The past 30 years have seen a resurgence of interest in character, particularly in the areas of psychology, philosophy, and theology. This work has given rise to a number of challenging questions, such as:
- (i) Do character traits such as honesty or compassion really exist?
- (ii) If they do exist, how prevalent are they, and what is their underlying psychological nature?
- (iii) Should character traits such as the virtues be the centerpiece of our best ethical theory?
- (iv) How should we go about improving our characters and overcoming our character flaws?
- (v) For those working in theology, should thinking about human and divine character be central to theological ethics?
From 2010-2013, the goal of the Character Project was to address these and a host of related questions, and thereby foster new advances in the study of character. We accomplished this goal with a number of activities, including three funding competitions, a three year research project, two research conferences, an innovative summer seminar, and an essay and book prize.
Now with the Developing Character Project, we are building on this previous work with the following activities: Continued research at Wake Forest and the Catholic University of America, a research conference, an edited collection of work we have funded, a trade book, a series of videos, among many other activities. The Developing Character Project is funded by a grant from the Templeton World Charity Foundation, and runs from 2013 to 2015.