How Good Are We, Really? With Christian Miller

by Scott Barry Kaufman, August 8, 2019

Today it’s great to have Christian Miller on the podcast. Dr. Miller is A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University and Director of the Character Project, funded by the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is the author of over 75 papers as well as the author of Moral Character: An Empirical Theory, Character and Moral Psychology, and most recently, The Character Gap: How Good Are We? 

In this episode we discuss:

  • The main aims of the Character Project
  • Christian’s attempt to integrate positive psychology research with philosophy
  • Replication of the famous Milgram experiment
  • Fairness norms among infants
  • Can we draw boundaries around the notion of “moral character”?
  • What factors predict whether people help?
  • How we’re a mixed bag between the poles of compassion and callousness
  • What Christian’s research has discovered about people’s tendency toward helping, hurting, lying and cheating
  • Can we make humans better?
  • How SBK and Aristotle are on the same page


One Response to “How Good Are We, Really? With Christian Miller”

  1. Shawn O'Brien says:

    Scott, your comment about it sometimes being difficult to model the behavior you’d like your students to learn when they are not reflecting it back reminded me of my favorite poster I used to have in my office when I was a working school psychologist. (I’m retired now, and yes, people who work with children often like to use posters!) This one was actually more aimed at parents and principals whose sole response to misbehavior was punishment, although I never explicitly pointed that out to them! It said, “Children need our love the most when they least deserve it.” The posters are still widely available, so maybe you could post it in your classroom as a reminder, and your students will be none the wiser! 🙂

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