narrative identity. For example, we could examine the degree to which the virtues are evident in people’s self-​ narratives and test whether the set of virtues that show up also tend to be displayed in their behavior.18 In addition, third person reports could shed light on the degree to which certain virtues are valued by and important to the person in question. And while third persons are not able to directly witness the target person’s values, it is still the case that we are often able to gain insight into a person’s values through her behaviors, through our conversations with her, through the types of commitments she makes, and the types of activities she engages in. Through such

18 People could reveal answers to these questions in a variety of ways—​for example, through responses to lists of attributes (e.g., “how central are the following attributes to who you are/​strive to be?”), free-​form writing about themselves, or daily dairies in which the events most salient to people reveal the underlying chronic accessibility of particular virtues. These last two (free-​form writing and daily diaries) also lend themselves nicely to coding for things like the cohesiveness of virtues within a person’s self-​description, as suggested previously, at the end of our discussion on the regulative role of practical wisdom.

290  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement means, third persons can infer which virtues she values, the goals she has for her life, and the type of person she takes herself to be. ESM and other daily diary techniques would also be quite valuable. Using such methods to record people’s encounters with virtue-​relevant stimuli (Chapter 3), we could measure the degree to which their responses are consistent with and reflective of their explicitly stated (and implicitly expressed) values/​goals and narrative identities. More importantly, as a measure of the reflective function of practical wisdom, we could gauge the extent to which they are aware of discrepancies between their stated values/​goals and their behavioral expression of them—​i.e., their awareness in their own lives of the “gappiness problem,” in which moral knowledge fails to translate into moral action.19 People who have a more accurate grasp of the gap between their valued virtues and their behavioral enactment of them would be assigned higher scores for reflective practical wisdom. Given their knowledge of a gap, perhaps an even more important part of this would be the degree to which people actively seek out (versus avoid) opportunities to manifest the range of virtues present in their values system—​for example, volunteering at a pet shelter or a neighborhood soup kitchen, campaigning against discriminatory legislation, working on committees to improve educational equity, etc. In other words, what steps do people take, if any, to create environments within which they can exercise and live in accordance with the virtues they value? As an example of this, we would expect someone for whom honesty is an important virtue to take steps to eliminate from her life people and activities which encourage or condone dishonesty. She

19 Darnell et al. (2019) present a multi-​component model of practical wisdom that aims to account for the gappiness problem.

Strategies for Character Measurement  291 would seek out others who value honesty and would express that honesty is an important quality in those she is close to (friends, partner, etc.). And when asked to consider a range of different life situations (e.g., options for careers, social environments, etc.), she would express discomfort with/​dislike for those in which dishonesty is common and/​or condoned, whereas she would resonate with and respond positively to those in which honesty is valued and promoted. Similarly, if given the choice to associate and spend time with individuals whom she has been told have a range of characteristics and qualities, we would expect her to be more inclined to select the individual(s) for whom honesty has been identified as one of those characteristics. It would also be interesting see if she would choose for a social partner someone identified as honest over other individuals who have been identified as having other socially desirable characteristics (e.g., wealth, popularity, wit, charm, etc.), but who display a high propensity towards dishonesty. To “get at” the reflective role of practical wisdom, we would ask for the reasons behind her choices in each of these scenarios, and code whether she is aware that she is pursuing (or not) social partners who exhibit the virtue she wishes to cultivate. The same thing (e.g., pitting opportunities for virtue manifestation against other socially desirable outcomes, and why) could be done with career choices and other activities. Finally, it would be useful to ask people to reflect upon their own lives and recall actual situations in which virtue manifestation was called for. When recalling such situations, how often do people consciously recognize that multiple virtues are called for? If they consciously recognize it, how did they navigate this complex virtue space in order to produce a response, and do they think that they responded appropriately—​why or why not? These responses could be coded for their level of sensitivity to the complexity, and how accurately their response maps onto the virtue-​relevant stimuli they identified.

292  Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement

Conclusion In this chapter we provided measurement strategies that flow from our conception of character developed in Chapter 4, namely, that character consists in a person’s constellation of virtues and is guided by practical wisdom. We began by arguing that although WTT was developed to account for individual traits rather than personality as a whole, much of the logic of the theory is consistent with our conception of character. We then discussed techniques for describing how virtue constellations (i.e., patterns of scores for several virtues) differ across people, over time, and across situations. We also explored how characteristics (e.g., personality, culture) that are external to character may nevertheless facilitate or constrain character development and expression, and we provided suggestions for empirically testing these ideas. In the last two sections of the chapter we turned our focus to the regulative and reflective functions of practical wisdom—​a topic for which, to our knowledge, no measures have yet been developed.20 We suggested that the regulative function of practical wisdom could be measured through several means, such as by coding for the integration of virtues in self-​narratives, and by tracking how well participants appropriately alter their responses when presented with a sequence of scenarios in which different virtue combinations are relevant. Finally, we explored the reflective role of practical wisdom, which can be measured by capturing people’s reasons for the decisions they’ve made, asking participants to map out their own trajectory toward exemplarhood, and measuring people’s goals, values, and identity—​key sites that reflect aspirations for who one wants to be. We hope these suggestions help stimulate philosophically informed empirical research on character and practical wisdom.

20 As of the writing of this chapter, scholars at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues are developing a measure of phronēsis or practical wisdom—​see (https://​www. jubileecentre.ac.uk/​1756/​projects/​current-​projects/​p).

 Conclusion The interdisciplinary science of virtue and character measurement is in its infancy. In this volume, we hope to have moved the conversation forward. We took the first step toward this in Chapter 1 by introducing our working conception of virtue. This is a modified Aristotelianism which we integrated with Whole Trait Theory (WTT). The point of doing this was to combine the richness of an extremely influential philosophical approach to virtue with a promising empirical framework of personality traits that allows for the psychological measurement of virtue. In Chapter  2, we surveyed the extant literature on virtue measurement, finding it, with some exceptions, to be piecemeal and lacking in conceptual depth. In Chapter 3, we developed our own strategies for virtue measurement, focusing both on strategies for measuring the specific elements of virtue, as well as the dispositionality of virtue. Chapters 4 and 5 took the conversation beyond individual virtue and its measurement into the terrain of character as a whole, conceived of as constellations of virtues integrated through practical wisdom. In Chapter  4 we introduced the “integration thesis”—​the notion that virtues develop concomitantly in response to the circumstances of daily life—​ and argued for its preferability to other conceptions of character in the philosophical literature. Finally, in Chapter 5, we suggested strategies for character measurement, including the measurement of virtue constellations that describe the co-​manifestation of virtues, as well as the measurement of the regulative and reflective functions of practical wisdom, which are theorized to explain interrelations among virtues within a person’s character. Understanding Virtue. Jennifer Cole Wright, Michael T. Warren, and Nancy E. Snow, Oxford University Press (2021). © Oxford University Press. DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190655136.001.0001.

294 Conclusion We hope that our efforts in this volume mark progress in the measurement of virtue and character, but we realize that studies in this area are still in early stages. Many topics cry out for further exploration. For example, we endorse the view that the development and sustenance of virtues, or their inhibition, can be affected by both personality and environmental factors that are external to virtues themselves. Further studies should be done, for example, on the effects of temperament on virtue, and on the effects of social environments on virtue. Practical wisdom is essential for virtue and cries out for more sustained attention, especially as it relates to developmental aspects of virtue. Work on moral injury, moral repair, and post-​traumatic growth as they relate to virtue and character are also of paramount importance, especially for educators who wish to cultivate the virtues of children who live with trauma. We do not deny that important work in these areas has already been done—​for example, the work of Schwartz and Sharpe (2006) and Schwartz (2011) on practical wisdom, that of Jayawickreme on growth through adversity (e.g., Jayawickreme and Blackie, 2016), that of Sherman (2015, 2010) on moral injuries among the military sustained during wartime, and that of Brady (2018) on the theoretical relationship between virtue and suffering (see also Wright, Snow, and Warren, 2020). What we mean to encourage is the sustained, serious, interdisciplinary study of these and other important virtue-​related topics in the future. We hope that our work has contributed to this endeavor.

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Index For the benefit of digital users, indexed terms that span two pages (e.g., 52–​53) may, on occasion, appear on only one of those pages. Note: Figures are indicated by f following the page number   accuracy in measuring virtue-​ grand-​end view vs. blueprint view relevant stimuli, 135–​39 of,  27–​28 acting virtuously. See virtue-​ on intelligence, 25–​26 appropriate actions on justice, 93–​94 Adams, R., 18, 19–​20, 241–​42, 241–​ on natural virtues, 217–​18 42n31, 245–​46n34 on practical wisdom, 26–​27, affective states, virtue-​appropriate 216–​17,  218 actions and, 140 reciprocity of the virtues thesis, agency, communion and, 284–​85 188–​89, 217–​26, 222–​23n21 Aiken, L. S., 75 Russell on, 232 akrasia (weakness of will), strong reciprocity thesis, critiques 216–​17n14 of,  218–​24 Alfano, M., 18–​20 on virtue acquisition, 226 allocentric quintet (of virtues), on virtue in children, 55 191–​92,  199 on virtuous action, perception ALS (authentic leadership scale), 94 and, 39 Annas, J., 161n36 articulacy requirement, 161n36 anticipation of virtue-​appropriate Aspiration Index (Kasser and behaviors, measurement Ryan),  157–​58 strategies for, 174–​76 attachment of children to adults, appropriate behaviors. See virtue-​ measurement of, 272–​73 appropriate actions attention to trait-​relevant stimuli, Aquino, K., 148–​49n24, 162, 162n37, measurement of, 126–​30 164–​65, 208,  212–​13 authentic leadership scale (ALS), 94 Aristotle. See also modified automaticity studies, 248–​50 Aristotelianism   Aristotelian virtues, Nussbaum Badhwar, N. K., 241–​43, 244–​45, on, 191 245–​46n34 Devereux’s critique of, 216–​17 Bardi, A., 159–​60n34 on flourishing, 15–​16 Bargh, J. A., 36–​37 on friendship, 166n39 Barker, C., 96–​97

326 Index Barlow, C. B., 96 Batson, C. D., 127n5 The Beacon Project, 2 behavior. See also virtue-​appropriate actions behavioral measures of virtue,  68–​69 as component of virtues, 102–​3 priming of, 248, 250–​51 being good conceptualization of, 51 data underlying, suggestions for,  148–​49 impact of culture on, 206 literary portrayals of, 209–​12 measurement of reflective roles for practical wisdom, 286–​88 moral identity and, 162 narrative identity and, 47–​48, 204 practical wisdom and, 286–​87 virtue-​general vs. virtue-​specific states and, 41, 206–​8 beliefs influence on virtue-​appropriate actions, 23–​24n13, 56, 81, 141n19,  148–​50 measurement of, 86 Benet-​Martinez, V., 75 benevolence, 96, 220 Bentham, Jeremy, 1n2 bias (systematic errors), 63n2, 63n3, 65–​66, 118–​19, 128, 272n9 bi-​directional influence of virtues,  273–​74 Big Five model of personality traits, 10, 107, 169 The Big Rock Candy Mountain (Stegner),  209–​12 Blackie, L. E. R., 294 Bleidorn, W., 104 blueprint function (of phronēsis), 27–​28, 27–​28n17,  30n19 Bollich, K. L., 68, 106

Bovens, Luc, 16n5 Box, G. E. P., 64 Brady, M., 294 brain functioning, 251–​52. See also cognitive science Brandt, R., 232 breadth (of consistency of trait-​ appropriate responses), 53, 178 Bright, D. S., 117 Brown, R. P., 68, 84–​85 burst designs (measurement technique),  265–​67   Campbell, D. T., 75 CAPS (cognitive-​affective personality system) traits, virtue as subset of, 13n1 caring, measurements of, 101–​2 CARS (Character Assessment Rating Scale), 96 Cattell, R. B., 42 causation, correlation vs., 71n5 CCAT (Compassionate Care Assessment Tool), 87 central features (virtue-​relevant stimuli),  138–​39 centrality (prototypicality) ratings,  110–​11 CEOs, cultural-​specific content of roles of, 205–​6 change, desire for, 57 character character types, visualizations of, 262–​64,  263f conclusions on, 252–​53, 293 context for, 213–​52 description of, 7–​8, 254, 276–​77 incompatibility of virtues,  228–​40 integration thesis, 189–​213 introduction to, 7–​8, 188–​89 limited unity of virtues (LUV) thesis,  241–​45

Index  327 measurement of strengths of,  99–​102 narrative identity and, 47–​48 reciprocity of the virtues thesis,  217–​28 role of virtues in, 258–​59 situationism and character fragmentation,  245–​52 unity of virtue thesis, 214–​17 virtue-​general states and, 41 character measurement strategies for changes in character over situations, 267–​70, 268f for changes in character over time, 264–​67, 266f, 270, 271–​74 character, WTT integration with conception of, 255–​59 conclusions on, 292 discussion of, 260–​61 introduction to, 8, 254 personality and culture factors,  274–​76 practical wisdom, measurement of reflective roles for, 286–​88 practical wisdom, measurement of regulative roles for, 276–​88, 292 practical wisdom, regulatory function of, 278–​86 practical wisdom, social-​cognitive mechanisms and reflective role of,  288–​91 virtue constellations, 261–​76, 263f, 266f, 268f The Character Project, 2 “Character to Lead” construct, 94–​95 chastity,  209–​11 children and young people character development of, interest in,  5–​6 external factors, responses to,  194–​95 practical reason in, 193, 195,  202–​3

pupil dilation in, 69–​70 sports participation, 222–​23 virtue constellations in, measurement of, 272–​73 virtue development in, 126n4, 194, 198–​99,  272–​73 virtue of, 21 Whole Trait Theory inputs and,  195–​96 chronic accessibility basis of, 167 compassion and, 196–​97 development of, 196–​97 habituation and, 200–​2 identification of, 289n18 Lapsley and Hill on, 251 of moral schemas, 251 motivational system measurement and, 155 practical wisdom and, 280–​81 stability-​inducing processes and,  48–​49 trait ordering and, 163–​64 trait stability and, 202 civil courage, 81–​82 cleverness (deinotēs),  26–​27 CLS (Compassionate Love Scale), 85–​86,  87–​88 clustering (of virtues), 274n11 cognitive science cognition, situationists’ views of, 247 cognitive-​affective personality system traits, virtue as subset of, 13n1 cognitive-​affective system theory, 117 meta-​cognitive systems, nature of, 51 prototype theory, 135–​36n11 Cohen, J., 75 Cohen, P., 75 Cohen, R. J., 75

328 Index Cohen, T. R., 108–​10, 115–​16 Cokelet, B., 102–​4 co-​manifestations of virtues. See co-​ occurrence of virtues commitments. See goals/​ commitments communion, agency and, 284–​85 compassion in children, development of,  196–​97 compassionate acts, reasons for,  146–​47 definition of, 87–​88 density distributions of, 56–​57,  105 fairness and, 127–​28n6 honest compassion, 255, 269–​70 interpretative system and, 42–​43 measurement of, 85–​89 nunchi and, 204–​5 scenarios for measuring interactions with honesty and courage, 278–​80, 282–​84,  286–​87 Compassionate Care Assessment Tool (CCAT), 87 Compassionate Love Scale (CLS), 85–​86,  87–​88 Compassion Scale (CS-​M), 86, 87 Compassion Scale (CS-​P), 86, 87 composite virtues, 241–​42n31 comprehension (sunesis, eusunesis), 25, 255, 265–​67, 282 comprehensive measurements of virtue,  99–​112 Values in Action survey, 99–​102 whole trait–​density distribution models,  102–​6 conceptual categories, prototype analysis, 135–​36n11 concurrent validity, 69 confirmatory factor analysis, 74–​75n8,  98–​99

conflict assumption, on incompatibility of virtues,  229–​30 Connell, J. P., 116–​17 consistency in density distributions, 178–​79 description of, 53 habituality and, 179–​80n49 reliability of measurement and, 71 of virtues, 101–​2 constellations of virtues. See virtue constellations constitutive value (of virtue), 202–​3n7,  203–​4 content validity, 69 contexts. See situational contexts convergent validity, 69 co-​occurrence of virtues. See also integration thesis of character conclusions on, 293 factor analysis on, 96–​97 introduction to, 8 question of contexts for, 269–​70 research on, 109–​10, 111–​12,  115–​16 Russell on, 8–​9 in virtue development, 190, 191, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198–​200 Cooper, B. K., 96 correlation, 70–​71, 71n5, 229–​30 courage, 79–​82, 243, 278–​80, 282–​84,  286–​87 Courage Measure (Norton and Weiss),  79–​80 Courage Scale (Woodward), 80 Cronbach, L. J., 75 Cronbach’s alpha (α) (statistical index of coherence), 71–​72,  74–​75 crystallized structures, 42 Cultural Humility Scale (Hook et al.), 91

Index  329 culture character, influences on, 258 cross-​cultural paradigmaticity indexes,  137–​38 cultural content, for specific virtues,  204–​5 cultural variability in virtues, 176–​77n47 culture factors in character measurement,  274–​76 influence of, 38, 113, 206 measurement of influence on virtues, 276 Curren, R., 116   daily diaries, 289n18 Damon, W., 208, 284–​85 dark triad (personality traits), 169 Darnell, C., 29, 30n19, 290n19 data. See also density distributions; virtue constellations longitudinal data, 167, 271 noise in, 133n9 normed databases, 136–​37n13 rich data sets, importance of,  181–​82 Defining Issues Test (DIT), 150 deinotēs (cleverness), 26–​27 deliberative excellence (eubolia), 26,  265–​67 deliberative reasoning, 21, 22 Denissen, J. J. A., 104 density distributions description of, 53, 122 ESM data capture and, 103–​4,  105 examples of, 53–​54 illustration of, 32f importance of, 257 measurement of, 67, 123 refutation of situationism and, 247 of trait-​manifestation, changes in,  56–​59

virtue measurement strategies and,  177–​81 depersonalized response tendencies, 248 depth of consistency of trait-​ appropriate responses, 53–​54,  178–​79 despair, as deficiency of confidence, 16n5 developmental virtue, 21, 55–​59 Devereux, 214, 214n11, 215, 215–​16n13,  216–​17 diagnostic situations, 210 directions view of virtues, 226–​27,  232 discriminant validity, 69 Dispositional Humility Scale (Landrum),  90–​91 dispositionality, 102–​3, 178 dogs, virtue of, 21 domains, 241–​45, 244–​45n33 Doris, J. M., 68, 106, 210, 251–​52 Draper, N. R., 64 Dual-​Dimension Humility Scale (DDHS), 90 dual-​processing theory, 36–​37n25 due concern conception of virtue, 231–​32,  284   EAI (Employee Attitude Inventory),  83–​84 educators, interest in virtue, 5–​6 Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR) technology, 68, 106, 119,  172–​73 ELS (ethical leadership scale), 94 Elshtain, Jean Bethke, 2 emotions as elements of virtues, 101–​3 emotion regulation of phronēsis, 29, 30n19 empathy, research programs for,  182–​83

330 Index empirically adequate theories of virtues,  117–​18 Employee Attitude Inventory (EAI),  83–​84 employees, measuring characters of, 93 Employment Inventory (Personnel Decisions International), 84 end-​states, trait-​relevant, 44, 154 environmental ethics, 225n23 ESM (experience sampling methods), 66–​67, 103–​4, 105–​6, 119, 172–​73, 290 ethical leadership scale (ELS), 94 ethical theory construction, basis for,  224–​25 eubolia (deliberative excellence), 26,  265–​67 eudaimonia (flourishing), 15–​16,  102–​3 eusunesis (sunesis, comprehension), 25, 255, 265–​67, 282 evaluative knowledge, 235–​36, 237,  238–​39 existing measurements of virtue, strengths and weaknesses of,  112–​20 experience sampling methods (ESM), 66–​67, 103–​4, 105–​6, 119, 172–​73, 290 experts, novices vs., 45–​47, 147, 175, 176, 281n14, 286n16. See also full virtue exploratory factor analysis, 74–​75n8 Expressed Humility Scale, 91 expression of virtue, action and emotion in, 29n18 external processes, internal processes vs.,  40–​41 external structures of virtues, measurement of, 149 extroversion, 30–​31, 56 eye-​tracking methodology, 69

face (personal honor), 204 factor analysis, 74–​75, 98–​99,  111–​12 failures of motivation vs. of practical reasoning,  174–​75 in perceptions of trait-​relevant stimuli,  124–​25 of understanding vs. of performance,  174–​75 of virtue-​relevant responses, 58 fairness, 105, 222–​23 fathers good fathering, 41–​42, 43–​44 in India, characteristics of, 205–​6n9 fear as vice of efficiency, 16n5 Fehr, B., 85–​86 felt pressures to respond, 140 Fincham, F. D., 111 Fishbach, A., 158n32 Fiske, D. W., 75 Fleeson, Will, 2, 6, 15, 105 flourishing (eudaimonia), 15–​16,  102–​3 forgiveness, 110–​11, 137–​38,  198–​99 fortitude, measurement of, 93–​94 Fowers, B. J., 102–​4 free-​form writing, 289n18 Friedman, R. S., 158n32 friendliness, 30–​31, 32, 42–​43 friends, conflicts between, 256–​57 Frimer, J. A., 107–​8, 284–​85 full virtue components of, 121–​22 discussion of, 55 importance of trait-​oriented values for, 45–​47 measurement of, 178 nature of, 19–​21, 237 research programs for, 184–​85 Furr, R. M., 105

Index  331 gappiness problem, 290 gender-​based virtues, 241–​42n30 generation of virtue-​appropriate behaviors, measurement strategies for, 174–​76 generosity, 47–​48,  198–​99 global traits, rejection of situationist denial of, 15 gnōmē (sense), 25 goals/​commitments activation of, 36–​37 automatic goal activation, situational control vs., 250–​51 functions of, 154n27 goal-​dependent automaticity,  249–​50 Gollwitzer, P. M., 250 Go/​No-​Go paradigm,  129–​30 good life, 154, 258 goodness, measurements of, 101–​2. See also being good Good Samaritan Study, 127n5 Good Self-​Assessment (Arnold), 162 GQ-​6 (Gratitude Questionnaire),  77–​78 Grahek, M. S., 94–​95 gratitude, 64–​65, 69, 77–​79, 110–​11,  137–​38 Gratitude, Resentment and Appreciation Test (GRAT),  77–​78 Gratitude Questionnaire (GQ-​6),  77–​78 Greenberg, M. J., 101–​2 Gregg, A. P., 138 Gregory, R. J., 75 Greitemeyer, T., 81–​82 Gulliford, L., 97, 98, 108, 191–​92, 199–​200,  212–​13   habituality and habituation conclusions on, 252–​53 consistency and, 179–​80n49 critiques of, 54 description of, 53, 245–​46 discussion of, 54–​55

habit formation, 168 of trait-​appropriate responses, measurement of, 179–​81 virtue integration and, 190, 200–​2 of virtues, 39, 49 Hackett, R. D., 95, 96–​97 Hall-​Simmonds, A.,  101–​2 hardship, impact of, 271n8 Hardy, S. A., 287–​88n17 Harman, G., 251–​52 Harris, M. M., 83 Hart, D., 208, 284–​85 Heinz dilemma, 141n18 Hendrix, W. H., 96 Hepach, R., 173–​74n45 heterogeneity, problem of, 76 HEXACO Honesty-​Humility subscale (Lee and Ashton), 89–​90 Hickman, J. R., 287–​88n17 high-​fidelity virtue,  18–​19 Hill, P. I., 251 Hobbes, T., 140n17 Hogan Personality Inventory Reliability Scale (Ones and Viswesvaran), 84 holism of character judgments,  235–​36 honesty compassionate honesty, 255,  269–​70 density distributions of, 105, 123 expressions of, opportunities for,  290–​91 measurement of, 54, 82–​85 motivational system for, 44 narrative identity and, 47 outputs in WTT and, 52–​53 practical wisdom and, 152–​53 research programs for, 184 scenarios for measuring interactions with compassion and courage, 278–​80, 282–​84,  286–​87 as trait, 36–​38, 40–​41, 167–​68, 177

332 Index hope, 16n5 Howard, M. C., 81–​82 human psychology, limitations created by, 221–​22 Hume, David, 1n2 humility, 89–​93, 92–​93n14, 191–​92, 191–​92n2 Humility IAT and Humility Differentials (Rowatt et al.), 91 Hursthouse, R., 168n42, 286n16 Hwang, J. Y., 85–​86   identification of trait-​relevant stimuli, measurement of,  132–​33 identity. See also narrative identity moral identity, 162, 208 role-​specific identity, 204, 205–​6 unity of virtues as, 215 virtue-​general identity, 204, 205–​8 virtue-​relevant identity attributes,  163–​67 virtue-​specific identity, 204, 206–​8 Ignatius of Loyola, 212 imagination, 133–​34,  174–​76 imperfect obligation, virtues of, 18 implicit association test (IAT),  164–​65 implicit behavioral measures, 68–​69 implicit biases, impact on perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli, 128 incompatibility of virtues, 228–​40 incongruency, 144–​45,  248–​49 India gender-​based virtues, trait names for, 241–​42n30 patience, views on, 205–​6n9 inhibitory control, measurement of,  129–​30 inputs in Whole Trait Theory, 32f, 33–​34, 35–​36, 39, 122, 182–​83 inquisitiveness, measurements of,  101–​2

Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing (University of Oklahoma), 2 instrumental value of virtue, 203–​4 integrating virtues. See character integration thesis of character conclusions on, 212–​13, 252–​53 cultural context of virtues, 204–​6 description of, 7–​8, 59 discussion of, 189–​213 habituation in, 190, 200–​2 intermediate systems in, 196–​200 literary portrayals of, 209–​12 on moral goodness, 240 moral identity, 208 practical reason and, 193, 195,  202–​3 virtue development in, 194–​96 virtue-​specific vs. virtue-​general identity,  206–​8 integrity. See honesty intellectual virtues (virtues of thought),  14–​15 intelligence (nous),  25–​26 intelligent caring, virtues of, 191–​92 intentional activity, as component of virtues,  102–​3 interaction effects among virtues, 279n13 intermediate systems in Whole Trait Theory,  40–​51 conclusions on, 50–​51 discussion of, 36–​37, 145–​70 illustration of, 32f interpretative systems, 42–​44,  147–​54 introduction to, 145–​47 measurement strategies for, 147–​61 mentioned, 33, 34 motivational systems, 44–​47, 50–​51,  154–​55 narrative identity, 47–​48 other considerations, 160–​61

Index  333 practical wisdom measurement, 151–​54, 288–​91,  292 research programs for, 183–​84 stability-​inducing processes,  48–​49 temporal processes, 49 trait measurement and, 122 in virtue development, 196–​200 virtue-​oriented values/​ goals,  155–​60 internal consistency in reliability,  71–​72 internal processes, external processes vs.,  40–​41 internal structures, measurement of,  148–​49 interpretative systems, 40, 42–​44, 50,  147–​54 intrinsic value of virtue, 203–​4   Jacobs, J., 3n5 Jainism, 139 Jayawickreme, Eranda, 6, 15, 16n5, 105, 185n2 jingle fallacy, 135 John, O. P., 10, 75 Johnson, L., 168n42 John Templeton Foundation, 2 Jones, L., 86 Joo, M., 137–​38 Jordan, M., 96 Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues (University of Birmingham), 2, 292n20 justice, measurement of, 93–​94 Just World schema, 150   Kamtekar, R., 189–​90, 212–​13, 227 Kastenmüller, A., 82 Kearns, J. N., 111 Kim, Y., 108–​9 kindness, McDowell on, 219–​20 knowledge

evaluative knowledge, virtue and, 235–​36, 237,  238–​39 of good and evil, 215 unity of virtue thesis and, 215–​17 known groups validity, 69 Kohlberg, L., 141n18 Korea, nunchi (social intelligence) in, 204–​5,  223–​24 Kotzee, B., 116 Kristjánsson, K., 76–​77, 108, 110 Kruglanski, A. W., 158n32   Lambert, N., 135–​36n11 Lapsley, D. K., 251 latent profile or latent class analysis, 109–​10, 115–​16,  270 latent transition analysis, 109–​10 leaders, characters of, 93–​96 Leadership Virtues Questionnaire (LVQ),  93–​94 life experiences, effects of differing, 272 Life Story Interview (McAdams), 161–​62, 162n37,  284–​85 limited unity of virtues (LUV) thesis,  241–​45 literature review and critique of strategies for measurement of virtue comprehensive measurements of virtue,  99–​112 conclusions on, 293 existing measurements, strengths and weaknesses of, 112–​20 introduction to, 7, 61–​62 measurement, methods of, 64–​70 methodological issues, 118–​20 moral exemplar research, 106–​8 other measurement strategies,  108–​12 other models of virtue, 116–​18 psychological measures, evaluation of, 70–​75

334 Index literature review and critique of strategies for measurement of virtue (Cont.) quantitative measurement, brief primer on, 63–​75 single virtues, measurements of,  76–​93 virtue groups/​clusters, measurements of, 93–​99 longitudinal data, 167, 271 longitudinal measurement strategies for changes in character over time, 264–​67, 266f, 270, 271–​74 Lopez, S. J., 81 Louden, Robert, 25 love,  110–​11 low-​fidelity virtue,  18–​19 LUV (limited unity of virtues) thesis,  241–​45 LVQ (Leadership Virtues Questionnaire),  93–​94   MacDonald, C., 101 Machiavellianism, 95 main effects among virtues, 279n13 marginal features (virtue-​relevant stimuli),  138–​39 Maroosis, J. A., 93–​94 Martins, D., 86 Masih, Iqbal, 193n3 McAdams, D. P., 162n37, 284–​85 McCullough, M. E., 64–​65, 77–​78 McDowell, J., 20, 39, 218–​20, 221–​25 MCGM (Multi-​Component Gratitude Measure),  78–​79 McGrath, R. E., 101–​2, 111–​12 measurement of virtue. See also literature review and critique of strategies for measurement of virtue; methods of measurement of virtue; strategies for measurement of virtue

errors in, 63–​64 need for methods of, 6 physiological measures, 69–​70, 88–​89, 173–​74,  280–​81 weaknesses in, 79 Meehl, P. E., 75 Mehl, M. R., 68, 106 Meindl, P., 105, 115 mental effort, biological measures of, 69 Merritt, M. W., 251–​52 Messick, S., 75 meta-​cognitive systems, nature of, 51 methods of measurement of virtue,  64–​70 behavioral measures, 68–​69 conclusions on, 75 experience sampling methods,  66–​67 other-​report method,  67–​68 physiological measures, 69–​70 self-​report measures,  64–​66 Milby Profile (Bradley), 83–​84 Mill, John Stuart, 1n2 Miller, Christian, 2 Milton, John, 23–​24n13 Mischel, Walter, 13n1 model of virtue. See working model of virtue model version of strong reciprocity thesis, 218n15 modesty, 110–​11, 138 modified Aristotelianism, 14–​30 conclusions on, 293 discussion of, 15–​21 introduction to, 14–​15 practical wisdom, roles of, 22–​30 modular approach to virtues, 241–​42n31 morality moral character, 106, 109 moral courage, 81, 105

Index  335 moral dilemmas, practical wisdom tracking and, 153–​54 moral dissociation, 144–​45, 248 moral exemplars, 106–​8, 175–​76 moral goodness, critique of Watson and Wolf on, 238,  239–​40 moral ideal self, 287–​88n17 moral identity, 162, 208 moral injury, need for research on, 294 moral luck, 221–​22n18 moral motivation, claims on virtue-​appropriate actions, 140 moral personality, social cognitive account of, 251 moral repair, need for research on, 294 moral schemas, 251 moral virtues, 14–​15, 108 sexual morality, 209–​11 moral psychologists, interest in virtue, 4 Moral Self-​Image (MSI), 162 Morgan, B., 78, 108, 110–​11, 135–​36n11,  137–​38 Morse, L., 108–​9 motivations appropriately virtuous motives,  19–​20 full virtuousness and, 45–​47 motivational states (virtue-​ oriented values/​goals),  155–​60 motivational systems, 40, 44–​47, 50–​51,  154–​55 primacy in structure of virtues,  16–​17 rejection of unity thesis and, 217 trait-​relevant,  45 virtue-​oriented, 15,  19–​20 virtue-​specific vs. virtue-​general,  50–​51 MSI (Moral Self-​Image), 162

Multi-​Component Gratitude Measure (MCGM),  78–​79 Multi-​Factor Leadership Questionnaire, 94 Munich Civil Courage Instrument,  81–​82   Nadelhoffer, T., 90 narrative, as term, uses of, 162n37 narrative identity construction of, 204 discussion of, 47–​48, 161–​68 integration thesis and, 196 measurement of, 284–​85 stability inducing and temporal processes,  167–​68 virtue development and, 254 virtue-​relevant identity attributes,  163–​67 virtues in, 289 Narvaez, Darcia, 2 natural virtue(s), 21, 55, 217–​18 Neff, K. D., 87–​88n11 neuroticism, biological measures of, 69 Nicholas, N. A., 86 Nichols, S., 166–​67 Nicol, A. A. M., 84–​85 Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle),  216–​17 Noftle, E. E., 101 Norgaard, Elsa (The Big Rock Candy Mountain character), 209–​12 Norris, K., 86 Norton, P. J., 79–​80 nous (intelligence), 25–​26 novices, experts vs., 45–​47, 147, 175, 176, 281n14, 286n16 nunchi (social intelligence), 204–​5,  223–​24 Nussbaum, M., 191–​92, 205, 205–​ 6n8, 212–​13, 225, 244–​45, 244–​45n33

336 Index O’Byrne, K. K., 81 Olsen, J. A., 287–​88n17 Open Science Framework (OSF), 136–​37n13 optimism, influence of, 169n43 organizations, character measures for people in, 93–​96 orthos logos (right reason), 16 other-​report method for virtue measurement,  67–​68 outputs in Whole Trait Theory discussion of, 37–​38 illustration of, 32f mentioned, 33 research programs for, 184–​85 trait measurement and, 122   Panter, A. T., 108–​9 paradigmaticity indexes, 135–​39 parents fathers, 41–​42, 43–​44, 205–​6n9 good parents, 59, 204 virtues of, 179–​80, 205–​6 patience,  201–​2 Paunonen, S. V., 84–​85 Pearson’s r correlation coefficient, 70 perfect obligation, virtues of, 18 peripheral features (virtue-​relevant stimuli),  138–​39 personal courage, 80–​81 personality. See also traits Big Five model of personality traits, 10, 107, 169 character and, 188 cognitive-​affective system theory on, 117 measurement of influence on virtues,  274–​76 personality factors (in character measurement),  274–​76 personality scaffolding, 52, 188,  192–​93 variability of, 12, 58

Personal Outlook Inventory, 84 Personnel Reaction Blank (PRB), 84 Personnel Selection Inventory (PSI), 83 Peterson, C., 100, 114 Peterson, S., 81 Phase II Profile,  83–​84 Phillips, B., 168n42 philosophers empirical research and, 10–​11 virtue and virtue measurement, interest in, 4–​5 phronēsis. See practical wisdom physical courage, 81 physiological measures, 69–​70, 88–​ 89, 173–​74,  280–​81 physiological responses to virtue, 173–​74n45 Plato, 188–​89, 214, 214n11, 216–​17n14 playground scenarios, 194, 196–​201 pluralism, types of, 234–​35n29 Pommier, E. A., 86, 87–​88n11 Portrait Values Questionnaire,  157–​58 post hoc reasoning, 142–​43 post-​traumatic growth, need for research on, 294 practical reason, 193, 195, 202–​4, 257–​58,  259 practical wisdom (phronēsis). See also practical reason Aristotle on, 216–​17 Badhwar on, 244 centrality to virtue, 231–​32 functions of, 30n19, 260, 278–​86 good life and, 286–​87 habituality and, 180 humility and, 91–​92, 92–​93n14 interpretative systems and, 44 lack of measures of, 119–​20 measurement of, 151–​54, 172, 260, 276–​88,  292

Index  337 necessity of, 17–​18, 21, 245–​46 need for research on, 294 in reciprocity of the virtues thesis,  217–​18 research programs for, 184–​85 roles of, 8–​9, 8–​9n6, 22–​30, 29n18, 101–​3, 257–​58, 288–​91,  292 in STRIVE-​4 model, 114–​15 unity of virtues, 23–​24 in VIA model, 114 virtue incompatibility and, 233–​34 PRB (Personnel Reaction Blank), 84 predictive validity, 69 Pre-​employment Analysis Questionnaire,  83–​84 presumption, as excess of confidence, 16n5 probability estimates of virtue, 19–​20 problem of heterogeneity, 76 production of situation-​specific trait-​appropriate behaviors. See outputs in Whole Trait Theory prototype analysis, 110–​11, 135–​36, 135–​36n11 prudence, measurement of, 93–​94 psychological measures, evaluation of,  70–​75 psychological processes, integration of, 196 P-​technique factor analysis, 270 pupil dilation, in children, 69–​70 Pury, C. S., 80, 81   quantitative measurement, 63–​75   Rachman, S. J., 80–​81 random errors, 63n3 random processes, 40, 50, 52 RCS (Relational Compassion Scale), 86,  87–​88 reciprocity of the virtues thesis, 188–​ 89, 217–​28, 222–​23n21 recognition/​recall, 130–​32,  170–​74

Reed, A. I., 148–​49n24, 162, 162n37, 164–​65, 208,  212–​13 Reed, P., 117–​18 reference bias, 272n9 reflection on one’s life, 28–​29 reflective function of practical wisdom, 257–​58, 260, 286–​91,  292 regression analysis, 270 regulation of virtues, 8–​9n6, 22–​24, 25–​26, 260,  276–​88 Reid Report (Ash), 83–​84 Reina, C., 93–​94 Relational Compassion Scale (RCS), 86,  87–​88 Relational Humility Scale,  90–​91 reliability and validity, of psychological measures, 71–​74 remote features (virtue-​relevant stimuli),  138–​39 Ren (Confucian virtue, humanity), 95 research programs, recommendations for comprehensive,  181–​87 Riggio, R. E., 93–​94 right reason (orthos logos), 16 Roberts, R. C., 97, 98, 191–​92, 199–​200,  212–​13 Ross, L. T., 90 R-​technique factor analysis, 270 Russell, D., 8–​9, 15, 23–​24, 23–​ 24n12, 25, 26–​27, 30, 191–​92n2, 216–​18, 218n15, 222–​23n21, 226–​27, 229–​30n25, 232–​34, 233–​34n27, 241–​42,  244–​45 Ryan, R. M., 116–​17   Sääksjärvi, M., 93 Sackett, P. R., 83 Sacred Humility Scale,  90–​91 Santa Clara Brief Compassion Scale (SCBCS), 85–​86,  87–​88

338 Index Santavirta, N., 93 Sarros, J., 96–​97 Schwartz, B., 30n19, 294 Schwartz, S. H., 159–​60n34 Schwartz Center Compassionate Care Scale (SCCCS), 87 Science of Virtues Project (University of Chicago), 2 scripts, 150, 150n26 Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project, 2 Self, Virtue, and Public Life Project, 2 self-​compassion,  86 Self-​Compassion Scale (SCS), 87–​88 self-​control, measurements of, 101–​2 self-​deception bias, 63n2, 65–​66 self-​determination theory,  116–​17 Self-​Regulation Questionnaires (Ryan and Connell), 116–​17 self-​report surveys and measures for virtue discussion of, 64–​66 limitations of, 63n2, 65–​66, 119, 272n9 social desirability bias in, 118–​19 usefulness of, 118 Self-​Understanding Interview,  284–​85 Seligman, M. E. P., 100, 114 sense (gnōmē), 25 sensitivity, to virtue-​relevant stimuli, 257 Servant Leadership Survey, 91 Shaheen, M., 86 Sharpe, K. E., 30n19, 294 Shelp, E. E., 79–​80 Sherman, N., 294 Shoda, Yuichi, 13n1 shyness density-​distributions of, 122 measurement of, 53–​54 motivational system for, 44 narrative identity and, 47

outputs in WTT and, 52–​53 stability-​inducing processes and,  48–​49 as trait, discussion of, 35–​38 single virtues, measurements of,  76–​93 compassion,  85–​89 courage,  79–​82 gratitude,  77–​79 honesty,  82–​85 humility,  89–​93 introduction to, 76–​77 Sinnott-​Armstrong, W., 90 sisu (Finnish cultural virtue), 223–​24 situational contexts behavior modulation and, 102–​3 context-​generality of virtue-​ oriented goals/​values, 160 ESM data capture and, 66, 103–​4,  105–​6 for humility measurements, 91–​93 impact on virtue-​oriented goal measurement, 155–​56n39 importance of, 59, 104, 155–​56n30 limitations created by, 222–​23 situation-​specific trait-​appropriate behaviors, reliable production of,  170–​81 in WTT, 31 situationism, 1–​2, 12, 15, 245–​52 smells, 130n7 Snow, Nancy, 2, 10, 15, 16–​17, 27–​ 28n17, 39, 51, 169, 184n51, 188, 192–​93, 202–​3n7, 241–​42n31, 249–​50n38 social cognitive mechanisms, measurement of, 261 social-​cognitive systems. See intermediate systems in Whole Trait Theory social courage, 81–​82 social desirability bias, 65–​66,  118–​19

Index  339 social norms, impact on perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli, 128 spheres of life, 191, 244–​45n33 spheres of practical concern, 227 split-​half reliability, 71–​72n7 Sprecher, S., 85–​86 Srivastava, S., 10 stability creation of stable trait structures,  200–​1 stability-​inducing processes, 40, 48–​49, 52,  167–​68 temporal stability (in reliability),  71–​72 Stanton Survey,  83–​84 states, virtue-​specific vs. virtue-​general,  41 Stegner, Wallace, 209 stereotypes, impact on perception of virtue-​relevant stimuli, 128 stimuli, external vs. internal, 33n22. See also trait-​relevant stimuli Stoics,  15–​16 straight view of virtue, 231–​32, 284 strategies for measurement of virtue. See also literature review and critique of strategies for measurement of virtue attention, measurement of,  126–​30 comprehensive research programs,  181–​87 conclusions on, 293 density distributions, 177–​81 discussion of, 125–​34 identification, measurement of,  132–​33 imagination, measurement of,  133–​34 introduction to, 7, 121–​23 issues for consideration when developing, 135–​45, 169–​70,  176–​77

narrative identity and, 161–​68 recognition, measurement of,  130–​32 situation-​specific trait-​appropriate behaviors, reliable production of,  170–​81 social-​cognitive systems processing,  145–​70 trait-​relevant stimuli, perception of,  123–​45 Strauss, C., 87–​88 stress, biological measures of, 69 STRIVE-​4 model, 102–​4,  114–​15 Strohminger, N., 166–​67 strong reciprocity thesis, 218, 241 Stroop tasks, 128–​29 structures, crystallized, 42 suffering, virtue-​relevancy of, 144–​45n21 sunesis (eusunesis, comprehension), 25, 255, 265–​67, 282 sungnōmē (sympathy), 25 Swanton, C., 232–​34 Swerdlik, M. E., 75 sympathy (sungnōmē), 25 systematic errors (bias), 63n2, 63n3, 65–​66, 118–​19, 128, 272n9   tact, truthfulness vs., 228–​31, 233–​34 teachers, humility of, 91–​92 technomoral virtues, 225n23 temperance, measurement of, 93–​94 Templeton Religion Trust, 2 temporal processes, 40, 49, 52,  167–​68 temporal stability in reliability, 71–​72 temptations to act, 158n32 third-​person measurements, 90–​91, 159, 166, 171, 180–​81, 289–​90 Thompson, A. D., 94–​95 Toliver, A., 94–​95 Tomasello, M., 173–​74n45 Toner, C., 160n35

340 Index trait-​appropriate responses, 52–​53. See also outputs in Whole Trait Theory trait-​relevant stimuli changes to, 152–​53 interpretation of, 39 measurement of, 125–​34 perception of, 34–​39, 121–​22,  123–​45 responses to, 35–​37 traits. See also Whole Trait Theory Big Five model of, 10, 107, 169 biologically based causal concept of, 10 description of, 9–​10, 121 descriptive and explanatory sides of, 9–​10, 30–​31, 32f,  33–​55 development of, 196–​97 functionality of, 31 tensions between and among, 43 trait-​manifestation (trait-​ expression), 7, 31–​32, 32n21, 45, 122, 154, 185–​87 trajectories view of virtues, 232 transformation (character grouping), 96 trolley cases, 153–​54 trustworthiness. See honesty Trustworthiness Attitude Survey,  83–​84 truthfulness, tact vs., 228–​31, 233–​34 Turan, N., 108–​9   Ubuntu (South African virtue), 223–​24 umbrella concepts, 76–​77, 110 undeveloped virtue, 21n10 unity of virtues thesis (Socratic intellectualism), 97, 188–​89, 214–​17,  241 universalism, 96 untenable situations, measurement of,  285–​86 utilitarian tradition of virtue, 1n2

Vaish, A., 173–​74n45 validity and reliability of psychological measures, 71–​74 Values in Action Inventory Modesty-​ Humility subscale (VIA), 89–​90 Values in Action survey (VIA), 99–​ 102, 111–​12,  113–​14 Vazire, S., 68, 106 VIA Institute on Character, surveys from, 99n16 vice, nature of, 23–​24n13 virtual reality immersion labs,  173–​74 virtue-​appropriate actions affective states and, 140 consideration of, 176–​77 defeasibility of, 35–​36, 123–​24, 123–​24n1,  144 deliberative reasoning in, 21, 22 influence of beliefs on, 23–​24n13, 56, 81, 141n19, 148–​50 influence of smells on perception of, 130n7 measurements of reasons for,  140–​45 measurement strategies for anticipation of, 174–​76 motivations for, 15, 140 perception as necessary for, 39 practical wisdom’s regulatory function and, 278–​86 recognition of, third-​person measurements of, 171 schemas and scripts for, 150 STRIVE-​4 Model and, 102 use of moral exemplars in consideration of, 175–​76 virtue constellations components of, 259 development over time, 271–​74 measurement of, 261–​76, 263f, 266f, 268f

Index  341 virtue development in children and young people, 126n4, 194, 198–​99 conclusions on, 252–​53 co-​occurrence of virtues in, 190, 191, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198–​200 differing trajectories of, 237 discussion of, 55–​59 factors affecting, 190, 253, 294 integration thesis on, 194–​96 intermediate systems in, 196–​200 introduction to, 15 narrative identity and, 254 personal reflection on, 168 primary mechanisms of, 190 research on, 176 Snow on, 192–​93 virtue constellations, development over time, 271–​74 virtue integration and, 190 virtues Aristotle on types of, 14–​15 complexity of, 3n5 incompatibility of, 228–​40 numbers of, 225–​26, 227, 228 received philosophical wisdom on,  245–​46 virtue acquisition, factors affecting, 200 virtue attribution, standards for, 18 virtue ethics, 1–​3, 5, 189 virtue groups/​clusters, measurement of, 93–​99 virtue integration (see character) virtue interventions, 272 virtue orientation, changes in, 183 virtue-​oriented goals/​values, 155–​60,  161 virtue primes, 130n7 virtue-​relevancy, 138n15, 144–​45n21

virtue-​relevant identity attributes,  163–​67 virtues of humility, 97 virtues of intelligent caring, 97 virtues of thought (intellectual virtues),  14–​15 virtues of willpower, 97 virtue states, internal variations in,  104–​5 virtue thesis, unity of, 214–​17 virtuous decisions, knowledge of virtues and, 222–​23 virtuous leadership, 94 Virtuous Leadership Questionnaire (VLQ), 95 vital courage, 81 Vlastos, G., 215–​16 VLQ (Virtuous Leadership Questionnaire), 95 volunteering, 67–​68, 71n5, 155–​56, 173, 179, 290   Walker, A. D. M., 218–​19n16, 228–​ 30, 229–​30n25, 231, 232–​33, 233–​34n27 Walker, L. J., 107–​8, 284–​85, 287–​88n17 Wallace, J., 231–​32n26, 232 Wang, G., 95, 96–​97 Wärnå-​Furu, C., 93 Watkins, P. C., 77–​78 Watson, G., 220, 231–​38, 231–​32n26, 239–​40,  284 Webber, J., 117 Wegener, D. T., 75 Weiss, B. J., 79–​80 West, S. G., 75 whole trait–​density distribution models,  102–​6 Whole Trait Theory (WTT) character, integration with conception of, 255–​59 description of, 9–​10

342 Index Whole Trait Theory (WTT) (Cont.) on individual’s density distribution, 178n48 inputs in, 32f, 33–​34, 35–​36,  40–​51 integration thesis and, 195–​96 intermediate systems in, 32f, 33, 34, 36–​37,  40–​51 motivational system, treatment of, 154 outputs in, 32f, 33, 37–​38 overview, 30–​33, 32f research programs for, 185–​87 on traits, 32n21, 177, 178 willpower,  191–​92 Wolf, S., 234–​35, 234–​35n29, 236–​40 Woodard, C. R., 80, 81 Woodard Pury Courage Scale (Woodard and Pury), 81 Woodbury, R. D, 287–​88n17 working model of virtue conclusions on, 60, 293 intermediate social-​cognitive systems, conclusions on, 50–​51 intermediate social-​cognitive systems, input interpretation via,  40–​51 interpretative systems, 42–​44 modified Aristotelianism, 14–​30 motivational systems, 44–​47 narrative identity, 47–​48

overview, 6, 12–​14 practical wisdom, roles of, 22–​30 processes in, 48–​49, 50 trait-​appropriate responses,  52–​53 trait-​relevant stimuli, input and perception of, 34–​39 traits, descriptive side of, 53–​55 traits, explanatory side of, 32f,  33–​53 virtue development and change,  55–​59 Whole Trait Theory, introductory discussion of, 30–​33 The Workplace Productivity Questionnaire (WPQ), 82–​83 Workplace Social Courage Scale (WSCS),  81–​82 Wright, J. C., 90 wrong action, sources of, 216–​17n14 WSCS (Workplace Social Courage Scale),  81–​82 WTT. See Whole Trait Theory   Xin (truthfulness), 95   young people. See children and young people   Zagzebski, L., 175–​76 Zhu, W., 93–​94