Research

CV in PDF

The Examined Run, Coming 2023:

I am writing my first book with Oxford University Press. It is entitled The Examined Run. I argue that virtue ethics provides a vocabulary for athletes to better understand their own formation in sport, and assists them in developing a vision of what a rich athletic life can look like. The book is a cross-over text, targeting both thoughtful endurance athletes and students in introductory-level college courses, such as Ethics, Introduction to Philosophy, and Philosophy of Sport.

Publications:

Variations in Virtue Phenomenology. (2022). Journal of Value Inquiry. Forthcoming. Accepted 4 November 2022.

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

Virtue Ethics and Leadership. Chapter in Ethical Leadership. Co-authored with Molly Waters, Edited by Robert McManus. Forthcoming. 

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. The Virtues of Limits, by David McPherson. Published in the Journal of Moral Philosophy. Forthcoming.

Book Review: The Excellent Mind, by Nathan King. Published in Faith and Philosophy. Forthcoming.

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.

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.

Works in Progress:

I currently have two articles under review. In the first, I argue for an expanded typology of virtuous actions, based on attentional features. The virtue theory literature often draws on flow state phenomenology to describe habitual virtuous actions, but this description only works for a limited set of actions. I provide an additional categorization for non-flow habitual virtuous actions. This article is in the status of revise-and-resubmit.

A second article examines several arguments in the literature against the employment of shame in character education. I argue that each argument falls short and provide a constructive case for shame on both epistemic and developmental grounds. Its construal is unique from other moral emotions. Moreover, moderate uses of shame often facilitate the development of well-ordered internal moral constraints.

I also have a paper on the necessity of educating humor as part of a character development curriculum. This article is on the shelf until I finish my book project.

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

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