[CFA] Virtue, Skill and Practical Reason

University of Cape Town. Photo from  http://studiesabroad.com/programs/country/south_africa/city/cape_town/viewUniversity.

We’re happy to post this call for abstracts from one of our Summer Session 2016 participants, philosopher Tom Angier.

Virtue, Skill and Practical Reason


Keynote Speakers:

Prof. Julia Annas (University of Arizona)

Prof. Michael Thompson (University of Pittsburgh)

Prof. Rachel Barney (University of Toronto)


Aristotle drew an analogy between the acquisition of virtue and the acquisition of various skills such as archery and playing the lute. Since that time there has been substantial debate on how seriously one should take that analogy. In Intelligent Virtue (2011) Julia Annas has made a powerful case for taking that analogy very seriously, whereas others are more cautious.


This conference aims to bring together philosophers working in the virtue tradition, in particular those working in ancient and moral philosophy, to discuss the complex relationships between skill and virtue. There appears to be a consensus that the acquisition of virtue is part of the broader acquisition of practical reasonableness, but there the consensus ends.


High quality abstracts are invited in any area of virtue theory, including but not limited to virtue ethics and virtue epistemology. Papers can have a historical focus, or they can be organised thematically. Papers from a non-Western perspective are welcome.


The conference will be held from Friday 25th to Sunday 27th August 2017 at the spectacular University of Cape Town, and there will be ample opportunities for sight-seeing.


Invited speakers


Profs Sergio Tenenbaum and James Allen (University of Toronto), Sarah Stroud (University of McGill), John Hacker-Wright (University of Guelph).



Please email an abstract of between 300 and 500 words, to by Friday 31st March 2017.

Additional information

You will have 30/40 minutes for the paper presentation followed by a 30/20 minutes discussion. We regret we cannot cover expenses for accepted speakers. We are planning a published volume containing selected papers from the conference.



Dr Tom Angier (University of Cape Town) and Dr Richard Hamilton (University of Notre Dame, Australia).

For further information, please contact:




Group photo: “Virtue & Happiness” Summer Seminar

This week on the Virtue Blog, I’ll post photos from our first summer seminar, “Virtue & Happiness”.

I took our group photo on the grounds of Moreau Seminary, the location for our week-long series of seminars, discussions, great food, and walks around the lakes.

Click the photo to make it larger!

~ Valerie Wallace, Associate Director, Communications

From left: Darcia Narvaez, Chip Lockwood, Kristina Grob, Anne Baril, Jason Welle, Indra Liauw, Fr. Michael Sherwin, Wenqing Zhao, Santiago Mejia, Olivia Bailey, Ryan Darr, Gus Skorburg, Leland Saunders, Mihailis Diamantis, Sukaina Hirji, Jennifer A. Frey, Hollen Reisher, Candace Vogler, Owen Flanagan, Yuan Yuan, Amichai Amit, Brian Ballard, Parisa Moosavi, Sungwoo Um, Anselm Mueller, John Meinert, Samuel Baker, Tom Angier, Kate Phillips, Jaime Hovey, Matthew Dugandzic. Photo by Valerie Wallace.

Interview with Tom Angier, Summer Session Participant

Tom in treno

This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue & Happiness” 2016 Summer Seminar. Tom Angier is Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Cape Town.


Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?

Tom Angier: I grew up in rather insignificant spots in southern England, though my mother is Canadian and I did a PhD in Toronto. 


VW: Tell me about your research.

TA: My main research is in Aristotelian and neo-Aristotelian ethics and political theory. The reason is that I think the ancients, and Aristotle in particular, supply the most fruitful and realistic framework for thinking about human practice. One of my projects is to explore and resurrect the metaphysically rich framework of Aristotle’s practical philosophy. For instance, I’ve recently written a paper arguing that Aristotle’s ethics is fundamentally theocentric, something downplayed (indeed denied) by generations of philosophers. More widely, I have done work on the 19th century philosopher Kierkegaard, and also on Alasdair MacIntyre. Recently I have been asked to translate a text by Knud Logstrup, a 20th century Danish philosopher who deserves a much wider audience in the Anglophone world.


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

TA:  I’m most looking forward to meeting people with similar intellectual interests, and to learning from experts in the field. It is rare that the notion of interdisciplinarity is genuinely honoured and acted on in academia, and our week together promises to be cross-disciplinary in a very fruitful way. What’s more, I have never visited Notre Dame or Chicago, but have heard a lot about them – this has whetted my appetite for the seminar series all the more.


VW: What are your non-academic interests?

TA: My non-academic interests centre on music, current cultural critique, humour, hiking, keeping fit, and drinking Belgian beer.