1st Edition

The Routledge International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Character Development, Volume I Conceptualizing and Defining Character

Edited By Michael D. Matthews, Richard M. Lerner Copyright 2024
    666 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drawing from philosophy, religion, biology, behavioral and social sciences, and the arts, The Routledge International Handbooks of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Character Development, Volumes I and II, present cutting-edge scholarship about the concept of character across the life span, the developmental and contextual bases of character, and the key organizations of societal sectors, within and across nations, that promote character development in individuals, families, and communities.

    This first volume, Conceptualizing and Defining Character, explores the foundations of the field by providing an array of interdisciplinary approaches to character development, including economics, education, law, literature, military science, philosophy, and many more. With contributions from international experts, Volume I brings together cutting-edge research and discusses instances of character development, including civic character, courage, fairness, forgiveness, gratitude, morality, tolerance, and thankfulness.

    This comprehensive publication is an essential reference for researchers and graduate students in behavioral sciences, biology, philosophy, theology, and economics, as well as practitioners leading or evaluating character education or character development programs around the world.

    Find Volume II: Moderators, Threats, and Contexts here: www.routledge.com/9781032172453


    Admiral (Retired) James Stavridis


    Section I: Introduction

    1. Contemporary Character Development Scholarship: Multidisciplinary and International Perspectives

    Michael D. Matthews and Richard M. Lerner

    Section II: Multidisciplinary Approaches to Character Development

    2. Epigenetics and Character Virtue Development

    David S. Moore

    3. Character Virtues in Developmental Science

    David C. Witherington and Maria McCready

    4. The Economic Approach to Personality, Character, and Virtue

    James J. Heckman, Bridget Galaty, and Haihan Tian

    5. Primed for Character Education: Deriving Design Principles for Effective Practice from Empirical Evidence

    Marvin W. Berkowitz and Melinda C. Bier

    6. Changing the Character of Schools: Promoting Servant Leadership Virtues to Solve Internationally Relevant Problems in Education

    Melinda C. Bier, Deborah S. O’Reilly, Peter Kingori, Satabdi Samtani, and Marvin W. Berkowitz

    7. Educating for Character in the Sexual Domain: Why It Matters and How to Do It

    Thomas Lickona

    8. Character Development in Higher Education

    Edward Brooks and Tom Harrison

    9. The Use and Inculcation of Character in Law: Challenges Reflected Throughout US Legal Systems

    Roger J.R. Levesque

    10: Character Development in Leadership and Organizational Studies

    Patrick J. Sweeney

    11. Contact with the vir fortis: Character Education and the Roman Practice of Declamation

    Anthony Zupanic

    12. Character Virtue Development in Military Science

    Andrew Farina and Chaveso Cook

    13. The Philosophical Foundations of Character Virtue Development

    Andrew Peterson and Kristján Kristjánsson

    14. Political Science Approaches to the Character Virtues

    Hugh Liebert

    15. Character Virtues in Positive Psychology

    Robert E. McGrath

    16. Character-Minded Evaluation: Recognizing and Activating the Essential Role of Character in High-Quality Evaluation

    Jennifer Brown Urban, Miriam R. Linver, Jane Buckley, Monica Hargraves, and Thomas Archibald

    17. The Culture of Character: Sociological Perspectives

    Jeffrey S. Dill

    18. Theological Perspectives on Beliefs and Communities of Practice: Virtue Systems as an Integrative Approach for Psychologists

    Pamela Ebstyne King, Rebecca A. Baer, and Tyler S. Greenway

    Section III: Instances of Character Development

    19. Developing Civic Character

    Sunah Hyun, Diane M. Ryan, and Peter Levine

    20. Courage: Moral and Physical Dimensions

    Erin I. O’Connell, Roshni M. Joseph, Addison E. Shemin, Jason Woodruff, Colin Simsarian, Francesco Yepez Coello, and Bruce Bongar

    21. Justice: Where Aristotle and Kohlberg Meet

    Juan Pablo Dabdoub, Marvin Berkowitz, Natasha Keces, and Aitor R. Salaverría

    22. On Forgiveness and Character Development: Description, Explanation, and Optimization

    Jonathan M. Tirrell

    23. Gratitude: From Relational Emotion to Contextualized Virtue Inclusive of Indebtedness

    Jenae M. Nelson, Jo-Ann Tsang, and Sarah A. Schnitker

    24. Dynamics of Intellectual Humility

    Elise Murray Dykhuis

    25. Intellectual Virtues

    Ben Kotzee and Jason Baehr

    26. Kindness: A Path to Human Growth and Connectedness

    Tina Malti and Tyler Colasante

    27. The Development of Morality and the Character System: Implications for the Notion of Virtue

    Larry Nucci

    28. Personal Liberty, Mutual Respect, and Tolerance

    David Lundie, Lee Shannon, and Antonio Zuffiano

    29. Feeling Good and Feeling Thankful: The Role of Positive Emotions in Sustaining Early Prosocial Behavior

    Stefen Beeler-Duden and Amrisha Vaish

    30. Purpose through the Lens of Character Virtue Development

    Kendall Cotton Bronk


    William Damon


    Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D., is Professor of Engineering Psychology at the United States Military Academy. He has been a military psychologist since 1980. In the past 40 years, he has served on active duty as an Air Force officer (as a behavioral sciences officer), as a psychology professor at Drury University, as a research psychologist for the Army Research Institute, and, since 2000, in his current capacity at West Point.

    Richard M. Lerner, Ph.D., is the Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science and the Director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. He went from kindergarten through Ph.D. within the New York City public schools, completing his doctorate at the City University of New York in 1971 in developmental psychology. Lerner has more than 800 scholarly publications, including more than 80 authored or edited books.

    “This modern encyclopedia of character is a treasure. I have immense respect for its editors and authors, as well as the breadth of topics and how they have been organized. Most of all, I love the interdisciplinary approach represented in these two volumes. I know I will turn, again and again, to the chapters in this Handbook for knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration.”

    — Angela Duckworth, CEO of the Character Lab and bestselling author of Grit

    “This Handbook is greatly needed at this time in history when basic principles of honesty and integrity seem to take a backseat to self-interest and personal financial or political gain.”

    — Admiral James Stavridis, U.S. Navy (Retired), former Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and author of To Risk It All: Nine Conflicts and the Crucible of Decision and coauthor of 2034: A Novel of the Next World War

    “This multi-faceted, far-reaching Handbook succeeds on many fronts. It captures the classic concerns of character that sages have examined for centuries and the vibrant contemporary work that scholars are producing at this moment… It has no near equivalent as a resource for anyone wishing to review the present state of knowledge about this most crucial dimension of human life.”

    — William Damon, Director of the Stanford Center on Adolescence and author of The Path to Purpose

    “Matthews and Lerner’s monumental two-volume International Handbook of Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Character Development provides a timely and engrossing compendium of everything you ever wanted to know about character virtues—what they are, what they presage, how and where they are manifest, and how they can best be promoted and nurtured at all ages as well as in all contexts and cultures. The volumes comprise a finely written tour-de-force that will appeal especially to academics, parents, teachers, cultural critics, and those in positions of leadership throughout society even as they underscore how elusive these virtues have become in our fractured world.”

    — Michael E. Lamb, Emeritus Professor of Psychology and Emeritus Fellow, Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge

    “Understanding and promoting moral character may seem like gentle, uncontroversial goals. Yet, moral character is under serious threat in the world today, and these goals are as urgent as they’ve ever been. These extravagantly comprehensive volumes draw from virtually all disciplines to provide the best thinking and evidence to guide our efforts to strengthen collective and individual character. As a wonderful bonus, the handbook ends with unique resources on character-infused leadership in military professions and portraits of university-based and other centers for the study and promotion of character.”

    — Anne Colby, author of Educating Citizens and The Power of Ideals

    “To the great credit of the editors, they have taken an interdisciplinary approach to this topic, which is becoming increasingly important in today's world. The result is a highly comprehensive work with up-to-date findings — a vital resource for researchers and practitioners shaping character education worldwide.”

    — Hubert Annen, Head of Military Psychology and Military Pedagogy Studies, Swiss Military Academy at ETH Zurich

    “These knowledgeable and nuanced discussions of important topics from multidisciplinary perspectives of character and virtue will provide graduate students, researchers, and academicians with a valuable overview on a worldwide scale. Excellent resource for scholars at all levels.”

    — Updesh Kumar, Scientist ‘G’ & Head Mental Health Division, DIPR, DRDO, Delhi, India