“From Emulation to Exemplarity: Cultivating Virtue in Theology and Science

Friday Afternoon 1:00 to 4:30 pm
Location: Convention Center 207A (2nd Level - West).  AAR Program Event M18-206
Panel Participants:  Emily Dumler-Winckler, Timothy Reilly, Nathaniel Warne, and Adam Willows, all of the University of Notre Dame
Responding: Michael Spezio, Scripps College
In ancient, patristic, and medieval thought, exemplars play an important role in the cultivation of virtue. In recent years, this ancient conception of moral formation has become the site of renewed investigation and controversy in theology, philosophy, and science. Psychologists have begun to investigate exemplars in the practice of science. Philosophers have drawn on evolutionary anthropology to suggest that apprentice learning plays a crucial role in human evolution. Linda Zagzebski has developed theories of exemplarism, while theologians and ethicists, such as Jennifer Herdt, have devoted renewed attention to the imitatio Christi. For all the enthusiasm that this multi-disciplinary proliferation has generated, it has also been met with modern anxieties and skepticism. Are exemplars merely a crutch for those who fail to act autonomously? What of independence, plurality, and critique? Surely, excellence in the practices of theology and science calls for more than mere emulation of exemplars. Insights about exemplarity in evolutionary anthropology, psychology, philosophy and theology bear on these concerns. The ancient emphasis on exemplarity can, indeed, be refurbished for modern practices. Each paper sheds light on a different aspect of the role of exemplars in the formation of virtue in theology and science and suggests avenues for future research.
--Free and Open to the Public--

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