Theses Doctoral

Spiritual Practice and the Patterns of Experience: Rethinking the Form of Moral Education

Longa, Rachel

In the dissertation I argue for a reconception of moral education grounded in a Platonic conception of virtue and modeled on the form of spiritual practice. I argue that this education would be carried out through practices of virtue comprised of exercises designed to transform the practitioner’s modes of seeing and being in the world. These exercises would take the form of deliberate encounters with objects of interpretive resistance and would be scaffolded to hone the faculty of attention and adapt the patterns of experience to the patterns of virtue: rhythm, harmony, systematicity, and economy.

I suggest that the activities that would constitute such practices are in no way alien to contemporary academic curricula; any manner of interpretive work provides an opportunity for these forms of experience. To conclude the dissertation I address literary interpretation as one example of a curricular activity that could be adapted into a practice of virtue and demonstrate how specific interpretive exercises could be extrapolated from the basic form I have developed.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Philosophy and Education
Thesis Advisors
Laverty, Megan
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 20, 2022