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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 45, 2020

Cameron Lutman
Pages 57-78

Interactionist Moral Character and the Causal-Constitutive Fallacy

Interactionism has emerged as a promising approach to moral character in the wake of the situationist challenge and the character-situation debate. This paper will consider whether interactionism is troubled by a familiar problem from the philosophy of mind: the coupling-constitution or causal-constitution fallacy (C-C fallacy). In relation to character, this issue pertains to whether the external factors featured in interactionist models are partly constitutive of the agent’s character, or whether they merely play a causal role. In contrast to some other interactionist theorists, I argue that interactionism doesn’t need to make distinctions regarding causation and constitution, and would be better off without attempting to do so. Making such claims would only add metaphysical baggage to interactionism that won’t aid in its goal of providing an empirically adequate moral psychology of character. Interactionists are thus better off evading the C-C fallacy challenge, rather than attempting to meet it head-on.

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