Psychology, Scripps College
Division of the Humanities & Social Sciences, California Institute of Technology
Chair in Ethics and Emotion Theory
Jubilee Centre for Character & Virtue
University of Birmingham, England
Professor, The Royal Institute of Philosophy
View a proposal of this project, presented at the SMV Project’s 2015 Interdisciplinary Moral Forum. Visit our YouTube channel for more.
Each of us can think of exemplary people whose lives were testimony to a loving humility in the encounter with and service for others. They lived and often spoke out of a sense of being a “self for others,” embodying selflessness, self-denial, and a “self” formed by its deep connection to other people. In recalling the way they lived in the world, and the communities who gave them life, we simultaneously recall a that learning about them or being with them came with a positive feeling of beauty and love and the great possibility to actually be a self for others, a possibility that lies at the core of what it means to be human. Our work seeks to understand the moral character of self that supports this kind of humility in loving encounter. We will work in partnership with long-term, stable communities of persons dedicated to such loving encounter and reconciliation. We will bring together a concerted study involving philosophical reflection and exchange with these partners, their life stories, self-representation, day-to-day encounters, brain imaging, and the development of new computational approaches to model the stability of a self for others. We hope that our models will aid in new approaches to experiential learning and to new practices of mindfulness for community reconciliation and building communities of resilient peace.