Faith, Hope and Love as Virtues in Modernity

Our 2017 end of year conference, ‘Faith, Hope and Love as Virtues in Modernity’ took place at Senate House, London on Friday and Saturday 23rd – 24th of June, 2017.

For Aquinas, faith, hope and love (caritas) form a distinct set of virtues: the theological virtues. Since Aquinas, the idea of the theological virtues has come under sustained attack: both from within Christian thought, not least from the early Reformers, and then as part of the general challenge on Christendom associated with the European Enlightenment and from thinkers such as Spinoza and Nietzsche. This conference explored how the theological virtues have fared in modernity, in the wake of these challenges.

The Theological Virtues in Critical Perspective

Our Spring 2017 workshop, ‘The Theological Virtues in Critical Perspective’, took place at the University of Essex on Friday 24th February 2017.

How suspicious should we be about the tradition in which faith, hope and love are regarded as virtues? Is faith only for the weak? Can hope be more than wishful thinking? Is love ever really virtuous? This workshop took up these and related questions from various critical perspectives, drawing especially on the Stoics, Spinoza, Nietzsche and Adorno.

Faith, Hope, and Love as Virtues in the Theological Tradition

Our Autumn 2016 workshop, ‘Faith, hope and love as virtues in the theological tradition’,took place at the University of Essex on Friday 25th November 2016.

The workshop examined the tradition in which faith, hope and love (caritas) are regarded as virtues. While often neglected in contemporary ethics, this tradition is rich in leads for thinking through the challenges arising from experiences of powerlessness. We examined some key moments in this tradition, from its early sources in Greek and early Christian thought, through lines of development in Augustine, Aquinas and later thinkers. Our aim was to tease out from this tradition its major themes and sources of contention, with a view to reassessing its on-going importance.

Virtue Theory and the Medio-Passive Agent

Our end of year conference, ‘Virtue Theory and the Medio-Passive Agent’, took place in London on Friday and Saturday 17-18th of June, 2016. This event gathered together philosophers, working at the intersection of virtue theory and the philosophy of action, to debate whether and how the idea of medio-passive virtues can be made theoretically coherent and practically applicable.

The Phenomenology of Powerlessness

Experiences of Powerlessness in End-of-Life Care

Patients, families and carers very often report feeling powerless when faced with end-of-life issues. Accordingly, current NHS policies and guidelines focus on ‘empowerment’, itself understood as the restoration or improvement of control. But what does it mean to feel powerless at the end of life?