The past 30 years have seen a resurgence of interest in character, particularly in the areas of psychology, philosophy, and theology. This work has given rise to a number of challenging questions, such as:
- (i) Do character traits such as honesty or compassion really exist?
- (ii) If they do exist, how prevalent are they, and what is their underlying psychological nature?
- (iii) Should character traits such as the virtues be the centerpiece of our best ethical theory?
- (iv) How should we go about improving our characters and overcoming our character flaws?
- (v) For those working in theology, should thinking about human and divine character be central to theological ethics?
The goal of the Character Project is to address these and a host of related questions, and thereby foster new advances in the study of character. We will carry out this goal with the following main grant activities:
- (i) Three Funding Competitions, with preference for younger scholars working on the psychology, philosophy, and theology of character.
- (ii) A three year Research Project at Wake Forest University on the philosophy and psychology of character which conducts original research on the structure, consistency, and influence of traits.
- (iii) Two Research Conferences where results of funded projects will be presented.
- (iv) An innovative Summer Seminar for graduate students or faculty who have had their Ph.D. for ten years or less.
- (v) A Character Essay and Book Prize to award 9 prizes for essays or books on character which are accessible to non-academic audiences.