Heather Templeton Dill – After Dinner Speech

During the second day of the conference, Heather Templeton Dill, President of the John Templeton Foundation, spoke after the conference dinner. Her speech celebrated the relationship between the John Templeton Foundation and the Jubilee Centre, and the field of character development. 

Jim Rahn – For Such A Time As This

During the first day of the conference, Jim Rahn, President of the Kern Foundation, spoke after the welcome dinner. His speech titled For Such A Time As This celebrated sustained conversation about character education and moral formation and how it can continue and develop.

Arthur Schwartz – Sir John Templeton and the Gravity of Character

Sir John Templeton invited Dr. Arthur Schwartz to join his foundation in 1995. As the foundation’s fifth employee and first academic, Dr. Schwartz worked together with Sir John and the wider foundation for the next 13 years to identify and support research and programmes that advanced Sir John’s donor intent, including groundbreaking research on forgiveness, unlimited love, humility, gratitude, and noble purpose. Dr. Schwartz will reflect on how working with Sir John dynamically shaped and formed his own character, including how he continues to repeat to himself a number of character-inspired maxims and wise sayings that Sir John frequently shared with family, friends, and staff. In so many ways, these “laws of life” vivify Sir John’s humble spirit.

David Goodhart – Recognising the Virtues of Hand and Heart in Public Life

In recent years, the idea of a successful life has become too narrowly focused on academic success and entry into a cognitive-professional career. This has become politically and economically dysfunctional, we have reached ‘Peak Head’. Politically, it creates too many losers, people who feel their contribution is not sufficiently valued (including an increasing proportion of graduates who are not getting the high-status, well-paid jobs they were expecting). Economically, it devalues the skills associated with Hand and Heart, leaving damaging shortages in middle-skilled technical occupations and a recruitment crisis in nursing and care. The cognitive meritocracy also pays insufficient respect to the stoicism and self-sacrifice that oils the wheels of families and societies, and the ‘ordinary virtues’ of being a decent, hard-working, person. But a rebalancing is underway, hastened by the pandemic.

Daniel Lapsley – Varieties of Character Education and the Moral Formation of Persons

One of the remarkable features of character education research over the past two decades is the extensive interdisciplinary dialogue that has taken place across the “mending wall” that divides the philosophical and empirical wings of moral psychology. How to ensure empirically responsible moral philosophy and philosophically responsible moral psychology is an exciting prospect. In these remarks, I propose a three-fold typology to organise the many ways character education has been understood over the years. First, Best Practice mobilises the educational psychology literatures of constructivist learning, academic press and communal organisation of schools to guide the formation of Good Learners. Second, Broad Character Education combines public health models of risk reduction and positive youth development strategies to fortify good learners with character strengths. Finally, Intentional Moral-Character Education transforms the Fortified Good Learner into a Moral Self. I make the case for considering the Moral Self as the aim of education, discuss new ways of understanding self-identity and how it relates to phronesis. 

Sarah Banks – Pandemic ethics and beyond: Creating space for virtues in the social

During Covid-19, social workers operated in ‘crisis conditions’. Some existing rules/protocols were not operational, many services were closed/curtailed, and new ‘blanket’ rules often seemed inappropriate or unfair. This paper explores the ethical space created as practitioners drew more on their ‘inner resources’ and professional discretion than usual, displaying virtues such as courage, compassion and justice as they took account of the specific contexts of their work, rather than simply adhering to blanket rules.  It argues that exploring ethical practice through a virtue ethical lens provides valuable lessons for ‘building back better’ in social work and many other professions.

Edward Brooks & Rebecca Park – Character, Culture, and Leadership in Business, Finance, Law and Technology: An Interdsicpplinary Research Project

In 2020, the Oxford Character Project began a major interdisciplinary research project exploring the intersection between character formation, leadership development and institutional culture in four specific sectors: business, finance, law, and technology. We are undertaking qualitative and quantitative research to understand the existing patterns and practices of character formation in these sectors, the most important virtues for practitioners and leaders, and the relationship between character and the “moral and intellectual ecosystems” of organisations. We are applying this research to design, deliver, and evaluate character and leadership development programmes for students and executives.

Randall Curren – Campus Climates and Public Life

This paper addresses the cultivation of civic friendship on university campuses and the extent to which efforts to promote character development and inter-group contact on these campuses is, or could be, beneficial for the civic culture of the institutions and the larger society. Key questions include: What contributes to the formation of civic friendship and what undermines it? What efforts do universities make to promote inter-group understanding, trust, and willingness to work together for the greater good? What are the limitations of their ability to shape student culture in ways favorable to civic friendship? Where is there room for improvement?

Juan P. Dabdoub, Aitor R. Salaverría, Marvin W. Berkowitz, Concepción Naval – Colegios Mayores: Operationalization of value-driven communities for character development

One important path to character development is being part of a value-driven community that shares a mission or purpose. Colegios Mayores, a long-standing institution in many Spanish universities based on character development through residential community life, can be considered an operationalization of these communities in a higher education context. This paper describes the nature and practices of Colegios Mayores, aligning their strategies with two prominent moral and character education approaches: the PRIMED model and the Just Community.

Matthew Dennis – Digital Emulation: From Moral Exemplars to Online Celebrities

Over the last decade, tech-savvy children and young people have become increasingly fascinated by “influencers” and other online celebrities. This presentation charts how our conception of a moral exemplar has changed since children and young people have increasingly begun using online technologies. After identifying the key features of moral admiration, I explore how the digital world introduces a new set of ethical challenges that both present character-based ethics with difficulties and opportunities. I finish by speculating how our notion of moral exemplars may change over the next decade.

Haley Edythe-Anne Dutmer – Moral Friendship Theory: Moral Development and Education through Friendship

One of the most prominent theories of moral development within virtue ethics has been exemplarism, according to which the cultivation of virtue is motivated primarily by the desire to emulate moral exemplars. Exemplarism’s recent popularity has overshadowed a viable alternative means of moral development which I call moral friendship theory. I argue that a moral friendship—roughly, a friendship partially based on a shared pursuit of the moral life—can play an important role in invigorating and sustaining moral development. I conclude by discussing how and why moral friendship theory should be integrated into character education programs.

Jennifer A. Frey – Weber, Newman, and the Fate of Philosophy (and Theology) in a Disenchanted Age

In this essay, I will contrast two competing models of knowledge which institutions of higher education should strive to attain: Max Weber’s ideal of university scholarship as a form of expertise that produces knowledge of objective facts, and Cardinal John Henry Newman’s ideal of philosophical knowledge of truth that concerns the whole of reality. According to the second model, we can only begin to see how the different disciplines of university study are related to one another—how the truths they reveal can form a unified body of knowledge—if we have an account of philosophical knowledge available to them all.  I will argue that Weber’s ideal, which is reinforced by the institutional structures of the university itself, is antithetical to meaningful interdisciplinary research, and that Newman’s ideal reveals its true epistemic potential.


Katy Granville-Chapman & Emmie Bidston – Reimagining Educational Leadership: Empowering Human Flourishing

This paper takes an interdisciplinary approach to an exploration of educational leadership and argues that the focus of leadership both within education and beyond should be on empowering human flourishing.

Teaching contributes to a flourishing society and improvements to the flourishing of teachers can benefit schools and education more broadly. This paper argues that school leaders have a critical role in improving the flourishing of teaching staff and that this is achieved primarily through virtuous dispositions.  It contributes to the school leadership research through the proposal of a new perspective on, and associated model of ‘leadership for teacher flourishing’ (LFTF).

Cristy Guleserian, Norman Gibbs, Nicole Thompson, Carole Basile – Principled Innovation: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Moving from Theory to Practice

We are experiencing moral dilemmas in education as we navigate new and existing systems while honoring the humanity of our students and faculty. Thus, educators must cultivate knowledge of virtue and take practical action based on their understanding of moral goods. Centering character, Principled Innovation (PI), and equity in our large-scale redesign of teacher and leader preparation is introducing cohorts of faculty and future educators to the value of theory and practice while developing the dispositions necessary to engage practical wisdom in the context of systems change. This leads to educators and leaders who are morally motivated to cultivate human centered organizations and engage practical wisdom in the critical moments that shape our rising generation.

Liz Gulliford – The Medium and the Message: Variables of Delivery in the Use of Exemplar Narratives for Moral Education

Stories about moral exemplars play an important role in cultivating virtues and developing moral character. People are inspired by narratives in which paradigmatic examples of virtues are embodied by fictional characters, historical figures and everyday role models. Researchers have identified features of exemplar narratives that contribute to their inspirational power. This paper focuses on the mode of delivery of exemplar narratives. Whether communicated by the written or spoken word, an ‘expert’, adult or child, bears on the perceived credibility of exemplar narratives and their power to change attitudes and behaviour: The medium is part of the message.

Jan Hábl – Character Matters: the Problem of the Teachability of Goodness

Teaching a child to read, write or count represents a certain didactic art on the part of the teacher. Current pedagogy is quite advanced in this respect. Education has developed countless excellent methodological strategies for passing on information, facts, knowledge and skills to children. But a problem for pedagogy is character education or teaching the good, teaching virtues. It has been so since time immemorial. Since the outbreak of the scientific and technological revolution, we as humanity have progressed greatly in the field of knowledge, and this has been reflected in the content of education. The amount of information that children have to learn is so overwhelming that there is no time to “cultivate morals.” Theoretically, we know that education should not be just about passing on knowledge. In each handbook such as Introduction to Pedagogy, Fundamentals of Pedagogy, etc., we read that in addition to passing on knowledge, we must also form a moral component of character. We have to teach the good. But can we do it? Is it possible at all? Is there a method for this? What did the great educators before us say – such as Aristotle, Socrates, Comenius, Rousseau and others? The goal of this paper is to seek answers to these questions. 

James Davison Hunter, Gerard Robinson, Ryan S. Olson – The Moral Ecology of Character Formation: Schools, Families, and Translating Research into Practice in 10 Learning Communities in America

In this presentation, James Davison Hunter, the LaBrosse-Levinson Distinguished Professor of Religion, Culture and Social Theory at the University of Virginia, will provide high-level findings from two components of “The Moral Ecology Project.” The first is a qualitative research study that comprised a series of “mini-ethnographies” of 10 school sectors in the United States. The second is a quantitative research study of collected data from 3,000 parents and 3,000 teens in partnership with the Gallup Organization. Gerard Robinson, Vice President of Education, will provide preliminary results from the translation of Project findings into practice through an emerging partnership with K-12 principals, educators, and parents in several states. 

Robert Jackson – Perennial Practices for Contemporary Character Development

Beginning with a review of the primary sources for classical pedagogy (e.g., Quintilian, Hugh of St. Victor), this presentation will investigate the philosophy and practices of current pedagogical training manuals (e.g., Lemov, Bambrick-Santoyo) to better understand the scope and limitations of contemporary pedagogy in relation to character development. By updating the design and developmental arc of classical pedagogy (e.g., moving beyond single-sex Roman schools), we discover a number of practical yet principled features of effective pedagogy in the classical method that enhance and deepen the structural aspects of today’s teaching manuals. Numerous examples from classical schools, like Great Hearts, will provide ample evidence of the value of these perennial practices in relation to character development.

Sabena Y. Jameel – The Fish School Theory of Practical Wisdom: A Process Unification

The Fish School Theory of Practical Wisdom is an analogy-based theory derived from empirical PhD work which described the constituents of embodied practical wisdom in a population of medical practitioners (wisdom exemplars). The theory progresses current research which looks at practical wisdom in terms of constituents, to considering practical wisdom as a process. The key tenet of the Fish School Theory is that the sum of the constituents is greater than the parts. It seeks to align with polymath Aristotle’s original inspiration. This theory has the potential to offer a singular and unified discourse for all disciplines to consider. 

Eranda Jayawickreme, Sara Etz Mendonca, Elise Murray Dykhuis – Examining the Possibilities for Volitional Character Change through a Three-Moth Online Interventions

Recent research indicates that people can intentionally change specific personality traits. However, it is unclear whether such interventions work for moral character traits. We conducted a three-month pre-registered online intervention focused on compassion with a representative sample of U.S. established adults (NT1 = 500, 4,731 total observations). Results of self-reported weekly and global assessments showed that people who chose compassion showed significant increases in weekly compassion compared to an active control condition, but not increases in trait compassion. Furthermore, enjoyment of weekly tasks significantly predicted change in compassion. This study highlights the challenges of promoting volitional change in moral character.

Mark E. Jonas & Douglas W. Yacek – Phronesis and the Good in Teacher Education

Recent educational researchers have advocated Aristotelian-inspired phronesis as an important aspect of teacher training. We think this turn to phronesis is a good thing. However, we argue that many of the prior attempts to describe a “phronetic” approach to teacher education have mis-characterized what phronesis is and why it is important for teacher education. In this paper, (1) we establish a more accurate understanding of phronesis, highlighting the need for the development of the moral component of phronesis, and (2) we offer a way that the moral component could be developed in teacher education programs. To achieve the first objective, we examine Aristotle’s theory of phronesis in some detail in order to establish a proper understanding of it. To achieve the second objective, we look to Aristotle’s supposed philosophical rival, Plato, who offers a method of accelerating the moral habituation process, which might allow for the moral component of phronesis to develop more quickly.

Matthew Kuan Johnson & Rachel Siow Robertson – The Virtue of Integrity: A New Framework and Integrative Review

Despite the vast literature on the virtue of integrity and its importance to practitioners, there is little consensus regarding what integrity actually is. Our paper proposes a novel definition of integrity and demonstrates the advantages of this new approach for organizing the conceptual space around the virtue, for explaining associated psychological phenomena, and for practitioners seeking to promote integrity. The second part of our paper outlines the structural conditions necessary for integrity, providing an account of how integrity is developed. We conclude by drawing from Medina’s (2013) work on “meta-lucidity” to explore an interesting (apparent) paradox raised by our account.

Jorge López, Verónica Fernández, Salvador Ortiz de Montellano – Education in Virtues and Education in Competencies: The Case of Educating for Leadership

We wonder if an education merely centered on skills is compatible with education in virtues. Our proposal implies an interdisciplinary exercise in which the philosophical tradition of virtue education dialogues with the psychoeducational discourse of competency-based education. We present a theoretical justification and a proposal that seeks to educate university students in leadership through virtues with the support of education in skills. We propose an indirect methodology, which through reflection and discernment, allows to form stable personal dispositions. We offer an overview of formation in virtues and training in skills and present a meta-model of education in leadership.

Zack Loveless – Phronesis for Fallible Beings

Models of phronesis tend to acknowledge that it develops from experience, yet they exclude the skills that enable one to learn from their experience as part of phronesis itself. In this paper, I argue that the possession and exercise of phronesis, not just its development, involves habits of self-cultivation. In the bulk of the paper, I identify three habits of self-cultivation and explain why they are part of phronesis. I close by highlighting the benefits of this augmented account, especially in the context of adult character education, and suggesting some strategies to cultivate phronesis thus conceived.

Peter Meindl & Elise Murray Dykhuis – Making Character Assessment Far Less Terrible

Bad measurement holds science back. Good measurement moves it forward. Many character assessments are bad: they’re tedious and time-consuming to complete, and the data derived from them are often disappointing or confusing. But character assessment is redeemable. Here we discuss changes we are making to the way the United States Military Academy assesses its character development efforts. Most of these changes, many of which can be easily adopted by other organizations, fall under two categories: 1) focusing on virtue’s seeds, rather than all of its branches, and 2) taking simple steps to make assessment a more engaging and formative experience.  

juan A. Mercado & Pía Valenzuela – Coping with Complexity: Methodological Overlaps between Psychology and Philosophy

Gordon Allport and Magda Arnold fostered a renewal of psychological studies with their personal contributions and promoting Viktor Frankl’s ideas on the meaning of life.

The connection of experimental and philosophical notions requires an integrative view of phenomena, to help overcoming fragmentary and excessively analytical explanations of human behaviour.

The philosopher Leonardo Polo (1926-2013) developed some Aristotelian naturalistic ideas to give integrated explanations of human activity. Michael Tomasello’s and Roy Baumeister’s works present strong similarities with Polo’s approach, as they relate cognitive capacities to human activities, allowing a more comprehensive explanation of human powers, their development through habits, the formation of willpower, etc.

Claudia Navarini – Integrating Suffering and Flourishing Through Virtues: An Interdisciplinary Case of Phronetic Abduction

The capability of realizing the Inference to the Best Explanation is an abductive act, after Peirce, which entails a virtuous process, which I have called phronetic abduction. An application of it may be the relationship between suffering and flourishing. The question whether it is possible to flourish despite suffering can receive a full answer only if moral philosophy and moral psychology work together via phronetic abduction, which in turn might lead to identify a cluster of virtues, courage-hope-practical wisdom, as particularly significant. The moral process beneath this hypothesis represent the necessary and sufficient philosophical step towards a founded empirical assessment.

Scott Parsons & Elise Dykhuis – Virtue Literacy: A Six Week Study of West Point Cadets During Their Basic Training

In summer 2021, for the first time, the United States Military Academy at West Point included a Character Journal as part of West Point’s Cadet Basic Training (CBT). Cadets were given one hour each day to reflect on the virtues they used that day, as well as a weekly reflection at the end of the week in a Character Journal. This paper will discuss the efficacy of the character journaling for developing virtue literacy in CBT.

Mike Prentice, Hernán González Cruz, Falk Lieder – Evaluating Life Reflection Techniques to Help People Select Virtuous Life Goals

We sought to identify a brief intervention to help people select virtuous life goals that promote their own and others’ well-being. Across two studies and among four candidate interventions, the eulogy exercise from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy—a very brief reflection (~5 minutes) on how one would like to be remembered by close others at one’s own funeral—emerged as the best intervention to help people select life goals that are likely to promote well-being and well-doing, such as wanting to improve other people’s lives, and avoid ones often associated with vices, such as wanting to have many expensive possessions.

Wouter Sanderse & Doret de Ruyter – A pedagogical understanding of virtuous teaching

What virtues do teachers need to maintain a ‘pedagogical relationship’, understood as a personal, intrinsically valuable relationship in which an educator helps the child to become a person in the world? We first review some of the Jubilee Centre’s work on the role of virtues in good teaching. Secondly, we examine the ideas of several philosophers of education (most notably from the Geisteswissenschaftliche Pädagogik) about the pedagogical relationship, who mention virtues such as tactful sensitivity, thoughtfulness, trusting children and being trustworthy and having active hope. Finally, we evaluate whether these ‘pedagogical virtues’ are compatible with an Aristotelian understanding of (good) teaching.   

Jörg Schulte-Altedorneburg – The Rationality of Emotions: Aristotle’s “Emotional Syllogism”

It might be a commonplace of an interdisciplinary reception of Aristotle’s doctrine of the emotions that the philosopher admits a rational part to the affects. According to his philosophy, affects must have to be rationally controllable, since the learning of their fundamental and their situational appropriateness is part of the education of virtue. This paper argues that Aristotle even goes one step further: Emotions do not only have a cognitive part, but are highly rational with regard to the respective inherent cognitive performance. His concept of an “emotional syllogism” as a fundamental precondition of arousing any emotion sheds also some light on a different concept of rationality.

Jesse S. Summers – Virtue, Sainthood, and Anxious Morality

People with moral OCD, or scrupulosity, seem too concerned with morality. How is that possible? They are motivated by their anxiety, and anxiety can play an important role in making people sensitive to morally relevant situations and facts. A feeling of anxiety, however, needn’t be caused by an actual threat that one correctly identifies. Someone with scrupulosity incorrectly understands their moral failings to be the cause of their anxiety. Anxiety also leads one to focus inflexibly on mere possibilities of wrongdoing, be less responsive to counter-evidence that one has not done anything wrong, and to minimize competing moral concerns.

Lynn Swaner & Andy Wolfe – Character Education and Flourishing Schools: Insights from Research

The ‘Flourishing Schools Culture Model’ identifies five interacting domains of flourishing drawn from an extensive quantitative study with hundreds of schools in USA/Canada/Australia and beyond. These domains – Purpose, Relationships, Teaching, Resources and Wellbeing – have been explored in detail by Dr Lynn Swaner (USA) and Andy Wolfe (UK) in their book ‘Flourishing Together’ (Eerdmans, November 2021).

This paper will unpack Purpose, Relationships and Wellbeing in detail in their relationship to character education, proposing an interacting ‘ecology of flourishing’ between the trio of Flourishing Students, Flourishing Adults and Flourishing Schools, and exploring the educational leadership implications for the post-pandemic era.

This presentation makes reference to the report by the Church of England Foundation for Educational Leadership report in collaboration with the Jubilee Centre and National Institute for Christian Education research titled Leadership of Character Education Developing Virtues and Celebrating Human Flourishing in Schools. This research report is available to download here

Natasza Szutta – The Need for Virtue in the Judicial Profession

The judicial profession is of a specific kind: it is a profession of high social trust with which also come high expectations about judges’ qualities. These expectations are mentioned in the most important legal documents, e.g., the Polish Constitution.

In my presentation, I am going to focus on the role of moral character in jurisprudence. I will consider whether we can characterize a good judge merely in terms of good knowledge of the law and practical skills, or something more is also needed, namely an appropriate moral condition, character traits (prudence, courage, wisdom, respect for the truth, justice, and freedom).

Koji Tachibana – Virtue Education and Japanese Culture: Towards a fruitful collaboration between philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy

In this presentation, I will examine how virtue can be taught in Japanese school education from three perspectives: (1) the reception of and the conflict with the Western concept of virtue in Japan, (2) the relevancy of positive psychology’s VIA-IS in contemporary Japan, and (3) a survey of attitudes towards virtue education in Japan. In conclusion, I will suggest that virtue education in Japan needs to be seen as a mixture of Western and Confucian ideas. In order to teach this mixed notion of virtue, a dense collaboration between philosophy, psychology, and pedagogy will be required.

Julie Taylor – The Ethical Role of the Student Teacher Mentor: The Unspoken Moral Dimension of Initial Teacher Education?

This paper considers the role of the ethical in Initial Teacher Education (ITE) mentoring from the perspectives of practising mentors and their student teachers on a one-year postgraduate teacher education programme led by a UK university. Despite the recognition that teaching is an unavoidably ethical endeavour, the lack of explicit moral content within teacher education programmes has resulted in a gap in the literature when considering the mentoring of student teachers through a moral lens. This study therefore aims to raise awareness of this important and neglected aspect of teacher education.

Kate Toms – Slipping the Surly Bonds of Foolishness: Developing and Sustaining Wisdom in Military Pilots

The US Air Force values the virtue of phronesis in their pilots: “judgement and decision making” is evaluated regularly; a deficiency results in the pilot’s loss of flying qualification.  In short: phronesis matters a great deal to the USAF.  In this paper, I examine the ways the USAF identifies, inculcates, and sustains phronesis in their pilots.  I argue that these methods are somewhat effective but include drawbacks.  Crucially, genuine virtue cannot exist in a compartmentalized state; the whole person, as well as their community of practice, influences the development and exercise of virtue, to include phronesis.   

Sungwoo Um – Honesty: Respect for the Right Not to be Deceived

In this paper, I explore the characteristic motivation for a virtuously honest person to act honestly. I examine and reject candidate motivations for honesty such as avoiding deception or being honest for honesty’s sake. I also critically examine Christian Miller’s pluralistic account, which allows various virtuous motivations to be honesty’s appropriate motivation. I then introduce the respect for the right not to be deceived as the motive that characteristically underlies a virtuously honest person’s honest action. After examining this idea more closely, I conclude by discussing some of its implications on our understanding of honesty.

Sophia Vasalou – Exemplars and the Ethics of Virtue: Lessons from the Islamic Tradition

Exemplars play a well-attested role in religious forms of virtue ethics. This paper will introduce the place of exemplars in Islamic ethics and consider what we can learn from studying this context. Two exemplars with a foundational role in Islamic virtue ethics are the prophet Muhammad and God. Closer consideration of these cases helps us expand our understanding of the means—notably the kinds of narratives—through which exemplars become epistemically available. It also offers a new angle on well-worn questions about the inverse relationship between the superiority of exemplars and their motivational effect. 

Alan T. Wilson – Shamelessness as a Civic Vice

I will argue that shamelessness ought to be included on any plausible list of civic vices. My strategy will be to first argue for a particular view of the connection between shame and virtue. This helps to reveal the ways in which shamelessness calls into question the possession of many different virtues. The case for shamelessness as a specifically civic vice is made by reflecting on its corrosive impact on community life, especially under conditions of structural inequality. Indeed, shamelessness may be a strong candidate for inclusion among what Lisa Tessman (2005) refers to as “the ordinary vices of domination”.