Genes and Virtue: Exploring How Heritability Beliefs Shape Conceptions of Virtue and Its Development
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In this paper, we provide an overview of our ongoing project in the Genetics and Human Agency Initiative sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Our project focuses on the ways that lay beliefs about the heritability of virtue influence reasoning about the nature of virtue, parenting behaviors, and the development of virtue in children. First, we provide philosophical perspectives on the nature of virtue and suggest that viewing virtue as a malleable skill may have important advantages. Next, we review theory and research that highlights the ways that lay heritability beliefs potentially undermine conceptualizations of virtue as a malleable skill. Finally, we discuss how lay heritability beliefs might ultimately affect parent-child interactions and child virtue development. The paper thus provides a brief description our project's theoretical foundation and a general look at the empirical questions it will tackle.
author list (cited authors)
Vess, M., Brooker, R. J., Stichter, M., & Neiderhiser, J. M.