Character Project Summer Seminar

“Character: New Perspectives and Empirical Discoveries”

June 17-29, 2013

Wake Forest University

Seminar Leader:
Dr. Christian Miller
Director, The Character Project

One of the leading topics in contemporary ethics has been the existence of character and virtue in light of various results in psychology. Some have taken these results to call into question whether human beings possess any traditional virtues such as compassion and honesty (Gilbert Harman, John Doris). Others have tried to defend Aristotelian accounts of character from this challenge (Julia Annas, Rachana Kamtekar). Still others have articulated their own positive accounts of character which are informed by the cognitive-affective personality system approach in psychology (Nancy Snow, Daniel Russell). Seminar leaders and participants looked closely at the relevant empirical literature and philosophical discussions of it in search of the most promising account of character and with a view towards the relevance these issues have for ethics more generally. Three prominent figures in this area joined the seminar on select days as visiting leaders: John Doris (Washington University of St. Louis), Rachana Kamtekar (University of Arizona), and Gopal Sreenivason (Duke University).


  • Articles by Gilbert Harman, Rachana Kamtekar, Gopal Sreenivasan, John Sabini and Maury Silver, and Ernset Sosa, among others.
  • John Doris, Lack of Character, Cambridge University Press, 2002 (selections)
  • Dan Russell, Practical Intelligence and the Virtues, Oxford University Press, 2009 (selections)
  • Christian Miller, Moral Character: An Empirical Theory, Oxford University Press, 2013 (selections) and Character and Moral Psychology, Oxford University Press, 2014 (selections)

2013 Character Project Summer Seminar Participants

  • Anne Baril - University of New Mexico
  • Adam Blincoe - University of Virginia
  • Jennifer Blumenthal-Barby - Baylor College of Medicine
  • Aaron Cobb - Auburn Universoty at Montgomery
  • Kerry Danner-McDonald - Georgetown University
  • Ryan Darr - Yale University
  • Jeremy Gwiazada - Independent Scholar
  • Ryan Hammond - University of Notre Dame
  • Micah Lott - Boston College
  • Emily McTernan - Cambridge University
  • Laura Papish - George Washington University
  • Glen Pettigrove - University of Aukland
  • Philip Reed - Canisius College
  • Rico Vitz - Azuza Pacific University
  • Ryan West - Baylor University

The Character Project: New Frontiers in Psychology, Philosophy, and Theology