Research

Publications:

Virtue Developmental Considerations of Mindfulness. (2022) Journal of Moral Education. Forthcoming. 27 April 2022.

The Graded Engagement Account of Admiration. (2021) Theory and Research in Education. 19(1): 3-18.

The Beautiful Sophist: Comments on Larkin. Southwest Philosophy Review. Forthcoming. 10 October 2021.

Talking about Good Deeds: Elaborative Discourse and Moral Virtue (2021) Journal of Value Inquiry 55: 725-743.

The Trivium: Revisiting Ancient Strategies for Character Formation (2021) Journal of Character Education. 17(1): 113-124.  

Book Reviews:
 
Book Review: Religion after Science: The Cultural Consequences of Religious Immaturity, by JL Schellenberg. Published in the International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. September 2020.

Book Review: Plato’s Moral Psychology, by Rachana Kamtekar. Published in the Journal of Moral Philosophy. June 2020.

Book Review: Developing the Virtues: Integrating Perspectives. Published in the Journal of Moral Philosophy. May 2019.
 
Book Review: The Character Gap, by Christian Miller. Published in The Journal of Character Education. December 2018.

CV in PDF.

My Dissertation:

I defended my dissertation in January of 2020.

My dissertation is entitled “Aretaic Exemplars: A Mixed-Methods Approach to Character Education.” In part, it is a moral emotions project on admiration. I examine admiration’s elicitors and action-tendencies, as well as the ways in which our admiration can err, such as by mistaking qualities like charisma and popularity for moral excellences. A key focus of my project is addressing the practical question of how we might mature admiration over the course of moral development, to move a learner from admiration to virtue. Briefly, my solution draws on the classical tradition, which moves a learner through various stages—grammar (virtue concepts), logic (discursive reasoning about moral motivations and reasons for action), and rhetoric (post-deliberative action). I address how this structure, accompanied by a number of imitative practices, offers a productive pedagogical sequence for how to move a learner from admiration to virtue. 

Recent Scholarships and Fellowships:

In 2022, I was named an Emerging Education Policy Scholar through the Thomas B. Fordham Institute and AEI. The objectives of the scholarship are to foster an opportunity for talented, promising scholars to connect with other scholars in their field, as well as to introduce them to key players in the education policy arena; to expand the pool of talent and ideas from which the education policy arena currently draws; and to increase understanding of how the worlds of policy and practice intersect with scholarly research in education and related fields. I am looking forward to meeting the other policy scholars and for a great year ahead.

The final year of my graduate studies (2019-2020), I was a recipient of the Society for Christian Philosophers Graduate Fellowship for Science Cross-Training, which permitted me to train outside of my field of study in a discipline complementary to my work. I cross-trained in developmental psychology. I took classes and worked in a child development lab where we studied emotional development and attachment relationships. This positioned me to ask better questions about prosocial emotional precursors of virtue. The fellowship also introduced me to a new literature on habituation and sensitization, which matured my sensibilities about the nature of hexis in Aristotle. This cross-training opportunity made the university seem a lot smaller and friendlier, and that was a real gift. I continue to work on a number of projects informed by this research.

Future Publications:

I am currently working on a moral emotions paper on shame, as both a response to correction and a corrective tool. This paper engages both empirical work on shame and the Aristotle character education literature on the topic.

I currently have two articles under review. One is a philosophy of education paper on educating the virtue of humor. A second paper examines variations in mature virtue phenomenology. I make the case that the virtue theory literature often draws on metaphors to describe mature virtues that only work for some virtues. These descriptions of the mature virtuous state actually undermine our performance of other virtues.

Lastly, I am early in the process of a book project on character development and distance running. My intention is to formalize some of the popular writing I have done in this area and work through the stages of virtue development, using running as a tool for growth in moral character. Stay tuned for details.

Email me with questions at sblittle6 (at) gmail.com.

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