This project aims at finding a widespread folk theory of honesty in order to construct an accurate account of the philosophical nature of honesty as a character trait. Our research process involves gathering responses from the folk, then combining and interpreting the responses. Our broad goal is to discover a solid case for the existence of character traits that can be used against the recent situationist attacks being seen in psychology. Proponents of situationism reject the existence of broad character traits, arguing that behaviour is driven by situational factors and that humans posess no significant character traits at all (Harmon, 1999, 2000 and Doris 1998, 2002). Research in psychology has been used to support situationism, but skepticism arises about the interpretation of study results. For example, Kamtekar notes that “[I]t is noteworthy that the experiments appealed by situationists for the most part assume that subjects share the experimenter’s construal of the situation” (2004, p. 471). Our research aims to provide a single, agreed-upon basis for evaluating action in terms of character traits.
Lindgren, Drew; Talley, Jared; Bundy, Travis; Stevens, Lauren; Hayes, Kim; Brasil, Kyle; Couture, Sara; and Lynch, Amanda, "Situationism, Honesty, and the Folk" (2014). College of Arts and Sciences Presentations. Paper 46.