Stoic News

By Dave Kelly

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

On Alasdair MacIntyre's Idea of Virtue"

"The central hypothesis of Alasdair MacIntyre's book "After Virtue" (Duckworth, 1981, 114-238) is that modern society (including most of academia) lacks any coherent and workable system of virtues or morality. In our society today, "[t]here seems to be no rational way of securing moral agreement." This is the case, argues MacIntyre, because differing and opposed moral arguments are grounded in irreconcilable premises. After detailing the history of Western systems of morality, MacIntyre discusses the Enlightenment's abandonment of Aristotelianism and the various attempts -- all failures, in his opinion -- to outline a feasible system of virtues."

Monday, November 22, 2004

A virtues approach to personality


"The structure of virtue was investigated through the development and construct validation of the Virtues Scale (VS), a 140-item self-report measure of virtues. A factor analysis of responses from 390 participants revealed four factors: Empathy, Order, Resourcefulness, and Serenity. Four virtue subscales constructed from the highest loading items on each factor were correlated with the Revised NEO Personality Inventory (NEO PI-R) scales in two additional samples (ns=181 and 143). One of these samples also completed the DIT measure of Kohlbergian moral development. Meaningful, replicated correlations between the virtue subscales and personality scales and complete lack of relationships between the virtues scales and the DIT indicate that virtue is a function of personality rather than moral
reasoning and cognitive development. # 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved."

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Stoicism - One School Amongst Many

"I do believe that there is only one core truth, and that I would call the Way of Harmony - the core teaching of every true faith. I approach this Way of Harmony through the school of Stoicism, others through the school of Christianity, others through the school of Islam, the school of Buddhism, the school of Hinduism, and even the school of Scepticism to name but a few" (Nigel Glassburrow).

An Overview of the Virtues

"As children grow from infancy to adulthood, they need to acquire certain character-strengths: sound judgment, a sense of responsibility, personal courage, and self-mastery. These habits of mind and will and heart have traditionally been called the virtues: prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance. Children internalize these lifelong habits in three ways, and in this order:

"example: what they witness in the lives of parents and other adults whom they respect (and thus unconsciously imitate).

"directed practice: what they are repeatedly led to do, or are made to do, by parents and other respected adults.

"word: what they hear from parents and other respected adults as explanation for what they witness and are led to do."

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Virtues Web Site

"The Virtues Web Site provides information about our research program on a virtue-based psychology."

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Appeal of Psychological Type

"I would personally argue that this belief [that personality types are
inborn and immutable] arises as a necessary consequence of the fundamental -- if somewhat unconscious -- aim of the modern Type Movement -- social activism. Its ultimate aim is >not< science or empiricism as such, but rather in offering up a positive "social mythology" that empowers its constituents. As such it >absolutely< requires type to be inborn and unalterable. To suggest otherwise would undercut its goal. Think about it -- solving other "isms" like racism and sexism requires an external inter-social solution since the individual obviously can't otherwise change his/her race or gender. By suggesting that typology is inborn and unchanging the modern type movement places type in the same category. The individual can't change. Therefore, the external world >MUST< change to fit the individual's needs. This is an immensely empowering idea -- for justice to prevail the whole world must change to fit the needs of the lone individual. However, that also makes it something of a trap. To suggest that perhaps type can be changed even in the smallest degree is to attack the modern type movement at its strongest point, that thing which makes it most appealing to its adherents" - Alan Hoch.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Annie Murphy Paul

"Millions of Americans take personality tests each year: to get a job, to pursue an education, to settle a legal dispute, to better understand themselves and others. But where did these tests come from, and what are they saying about us? In The Cult of Personality, award-winning psychology writer Annie Murphy Paul reveals the surprising and disturbing story behind the tests that claim to capture human nature."