Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Humanities and Social Inquiry


The goal of this thesis is to develop and advance the interactionist approach to moral character in philosophy. Interactionism recognizes the important contribution that both personal and situational factors make to character, but places its main focus on the dynamic interaction between person and situation. Interactionism has emerged in recent years as a promising account of character that could provide a way forward out of the debate between virtue ethicists and situationists. This thesis seeks to contribute to this project by pursuing three primary goals. The first is to develop the core theoretical framework of interactionism in greater detail by synthesizing ideas from both psychology and philosophy. The second goal is to defend interactionism against a number of potential objections and challenges, in particular methodological concerns about the psychological evidence supporting interactionism, and worries that interactionism falls prey to the Causal- Constitutive Fallacy objection familiar from the philosophy of mind. The third and final goal is to explore some implications of interactionism for other areas of philosophy, namely for well-being and environmental virtue ethics. Ultimately, the thesis illustrates that interactionism stands as a rich, empirically adequate moral psychology of character that does justice to the importance of situational and personal variables, while emphasizing the dynamic exchanges between agent and environment. Additionally, in demonstrating implications for other areas of philosophy, the thesis also demonstrates the broader appeal and usefulness of interactionism, and highlights potentially fruitful future lines of research. In developing interactionism further, defending it from objections, and extending it into new areas, this thesis will have made a valuable contribution to the current literature on moral psychology and normative theory.


Thesis by compilation



Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.