Skip Navigation

APR 21 - Virtue Forum Luncheon

Skip Side Navigation

April 21, 2017 - Virtue Forum Luncheon

Exemplars, Virtues, and the Cosmos

Dr. Ian James Kidd
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
University of Nottingham

Photos of this event are now posted on the Institute's Flickr page


I argue for a form of virtue ethics in which the virtues are human embodiments of qualities or features of the cosmos - of the ultimate grounds or source of the world. The exemplar - the sage - is a person who embodies in human form excellent features of the cosmos. Although evident in Western traditions such as Stoicism and Neoplatonism, such 'cosmic virtue ethics' finds its fullest form in Daoism. If so, then these traditions offer a distinctive 'two-stage' or 'cosmic' mode of emulation: a person emulates the sage, who is themselves emulating qualities or aspects of the source or grounds of reality (the Logos, the One, the Way). This become obvious when we consider parallels within those traditions of the virtues of the sage and the qualities of the cosmos, for instance, in the intimate relation for Daoists of de and Dao. Cosmic emulationism of this sort offers new and interesting ways to think about the ways that virtue and human flourishing can be rooted in or responsive to the wider order of things.

About Dr. Kidd

Dr. Ian James Kidd is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham. Before coming to Nottingham, Dr. Kidd was an Addison Wheeler Fellow and intermittent part-time lecturer at Durham and also spent six months at Leeds as lecturer in philosophy of religion. He is committed to improving the representation of women and other underrepresented groups in academic philosophy. Learn more about Dr. Kidd at his personal webpage.