Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Expert to present Nov. 7 Whitworth lecture on virtues of the mind

Jason Baehr, an associate professor of philosophy at Loyola Marymount University and an expert in the field of virtue theory, will deliver a lecture, “Virtues of the Mind: What Are They and Why Do They Matter?,” on Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Whitworth’s Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-4939.

Though still in the early stages of his career, Baehr is becoming increasingly well-known for his work on the intellectual virtues. He is the author of The Inquiring Mind: On Intellectual Virtues and Virtue Epistemology (Oxford Press, 2011), which Linda Zagzebski, a world-renowned expert on the intellectual virtues, praised as "the most sophisticated study of the intellectual virtues to date."

Baehr’s lecture aims to help listeners to understand more completely the nature of the intellectual virtues, and to place these virtues in the context of a university education.

“As a department, we thought it would be good for the intellectual vitality of Whitworth's campus to invite Jason to discuss his work,” says Nathan King, an assistant professor of philosophy at Whitworth. “University education often emphasizes particular skills and items of knowledge that students will need in order to succeed in their chosen vocations. But without an emphasis on the virtues needed for students to wield their skills and knowledge well, a university education is at best incomplete.”

Baehr is currently conducting research for his Intellectual Virtues Education Project, for which he has earned more than $1 million in grants from the John Templeton Foundation. The project focuses on the use of intellectual virtues – such as curiosity, wonder, creativity, open-mindedness, attentiveness and intellectual tenacity – in the classroom. To learn more about the project, visit intellectualvirtues.org.

In addition to his book, Baehr is the author of many articles and reviews on virtues, and he was featured in an article this month in The Chronicle of Higher Education. He has taught several courses at LMU, including The Epistemology of Disagreement, Philosophy of Human Nature, Virtue Epistemology, and Philosophy of Human Rights. He has also taught pop culture-related courses, such as Wicked: Ethical Issues in the Broadway Musical; Philosophical Issues in the Book and Film Dead Man Walking; and Moral and Religious Knowledge in the Stories of Flannery O'Connor.

Baehr’s lecture will be brought to Whitworth by The Society of Christian Philosophers, which was formed in 1978 to promote fellowship among Christian philosophers. The society, which is the fastest-growing branch of the American Philosophical Association, seeks to stimulate thinking, study and discussion about the nature and role of Christian commitment in philosophy. The lecture is co-sponsored by the Whitworth Speakers & Artists Series, which presents a broad range of voices, perspectives and ideas that enrich the intellectual and spiritual life of the campus and the larger community.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of nearly 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Contacts:
Kathy Fechter, academic program assistant for philosophy, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4939 or kfechter@whitworth.edu.

Andrea Idso, interim public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or aidso@whitworth.edu.