Title

Reports of the Death of Aspiration Have Been Indeed Much Exaggerated

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Theory & Psychology

Volume

24

Issue

3

Publisher

Sage Publications, Inc.

Publication Date

6-6-2014

First Page

399

Last Page

416

Abstract

In their recent article, Williams and Gantt (2013) make the provocative claim that the only way to account for human aspiration is to recognize the existence of an eternal soul. Although it is possible to argue for such a position, their exposition is plagued by unsubstantiated assertions, false dichotomies, straw-person arguments, appeals to authority, and disregard for large psychological literatures related to their claims. These problematic forms of argumentation are inadequate to the task that these authors set for themselves and show insufficient respect for many potential interlocutors. In their apparent eagerness to discuss their eternal soul thesis, Williams and Gantt dismiss the work of scholars in positive psychology, virtue ethics, and “mainstream psychology” with whom they share extensive common ground, thereby neglecting the richness and fruitfulness of these scholars’ contributions to the topic of human aspiration.

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