Workshop, Uppsala: Virtuous Agency: On the Development and Practice of the Virtues, September 9-10, 2010

Virtuous Agency: On the Development and Practice of the Virtues, Workshop at Uppsala University, September 9-10, 2010

Speakers: Johan Brännmark (Lund University), Daniel Farnham (College of St. Benedict/St. John's University), Hallvard Fossheim (Oslo University), Gösta Grönroos (Stockholm University), Uri Leibowitz (Nottingham University), Joel Martinez (College of Lewis and Clarke), Daniel C Russell (Wichita State University), and Frans Svensson (Uppsala University)

Over the past 40 years or so, there has been a growing interest in virtue-based alternatives to various forms of consequentialism and deontology within analytic moral philosophy. To a great extent, this interest has manifested itself in work devoted to either highlighting certain flaws of consequentialist and deontological theories, or showing how an ethics of virtue might handle the kind of issues that consequentialists and deontologists have traditionally been most interested in (in particular, developing accounts of right conduct and of value). Much work remains to be done, however, with respect to exploring the nature of virtue itself. This international workshop, organized within the framework of the Uppsala-based research project Understanding Agency, will consist of papers aiming to make progress in this latter respect, both from a contemporary and from a historical perspective.

There are two broad themes for the workshop. First, how do we acquire a virtuous character? And second, how should we conceive of the practice or exercise of virtue (or the virtues)? A number of more specific topics fit under these two general themes. E.g., to what extent is the acquisition of a virtuous character dependent on one’s upbringing and the social and cultural conditions in which one is raised? What role (if any) do rules or principles play in the development of virtue? What kind of knowledge (or intelligence) is characteristic of the virtuous agent? Are the virtues unified in any interesting sense (should we, e.g., accept the Aristotelian thesis that if an agent has one virtue in full, then he or she must also have all the other virtues as well; could it even be the case that what we ordinarily refer to as different virtues are ultimately reducible to just one thing, such as knowledge of good and evil)? What is involved when someone acts out of character? How serious is the so called situationist critique of virtue ethics?

Any questions about this event should be addressed to the main organizer, Frans Svensson, at frans.svensson (a)