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Character Strengths and Virtues : A Handbook and Classification - Christopher Peterson

Character Strengths and Virtues

A Handbook and Classification

Hardcover

Published: 8th April 2004
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"Character" has become a front-and-center topic in contemporary discourse, but this term does not have a fixed meaning. Character may be simply defined by what someone does not do, but a more active and thorough definition is necessary, one that addresses certain vital questions. Is character a singular characteristic of an individual, or is it composed of different aspects? Does character--however we define it--exist in degrees, or is it simply something one happens to have? How can character be developed? Can it be learned? Relatedly, can it be taught, and who might be the most effective teacher? What roles are played by family, schools, the media, religion, and the larger culture? This groundbreaking handbook of character strengths and virtues is the first progress report from a prestigious group of researchers who have undertaken the systematic classification and measurement of widely valued positive traits. They approach good character in terms of separate strengths-authenticity, persistence, kindness, gratitude, hope, humor, and so on-each of which exists in degrees.
Character Strengths and Virtues classifies twenty-four specific strengths under six broad virtues that consistently emerge across history and culture: wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance, and transcendence. Each strength is thoroughly examined in its own chapter, with special attention to its meaning, explanation, measurement, causes, correlates, consequences, and development across the life span, as well as to strategies for its deliberate cultivation. This book demands the attention of anyone interested in psychology and what it can teach about the good life.

"Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above, especially those interested in positive psychology." --Choice "Peterson and Seligman's Character Strengths and Virtues adds a needed balance to the psychological literature. Topics such as character and virtue have too long been only in the domains of moral philosophy and politics. This work provides a needed psychological foundation for studying some of the attributes that are most important to a world that is foundering on the shoals of wars, terrorism, and atrocities. I recommend the book very highly."-Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University; Director, Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise (PACE Center), Yale University; Past President, American Psychological Association "Peterson and Seligman's endeavor to focus on human strengths and virtues is one of the most important initiatives in psychology of the past half century. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to make a small contribution to this paradigm-changing effort."-Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Education and Cognition, Harvard Graduate School of Education "The book helps, in other words, with a coherent conversation about human qualities or character. Perhaps it can ultimately help people to remain 'attached to their values' as well."--Family Medicine "Peterson and Seligman's endeavor to focus on human strengths and virtues is one of the most important initiatives in psychology of the past half century. I am pleased to have had the opportunity to make a small contribution to this paradigm-changing effort."-Howard Gardner, Hobbs Professor of Education and Cognition, Harvard Graduate School of Education "Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above, especially those interested in positive psychology." --Choice "Peterson and Seligman's Character Strengths and Virtues adds a needed balance to the psychological literature. Topics such as character and virtue have too long been only in the domains of moral philosophy and politics. This work provides a needed psychological foundation for studying some of the attributes that are most important to a world that is foundering on the shoals of wars, terrorism, and atrocities. I recommend the book very highly."-Robert J. Sternberg, IBM Professor of Psychology and Education, Yale University; Director, Center for the Psychology of Abilities, Competencies, and Expertise (PACE Center), Yale University; Past President, American Psychological Association "The book helps, in other words, with a coherent conversation about human qualities or character. Perhaps it can ultimately help people to remain 'attached to their values' as well."--Family Medicine

Contributorsp. xiii
Background
Introduction to a "Manual of the Sanities"p. 3
Universal Virtues?--Lessons From Historyp. 33
Previous Classifications of Character Strengthsp. 53
Strengths of Character
Strengths of Wisdom and Knowledge
Introductionp. 93
Creativity [Originality, Ingenuity]p. 109
Curiosity [Interest, Novelty-Seeking, Openness to Experience]p. 125
Open-Mindedness [Judgment, Critical Thinking]p. 143
Love of Learningp. 161
Perspective [Wisdom]p. 181
Strengths of Courage
Introductionp. 197
Bravery [Valor]p. 213
Persistence [Perseverance, Industriousness]p. 229
Integrity [Authenticity, Honesty]p. 249
Vitality [Zest, Enthusiasm, Vigor, Energy]p. 273
Strengths of Humanity
Introductionp. 291
Lovep. 303
Kindness [Generosity, Nurturance, Care, Compassion, Altruistic Love, "Niceness"]p. 325
Social Intelligence [Emotional Intelligence, Personal Intelligence]p. 337
Strengths of Justice
Introductionp. 355
Citizenship [Social Responsibility, Loyalty, Teamwork]p. 369
Fairnessp. 391
Leadershipp. 413
Strengths of Temperance
Introductionp. 429
Forgiveness and Mercyp. 445
Humility and Modestyp. 461
Prudencep. 477
Self-Regulation [Self-Control]p. 499
Strengths of Transcendence
Introductionp. 517
Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [Awe, Wonder, Elevation]p. 537
Gratitudep. 553
Hope [Optimism, Future-Mindedness, Future Orientation]p. 569
Humor [Playfulness]p. 583
Spirituality [Religiousness, Faith, Purpose]p. 599
Conclusions
Assessment and Applicationsp. 625
Referencesp. 645
Index of Namesp. 763
Subject Indexp. 789
Table of Contents provided by Rittenhouse. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195167016
ISBN-10: 0195167015
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 814
Published: 8th April 2004
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 26.2 x 19.2  x 4.5
Weight (kg): 1.59