Virtues disunited and the folk psychology of character

Sergio Barbosa, William Jiménez-Leal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Despite the recent attention given to moral character in moral psychology and moral philosophy, there is little evidence on how the folk concept of character is structured. Virtue ethics literature suggests a number of views formalizing how different virtues or vices are structured in overall virtuous or vicious character. The Unity of Virtues View (UV) assumes that any virtue implies all other virtues through practical wisdom. On the contrary, the Disunity of Virtues View (DUV) argues that different virtues or vices do not imply one another. Finally, the Limited Unity of Virtues View (LUV) suggests that UV is true when considering specific spheres of life but DUV is true when considering overall character. Here, we report an experiment that suggests that the folk concept of moral character follows an intuitive Limited Unity of Virtues view. Also, folk beliefs about moral character differ between virtuous and vicious character. The psychological and philosophical implications of these findings are discussed. Materials (in Spanish) and data analysis scripts for all studies are available in OSF:

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-350
Number of pages19
JournalPhilosophical Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 6 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Psychology
  • Philosophy


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