Mark Alfano's book adds to the growing literature on empirical challenges to Aristotelian notions of virtue and other character traits. In its most recent avatar, this literature argues that our innate cognitive biases and other flaws make the central moral and intellectual Aristotelian virtues, as usually understood, impossible for the vast majority.My reason for this post is: But isn't that what Aristotle thought, too? (Isn't that what many virtue theorists think?)
Response: "But if ought implies can and these studies (or the situationists' readings of them) are correct, then it makes no sense to say, to most people, that they ought to be virtuous. Virtue ethics as a normative ethical theory (for general consumption) is thus unworkable."
But I've never thought that was the right way to make sense of virtue ethics. An ideal is to be aimed toward, if never met perfectly. Some ideals are always ever in the distance. We don't need to be able to travel to the North Star in order to navigate the world by referring to it.