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Liberalism in PracticeThe Psychology and Pedagogy of Public Reason$
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Olivia Newman

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028790

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028790.001.0001

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Psychological Realism and “Creatures Like Us”

Psychological Realism and “Creatures Like Us”

(p.45) 3 Psychological Realism and “Creatures Like Us”
Liberalism in Practice

Olivia Newman

The MIT Press

This chapter surveys research in social, cognitive, moral, and developmental psychology that suggests character is not constituted by global character traits that inform behavior over a wide variety of situations. Instead, traits are much more local and specific, and situations shape behavior at least as much as traits do. Human character appears to be situated and social, resulting in differentiation by sphere; domain-differentiation may be a fundamental feature of moral character. This is the psychology of public reason. As this chapter suggests, domain-differentiation challenges common views of the self as unified around a single set of goals, beliefs, attitudes, and aptitudes. A brief examination of cross-cultural psychology bolsters this view of the self as differentiated by domain.

Keywords:   Domain-differentiation, Moral character, situational psychology, Self, Cross-cultural psychology, Traits

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