Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good Life
Register now for 'Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good Life', organized by the The Center for Theology, Science & Human Flourishing.
Over the last several decades, virtue has attracted increased attention from philosophers, theologians, and psychologists. However, little of this research has attended to the development and function of virtue within scientific research and practice.
This lacuna is surprising given that science has been linked with virtue for much of its history. Philosophers from ancient Greece through to the medieval period saw the study of the natural world as a means to develop particular intellectual and moral virtues. Although the conception of science changed dramatically during the early modern period, scholars continued to see such ties well into the nineteenth century; the study and practice of scientific research was understood both to demand certain virtues and simultaneously to cultivate those virtues. While the language of virtue largely disappeared from discussions of science in the twentieth century, closer inspection reveals that moral dispositions and judgments continue to play a significant role in scientific practice (though perhaps in quite different ways), and that scientists continue to value specific cognitive and behavioral dispositions.
Since 2016, a multi-disciplinary research team at the University of Notre Dame, led by Celia Deane-Drummond, Darcia Narvaez, and Tom Stapleford, has been exploring the relationship between virtue and scientific practice with a particular focus on laboratory research in biology (project website). As this project, funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, draws to a close, we invite other interested scholars to join us for a conference on Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good L