Virtue Obscured and Retrieved: Character, Community, and Practices in Behavioral Science

Blaine J. Fowers, Alan C. Tjeltveit

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This introduction sets the context for a discussion of the place of virtue ethics in the behavioral sciences. We outline how virtue ethics provide an illuminating account of human action that can expand social science and professional practice in ways that are unavailable in standard accounts. The authors in this issue of the American Behavioral Scientist provide a more systematic and comprehensive account of virtue than is currently available in the social science literature. This account focuses on virtues as character strengths that make it possible for individuals to seek the best kind of life. We present virtue ethics as a framework that makes it possible to break down the standard dichotomies between facts and values, individuals and society, and behavioral tendencies and a complete life. We take Aristotle's original account of virtue as a point of departure, which reduces our reliance on particular contemporary religious or political doctrines.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-394
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Behavioral Scientist
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2003


  • Character
  • Community
  • Ethics
  • Goodness
  • Virtues

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Social Sciences(all)


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