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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 44, 2019

Nancy E. Snow
Pages 201-212

Commentary On The Character Gap
Situational Influences and Helping Behavior

This book is an important example of how philosophers can make their work better known to the nonacademic public without sacrificing too much by way of rigor. Miller’s academic work stands at the intersection of philosophy and psychology: he draws on a wide array of psychological studies to help make the case for ‘mixed traits.’ He does the same here, though in a very accessible way. Here I remark on ways in which I think the book might have been stronger, and engage with some of the psychological studies. Finally, I introduce a recent meta-analysis of 24,512 controlled psychological studies of helping behavior (Lefevor et al., “To What Degree Do Situational Influences Explain Spontaneous Helping Behaviour?” 2017). I am curious whether Lefevor et al.’s conclusions will induce Miller to rethink his approach to helping studies or will have other implications for his future research.

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