Friday, July 27, 2018

Kristján Kristjánsson's "Virtuous Emotions"

Kristján Kristjánsson is Deputy Director in the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics at the University of Birmingham.

He applied the “Page 99 Test” to his new book, Virtuous Emotions, and reported the following:
From page 99:
If I were asked to mention a Manchester United player, the two names that would readily come to mind are George Best and Eric Cantona. Those are not the ‘average’ Manchester United players, however. I remember them best because they stood out in terms of their larger-than-life personas. Similarly, if I were asked to mention a typical episode of shame, I would most probably think of a case of global, excessive shame, taken from a Greek tragedy or an Icelandic saga. In general, it is highly likely in an open-question phenomenological study that the elicited descriptions are biased in favour of excessive instantiations of a concept rather than typical instantiations. This is why more careful and considered research into prototypicality ratings, as a way of eliciting common conceptual intuitions, does need to follow such ratings up with a second phase of centrality ratings where the original features are taken to another group of people who are then asked to re-rank them in terms of centrality versus peripherality (see e.g. Lambert, Graham & Fincham, 2009; Morgan, Gulliford & Kristjánsson, 2014). Because of a lack of attention to excess bias in studies of shame and guilt, it will seem – to the average philosopher at least – that social scientists have engaged in ferocious generalisations about the circumscriptions of shame and guilt based on descriptions that are most likely excessive.
This paragraph is paradigmatic of a certain thread running through my book, Virtuous Emotions, namely that of juxtaposing philosophical (esp. Aristotelian) account of emotional traits (in this case shame) with social scientific accounts in order to arrive at some sort of theoretical synthesis of what is the best account of the conceptual contours of the given trait and its moral value, as virtuous or not.
Learn more about Virtuous Emotions at the Oxford University Press website.

--Marshal Zeringue