Interview with Alberto Arruda, Summer Session Participant

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This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Alberto Arruda is
postdoctoral researcher in philosophy at the University of Lisbon. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Tomorrow’s blog post is by Arruda, “The notion of dependence.”

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Alberto Arruda: I am from Lisbon, Portugal. I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Lisbon.

VW: Tell me about your research.

AA: My research interests are mainly in the connections between the philosophies of mind and action, moral and political philosophy, and also Wittgenstein, Anscombe, Marx and Hegel.

More specifically, my most recent research interest is concerned with trying to understand philosophically what ‘worrying about someone’ means. By this expression I simply mean that I have been trying to think about what this characteristic exhibited by humans (worrying about each other) means in virtue ethics and the development of virtues, also regarding the notion of a person.

In relation to this, I have been trying to better understand the notion of perfectionism, especially how in some political systems perfectionism was both destructive of persons and the apparent justification of a higher good for that political community.

VW: What are your non-academic interests?

AA: My main non-academic interest is music.

 

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

AA: I am looking forward to serious and exciting discussions, and to learning about new perspectives that will help me when considering the problems I study.

Interview with Carissa Phillips-Garrett, Summer Session Participant

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This post is part of a series of interviews with our participants for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Carissa Phillips-Garrett is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Houston. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Carissa Phillips-Garrett: I grew up in San Diego and it still feels like home even though it’s been almost 10 years since I lived there full-time. After undergrad and before starting my PhD, I lived in the Republic of Georgia, South Korea, and Canada, before moving to Houston where I live currently. I am finishing my PhD in philosophy at Rice University, and after living in Houston longer than I’ve lived anywhere else as an adult, Houston feels like home, too.

 

VW: Tell me about your research.

CPG: I work primarily at the intersection of ethics, moral psychology, social and political philosophy, and ancient philosophy. Because of my interest in virtue, flourishing, and political communities, I am naturally drawn to Aristotle, so my work involves bringing Aristotle into conversation with contemporary philosophers.

My research as a whole concerns relationships (both personal and broadly social) and the common good. I am interested in the social ties that bind us to one another, the virtues, emotions, and practices that sustain and undermine these ties, and the moral demands that arise from our relationships to one another. I also explore the role that moral identity plays in sustaining virtue and happiness.

The escalating social and political tensions over the last few years highlight the importance of learning to listen and dialogue with those who are very different than ourselves. My work is now turning to examine the role that mercy, charity, empathy, and social relationships might play in promoting understanding and a commitment to the common good within our social and political communities.

VW: What are your non-academic interests?

CPG: I enjoy traveling and exploring new places, reading (mainly historical fiction and philosophical sci fi), playing board and card games, and visiting museums. I also love the the beach and water sports more generally.

 

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

CPG: I’m really looking forward to participating in interdisciplinary conversations about the relationship between goodness and happiness, how we develop ethically, and the value of friendship. While I really enjoy my own discipline (philosophy), I am looking forward to having discussions and being challenged by participants from other disciplines.

 

Interview with Summer Session Participant Ellen Dulaney

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This post is part of a series of interviews with our class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Ellen Dulaney s a PhD student in Psychology at Depaul University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

 

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Ellen Dulaney: I am originallly from Knoxville, Tennessee. I have also lived in Amherst, Massachusetts, where I completed my undergraduate degree at Hampshire College.

VW: Tell me about your research.
ED: Using psychology’s methods of inquiry, I research the self and essentialist beliefs about the true self. Additionally I study whether the self can provide a personalized access point to constructing meaning in life for each person. I research these topics because I am interested in understanding human Being, the phenomenological experience of selfhood, and what conditions can enable each person to thrive. 

VW: What are you most looking forward to about this seminar?
ED:  I am very excited for the opportunity to hear from precise and passionate thinkers from such a wide range of traditions. I value interdisciplinary input on my topics of interest very highly, and am sure I will learn so much during each of this seminar’s discussions.

VW: What are your non-academic interests?
ED: My non-academic interests include painting and photography; surrealist and impressionistic painters; the cultures of Japan and Southern Appalachia; socially-conscious punk and rock music; and science fiction, fiction, and noir films and literature.

Interview with Cabrini Pak, Summer Session Participant

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This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. Cabrini Pak is
a Teaching Fellow with the School of Business and Economics and a PhD candidate in Religion and Culture at the Catholic University of America. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.

 

Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Cabrini Pak: I grew up all over the United States, having lived on the East and West Coasts, north and south.

VW: Tell me about your research.

CP: I am currently working on: integration of personal identity and ethical frameworks in context shifts, particularly for military service members; the role of transcendence in resilient American POWs; moral conflict, ambiguity, and injury; suicide; spiritual resilience; transcendence as experiential process rather than as “event” or “state of being.”

The “Why”:  The human person in the 21st century world is often reduced to individualistic jumbles of needs and wants (material and immaterial), which the global marketplace then feeds from & caters to. This creates a rather pernicious feedback loop that ultimately results in the objectification of the human experience and human beings, individually and in groups. Exacerbating this problem is the disturbing rise of human trafficking (especially women and children) to fortify industrial supply chains that really just feed the vices.

I hope that my research can help recover a more holistic understanding of human flourishing, individually and in groups. Deeper conversations about human dignity, solidarity, subsidiarity, and a “common good” need to return to the public square. Time-space horizons can be stretched to include a telos that informs the activities we engage now and anticipate in the future. It goes back (for me) to integrating personal identity (which is social in nature) with ethical frameworks (which are cultural products).

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

CP: I am really looking forward to just meeting people from different fields and hearing their stories, their thoughts on these topics. Very much looking forward to hearing what our speakers have to share, especially regarding what progress or shifts they have seen as the project itself unfolded.

VW: What are your non-academic interests? 

CP: Seirenkai Karate (2nd Dan), photography, exploring the outdoors, and delving into the lives of the saints.