Vices and virtues of a moral archetype 1

Authored by: Manos Rhodes Hatzimalonas

The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology

Print publication date:  September  2017
Online publication date:  September  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138961432
eBook ISBN: 9781315659794
Adobe ISBN:


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Despite its undoubtedly far-reaching success in placing happiness and optimal human functioning at the center of psychological science, positive psychology (PP) has been failing in its vision to deliver adequate prototypes of what constitutes the “good life” – the principal goal of everyone concerned with matters of virtue and well-being. Furthermore, in its approaches to define and promote well-being, PP has been accused of “culture-blindness,” “Western-centricity,” and “middle-classness.” As a consequence of this general disregard for situational context, PP appears to be morally reluctant to make any descriptive evaluations for the phenomena it studies (Kristjánsson, 2013). Although still considered nearly heretical among social scientists, moral exercising within PP is proving increasingly vital in supporting valid claims or proposing viable prototypes pertaining to individual and societal states of flourishing. The Greek meta-virtue of philotimo, as the combination of moral and intellectual virtues necessary for both good character and virtuous action (Pollis, 1965; Rhodes Hatzimalonas, in press; Triandis, Marin, Lisansky, & Betancourt, 1985), challenges PP’s reluctance to recognize the importance of meta-virtues and offers a prototype study paradigm in vivo for PP theorists looking to overcome issues that relate to the situational dependency and moral integration of universal strengths and virtues. Furthermore, a detailed situational analysis of philotimo’s past, present, and possible future as a positive cultural narrative at the epicenter of a global socioeconomic crisis supports the need for PP to account for cultural and situational differences while attempting to recognize a gold standard in the study of virtues and well-being.

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