Virtue and Character

virtue imageThe Project

Virtue and Character are currently the focus of extensive international philosophical and psychological research, as well as being introduced as themes in educational formation at different levels from primary/elementary schooling through to professional training in business, health care, policing and the military. From a philosophical point of view these features raise a number of conceptual, normative and philosophical-historical questions:

  • What is character? Is it something real and enduring or a figment of folk-psychology? If it is real to what extent is its development within the power of an agent, or open to the influence of others?
  • J.S. Mill wrote “It matters not only what men do but what manner of men they are that do it”. How important is character as an element in moral theory and in practical ethics?
  • What is virtue? Is it a real feature of agents or a notion left over from earlier theories of human nature? What is the relation between judgements of moral dispositions and judgements of actions, and evaluations of intended and forseen outcomes?
  • What in general is the relationship between familiar descriptions of moral motivation and action and theoretical accounts of psychology?
  • What is the place of assessments of character and virtue in evaluation of public figures, politicians, policy-makers, role-models, service providers, etc?


  • John Haldane (St Andrews: Philosophy; Birmingham: Centre for Character and Virtue; Baylor: Philosophy), Project Leader
  • Candace Vogler (Chicago: Philosophy)
  • David Carr (Birmingham: Centre for Character and Virtue)
  • Kristjan Kristjansson (Birmingham: Centre for Character and Virtue)
  • Michael Beaty (Philosophy: Baylor University)
  • Anthony O’Hear (Buckingham: Education; Royal Institute of Philosophy)
  • Jens Timmermann (St Andrews Philosophy)
  • Rowan Cruft (Stirling Philosophy)
  • Ben Colburn (Glasgow Philosophy)

Recent Developments and Plans:

Recent Developments:

Work in Progress:

  • A collection edited by David Carr, James Arthur & Kristjan Kristjansson entitled Varieties of Virtue Ethics (forthcoming from Palgrave MacMillan) with contributions from Haldane, Carr, Kristjansson  and Vogler.
  • Meeting between representatives of CEPPA, Birmingham Centre for Character and Virtue, Baylor University and Royal Institute of Philosophy to discuss forms of future co-operation at the Virtue and Wisdom conference (Oriel College, Oxford January 2017)
  • Katherine Hawley: Self-Control Through Accountability to Others (through the The Philosophy and Science of Self-Control project)

Recent and Forthcoming Publications:

  • John Haldane ‘Whither Moral Philosophy’ in R. Hain ed, Virtue, Medicine, and Modern Moral Philosophy (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, forthcoming).
  • John Haldane ‘Alasdair MacIntyre, Philosophy and the University’ in R. Barnett & A. Fulford eds, Philosophers on the University (New York: Springer, 2020).
  • John Haldane ‘Evolution, Education and Wisdom’ in D. Davis ed, Educating for Wisdom in the 21st Century (South Bend, IN.: St Augustine Press, 2019).
  • John Haldane ‘Some Questions about Virtue’ in Elisa Grimi ed, Virtue Ethics: Retrospect and Prospect (New York: Springer, 2019).
  • John Haldane ‘Responding to Discord’ in James Arthur ed, Virtues in the Public Sphere: Citizenship, Civic Friendship, and Duty (London: Routledge, 2019).
  • John Haldane ‘Virtue Ethics in the Medieval Period’ in Carr et al. eds, Varieties of Virtue Ethics (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2016).