Virtues in the University

August 20-22, 2018
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Virtues in the University

The theme of the seminar is Virtues in the University. One task traditionally ascribed to universities is that they are supposed to inculcate certain moral and intellectual virtues in their students, such as intellectual honesty, open-mindedness, inquisitiveness, thoroughness, decency. Should universities still aspire to these things, and if so why? And if we assume they should, the critical question is whether they are successful at it, and, if not, why not? There is also the question which traits are virtues. And there is the question how to best instil these virtues.


Prof. Gordon Graham (Princeton Theological Seminary)
Prof. Heather Battaly (University of Connecticut)
Dr. Edwin Koster (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Prof. Daniel Howard Snyder (Western Washington University)
Dr. Joeri Tijdink (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Dr. Jeroen de Ridder (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Dr. Frances Howard Snyder (Western Washington University)
Prof. Ian Kidd (University of Nottingham)

August 20 @ HG-03C01 Agora 1
09.30 – 11.00 Gordon Graham The Moral and Intellectual Tasks of the University
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 13.00 Frances Howard Snyder Is this a good question?
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 – 15.30 Edwin Koster Bildung’ through Films. How to Discuss Existential Questions in Academia?
15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break
16.00 – 17.30 Ian James Kidd Virtues Under Threat: Epistemic Corruption in Higher Education

18:45 – 21.00: Canal boat trip incl. dinner

August 21 @ HG-03C01 Agora 1
09.30 – 11.00 Jeroen de Ridder Collective Intellectual Virtues
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 13.00 Heather Battaly Intellectual Perseverance
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 – 15.30 Daniel Howard-Snyder The virtue of faith
15.30 – 16.00 Coffee break
16.00 – 17.30 Gordon Graham

Does academic research contribute to practical wisdom?

18.30 – 21.30: Dinner

August 22 @ HG-03C01 Agora 1
09.30 – 11.00 Daniel Howard-Snyder Human inquiry, epistemic circularity, intellectual humility, and people of faith
11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break
11.30 – 13.00 Joeri Tijdink Becoming a happy, successful and responsible scientist
13.00 – 14.00 Lunch break
14.00 – 15.30 Heather Battaly Facilitating Intellectual Virtues in the Classroom
15.30 – … Closing drinks
For whom?

The Summer Seminar unites participants from a wide range of academic backgrounds, all interested in the value of the humanities. We welcome (PhD-) students and others working in academia (postdocs, (assistent) professors etc.), as well as policy officers.

Amsterdam Summer Seminar

The seminar is the fourth in a series of seminars we have been organizing over the last four years. They are organized by the Abraham Kuyper Center for Science and the Big Questions, based at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. The Center is named after the founding father of this university, who had definite ideas about the university, the sciences, the humanities, and their relations with the big quesions. See here the pictures of last years edition.


Please find more information and register here.

Organization committee

Rik Peels
Jeroen de Ridder
Elisa Matse (Contact:
René van Woudenberg

The organizers gratefully acknowledge the support of Templeton World Charity Foundation.