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.


A Case for Shame in Character Education (2023). Studies in Philosophy and Education 42: 283-302. 

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

Virtue Developmental Considerations of Mindfulness. (2022) Journal of Moral Education. 51(4): 573-588.

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 2023, I was named a Civil Rights and Civic Virtues scholar through the generosity of Auburn University at Montgomery and the John Templeton Foundation. Beginning in the summer of 2023, I will research flourishing under conditions of oppression and how to cultivate civic virtues, such as justice, resilience, and temperance, to prepare learners for citizenship. I will also explore the motivations that sustain people through long fights for justice, since empathy and bearing the distress of others can be emotionally taxing over a long period of time. As part of this scholarship opportunity, I will be in short-term residence at AUM for research purposes and will deliver a public lecture.

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 have three papers in progress. The first is an article defending the inclusion of humor in character education. The second looks at emotional ‘training wheels’ – emotions such as shame, emulation, irascibility, and empathy, which support virtue development, then seem to ‘fall out’ in mature virtue. The third paper looks at a set of emotions that mediate our responses to powerful people.

Email me with questions at sblittle6 (at)

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