Date of Award

5-1-2012

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

Philosophy

First Advisor

Hahn, Robert

Abstract

This dissertation explores the growing epidemic of academic dishonesty in the United States in order to propose an Aristotelian-inspired model for developing moral character to curtail this epidemic. The task is laid out in four parts. Chapter one responds to the problem of akrasia, adopting a modified version of Devin Henry's distinction between drunken akrasia and genuine akrasia, holding that the akratic individual experiences an internal struggle similar to that of the self-controlled individual, but the improper desire is stronger than the desire for the proper pleasure. Chapter two responds to the challenges to virtue ethics set forth by social situationists, John Doris (2002) and Gilbert Harman (2000) with a model consistent with Rachana Kamtekar's (2004) depiction of character in Aristotelian virtue ethics that adopts a holistic view of character incorporating motivation and proper intellect as necessary elements in practical reason. Chapter three provides a summary of empirical research into the prevalence of academic dishonesty and the internal and external factors influencing academic dishonesty. This assemblage of data suggests that an effective sustainable solution for curbing academic dishonesty must focus upon the development of internal character rather than the mere modification of external or situational factors. Chapter four applies the findings of the existing data to the development of core principles for a proper moral education intended to offer a foundation for possible solutions towards reducing academic dishonesty in the United States. In light of the current research into academic dishonesty, chapter four outlines core principles essential for developing practical solutions inspired by Aristotle's character-based virtue ethics while recognizing the short-term benefits of situation modification.

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