The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Professor Roberta Morosini (Romance Languages) to assist in publishing her work Dante, The Prophet and the Book: The Legend of the Bull Between Whispers of the Dove and Echos of Byzantium, from the “Commedia” to Filippino Lippi into the English language. Her work is an attempt to bring to life a civic reading of Dante’s Divine Comedy, by examining his treatment of Muhammad the Prophet of Islam while exploring the ways in which we achieve our goals of virtue and knowledge. She enquires into the civic and political motivation—not religious ones—that led Dante to put the Muslim leader Saladin among the great and noble spirit in the Limbo, and Muhammad among schismatics and sowers of discord, rather than among the heretics. Professor Morosini sees the purposes of both the Eudaimonia Institute and the writings of Dante as similarly striving to understand the various ways in which we achieve happiness. What is central for Dante, she feels, is not the individual’s religious belief or political affiliation but his or her “good deeds”—acting well and doing one’s part in society in order to pursue the achievement of individual and communal happiness and well-being.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Professor Ana Iltis (Philosophy) for a project entitled “Whole Body Transplants (Head Transplants) and Living Well.” Professor Iltis’s project is part of an emerging research interest she has in exploring the ways in which different understandings of human flourishing and of what it is to “live a life worth living” influence our assessment of medical procedures, medical technologies, and health policy. The grant will support a research assistant during the summer and fall of 2017 to support two publications, each of which examines ways in which often unarticulated assumptions about flourishing shape judgments about human research and experimentation. The first paper, “Ethical Issues in Pediatric VCA” concerns research on pediatric vascularized composite allotransplantation (which includes hand and face transplants) and was published in December 2017. Disagreements of the permissibility of such research turn in part on different accounts of well-being and different judgments about the value of different outcomes. The second paper concerns experimentation on whole body transplantation. The paper will address the role of conceptions of flourishing or well-being in assessing the permissibility of whole body transplantation experimentation under different circumstances. Professor Iltis expects that these two projects will be part of a long-term study of how concepts of human flourishing or well-being shape judgments about when research is justified and when interventions should be considered “standard of care.”
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Professor Will Walldorf (Politics and International Affairs) to work on his book, tentatively entitled To Shape Our World for Good: Master Narratives and Forceful Regime Change in United States Foreign Policy, 1900-2011. Professor Walldorf’s book explores how the politics around two especially powerful and recurring master narratives – the liberal narrative and the restraint narrative – in democratic foreign policy have shaped broad, collective definitions of “the good” that often lead to policies that damage or hinder the progress of eudaimonia in world politics, especially for weaker actors in the international system. He will explore this kind of impact of master narratives in the specific policy domain of forceful regime change. Because of its leading role in international politics as an exemplar of democratic foreign policy, the book focuses primarily on the United States, notably its decisions for and against robust forceful change at different points in history. While the main purpose of To Shape Our World for Good is to deepen our understanding of the often negative impact of master narratives on foreign policy and human flourishing more broadly, the book concludes with a lengthy discussion about lessons moving forward on how to manage master narrative politics in order to curb what is an especially common and destructive form of violence – forceful regime change – in international politics.
The Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Randall Rogan (WFU Department of Communications) to support his research project on “Rawabi: A Palestinian Planned Community and Its Symbolic Implications.” Rawabi is a planned Palestinian community “situated between Jerusalem and Nablus, 9 kilometers north of Ramallah in the West Bank of the hoped-for future state of Palestine.” According to Professor Rogan, “The ultimate goal is for Rawabi to consist of 5,000 privately owned housing units serving as home to ultimately 40,000 Palestinians. The community will include local management by neighborhood owners’ associations, recreational and entertainment facilities, high-tech businesses and retail, and educational opportunities ranging from K to post-graduate courses of study. It is projected that Rawabi will reduce unemployment in the West Bank by generating 8,000-10,000 jobs during construction and between 3,000 and 5,000 permanent employment opportunities after its completion. It is anticipated that the final construction of Rawabi will benefit not only its inhabitants, but also the 50,000+ persons residing in the surrounding towns and villages.” Professor Rogan continues, “I propose to investigate Rawabi from a communication-based framing theoretical perspective in terms of its symbolic significance and meaning as a model for future Palestinian statehood, identity, and for potentially contributing to a dynamic of peaceful co-existence and cooperation between Palestine and Israel.” Professor Rogan hopes to produce at least one peer-reviewed paper, and perhaps several, from this project.
In conjunction with WFU’s Center for Bioethics, Health, and Society, the Eudaimonia Institute approved a grant to Adam Kadlac (WFU Department of Philosophy) to support his book project, Sports and Human Flourishing, which will “explore the role that sports might play in flourishing human lives and will consider both participation in athletics as well as the perspective of the spectator and fan.” According to Professor Kadlac, “My primary thesis in the book is that we can best place sports in good human lives by taking them seriously as practices. […] I contend that thinking explicitly about sports as practices in this sense has two advantages. First, it helps to temper views of sports that see them, on the one hand, as trivial distractions from matters of real importance or, on the other, as grandiose scenes of mystical drama that transcend that which is merely human. Rather, on the view to be defended, sports are thoroughly human creations which, despite their seeming arbitrariness, direct our attention to pursuits that have intrinsic value. Second, taking seriously the status of sports as practices helps to address some of the more pressing ethical challenges we see in the world of sports. I therefore envision chapters that focus on such problems as performance-enhancing drugs, sports that seriously threaten the health of participants (such as American football and boxing), how best to approach youth sports, and the role of athletics in schools.” Professor Kadlac hopes “to have a manuscript of eight chapters drafted by the start of the Spring 2018 semester.”