Participants include Sean Carroll, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, Terrence Deacon, Simon DeDeo, Daniel Dennett, Owen Flangan, Rebecca Goldstein, Janna Levin, David Poeppel, Massimo Pigliucci, Nicholas Pritzker, Alex Rosenberg, Don Ross, and Steven Weinberg.
Owen Flanagan is James B. Duke University Professor of Philosophy at Duke University. He works in philosophy of mind, ethics, and comparative philosophy. His book, The Geography of Morals: Varieties of Moral Possibility was published in 2016 from Oxford University Press. Flanagan is a scholar with the project Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.
Kristján Kristjánsson, Deputy Director in the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues and Professor of Character Education and Virtue Ethics at the University of Birmingham, is the author of Virtuous Emotions, forthcoming in May 2018, Oxford University Press.
Heather C. Lench, Associate Professor & Department Head, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Texas A&M University, is an editor on the volume Functions of Emotion, Springer, in January 2018.
Saturday, October 14 – Ida Noyes Hall, Cloister Club
9:00-10:00 amOwen 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 Vogler, David 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 pmNancy Snow, Director of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing, University of Oklahoma
Our scholars met for their third of four working group meetings from December 12-16, 2017. Talbot Brewer gave the keynote public lecture, “What Good Are the Humanities?” on December 14, 2017 (video forthcoming).
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.
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.