From continence to virtue: Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Character is central to positive psychology's efforts to understand and promote human flourishing. Despite the importance of character and ubiquitous references to Aristotle, virtue theory remains underdeveloped in positive psychology. This article elaborates three key aspects of virtue ethics for understanding flourishing: goodness, the unity of character, and character types. Positive psychologists have not developed a substantial concept of what is good, which is essential because virtues are defined as the enduring personal qualities necessary for pursuing particular goods. Positive psychologists present virtue in a fragmented manner, focusing on a few 'signature strengths,' whereas virtue ethicists generally emphasize the unity of character and the development of a full range of virtues. Because positive psychologists have not recognized the four character types in addition to virtuous character, they often misconstrue the continent character as virtuous, and many of their descriptors of the good life do not differentiate well between the virtuous and the vicious character types.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)629-653
Number of pages25
JournalTheory and Psychology
Volume18
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2008

Fingerprint

Psychology
Ethicists
Ethics
Goodness
Continence
Positive Psychology
Unity
Psychologists

Keywords

  • Aristotle
  • Character
  • Eudaimonia
  • Flourishing
  • Good
  • Practical wisdom
  • Virtue

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

From continence to virtue : Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology. / Fowers, Blaine.

In: Theory and Psychology, Vol. 18, No. 5, 01.10.2008, p. 629-653.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{30c75d5c8dbe45e688847ea7ac5d550e,
title = "From continence to virtue: Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology",
abstract = "Character is central to positive psychology's efforts to understand and promote human flourishing. Despite the importance of character and ubiquitous references to Aristotle, virtue theory remains underdeveloped in positive psychology. This article elaborates three key aspects of virtue ethics for understanding flourishing: goodness, the unity of character, and character types. Positive psychologists have not developed a substantial concept of what is good, which is essential because virtues are defined as the enduring personal qualities necessary for pursuing particular goods. Positive psychologists present virtue in a fragmented manner, focusing on a few 'signature strengths,' whereas virtue ethicists generally emphasize the unity of character and the development of a full range of virtues. Because positive psychologists have not recognized the four character types in addition to virtuous character, they often misconstrue the continent character as virtuous, and many of their descriptors of the good life do not differentiate well between the virtuous and the vicious character types.",
keywords = "Aristotle, Character, Eudaimonia, Flourishing, Good, Practical wisdom, Virtue",
author = "Blaine Fowers",
year = "2008",
month = "10",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/0959354308093399",
language = "English",
volume = "18",
pages = "629--653",
journal = "Theory and Psychology",
issn = "0959-3543",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",
number = "5",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - From continence to virtue

T2 - Recovering goodness, character unity, and character types for positive psychology

AU - Fowers, Blaine

PY - 2008/10/1

Y1 - 2008/10/1

N2 - Character is central to positive psychology's efforts to understand and promote human flourishing. Despite the importance of character and ubiquitous references to Aristotle, virtue theory remains underdeveloped in positive psychology. This article elaborates three key aspects of virtue ethics for understanding flourishing: goodness, the unity of character, and character types. Positive psychologists have not developed a substantial concept of what is good, which is essential because virtues are defined as the enduring personal qualities necessary for pursuing particular goods. Positive psychologists present virtue in a fragmented manner, focusing on a few 'signature strengths,' whereas virtue ethicists generally emphasize the unity of character and the development of a full range of virtues. Because positive psychologists have not recognized the four character types in addition to virtuous character, they often misconstrue the continent character as virtuous, and many of their descriptors of the good life do not differentiate well between the virtuous and the vicious character types.

AB - Character is central to positive psychology's efforts to understand and promote human flourishing. Despite the importance of character and ubiquitous references to Aristotle, virtue theory remains underdeveloped in positive psychology. This article elaborates three key aspects of virtue ethics for understanding flourishing: goodness, the unity of character, and character types. Positive psychologists have not developed a substantial concept of what is good, which is essential because virtues are defined as the enduring personal qualities necessary for pursuing particular goods. Positive psychologists present virtue in a fragmented manner, focusing on a few 'signature strengths,' whereas virtue ethicists generally emphasize the unity of character and the development of a full range of virtues. Because positive psychologists have not recognized the four character types in addition to virtuous character, they often misconstrue the continent character as virtuous, and many of their descriptors of the good life do not differentiate well between the virtuous and the vicious character types.

KW - Aristotle

KW - Character

KW - Eudaimonia

KW - Flourishing

KW - Good

KW - Practical wisdom

KW - Virtue

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=51749120797&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=51749120797&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/0959354308093399

DO - 10.1177/0959354308093399

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:51749120797

VL - 18

SP - 629

EP - 653

JO - Theory and Psychology

JF - Theory and Psychology

SN - 0959-3543

IS - 5

ER -