Faith and Imitatio for the Understanding of Habitus

in Habits in Mind
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Prevailing virtue theories, including those of Alasdair MacIntyre, Stanley Hauerwas, and Jennifer Herdt, rightfully acknowledge and effectively address the historical and philosophical tensions inherent in bringing contemporary virtue theory to bear on formation in faith, hope, and love. However, their proposed resolutions of these tensions fail in most respects, largely because of an adherence to contemporary terms representing concepts meant to stand in for habitus. In almost every case, these concepts are either poorly understood or are used in ways that do not reflect contemporary scientific theories about them. Scholars have a way out of this confusion by way of deeply integrative approaches that make use of the conceptual clarity in the sciences without sacrificing the theological and philosophical aims of the virtue theories in question. After grounding the paper in the kind of witnesses a virtue theory should aspire to understand, the paper makes several suggestions for integrative inquiry by drawing on models in contemporary decision science.

Habits in Mind

Integrating Theology, Philosophy, and the Cognitive Science of Virtue, Emotion, and Character Formation

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