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"We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education."

– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Purpose of Education,” 1947 

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To flourish means to live well, to thrive. We believe that humans flourish when they develop to their fullest potential as rational and moral creatures living in healthy communities.

What is Virtue?

We offer a variety of funding opportunities, from postdoctoral and dissertation fellowships to OU course development stipends.


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We sponsor lectures regularly throughout the semester. View videos of our Last Lectures, Welcome Lectures, Headliner Lectures and more.  


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Our Mission

The mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is to advance the science of virtue and to promote the flourishing of OU Students and all Oklahomans. Learn more

Featured Virtue - Compassion

Featured Virtue: Compassion

Compassion is the ability to feel sorrow over another person’s suffering, and to express that sorrow by trying to alleviate that suffering. Unlike pity, compassion does not suggest any feeling of superiority to the suffering person.

Learn about this virtue

Institute Welcome Lecture

SEPT 12 - Institute Welcome Lecture

This annual lecture welcomes incoming students and the OU community by offering an inspiring vision for the purposes and value of an OU education. OU's Senior Vice President and Provost, Dr. Kyle Harper, will give this year's lecture.

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Learn About Virtue and Flourishing with Internationally Known Professor, Dr. Linda Zagzebski

This fall, Institute Leadership Team Member and Professor of Philosophy, Dr. Linda Zagzebski, will teach an undergraduate course on Virtue Ethics. The course is PHIL 3263 "Virtue Ethics" and will meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 3:00 - 4:15 PM.

The course will begin with an overview of the history of virtue ethics from the ancient Greeks to the present day, covering the historical zenith of virtue ethics through the Middle Ages, the fall of virtue concepts in the early modern period, and the rebirth of virtue ethics in the later 20th century.

Participants will discuss a number of executive, moral, intellectual, and civic virtues and their related vices, and will address some of the fundamental philosophical questions that arise in the study of virtue ethics: What is a virtue? How is virtue related to a life that is good for the individual and good for the community? Can virtue be taught? Can virtue be measured? Are we suspicious of virtue? What are the grounds for critique of some of the traditional virtues?

The course has all materials available on the Janux platform. Go to, or click the video above to see a preview of the course.

About Professor Zagzebski

Dr. Zagzebski is George Lynn Cross Research Professor, and Kingfisher College Chair of the Philosophy of Religion and Ethics, at the University of Oklahoma. She has published seven books and numerous articles in the areas of epistemology, philosophy of religion, and virtue theory. Her most recent book, Exemplarist Moral Theory (Oxford University Press, 2017) defends a form of virtue ethics based on direct reference to moral exemplars.