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Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues' Third Annual Conference 13th August 2014 Events

Varieties of Virtue Ethics in Philosophy, Social Science and Theology

Oriel College, Oxford, January 8-10, 2015 

The third annual conference of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham. 

The open call for papers closes on 1st September 2014; for details on how to submit please see below.

Keynote Speakers:

Julia Annas (University of Arizona)
Robert C. Roberts (Baylor University)
Andrew Sayer (University of Lancaster)
Blaine Fowers (University of Miami)

 Open Call for Papers

After a highly successful annual conference of the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in January 2014 on the question ‘Can Virtue Be Measured?’, we return to Oriel College, Oxford, for the Centre’s third annual conference in January 2015 on the theme:

Varieties of Virtue Ethics in Philosophy, Social Science and Theology

Virtue ethics has been undergoing a revival in moral philosophy during the last half a century. According to virtue ethics, an action is right not because it can be universalised in light of a rationalist principle (Kantianism) or because it makes the greatest number of people happy (utilitarianism); rather agents act well if their acts enhance virtue and contribute to a flourishing life, as opposed to a languishing or floundering one. Indeed, the focus is no longer on the ‘deontic’ correctness of individual actions, but rather on their ‘aretaic’ role in the well-rounded life and their roots in the ‘inner world’ of the agent: in stable states of character that incorporate motivational and emotional elements.

An essential feature of virtue ethics is its inherent naturalist assumption that all moral truths are ultimately defeasible by empirical evidence about what makes people tick. Moral ideals must, minimally, be ‘psychologically real’ – and moral psychology, rather than armchair moral philosophising, can provide the best evidence of such possibilities. Naturalism of this kind undergirds much of the recent ecumenism between moral philosophy and social science.

Although most versions of virtue ethics hark back to Aristotle, recent years have seen a proliferation of different approaches, forging links to other philosophers or philosophical traditions, and even approaches that consider virtue ethics a ‘misleading category’. In addition to the varieties of virtue ethics that now exist within moral philosophy, virtue ethical considerations have been taken on board in various branches of social science, such as moral psychology, positive psychology, education, sociology and social work. In each of these branches of learning, virtue ethics has been given new meaning and traction, as its implications for various academic and practical issues have been teased out. In a similar vein, discussions of religious ethics are now couched to an ever greater extent in virtue ethical terms.

The aim of the 2015 Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues conference is to bring together experts from a range of disciplines to explore the varieties of virtue ethics, both within and across disciplinary boundaries. To what extent are the varieties of virtue ethics rooted in different conceptions of a single underlying concept, and to what extent have they taken on lives of their own? What, if any, is the underlying common core that legitimises calling an approach a ‘variety of virtue ethics’? Most importantly, what can theorists from philosophy, social science and theology learn from each other’s work?

We hereby send out an open call for presentations falling under the broad theme of ‘varieties of virtue ethics’. We ask interested parties to send us an abstract of about 500 words to jubileecentrepapers@contacts.bham.ac.uk (marked ORIEL PROPOSAL in the subject line) before September 1, 2014. We will send out notifications of acceptance before the end of September.

Please send any expressions of interest to register to attend this conference to please contact Fiona Vittery on f.r.vittery@bham.ac.uk or 0121 415 8245 

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