Call for Papers – Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good Life

Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good Life
9-12 August 2018
London Global Gateway
London, UK

Call for Papers

Over the last several decades, virtue has attracted increased attention from philosophers, theologians, and psychologists. However, little of this research on virtue has attended to the development and function of virtue within scientific research and practice.

This lacuna is surprising for science has been linked with virtue for much of its history. For example, philosophers from ancient Greece through the medieval period saw the study of the natural world as a means to develop particular intellectual and moral virtues. Indeed, though the conception of science changed dramatically during the early modern period, scholars continued to see such ties well into the nineteenth century: the study and practice of scientific research was understood both to demand certain virtues and simultaneously to cultivate those virtues. Though the language of virtue largely disappeared from discussions of science in the twentieth century, closer inspection reveals that moral dispositions and judgments continue to play a significant role in scientific practice (though perhaps in quite different ways), and indeed that scientists continue to value specific cognitive and behavioral dispositions.

Since 2016, a multi-disciplinary research team at the University of Notre Dame, and funded by the Templeton Religion Trust, has been exploring the relationship between virtue and scientific practice with a particular focus on laboratory research in biology in the Developing Virtues in the Practice of Science Project. As that project draws to a close, we invite other interested scholars to join us for a conference on Practicing Science: Virtues, Values, and the Good Life to be held 9-12 August at the Notre Dame London Global Gateway. The project team welcomes proposals for contributed papers addressing any aspect of the conference theme. Potential research questions include:


  • How can the language of virtue enrich, change, or challenge our understanding of science?

  • Does the contemporary practice of scientific research require or bolster certain virtues (or vices)?

  • How can ideas drawn from virtue ethics or virtue epistemology illuminate (and perhaps improve) the training and mentoring of scientists?

Paper presentations will be 15 minutes, with an additional 10 minutes for discussion.

Confirmed keynote speakers, panelists, invited guests include:

Public Lectures

Prof. Kristján Kristjánsson, Deputy Director
Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham

Dr. Andrew Pinsent, Research Director
Ian Ramsey Centre for Science & Religion, University of Oxford

Prof. Matthew Stanley
Gallatin School of Individualized Study, New York University

Keynote Address

Prof. Michael Spezio, Associate Professor of Psychology
Scripps College

Panelists & Discussants

Dr. Anna Abram, Heythrop College

Dr. Markus Christen, University of Zurich

Prof. Oliver Davies, King’s College London

Dr. Fern Elsdon Baker, Newman University

The Most Revd. Dr. Antje Jackelén, Lutheran Archbishop of Uppsala in Sweden and Primate of the Church of Sweden

Prof. Darcia Narvaez, University of Notre Dame

Prof. Rayna Rapp, New York University

Prof. Tom Stapleford, University of Notre Dame

Prof. Michael Welker, Ruprecht Karl University of Heidelberg

Conference Registration 

The registration fee ($100 faculty / $50 postdoctoral fellows / $25 students) will include all lunches and evening receptions, as well as an opportunity to attend a three-dimensional show of Hildegard of Bingen’s cosmology directed by Professor Margot Fassler at the London Planetarium on 10 August. Registration will open in 2018.

Proposal Submissions

To submit a proposal, please send a title, abstract (no more than 250 words), and short c.v. to Christina.M.Leblang.6@nd.edu by February 2, 2018. Decisions about contributed proposals will be communicated to applicants by March 1, 2018.

Call for Proposals – London Conference (PDF, 213k)

Further details of the conference program will be published in due course.

The conference is made possible by support from the Templeton Religion Trust.