Capstone Conference Day 2: photos & tweets

Our scholars presented their findings at our “capstone” conference October 13-14, 2017 at the University of Chicago, which we captured in photos and tweets. Visit our Flickr page for the full album and our Twitter page for more observations. Below are highlights from Saturday, October 14.

Screenshot 2017-10-24 13.08.16Screenshot 2017-10-24 13.08.05Screenshot 2017-10-24 13.07.58

Saturday, October 14 – Ida Noyes Hall, Cloister Club

9:00-10:00 am Owen Flanagan, James B. Duke Professor of Philosophy, Duke University

10:15-11:15 am Angela Knobel, Associate Professor of Philosophy, School of Philosophy, The Catholic University of America

11:30 am-12:30 pm Candace VoglerDavid B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago and Principal Investigator for the project Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life

2:00-3:00 pm Panel  Transcending Boundaries II

Heather C. Lench, Associate Professor of Psychology and Department Head, Texas A&M University

Marc G. Berman, Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director, Environmental Neuroscience Laboratory, University of Chicago

Robert C. Roberts, Professor of Ethics and Emotion Theory at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, and joint Chair with the Royal Institute of Philosophy

3:15-4:15 pm Nancy Snow, Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, University of Oklahoma

Holiday Greetings from our Scholars

DEC16WGMgroupweb2.gif
December 2016 Working Group Meeting with (most of) the scholars of VHML: (from left) Josef Stern, Heather Lench, Kristján Kristjánsson, Jennifer Frey, Fr Thomas Joseph White, Dan McAdams, Candace Vogler, Marc Berman, Darcia Narvaez, Owen Flanagan, Angela Knobel, Reinhard Huetter, Michael Gorman, Paul Wong, Talbot Brewer, David Shatz.
Photo by Valerie Wallace.

What work does anger do across moralities?

For our December 2016 Working Group Meeting , the questions I’m asking are, What work does anger do across moralities? and  What work ought anger to do in a particular morality?

 

The first is a question in psychology, sociology, anthropology, and politics. It calls for thick description and explanation. The second is a question in ethics. It calls for reasons and normative justification.  How are the two questions and their answers connected?  Here I discuss one substantive and one methodological way the questions and the answers connect.  Substantively, anger, as we do it, is neither necessary for moral life nor normal in any robust psychobiological or statistical sense.  Methodologically, the method of reflective equilibrium whereby we bring our enacted norms of anger into alignment with our ideals can work in homogeneous cultures to recalibrate our practices, and to provide internal normative justification for our ideals.

13315639515_e5101b7a07_z
photo by Patrik Nygren

In a culture that is Aristotelian about anger the process of reflective equilibrium permits us to remind ourselves of the kinds of anger that are justified, which abide the doctrine of the mean, and so on.  It is not clear how reflective equilibrium works in multicultural ecologies where there is disagreement about whether any kind of anger can be virtuous, unless it is performed as a method of settling on a majority norms and a common set of expressive or communicative tools.  The method of reflective equilibrium does not seem suited for radical critique, for asking questions about whether, in the present case, we should ever be angry, but only on fussing about how anger is done around here, by us, most of us.

 


Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy at Duke University,  and a Scholar with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.

Questions our scholars are asking – part 1 of 2

We’ve distilled our Scholars’ research for this semester into respective questions; tomorrow we’ll post eight more. And in forthcoming posts, we’ll feature in-depth look at each. For now, we thought our readers would enjoy pondering each question. Together, they can read as a kind of meditation on the inter-relatedness of virtue, happiness, and deep meaning in life.

Herbst Wald Panorama im goldenen Sonnenschein
Click photo to make it larger.

Can cognitive effort be measured?

~Marc Berman, University of Chicago

 

What good are the humanities?

~ Talbot Brewer, University of Virginia

 

What work does anger do across moralities?

What work ought anger to do in a particular morality?

~ Owen Flanagan, Duke University

 

How can Thomistic notions of of Temperance enlarge and enrich our understanding of that virtue?

~ Jennifer Frey, University of South Carolina

 

What is the role of friendship in human flourishing?

~Michael Gorman, The Catholic University of America

 

Given my circumstances, can I do what befits a human being? 

~Matthias Haase, University of Chicago

 

Can we achieve happiness without an understanding of the ultimate finality of the human soul?

~Reinhard Huetter, Duke Divinity School

 

Can human character experience sudden moral change?

~Angela Knobel, The Catholic University of America

 

How is Aristotle’s meta-virtue of megalopsychia, or magnanimity, useful to us today?

Can immoral people undergo sudden moral conversions?

~Kristján Kristjánsson, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham

Owen Flanagan Joins Virtue Scholars

IMG_2509IMG_2370.jpg

Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life (VHML) has a new scholar: Philosopher Owen Flanagan of Duke University will join the scholars at their next two working group meetings. Flanagan and our project are already familiar with each other; he was a faculty member during the June 2016 Summer Seminar “Virtue & Happiness”.

 

When asked to comment about his participation in the project, Flanagan spoke about the project’s aims to pinpoint the place of the virtues in finding deep meaning in life. “My recent work is in cross-cultural philosophy.  Every tradition makes virtue a necessary condition of flourishing.  But the most prized virtues differ across traditions — Justice among liberals, compassion among Buddhists, filial piety among Confucians.  Working with wise souls who think about the place of virtue in a good life is an amazing and welcomed opportunity.”

 

Candace Vogler, one of the Principal Investigators (along with Jennifer A. Frey at the University of South Carolina) of  VHML, expressed her enthusiasm for Flanagan’s presence on the team of scholars. “Owen Flanagan is an extraordinarily astute and erudite philosopher trained in analytic philosophy but bringing deep and serious engagements with Buddhist, Hindu, and Confucian understandings of virtue.  He has vibrant interest in questions about how one should live and significant cross-disciplinary experience at the intersections of the humanities and the social and natural sciences.  He is an exemplary interlocutor—generous, patient, serious and cheerful, and always receptive to others’ views. He will strengthen our collaborative work in more ways than I can imagine.”

 

Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy and Co-Director of the Center for Comparative Philosophy.  He also holds appointments in Psychology and Neuroscience, and is a Faculty Fellow in Cognitive Neuroscience and a steering committee member of the “Philosophy, Arts, and Literature” (PAL) program, and an Affiliate of the Graduate Program in Literature. In 2016-2017, Flanagan will be a Berggruen Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford University.