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EDUCATING FOR INTELLECTUAL VIRTUES - A CONVERSATION WITH JASON BAEHR

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The only mention of "virtue" nowadays evokes more or less devotional, maybe classical references, but nothing useful to give a meaning to our lives and our daily activities. In the United States , however, there are (and are well known) an epistemological address, called " virtue epistemology ", and a pedagogical line whose goal is the research of intellectual virtues.

Jason Baehr, Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, operates in this cultural context and connects strong philosophical and pedagogical interests. He is perhaps the one who has spent more to get out “virtue” from academies and make it the soul of educational institutions. He then created, with the support of the Templeton Foundation , the "Intellectual Virtues and Education Project "and an“ interesting educational application: the ' VAT (Intellectual Virtues Academy)’, whose charter schools at Long Beach (California), is now at the starting blocks ( starting on September 4 its activities with fifty pupils in the sixth grade). Is also involved in this project Ron Ritchhart , Harvard University, and one of the greatest scholars in U.S.A. 

In my opinion, this initiative should attract everyone's attention (of the Italians in particular, for obvious reasons), as it is inspired by a central idea ,virtue, though variously modulated and updated, that demonstrates once more that the classical tradition is always capable of contributing to “build a society that respects human rights and, as regards certain frequent controversies, also capable of creating an additional point of contact between cultural areas (first of all between secularists and believers).

To Jason Baehr many thanks for his time ( in the month of August –for all others a time of absolute distraction - I made this long interview ). In the following pages I shall ask him for some questions about his recent works and, no doubt, I shall get a profitable opportunity for reflection.

in order to read the interview, click the attachment.

By Fernando Di Mieri, Copyright DeUniverso © 2013.