Research

Publications:

“The Graded Engagement Account of Admiration.” Theory and Research in Education. Forthcoming. Accepted February 2021.

“Talking about Good Deeds: Elaborative Discourse and Moral Virtue.” Journal of Value Inquiry. Forthcoming. Accepted August 2020.

“The Trivium: Revisiting Ancient Strategies for Character Formation.” Journal of Character Education. Forthcoming. Accepted January 2020.  

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 Research Projects:

Last year (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 currently have two articles under review in the status of revise-and-resubmit. One addresses virtue developmental considerations of mindfulness practices. A second is a philosophy of education paper on educating the virtue of humor. I also have a paper outlined on questions of (optional) suffering in the context of athletics and whether or not this is compatible with a flourishing life. I love writing, and it is a privilege to engage with my colleagues and students and to ask big questions.

Feel free to email me with any questions at sblittle6 (at) gmail.com.

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