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Shared Virtue: The Convergence Of Valued Human Strengths Across Culture And History

Katherine Dahlsgaard, Christopher Peterson, Martin E. P. Seligman

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Positive psychology needs an agreed-upon way of classifying positive traits as a backbone for research, diagnosis, and intervention. As a 1st step toward classification, the authors examined philosophical and religious traditions in China (Confucianism and Taoism), South Asia (Buddhism and Hinduism), and the West (Athenian philosophy, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam) for the answers each provided to questions of moral behavior and the good life. The authors found that 6 core virtues recurred in these writings: courage, justice, humanity, temperance, wisdom, and transcendence. This convergence suggests a nonarbitrary foundation for the classification of human strengths and virtues.