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Virtue Forum Luncheons

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Virtue Forum Luncheons

Overview


Our Virtue Forum Luncheon series began during the planning stages of the Institute, as a way for OU faculty and staff to discuss flourishing and virtue at OU and in higher education generally.

Approximately once a month, OU faculty, staff and graduate students convene over lunch to share virtue-related research and explore new ideas. Participants are united by an interest in approaching education informed by an understanding of human flourishing, character, and virtue.

Lunch is provided for all participants, but registration is required. Please contact us if you are interested in attending.

2020 - 2021 Virtue Forum Luncheons

Abstracts (where available) and other event information can be viewed by clicking the titles below. 


Civility and its Disappointments

August 28th, 2019 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
Bizzell Memorial Library, Community Room

Amy Olberding, Ph.D. 

Presidential Professor of Philosophy
The University of Oklahoma

 

 

Presentation Abstract

Many virtues may be disappointing. After all, we often most need virtues when circumstances are troubling and vexing, when we are challenged by experiences difficult to navigate rather than easy. Civility, however, is a virtue that seems to have a special relationship to disappointment. Practicing civility, I argue, entails cultivating strategies, both behavioral and psychological, for managing disappointment. To be robustly civil in the ways suggested by the early Confucians requires hope and optimism about other people and our relations with them. But other people and our relations will, perhaps inevitably, fail to sustain that hope and optimism. We will be disappointed. Civility, as the Confucians present it, engages us in forms of disappointment management.

About Dr. Amy Olberding

Amy Olberding is Presidential Professor of Philosophy at OU.  Her research focuses on early Confucian ethics.  She is the author of The Wrong of Rudeness (Oxford 2019) and Moral Exemplars in the Analects (Routledge 2011).

 

 


Intellectual virtue: bridging the gap between personal and social epistemology

September 18th, 2019 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
Bizzell Memorial Library, Community Room

Wayne Riggs, Ph.D. 

Professor and Chair of Philosophy
The University of Oklahoma

Assessment Link: https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_6sV5WarubkIl31P  

 

Presentation Abstract -

There is a substantial and ever-growing body of evidence from a wide range of fields that the way humans cognize (think, reason, figure stuff out), at least when we do it well, is as a collective. Social psychology and cognitive science tell us that, as individuals, our reasoning processes are systematically biased and lazy, and hence not very reliable. Luckily, there’s lots of work from philosophy of science and social epistemology that describes how we are able to combine our cognitive efforts in a way that yields an epistemic total greater than the sum of its parts. But feminist epistemologists and others have for years warned that the very social embeddedness of human reason can lead us astray in still new ways. Virtue epistemology has seen rapid development in recent years as a theory of individual epistemic excellence. What is needed now is a version of virtue epistemology that takes account of our social ways and describes how creatures like us, social thinkers, can manage to think well together.

 

About Dr. Wayne Riggs

Wayne Riggs is a Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Oklahoma. His primary areas of interest are epistemology (especially virtue epistemology, understanding, epistemic luck, and social epistemology), philosophy of education, and philosophy of emotion.


Sacrificial Listening: An Epistemology and Pedagogy for Intellectual Humility in the Humanities

October 9th, 2019 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
Bizzell Memorial Library, Community Room

David Vishanoff, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Religious Studies
  University of Oklahoma

 

Assessment Link: https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3jRLPdVPdfP6FKJ

Presentation Abstract -

One component of intellectual humility is the discipline of listening to unfamiliar voices, interpreting them in terms of our own categories, and then deconstructing our interpretations and categories by listening again to detect where we are distorting others to serve our own ends and shore up our own identities. This practice is grounded in an epistemology that I will characterize as relational, recursive, eschatological, and sacrificial. It has implications for both methodology and pedagogy in the humanities. It emerged not from research in epistemology or educational theory but from reflection on my own practice as a scholar of Islamic hermeneutics and as a leader of class discussions about Islamic texts.

 

About Dr. David Vishanoff

David Vishanoff is Associate Professor of Islamic studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. He received his Ph.D. in West and South Asian Religions from Emory University in 2004. His first two books, The Formation of Islamic Hermeneutics and A Critical Introduction to Islamic Legal Theory, dealt with medieval theories of Qur’anic interpretation; he has been extending that project into the modern period, beginning in Indonesia where he spent the spring of 2013 as a Fulbright scholar. His other long–term projects are an epistemology and pedagogy of “sacrificial listening” and a series of studies on Muslim uses of the Bible, for which he is reconstructing and translating an eighth–century Muslim rewriting of the “Psalms of David.” These projects have led him to dabble in digital methods of data visualization and distant reading.


   Is there value to adversity?

November 20th, 2019 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
Bizzell Memorial Library, Community Room

Eranda Jayawickreme

Professor, Department of Psychology
Wake Forest University

 

 

 

Assessment Link: https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0wuPdJryTZByW6p

Presentation Abstract

The idea that struggle, trauma and adversity can be a catalyst for positive outcomes has a long intellectual history. Can adversity have an upside? Is there a purpose to suffering? Is it really the case that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Is suffering required for achieving a good life? Are the fruit of suffering greater well-being? New knowledge? Wisdom? What does the research tell us about the ubiquity of such changes, and can we trust the research? Is the idea of growth through suffering rooted in reality, or an attempt to justify the suffering in our world? Is it possible to intentionally promote growth following adversity? I address these key questions in this proposed talk.

About Dr. Eranda Jayawickreme

Eranda Jayawickreme is associate professor of psychology at Wake Forest University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2010. His research focuses on well-being, moral psychology, growth following adversity, wisdom, and integrative theories of personality, and has worked with populations in Rwanda, Sri Lanka and the USA. His awards include the 2015 Rising Star award from the Association for Psychological Science, Wake Forest University's Award for Excellence in Research, a Mellon Refugee Initiative Fund Fellowship, and multiple grants from the John Templeton Foundation, the Templeton Religion Trust, the Asia Foundation/ USAID, and the European Association for Personality Psychology.

 

   Privation of America's Public Institutions

December 4, 2019 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
Oklahoma Memorial Union, Regents Room

Lawrence Baines

Professor, Department of Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum
University of Oklahoma

 

 

 

Assessment Link: https://ousurvey.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_3C0o4owvINbLM21

Presentation Abstract

Many American public institutions are being transformed from serving the common good to generating revenues for a select few. Privatization is redefining the military, prisons, higher education, and k-12 education for the foreseeable future. This session will provide a quick overview with a particular focus on privatization of k-12 schools.

 

About Dr. Lawrence Baines
Lawrence Baines is a professor in the Jeannine Rainbolt College of Education and author of 12 books and 100+ articles.

 

 

 Voices on the Move:  Writing by and about Refugees


February 10, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST

To be held via Zoom Conference Meeting (Details TBA)

Roxana Cazan
Voices on the Move,  co-editor

Former Assistant Professor of English and Women's Studies

Saint Francis University

 

 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://oklahoma.zoom.us/j/3822236992?pwd=SEsrMCt0cUlYdmdRYlJrYzFqTFJ2QT09

Meeting ID: 382 223 6992
Passcode: VFL2102021

Presentation Abstract -  

In her talk, Roxana Cazan will present her newest co-edited volume entitled Voices on the Move and inspired by the multilayered experience of displacement, with a focus on the migration of what Edward Said calls “large aggregates of humanity” of the last several decades. Voices on the Move reflects the realities of refugee life that have become particularly problematic after the United States announced its Executive Order 13769, also known as “the travel ban,” and the Trump Presidency declared its zero-tolerance attitude towards undocumented immigrants, particularly those arriving from Mexico or Central and South America. This book could not be more relevant and necessary today, having arisen as a direct and impassioned response to the present realities of the migration of peoples, in the belief that artistic expression in all its forms has the power to transform, heal, raise consciousness, and incite to real action in the world.

About   

Before relocating to Oklahoma, Roxana L. Cazan taught literature, creative writing, and women's studies courses at Saint Francis University in Pennsylvania. She is an interpreter and translator of Romanian. Her poems have been featured in Poets Reading the News, The Windsor Review, Cold Creek Review, Construction Literary Magazine, Adanna Literary Journal, Watershed Review, The Portland Review, Harpur Palate and others. Her full-length poetry book, The Accident of Birth, was published in 2017. Roxana’s scholarly work focuses on ethnic and postcolonial literature and women’s studies and has appeared in Neophilologus, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Comparative Literature Studies, Studies in American Jewish Literature, American Journal of Undergraduate Research, and Demeter Press. A chapter is forthcoming in Remembering Kahina: Women, Representation and Resistance in Post-Independence North Africa, Routledge. She is the co-editor of the anthology, Voices on the Move: An Anthology by and about Refugees, Solis Press, 2020. 

 


Can't we be friends?  Civic Friendship in an Age of incivility

March 10, 2021 | 11:00 - 12:00 PM CST

To be held via Zoom Conference Meeting (Details TBA)

Tristan Rogers

Lecturer, Department of Philosophy

University of Arizona

 

Presentation Abstract

It is now routine to decry the lack of civility recently witnessed in the tumultuous politics of liberal democracies. One imagines, if only citizens would treat each other civilly, we could work out our differences amicably and restore the health of political society. But what if the depth of these differences themselves are the cause of our present discontent? For, our underlying value differences seem to reliably produce ill-will, tribal instincts, and a corresponding willingness to violate basic civility norms. To counter these symptoms, fellow citizens must view each other as bound together in a civic friendship. While often conceived as an ideal of mutual respect based on shared values, properly understood, civic friendship is simply the daily resolution to live together within the bounds of a shared constitution and territory. Without this commitment, mounting incivility must eventually degenerate into outright hostility and violence. But if we can reawaken to the importance of civic friendship fellow citizens may reunite and be civil in their disagreements, yet resolute in their overarching commitment to the civitas as the source of their friendship. 

About Dr. Tristan Rogers

Dr. Rogers is a Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at California State University, Sacramento. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Arizona in 2017. He works in political philosophy, ethics, and ancient philosophy. His dissertation research was on virtue ethics and political philosophy. Dr. Rogers is  currently writing a book based on this work, tentatively titled The Authority of Virtue: Institutions and Character in the Good Society (under contract with Routledge). You can find more information about Dr. ROgers and his work at my website. https://tristanjrogers.com/


Fostering epistemic attitudes as part of an elder-supportive ‘culture of health’

March 16, 2021 | 11:00 - 12:00 PM CST

To be held via Zoom Conference Meeting (Details TBA)

Sean Alejandro Valles

Associate Professor in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy

Michigan State University

 

Join Zoom Meeting
https://oklahoma.zoom.us/j/3822236992?pwd=djRydUxuaXg0UHFXUTJrYUZNMUF1UT09

Meeting ID: 382 223 6992
Passcode: ISHF2021

Presentation Abstract 

One component of the increasingly popular “population health approach” is a conviction that public health requires health-conducive policies and social practices across society, which together constitute a “culture of health”: living wages, anti-racist education and legal reforms, community-run health clinics, etc. One obstacle is that the US is ill-designed for supporting elders’ well-being: profit-driven eldercare facilities, neighborhood designs not accommodating of vision or mobility impairments, etc. I argue that this effort will need new epistemic attitudes to be cultivated alongside the more concrete cultural resources. Epistemic humility is a vital part of an effort to create a culture of health in the US that fully includes elders’ well-being. Creating a culture in which elders’ needs are listened to and responded to, will require the fostering of epistemic humility across society: building the cultural praxis of listening to and responding to knowledge of/about elders that has previously been pushed aside.

 

About  Dr. Sean Alejandro Valles

Sean A. Valles, PhD is an Associate Professor with an appointment in the Michigan State University Lyman Briggs College and the Department of Philosophy (where he is also Associate Chair). His research spans a range of topics in the philosophy of population health, from the use of evidence in medical genetics to the roles played by race concepts in epidemiology. He is author of the 2018 book, Philosophy of Population Health: Philosophy for a New Public Health Era. He is also co-editor (with Quill R. Kukla) of the Oxford University Press book series, "Bioethics for Social Justice”. http://seanvalles.com/

 

 


Understanding Virtue

April 7, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST

To be held via Zoom Conference Meeting (Details TBA)

Jennifer Cole Wright

Professor, Department of Psychology

College of Charleston

ZOOM Meeting Link

Meeting ID: 382 223 6992
Passcode: ISHF2021

Presentation Abstract

In this presentation, I will discuss the theory of virtue developed by my co-authors (Nancy Snow and Michael Warren) and I in our recent book, Understanding Virtue. In this book, we call upon the theoretical and empirical resources of Whole Trait Theory (Fleeson & Gallagher 2009; Fleeson & Jayawickreme 2014), to develop an account of virtue that roughly aligns with Aristotelian virtue (while remaining useful to many other philosophical approaches) and, at the same time, maps onto the latest science of personality.

According to WTT, personality (and we argue, virtue) traits are a set of situation-specific trait-appropriate responses, which are produced when certain “social-cognitive” mechanisms (cognitive/affective/motivational processes and dispositions) are triggered by the perception of trait-relevant stimuli in a person’s external and/or internal environment. In other words, both personality traits (e.g., being shy) and virtues (e.g., being honest) can be measured according to the degree to which a person is disposed to respond to trait-relevant stimuli in a way that is appropriate, given the situation. How often and likely a person is to do so – i.e., the range of situations under which trait-appropriate responses are produced – is an indicator of the extent to which she possesses the trait or virtue. The extent to which a person is (or has become) disposed to consistently respond in an honesty-appropriate fashion to a wide range of honesty-relevant stimuli, she can be said to possess the robust or global trait of honesty.

Moving from this starting point, I will briefly reflect on the way that an otherwise empirically elusive concept – phronēsis (or practical wisdom) – fits into our conception of virtue, and the critical role that plays not only in virtue development, but also moral learning.

About  Dr. Jennifer Cole Wright 

Jennifer Cole Wright is Professor of Psychology at the College of Charleston. Her area of research is moral development and moral psychology more generally. She is interested in how moral values and norms develop over time and influence people’s reactions to divergent beliefs and practices in pluralistic societies—and, in particular, the influence of individual and social “liberal vs. conservative” mindsets on those reactions. She is also interested in why we care about being “good people” and how we become them. In particular, she studies humility and the development of virtue, as well as young children’s early moral development. She has published papers on these and other topics in journals like Cognition, Mind & LanguageJournal of British Developmental PsychologyJournal of Experimental Social PsychologyPhilosophical PsychologyJournal of Cognition and Culture, and Personality and Individual Differences. Her book, Understanding Virtue: Theory and Measurement, co-authored with Nancy Snow and Michael Warren (Oxford Press, 2020), will be the subject of this talk.

 


Grit and Perseverance: Telling the difference     

May 5, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST

To be held via Zoom Conference Meeting (Details TBA)

Jennifer Herdt

Gilbert L. Stark Professor of Christian Ethics, Senior Associate Dean of Academic Affairs

Yale Divinity School

ZOOM Meeting Link

Meeting ID: 382 223 6992
Passcode: ISHF2021

Presentation Abstract 

While the resurgence of virtue ethics has brought new attention to many traditional virtues of the Christian West, perseverance has remained rather neglected.  Until, that is, Angela Duckworth’s bestselling 2016 book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.  This is a hopeful book, since it suggests that intelligence and talent are secondary to sustained effort, and that perseverance, or grit, could be cultivated.  Character education programs in schools perked up at this notion and joined forces with Duckworth in developing initiatives designed to foster a stick-to-it-iveness seen as woefully lacking in contemporary youth.  It is well worth understanding how we can support the development of grit.  However, it is also important to recognize that grit as she depicts it is not a virtue.  It is, rather a skill, which can be used well or badly.  Understandable as it is to abstract from normative judgments in addressing a pluralistic society, we cannot arrive at a coherent understanding of the virtue of perseverance without engaging in such judgments.  Persistence in the face of difficulty does not count as perseverance unless it is persistence in the good.  These themes are explored through a conversation with the novelist Jane Austen and one of her philosophical admirers, Alasdair MacIntyre.    

 

 

About  Dr. Jennifer Herdt

Jennifer Herdt is Gilbert Stark Professor of Christian Ethics at Yale University Divinity School.  She is interested in virtue ethical and natural law traditions of the pre-modern and modern West, eudaimonism, theories of obligation, human cooperativeness, and the evolution of morality.  Her most recent book, Forming Humanity: Redeeeming the German Bildung Tradition, grew out of research conducted at the University of Bielefeld, Germany.  She is now Senior Theology Mentor and Senior Advisor to a three-year John Templeton Foundation-funded project, Collaborations in Theological Anthropology, with a sub-grant for her own project on Human Dignity, Agency, and Moral Standing in Light of Recent Empirical Research on Non-Human Animals.