“I feel very fortunate to have listened to and engaged with such gifted people from so many places…”
“I’m having a great fascinating time and I’ve heard attendees from all perspectives/traditions express how appreciative they are of getting this opportunity to have a respectful interdisciplinary discussion on these topics.”
We feel the same, and grateful for the comments already coming our way from our fabulous participants.
Today’s sessions are Jennifer Frey on Happiness and Candace Vogler on Happiness and Social Life; follow along with our live-tweeting from @UChiVirtue.
Below is a sampling from yesterday’s sessions with Fr Stephen Brock on Aquinas and the Law and Dan McAdams on Generativity.
Moral theologian Jean Porter gave the talk “What should we fear? Courage and cowardice in public life” on Monday, June 5, 2017 at 7pm in the Swift Hall 3rd Floor Lecture Hall at the University of Chicago, followed by a lovely audience Q&A and reception. The talk will be posted on our website once it has been close-captioned.
Abstract from talk:
“Courage is pre-eminently an individual virtue. Yet we can also describe a community or a nation as courageous in its response to a threat or an attack. To take one well-known example, the behavior and attitudes of the English during the Blitz of 1940-41 offers an outstanding example of collective public courage. Somewhat to the surprise of government officials, the civilians subjected to intensive German bombing were not only relatively free of trauma, they were able to carry on with their lives, and even to be cheerful in the face of repeated attacks. The collective courage of the English under the Blitz was of course dependent on the courage of countless individuals, and yet it cannot be reduced to the sum of so many courageous acts and lives. The government promoted, and individuals cooperated in creating a set of practices and expectations that encouraged bravery and perseverance. At this point, England was a brave society, which both drew its courage from individuals and communicated it back to them.In my remarks this evening, I want to examine another example of public courage and public cowardice, which began to develop within the memory of many of us and is still unfolding today. I am referring to public reactions to the threat of terrorism since the attacks of 9/11. During and immediately after the attacks themselves, the men and women at the scene, together with the police, fire fighters, and medical personnel, behaved with exemplary bravery in the face of an unimaginable danger. These clear, unambiguous examples of courage do not call for extended analysis. However, at another level, public reactions to the threat of terrorist attacks present a more complex and ambiguous example. I want to suggest that we as a nation responded initially to terrorist assaults and the threat of further attacks with another kind of courage, not physical bravery but a firm resolve to hold onto central values, including equality, tolerance, and respect for the rule of law. However, over the past fifteen years, our attitudes as a civic society, as expressed by the actions taken in our name, reflect a growing unwillingness to live with risk and, correspondingly, a willingness to do almost anything to our supposed enemies, in order to secure our own safety. In other words, we as a nation have moved from courage to a kind of cowardice when it comes to our attitudes towards these threats. I will consider some of the possible causes of this development, and suggest some ways in which we might reclaim our initial courage.”
The lecture by our Visiting Scholar Fr Stephen Brock is being close-captioned; as soon as it’s up on YouTube we’ll publish it here and on our website. In the meantime, here are a few photos and tweets from the event.
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).
We had a full house for our September 10, 2016 session, “Happiness without Religion? A Philosophical Debate” at the Catholic Center at NYU. Moderated by R.R. Reno of First Things, presentations were made by Jennifer A. Frey, Assistant Professor, University of South Carolina and Co-Principal Investigator, Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life; Candace Vogler, David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago and Co-Principal Investigator, Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life; and Thomas Joseph White, OP, Executive Director, Thomistic Institute Dominican House of Studies, and Scholar, Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.
Thank you to the Thomistic Institute for sponsoring this event, and to photographer George Goss for these wonderful photos!