Theses Doctoral

The Principled Pursuit of Happiness: Virtue's Role in Moral Psychology

Cornwell, James Francis McCullough

The field of moral psychology has made tremendous advances in the last two decades, spurred on by the reconsideration of many prior assumptions that undergirded its study from the beginning of the twentieth century. These new discoveries largely involved the application of new psychological tools to the puzzles of moral judgment and decision-making, often confirming intuitions ruled out by previous models, which, in turn, needed to be revised to accommodate new evidence. This dissertation seeks to consolidate much of this research under the umbrella concept of "virtue," showing that this idea has important motivational significance for the study of moral psychology. This concept of virtue will be examined and demonstrated to be of import to three major areas of investigation by moral psychologists: (1) moral judgments, (2) moral decisions, and (3) moral character. This research program will provide a framework from which to argue for a revision of many popular and expert a priori assumptions about what the boundaries of morality are and how ethics relates to happiness, and suggest additional avenues for future research.



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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Higgins, E. Tory
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 25, 2014