Talk of character will not go away. Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle focused on it. Medieval philosophers and theologians were concerned about it. In the past 60 years, there has been a revival of interest in philosophy, theology, and, more recently, psychology as well. Schools have character-development programs. Numerous organizations seek to encourage the cultivation of character in sports. Many religious groups and organizations include a focus on developing character as part of what it means to be religious or spiritual.
Christian Miller, a philosophy professor at Wake Forest University, has written an excellent small book about the big idea of character. The Character Gap is an insightful and wonderful book. The book is based on some of his own scholarship on character, as well as the findings of a good deal of psychological research concerning it. In it, Miller offers much food for thought for those interested in what character is, what our character is, and how to develop it. He argues that our character is a mixed bag. We have the potential to do great good, but great evil as well. Most of us, at the core, are a mix of good and evil. There is a gap, a character gap, between who we are and who we should be.