2016 Conference

Initial Research Workshop: “The Morally Exceptional: Project Workshops”

A two day workshop was held July 14-17, 2016 at the Graylyn International Conference Center in Winston-Salem, NC. The workshop occurred shortly after the Morally Exceptional RFP (Request for Proposal) Funding Competition winners were announced and was designed to provide interdisciplinary feedback to each winner. The conference consisted of three simultaneous tracks of interdisciplinary workshops: Psychology, Theology and Philosophy. The winners interacted in small groups, presenting their planned project and then receiving interdisciplinary feedback about the direction of the project.

The purpose of the workshop was threefold:

  1. provide rich feedback to the PI’s before beginning their projects;
  2. infuse interdisciplinary concerns into all projects; and
  3. create a professional network of scholars working on the morally exceptional who would interact with each other in the coming years.

Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Anne Colby Anne Colby is Consulting Professor at Stanford University. Previously, she was director of the Murray Research Center at Harvard University and then Senior Scholar at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  She is the author of nine books, including, most recently The Power of Ideals with William Damon. Her other books include Some Do Care: Contemporary Lives of Moral Commitment; Educating Citizens: Preparing America’s Undergraduates for Lives of Moral and Civic Responsibility; and Rethinking Undergraduate Business Education: Liberal Learning for the Profession, which won AAC&U’s Frederick Hess Award for best book of 2012 on liberal education. Colby is also co-editor of three books, including Ethnography and Human Development: Context and Meaning in Human Inquiry and Competence and Character through Life.  Her contributions to the field of moral psychology were recognized by the Association for Moral Education’s Kuhmerker Award. A life-span developmental psychologist, Colby holds a B.A. from McGill University and a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.

Dr. Dan Russell is Professor of Philosophy at the Center for the Philosophy of Freedom, University of Arizona. He specializes in ancient philosophy and ethics, and his work focuses on ancient philosophy mainly as a source for expanding contemporary options for thinking about how to improve our lives. He has written on Plato’s ethics and psychology (Plato on Pleasure and the Good Life, Oxford University Press, 2005) as well as contemporary virtue ethics (Practical Intelligence and the Virtues, Oxford University Press, 2009). His most recent books are Happiness for Humans (Oxford University Press, 2012) and the Cambridge Companion to Virtue Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 2013). His current research focuses on human well-being and on the virtues of character.

Dr. Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago, and Principal Investigator on “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life,” a project funded by the John Templeton Foundation.  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.

Dr. Larry Walker, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of British Columbia. Dr. Walker’s program of research focuses on the psychology of moral development, particularly in terms of moral reasoning, personality, motivation, and identity. This research is aimed at developing a more full-bodied account of moral functioning that may help explain the psychological dynamics in exemplary moral action; thus we examine both individuals’ conceptions of moral excellence as well as the psychological functioning of a range of actual moral exemplars. Dr. Walker also serves as Associate Dean for Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

Larry WalkerAnna Baumert

Speaker Dr. William Fleeson