Announcing the Participants for our 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence”

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We’re delighted to share the list of participants for our 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, and Self-Transcendence“, who hail from all corners of the globe and will convene at the University of Chicago for a week this June. These young researchers will participate in intensive workshop sessions with our faculty to deepen their own research  through conversations with a network of fellow collaborators in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies.

The accepted participants for the 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” are:

Alberto Arruda, University of Lisbon
Samuel Baker, University of South Alabama
Maureen Bielinski, University of St. Thomas, TX
Sarah Bixler, Princeton Theological Seminary
Andrew Christy, Texas A&M University
Ellen Dulaney, DePaul University
Marta Faria, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome
Andrew Flynn, University of California – Los Angeles
Madison Gilbertson, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
Craig Iffland, University of Notre Dame
Anne Jeffrey, University of South Alabama
Jane Klinger, University of Waterloo
David McPherson, Creighton University
Samantha Mendez, University of the Philippines- Diliman
Elise Murray, Tufts University
Omowumi Ogunyemi, Institute of humanities of the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos
Cabrini Pak, The Catholic University of America
Carissa Phillips-Garrett, Rice University
Timothy Reilly, University of Notre Dame
James Dominic Rooney, Saint Louis University
Jennifer Rothschild, University of Florida
Theresa Smart, University of Notre Dame
Joseph Stenberg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Sanaz Talaifar, University of Texas at Austin
Andrea Yetzer, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs

Candace Vogler named Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor to the University of Notre Dame Australia

We are pleased to share the announcement that The Institute for Ethics and Society at the University of Notre Dame Australia has been awarded a Fulbright Specialist Grant for the visit of Professor Candace Vogler in 2017.

Professor Vogler will be in residence at the Institute for approximately three weeks in semester 2, during which time she will give lectures and run master classes and workshops for students and staff.

The Fulbright Specialist Grant program is highly competitive, and we are thrilled that IES  received a generous grant from the The Fulbright Program to cover Professor Vogler’s appointment as a Distinguished Fulbright Visiting Professor to the University.

 

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What Makes a Scientist Good? A Psychological Exploration

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Robert Rathbun Wilson Hall at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. Photo by Chris Smith.

Why do people do what they do? Why is science so important to some people? What does it offer to them that other activities do not? Considering the ends of science is one starting point for considering the particularities of virtue in science. Addressing the role of virtue in science entails understanding the purposes of science. Most people would agree that its purpose is to systematically expand human knowledge and enhance human capabilities to control their world. However, perhaps more interesting, from a psychological perspective, is that individual scientists have their own reasons for engaging in science that may be more or less aligned with this general purpose. What are these reasons? What goals, virtuous or not, actually drive scientists in their work? What goals do they think scientists should pursue? 

 

The career paths of scientists can be challenging and treacherous, given the explosion of advanced degrees in science (see Emanuele Ratti’s post on this). This has led to an increasingly long pathway to a permanent position in academia. Psychologically, this situation is ripe for individuals on all sides to focus on extrinsic rewards – seeking publications, status, and financial success – rather than intrinsic ones. Moreover, stressful environments promote the stress reaction, heightening self-protective pursuits rather than pursuing goals driven by intrinsic motives (like curiosity or valuing the contribution one can make to other’s lives) and the common good.

Purpose and meaning are ideas with a long history in psychology, stemming from the work of Victor Frankl. Purpose is the pursuit of a meaningful goal intended to influence the world in a positive way (see McAdam’s work on generativity). This corresponds with both rich intrinsic motivation (a pursuit driven by one’s values and interests, rather than by external incentives) and the pursuit of the common good. Further, there is a wealth of evidence that pursuing such goals leads to high levels of performance. Thus, I invite you to consider an approach to virtue in science focused on the what, why, and how of goal pursuit through ‘purpose’.

Purpose can be broken down into several components. For example, how one engages in the pursuit of a goal is important, and the form this engagement takes matters for the evaluation of virtue (see this post on the Virtue blog). Virtue after all emerges not only from seeking the good, but from pursuing that good well, that is, through productive and moral engagement. If I pursue my research goals unethically (i.e., through dishonesty), then, while I am doing so, I am enacting a vice. If, on the other hand, I pursue my research in a way that is honest, diligent, and collegial, then I may be developing at least a budding virtue.

Personal meaning is also essential to purpose. For Frankl, meaning can be experienced through ‘(1) creating a work or doing a deed; (2) experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering’. The pursuit of scientific goals emphasizes the first two forms of meaning. Meaning is a personal response to one’s experience. This is why meaning is deeply related to ideas like calling and vocation (see Michael Steger’s post exploring this).

Finally, purpose relates to moral goals – pursuing that which is good. This is a challenging dimension of science, as knowledge unrelated to use is difficult to call moral or immoral. One can, for instance, pursue knowledge which, through misuse or abuse, can cause harm. On some level, it is easier to evaluate the ends of engineering, which are more concrete, than the ends of more basic science, like sequencing the genome of a species. Nonetheless, the pursuit of good ends is essential to virtue (see this post from Jean Porter).

Virtue enables expert purposeful engagement in science. This includes pursuing moral goals, having moral motives for those goals, and pursuing those goals through the effective and moral means. This also necessitates, given the technical nature of science, the judgment and expertise to accomplish these goals effectively. Ideally, this judgment and expertise includes both tacit knowledge of how to conduct scientific research effectively and the capacity to articulate and communicate one’s understanding to others. While I have begun to describe a potential psychology of virtue here, I intend to further explore engagement, personal meaning, and the pursuit of the common good as they relate to specific virtues in future posts.

Why is science important? It is unique for the power of knowledge it generates. However, given this power, there is also an inherent moral responsibility among scientists to direct their pursuits appropriately and to work to ensure the proper utilization of their findings for the common good. Any scientist who fails to do so cannot be called virtuous.


This post originally appeared on Origins. Natures. Futures., a blog out of the University of Notre Dame’s  Center for Theology, Science and Human Flourishing. Timothy Reilly is a post-doctoral fellow in Psychology at CTSHF, whose research examines interventions to enhance psychological well-being, college student development, moral identity, the role of practices in self development, and virtue development. 

“Virtue & Happiness” Summer Seminar Students

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Congratulations to our incoming class for our first Summer Seminar, “Virtue & Happiness”, to be held at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame in June 2016.

The Seminar is intended for outstanding advanced-level graduate students and early career researchers in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies. Our aim is to involve participants in our innovative and collaborative research framework within these three fields, and to provide an engaged environment to deepen and enliven their own research.

Amichai Amit, University of Chicago
Tom Angier, University of Cape Town
Olivia Bailey, Harvard University
Samuel Baker, University of South Alabama
Anne Baril, University of New Mexico
Michelle Ciurria, Washington University in St. Louis
Ryan Darr, Yale University
Mihailis Diamantis, New York University
Matthew Dugandzic, The Catholic University of America
Kristina Grob, Loyola University
Sukaina Hirji, Princeton University
Indrawati Liauw, Stanford University
Charles Lockwood, Oberlin College
John Meinert, Our Lady of the Lake College
Santiago Mejia, University of Chicago
Kathryn Phillips, Rochester University
Dmitri Putilin, Duke University
Hollen Reischer, Northwestern University
Leland Saunders, Seattle Pacific University
Joshua Skorburg, University of Oregon
Joseph Stenberg, University of Colorado at Boulder
Sungwoo Um, Duke University
Jason Welle, Georgetown University
Yuan Yuan, Yale University
Wenqing Zhao, Duke University

Faculty Profiles: Summer Seminar “Virtue & Happiness”

Faculty Profiles: Summer Seminar “Virtue & Happiness”
Our summer seminars (2016, 2017) at the University of Notre Dame are geared toward early career researchers and advanced (finished with coursework) doctoral students in Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies.

Each seminar participant attends each topic.

June 12-17, 2016 – Topic: “Virtue and Happiness”

Location: Moreau Seminary, University of Notre Dame

The Seminar is intended for outstanding advanced-level graduate students and early career researchers in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies. Our aim is to involve participants in our innovative and collaborative research framework within these three fields, and to provide an engaged environment to deepen and enliven their own research.

Faculty leaders and topics:

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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 Possibilitywill be published by Oxford University Press next year.

1. The Four Sprouts of Virtue in Mengzi:

Mencius, 4th c. BCE thinks there are four sprouts in human nature that if cultivated by the self and one’s community yield the virtues prized by Confucian ethics.  The virtues are not sufficient for a good human life, but they are necessary.  We’ll read and selections from Mencius and compare and contrast his view with modern psychological theories that posit sprout like foundations or modules upon which all moralities are built.

2. Destructive Emotions?:

Aristotle thought anger is a virtue if contained, if it is moderate, at the mean. Stoics such as Seneca challenged the Aristotelian view, arguing that anger should be (and can be) eliminated.  Shantideva (8th c. CE), an important India Buddhist, made similar arguments for the elimination of anger in an entirely different tradition.  We’ll discuss the Aristotelian, Stoic, and Buddhist views as well as objections and replies.

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Jennifer A. Frey is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of South Carolina and principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.  Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at UofSC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her PhD in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with Classics minor) at Indiana University-Bloomington. Her research lies at the intersection of philosophy of action and ethics, with a particular focus on the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition.

Action, Practical Reason, and Happiness:

We will explore the role that a general conception of happiness plays in the explanation of human action and in an account of practical reason.  We will focus on writings from Thomas Aquinas and Elizabeth Anscombe, and we will put these into dialogue with contemporary action theorists and ethicists.

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Darcia Narvaez is Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She publishes extensively on moral development and education. Her most recent book is Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom (2014, Norton). She is executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education. She also writes a popular blog for Psychology Today (“Moral Landscapes”).

1. Neurobiology and moral development:

Neurobiological sciences provide increasing empirical evidence that early experience shapes capacities for sociality. These also influence morality and we can now delineate how moral development can go awry and how to at last partially repair it.

2. Ecological virtue and organic morality:

Humanity spent 99% of its history in small-band hunter-gatherer societies. These societies all around the world provide an early “nest” for their young that is slightly more intense than what emerged with social mammals over 30 million years ago. The species typical nest leads to a species typical human health, personality and nature whereas a species-atypical nest leads to the types of maladaptation and pathology seen in advanced nations like the USA.

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Michael S. Sherwin, O.P., is Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.  He has also taught at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, where he received his initial formation as a Dominican and was ordained a priest in 1991.  Fr. Sherwin is director of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Institute for Theology and Culture and of the Pinckaers Archives.  Author of articles on the psychology of love, virtue ethics and moral development, his monograph, By Knowledge and By Love: Charity and Knowledge in the Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (CUA Press, 2005) has newly been reissued in paperback.

1. Virtue Transformed: A Christian Account of Human Excellence:

The account of character formation and moral development advanced by recent studies in philosophy and psychology offer a wonderfully helpful preparation for the Christian conception of the moral life.  They prepare us both to see how grace heals and elevates human nature and to recognize the difference that grace makes: the exclusivity and self-sufficiency of the pagan ideal of virtue gives way in Christ to universality and divine dependence, a dependence that makes possible a life of moral excellent beyond what even the most brilliant pagan philosopher could have imagined: intimate friendship with God in a life that participates in the economy of salvation.  This session offers an introduction to this fully Christian vision of moral development proper to the infused virtues of faith, hope, charity and the other infused virtues that belong to the Christian life.

2. On Love and Happiness: An Introduction to a Renewed Understanding of Christian Charity and Heavenly Beatitude:

What does it mean to love God and neighbor, and what is the relationship between this love and God’s love for us?  Throughout the long history of Christian reflection on the character of Christian charity (agape), there has been a tension between love as desire and love as service.  Is charity primarily the desire for God as our happiness and fulfilment, or is it exclusively the service of God, that seeks nothing for itself?  Or is there a third element to charity that incorporates both service and desire, placing each in its proper perspective: love as the celebration and affirmation of the other?  This session offers an introductory treatment of these questions by proposing both a renewed psychology of love and a renewed theology of charity’s relationship to Christ and his cross as the true and living way to heavenly beatitude.

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Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, director, and a principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life. She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill’s Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas. Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant’s ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism.

Self-Transcendence and Virtue:

On a roughly Thomist account, acquired virtue aims at the common good and is, to that extent, inherently self-transcendent.  I am interested in considering whether the link goes in the other direction as well–are all of the forms of self-transcendent activity and engagement we are considering virtuous? Are they expressive of specific virtues? Are they linked in a more general way to cultivated good character?  On the understanding we have been using, we can’t have virtue without an element of self-transcendence.  Can we have self-transcendence without virtue?

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Paul T.P. Wong, PhD, C.Psych is Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Adjunct Professor, Saybrook University, and a Fellow of APA and CPA. He is President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute. In addition to being the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, he has edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning (Routledge). A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists. Since 2000, he has organized eight well-known and well attended Biannual International Meaning Conferences. He is the originator of Meaning Therapy, and he has been invited to give keynote addresses and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of Carl Rogers Award from Div.32 (Humanistic Psychology) of APA.

The role of self-transcendence in virtue and happiness:

I will approach the topic of self-transcendence from both empirical psychological findings on the role of self-transcendence in wellbeing, and from Viktor Frankl’s seminal work on self-transcendence as the essence of spirituality and logotherapy.  First, I will explain why Frankl’s self-transcendence is inherently virtuous, because of its emphasis on serving the common good or a higher purpose according to the ethical dimension of following one’s innate conscience and the time-tested universal value of love one another. Frankl’s concept is very important and relevant in the current context of international terrorism. Frankl took pain to emphasize the interpersonal ethical responsibility of self-transcendence to prevent another Hitler or terrorism in the name of false and bad kind of self-transcendence. Then, I will introduce specific interventions and demonstrate how to experience the cherished values of meaning, virtue and happiness through the spiritual practice of self-transcendence in daily life.

We will accept up to 25 students. The seminar is highly intensive, meeting twice a day for one week on each of the topics below and continue conversations informally over meals.

This seminar is supported by  a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation and our institutional partner the Jacques Maritain Center, and includes lodging, meals, tuition, and reimbursement up to $500  for travel. Accepted participants will be asked to pay a $200 registration fee.

Application deadline for the June 2016 Summer Seminar is January 15, 2016. For more information, visit our website https://virtue.uchicago.edu/summer-seminar-2016

 

June 2016 Summer Seminar: “Virtue and Happiness”

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We will host a summer seminar at Moreau Seminary at the University of Notre Dame geared to early career researchers and advanced doctoral students in Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies.

June 12-17, 2016 – Topic: “Virtue and Happiness”

Location: Moreau Seminary, Notre Dame

The Seminar is intended for outstanding advanced-level graduate students and early career researchers in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies. Our aim is to involve participants in our innovative and collaborative research framework within these three fields, and to provide an engaged environment to deepen and enliven their own research.

We will accept up to 25 students. The seminar is highly intensive, meeting twice a day for one week on the topics below and continue conversations informally over meals.

This seminar is supported by  a generous grant from the John Templeton Foundation and our institutional partner the Jacques Maritain Center, and includes lodging, meals, tuition and travel reimbursement up to $500. Accepted participants will be asked to pay a $200 registration fee.

Topics and faculty leaders:

1. The Four Sprouts of Virtue in Mengzi and 2. Destructive Emotions?

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 Possibilitywill be published by Oxford University Press next year.

Action, Practical Reason, and Happiness

Jennifer A. Frey is an assistant professor in the philosophy department at the University of South Carolina and principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.  Her research lies at the intersection of philosophy of action and ethics, with a particular focus on the Aristotelian-Thomist tradition.

Neurobiology and moral development and 2. Ecological virtue and organic morality

Darcia Narvaez is Professor of Psychology at the University of Notre Dame. She publishes extensively on moral development and education. Her most recent book is Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture and Wisdom (2014, Norton). She is executive editor of the Journal of Moral Education. She also writes a popular blog for Psychology Today (“Moral Landscapes”).

1. “Virtue Transformed: A Christian Account of Human Excellence” and 2. “On Love and Happiness: An Introduction to a Renewed Understanding of Christian Charity and Heavenly Beatitude”

Michael S. Sherwin, O.P., is Professor of Fundamental Moral Theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland.  Fr. Sherwin is director of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Institute for Theology and Culture and of the Pinckaers Archives.  Author of articles on the psychology of love, virtue ethics and moral development, his monograph, By Knowledge and By Love: Charity and Knowledge in the Moral Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas (CUA Press, 2005) has newly been reissued in paperback.

Self-Transcendence and Virtue

Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and a principal investigator with Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life. She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill’s Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas.

The role of self-transcendence in virtue and happiness

Paul T.P. Wong is Professor Emeritus, Trent University, Adjunct Professor, Saybrook University, and a Fellow of APA and CPA. He is President of the International Network on Personal Meaning (INPM) and the Meaning-Centered Counselling Institute. In addition to being the editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Existential Psychology and Psychotherapy, he has edited two influential volumes on The Human Quest for Meaning (Routledge). A prolific writer, he is one of the most cited existential and positive psychologists. Since 2000, he has organized eight well-known and well attended Biannual International Meaning Conferences. He is the originator of Meaning Therapy, and he has been invited to give keynote addresses and meaning therapy workshops worldwide. He is the recent recipient of Carl Rogers Award from Div.32 (Humanistic Psychology) of APA.


For further information or to apply, visit https://virtue.uchicago.edu/page/june-2016-summer-seminar-virtue-and-happiness.


“Virtue and Happiness” poster and call for applications.