Reports of the death of aspiration have been indeed much exaggerated

Blaine J. Fowers, Jordan B. Ainsley, G. Tyler Lefevor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


In their recent article, Williams and Gantt (2013) make the provocative claim that the only way to account for human aspiration is to recognize the existence of an eternal soul. Although it is possible to argue for such a position, their exposition is plagued by unsubstantiated assertions, false dichotomies, straw-person arguments, appeals to authority, and disregard for large psychological literatures related to their claims. These problematic forms of argumentation are inadequate to the task that these authors set for themselves and show insufficient respect for many potential interlocutors. In their apparent eagerness to discuss their eternal soul thesis, Williams and Gantt dismiss the work of scholars in positive psychology, virtue ethics, and “mainstream psychology” with whom they share extensive common ground, thereby neglecting the richness and fruitfulness of these scholars’ contributions to the topic of human aspiration.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)399-416
Number of pages18
JournalTheory & Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • Aspiration
  • eternal
  • fallacy
  • mortal
  • the good
  • virtue


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