The Rough Ground of Character: A Philosophical Investigation into Character Development on a Wilderness Expedition through a Virtue Ethical Lens


  • Paul Stonehouse Simpson University University of Edinburgh


“Character development†has long been associated with outdoor adventure education (OAE). The sources of this association are varied and many, including Plato's relating physical activity and risk to character development (Republic, 411e-412a, 466e-467e; see also Hunt, 1999, p. 116 and Wurdinger, 1997, pp. 1-4), the conception of Scouting as a “character factory†(Rosenthal, 1986, p. 6), the moral ideals of the camping movement (Martin & Cashel & Wagstaff & Breunig, 2006, p. 17), James' (1949, pp. 311-328) Moral Equivalent of War, and Hahn's (1947, p. 2) ethical vision for OAE (Loynes, 2002, p. 119). This assumption that OAE develops character appears to persist to the present, and can be found in any number of contemporary textbooks (e.g. Prouty, Collinson, & Panicucci, 2007, pp. 10, 13).