Spotted at The University of Chicago’s Science of Virtues project, and with tantalizing possible applications to law and technology questions:
In what ways might the humanities and the sciences cooperate to develop richer understandings of virtue for modern societies?
The Arete Initiative at the University of Chicago is pleased to announce a new $3 million research program on a New Science of Virtues. This is a multidisciplinary research initiative that seeks contributions from individuals and from teams of investigators working within the humanities and the sciences. We support highly original, scholarly projects that demonstrate promise of a distinctive contribution to virtue research and have the potential to begin a new field of interdisciplinary study.
In 2010, about twenty (20), two-year research grants will be awarded ranging from $50,000 to $300,000. Scholars and scientists from around the world are invited to submit Letters of Intent (LOI) as entry into a research grant competition.
Application Deadline: March 2, 2009, 5:00pm CST
Hmm. I saw this and my first reaction was — “please don’t let this be all about evo psych.” So checking out the site a bit more, I saw on the topics sub-page.
“2. Virtue and Evolutionary Biology/Genetics: Are there innate â€œlearning modulesâ€ that incline growing children to be sensitive to cultural and religious codes dealing with more conservative-sounding virtues such as loyalty, respect for authority, and purity-sanctity? Have humans evolved with certain virtues or are they strictly cultural constructs? If there is an evolutionary basis for virtue, how does it function to protect or preserve the species? Are there identifiable virtues that are strictly cultural or that, by contrast, have clear biological bases?”
Hmm. So there are many other topics, but just to pause a bit on this #2…
I’m not at all opposed to using science to explore some aspects of ethics, but I’ve had sufficient close encounters with evo psych theorists to be nervous that reductive reasoning may be lurking in the shadows of this type of science/ethics interdisciplinarity.
But rather than go on about this, I’ll just point to another thread on another blog where other people go on about this: