Interview with Andrea Yetzer, Summer Session Participant

AYetzer_picture

This post is part of a series of interviews with our participants for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Andrea Yetzer is earning her PhD in Psychology at Northwestern University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Andrea Yetzer: I’m originally from Chicago, but currently live in Colorado Springs, CO for my Master’s program.  I’ll actually be moving back to Chicago this fall to start my PhD program at Northwestern.
VW: Tell me about your research.
AY: My research framework stems from working in a terror management theory lab where I have focused on the relationship between morality and psychological equanimity.  Prior to beginning my Master’s program, I worked with veterans in mental health at the Jesse Brown VA in Chicago.  It is there that I came across research on the construct of moral injury—a trauma dimension that occurs from perpetrating, experiencing, or witnessing acts or events that violate deeply held moral values and beliefs; this experience is what drove my passion to research the role of morality in psychological functioning.
Currently, my research focuses on the self-regulatory processes of moral behavior and emotions, and how perseveration on failures to achieve moral behavioral standards may lead to moral injury.  In doing this research, I have become fascinated with the almost ubiquitous role of morality–from religious and secular laws, to self-regulation, and to politics and intergroup relations.  As I transition into my PhD program, my research will now focus on the more positive aspects of morality and how such worldviews can stimulate other-oriented moral emotions and motivate prosocial action.
VW: What are your non-academic interests?
AY: I’m really into a wide variety of music (Chicago house music, soul, Motown, hip-hop, etc.) and I used to frequent the Lyric Opera.  I also love podcasts, going to baseball games (White Sox fan here), and you can be sure that my answer is always a ‘yes’ for karaoke.  Before I entered grad school and fell out of “fighting shape,” I was pretty involved in obstacle course racing (e.g., Spartan Race, Tough Mudder) and team endurance events (GORUCK).
VW: What are you most looking forward to about this summer’s seminar?
AY: What I am most looking forward to about this seminar is gaining knowledge from the moral philosophical framework of virtue and happiness, and how this may inform and/or strengthen my research.  To be honest, I think all the seminars are going to be incredibly insightful and engaging, and I’m looking forward to meeting other scholars working in this area, and creating strong research networks!

VIDEO: Stephen Brock, “Thomas Aquinas, the Bearer of Practical Truth, and the Rationality of Action”

Stephen Brock, Holy Cross University – “Thomas Aquinas, the Bearer of Practical Truth, and the Rationality of Action” at the workshop Practical Truth: Reflections on the Aristotelian Tradition, April 21-22, 2017.

Interpreters of what Aristotle calls practical truth differ about what its bearer is or what it is properly said of.  As a result, they also differ about the distinction between practical and theoretical truth.  It is generally agreed that the bearer of theoretical truth is an assertion or a judgment about some matter, and that such truth consists in the judgment’s describing the matter correctly.  But while some hold that the same account applies to practical truth, others hold that its bearer is an action, and that what it consists in is the action’s conformity with right desire.  Thomas Aquinas thinks the bearer of practical truth is a judgment.  In this paper I present his position, consider some objections on behalf of the opposing view, and suggest what he would think is at stake the issue.

 

VIDEO: Anselm Mueller, “Is Practical Truth a Chimera? Questions for Anscombe”

Anselm Mueller, Trier University gave this keynote “Is Practical Truth a Chimera? Questions for Anscombe”at the workshop Practical Truth: Reflections on the Aristotelian Tradition, April 21-22, 2017.

In a number of papers, Anscombe raises the “great question”: What is practical truth (PT)? Her answers are not elaborate but clear enough to raise further questions such as: Does PT have truth-conditions? What can be rendered practically true, and by what? – What Anscombe calls PT appears to be secured by actions’ being implemented in conclusion of a valid practical inference in which you derive a way of acting from good ends. But whose truth can be thus secured? If it is practical thought, its PT will require two seemingly separable conditions: goodness of ends, and implementation of the practical conclusion. This would deprive the notion of PT of the unity Anscombe’s explorations insinuate. If, on the other hand, PT is exhibited by actions, how can it also be produced by implementation of practical thought (= action!)? – A solution to the problems I have hinted at is suggested by consideration of the fundamental teleology of human nature.

Interview with Elise Murray, Summer Session Participant

Elise.JPG

This post is part of a series of interviews with our participants for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Elise Murray is earning her PhD in Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Elise Murray: I hail from Lancaster, Pennsylvania originally–Amish Country, born and raised. I am more recently coming from Boston, where I am in the PhD program for Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University.

VW: Tell me about your research.

EM: My research areas fall under the general umbrella of character virtue development, by taking a holistic approach to understand the bidirectional relationship between an individual and his or her context as it pertains to how virtues develop across time and place, within and between various individuals. My work has focused more specifically on theoretically and empirically investigating intellectual virtues, in particular, intellectual humility, its psychometric properties, and its intersections with other various character virtues.

 

Long-term, as a doctoral research assistant, I am working with a larger group of senior researchers and professors, investigating the developmental trajectory of character at the United States Military Academy as part of a longitudinal, collaborative project between Tufts University and the United States Military Academy, Project Arete, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust. This work is both important and engaging for me because character virtues are vital for developing personal strengths and encouraging positive engagement with others and our communities, skills that we must continue to cultivate and facilitate in college. Intellectual Humility, in particular, is important for positive, civil discourse, as well as intellectual growth, which are, again, valued skills in the college context. As such, I am passionate about finding ways to best serve college students by way of promoting character virtues in the collegiate environment.

VW: What are your non-academic interests?

EM: I am a huge sports fan, and love any Notre Dame sporting event, as that is my alma mater (Go Irish!). I am a big fan of the beach (and the occasional long walk on one), hiking, running, comedy (Mike Birbiglia or Jim Gaffigan, don’t make me choose), and performing and listening to music. I like to keep my hand in a little bit of everything!

 

VW: What are you most looking forward to about this summer’s seminar?

EM: Attending the seminar will allow me to engage in an intensive, interdisciplinary environment to augment my current research on virtues as a whole. This provides an opportunity to supplement my conceptualization of virtues with resources from domains outside of psychology, and improve the dialogue between science and the humanities around the topic of virtues. I also hope the seminar experience will forge interdisciplinary collaborations that may result in future research and publications pertinent to the study of virtues, and potentially, more specifically, intellectual virtues and intellectual humility.

 

 

Reading List for “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” – 2017 Summer Session

978-0-674-02746-6-frontcover.jpg

We’ve had some requests for the reading list from our 2017 Summer Session, “Virtue, Happiness, and Self-Transcendence”. Here it is, organized by faculty member.

 

Summer Session Reading List

Talbot Brewer:

Lear, Jonathan – Radical Hope, pp. 1-41

Burnyeat, Myles – Aristotle on Learning to be Good

 

Stephen Brock:

Aquinas – Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, books VIII & IX

Aquinas – Summa Contra Gentiles: chapters 111-112 and question 60 and 90-96

Aristotle – Nicomachean Ethics, books VIII & IX

Brock, Stephen – Natural Inclinations of Man

Gallagher, David – Thomas Aquinas on Self-Love as the Basis for Love of Others

Gallagher, David – Desire for Beatitude and Love of Friendship in Thomas Aquinas

Pakaluk, Michael– Identification and Identity in Aristotelian Philia

 

Jennifer Frey:

Foot, Philippa – Natural Goodness, chapter six “Happiness and Human Good”

Aquinas –  Summa Theologiae, I-II QQ1-6

 

Candace Vogler:

Kant – Anthropology From a Pragmatic Point of View

Kant – Groundwork of the Metaphysics of Morals

Engstrom, Stephen – The Concept of the Highest Good in Kant’s Moral Theory

 

Dan McAdams:

McAdams, D. P – Psychological science and the Nicomachean Ethics: Virtuous actors, agents, and authors

McAdams, D. P – The redemptive self: Stories Americans live by.

McAdams, D. P., & Guo, J. Narrating the generative life.

Walker, L., & Frimer, J. – Moral personality of brave and caring exemplars