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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.

Out of an abundance of caution, Fall 2021 VFL's will be held via ZOOM.  There is no registration required. 

Fall 2021 Virtue Forum Luncheons

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


"Honesty: Some Preliminary Thoughts about a Stunningly Neglected Virtue"

September 14 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
ZOOM Link

Christian Miller, Ph.D. 

A.C. Reid Professor of Philosophy

Wake Forest University

Presentation Abstract:  Honesty is a perfectly familiar virtue. It is also widely accepted as a virtue. Yet philosophers have almost completely neglected honesty in their work on the virtues. In this talk, I provide the first account of the virtue of honesty in at least fifty years. I will also briefly consider the extent to which most people actually are honest, given recent studies in psychology and behavioral economics. Finally, I will end with a few thoughts about how to cultivate honesty. Hopefully, this work will help to foster new interest in this stunningly neglected virtue.

About Dr. Christian Miller:  Christian B. Miller is the A. C. Reid Professor of Philosophy at Wake Forest University. He is currently the Director of the Honesty Project (honestyproject.philosophy.wfu.edu/), funded by a $4.4 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation. In recent years he was the Philosophy Director of the Beacon Project (www.moralbeacons.org), funded by a $3.9 million grant from Templeton Religion Trust, and the Director of the Character Project (www.thecharacterproject.com), funded by $5.6 million in grants from the John Templeton Foundation and Templeton World Charity Foundation. He is the author of over 100 academic papers as well as Moral Psychology with Cambridge University Press (2021) and four books with Oxford University Press, Moral Character: An Empirical Theory (2013), Character and Moral Psychology (2014), The Character Gap: How Good Are We? (2017), and Honesty: The Philosophy and Psychology of a Neglected Virtue (2021). He is a science contributor for Forbes, and his writings have also appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Dallas Morning News, Slate, The Conversation, Newsweek, Aeon, and Christianity Today. Miller is the editor or co-editor of Essays in the Philosophy of Religion (OUP), Character: New Directions from Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology (OUP), Moral Psychology, Volume V: Virtue and Character (MIT Press), Integrity, Honesty, and Truth Seeking (OUP), and The Continuum Companion to Ethics (Continuum Press).


"The STRIVE-4 Model of Virtues as a Research Framework for Realistic Virtues"

Lecture Video

October 6, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
ZOOM  Link

Meeting ID: 930 0620 0428

Blaine Fowers, Ph.D. 

Professor of Councseling Psychology
University of Miami

Presentation Abstract:  I begin with two points. First, there are robust literatures on both the philosophy and psychology of virtue, but these literatures do not yet amount to a mature science of virtue because of unresolved theoretical and methods challenges. Second, one lesson from both empirical psychology and virtue skeptics is that they must be seen as realistic characteristics. I present the STRIVE-4 Model, which consists of Scalar Traits that are Role sensitive, include Situation × Trait Interactions, and are related to important Values that help to constitute Eudaimonia. The four elements of virtues are behavior, cognition, affect/motivation, and practical wisdom. The model depicts virtues as empirically verifiable, acquired scalar traits that are role sensitive that interact with situations, and exist to actualize important values that partly constitute eudaimonia (human flourishing). Importantly, I present ordinary virtues as realistic traits that fall short of the idealized portrayal by Aristotle. Heuristically, the STRIVE-4 model suggests many hypotheses, some of which I present to illustrate how the Model can organize extant studies, which means that current psychological research (weakly) supports virtue trait optimism not skepticism. The STRIVE-4 Model can also guide future research toward a mature science of virtue. I conclude that the STRIVE-4 framework can unify extant research and fruitfully guide future research.

About Dr. Blaine Fowers:  Blaine Fowers, Ph.D. is Professor of Counseling Psychology at the University of Miami. He conducts theoretical and empirical investigations of virtue and flourishing. Fowers has written or co-written five books, including Frailty, Suffering, and Vice: Flourishing in the Face of Human Limitations (2017, APA), The Evolution of Ethics: Human Sociality and the Emergence of Ethical Mindedness (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), Virtue and Psychology (2005, APA), Beyond the Myth of Marital Happiness (2000, Jossey Bass), and Re-Envisioning Psychology (1999, Jossey Bass). He and his research team study virtues, higher order goals, and their links to choiceworthy goods and human flourishing. Fowers has published over 100 peer reviewed articles, books, and book chapters. He was a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Birmingham, England in 2016. He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and a recipient of the Joseph B. Gittler Award for Contributions to the Philosophical Foundations of Psychology.


"The Emotional Heart of Environmental Virtues"

November 3, 2021| 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
ZOOM link

Meeting ID: 949 0968 7163

Cheryl Hall, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Associate Director, School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  Univeristy of South Florida

Presentation Abstract :  What would it take for those of us in advanced industrialized societies to live more sustainably? Beyond changes in political and economic systems, material design and infrastructure, and technology, many people argue that we need to cultivate various “environmental virtues” to support greener ways of life. Such virtues include respect for the web of life, gratitude, responsibility, stewardship, humility, moderation, hope, patience, practical wisdom, cooperation, and ecocitizenship, among many others. While these environmental virtues are often justified quite persuasively, though, little attention has been paid to their emotional components. I argue that environmental virtues, like all virtues, depend not only on particular ways of emotionally engaging with oneself and the world but on the advanced skills in working with emotions required to foster those ways of engaging. If we wish to encourage environmental virtues, then, we should help people understand the emotional aspects involved in cultivating and sustaining such virtues and in developing emotional skills more generally. 

About Dr. Cheryl Hall:  Cheryl Hall is Associate Professor and Associate Director in the School of Interdisciplinary Global Studies at the University of South Florida. She is a political theorist with specialties in environmental political theory, feminist theory, and emotion in politics. Her research focuses on the roles that human capacities, concepts, and practices play in encouraging or discouraging more just and sustainable ways of life. She is especially interested in questions of how to encourage political action on climate change by cultivating the emotional resources necessary to sustain cultural attention to the challenge. Her publications include The Trouble With Passion: Political Theory Beyond the Reign of Reason, The Oxford Handbook of Environmental Political Theory (co-edited), “What Will it Mean to Be Green? Envisioning Positive Possibilities Without Dismissing Loss,” “Framing and Nudging for a Greener Future,” “Caring to Be Green: The Importance of Love for Environmental Integrity,” and “The Emotional Heart of Environmental Virtues.”



"Gratitude, Forgiveness, and the Life of the Mind"

November 17, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST
ZOOM Link

Meeting ID: 996 9169 2128

Adam Green

Associate Professor Department of Philosophy/ISHF Faculty
University of Oklahoma

Presentation Abstract:  There is a lot of psychological evidence that forgiveness and gratitude are powerful contributors to individual flourishing and social harmony. These findings resonate with what we know from personal experience, art, literature, and religion. Yet, the intersection of gratitude, forgiveness, and our lives as knowers is under-explored and underappreciated. In this talk, I will be arguing two things. First, how you represent another person in your mind is an essential component of any act of forgiveness or gratitude whatsoever, and this fact already implicates our lives as knowers. Second, I will argue that one important manifestation of forgiveness and gratitude is forgiving of another person for the wrongs they have done you as a knower, on the one hand, and a gratitude for the ways the other person has benefited you as a knower on the other. An appreciation of these intersections of the epistemic and the moral emotions of forgiveness and gratitude is important for thinking about how people with diverse viewpoints can productively dialogue, collaborate, and coexist whether that be within a university or on social media.

About Dr. Adam Green:  Adam Green, PhD, focuses his work on the nature and value of being a social creature. His scholarly work ranges from philosophical engagement with neuroscience, psychology, anthropology, and the cognitive science of religion to reflection on traditional problems in epistemology, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.


"Augustine and the Virtue of Hope"

December 1, 2021 | 12:00 - 1:00 PM CST

ZOOM link

Meeting ID: 954 6577 1359

Michael Lamb, Ph.D.

Executive Director of the Program for Leadership & Character, Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities
Wake Forest University

Presentation Abstract:  What may we hope for in politics, and is it possible to forge common hopes amidst deep difference? Michael Lamb answers that urgent question with the help of an unlikely source: Augustine of Hippo, often seen as one of history’s great pessimists. Drawing on neglected texts and interdisciplinary insights, Lamb recovers Augustine’s virtue of hope and shows how this virtue can help citizens address the challenges of our time. 

About Dr. Michael Lamb:  Michael Lamb is Executive Director of the Program for Leadership and Character and Assistant Professor of Politics, Ethics, and Interdisciplinary Humanities at Wake Forest University. He is also a Research Fellow with the Oxford Character Project. He holds a Ph.D. in politics from Princeton University, a B.A. in political science from Rhodes College, and a second B.A. in philosophy and theology from the University of Oxford, where he studied as a Rhodes Scholar. His interdisciplinary research focuses on virtue ethics, character development, and the role of virtues in public life. He is the co-editor of Everyday Ethics: Moral Theology and the Practices of Ordinary Life (Georgetown University Press, 2019) and Cultivating Virtue in the University (Oxford University Press, forthcoming). His new book, A Commonwealth of Hope: Augustine’s Political Thought (Princeton University Press) is forthcoming in 2022.