Conversations on Wisdom: Uncut Interview with Nancy Snow (video)

by Jason Boulware and Jean Matelski Boulware

Nancy Snow, PhD is a philosopher and the director of the Institute for the study of Human Flourishing at the University of Oklahoma. She is also co-director for the Self, Motivation, and Virtue Project which supports research to open avenues of inquiry into virtue using the framework of the "self," instead of "personality," to require deep and ongoing interdisciplinary collaboration, and to stimulate methodological innovation into the study of virtue. Her research interests lie in moral psychology and virtue ethics. Her works include editing an anthology for Oxford University Press entitled, Cultivating Virtue: Multiple Perspectives, and co-editing, with her colleague Dr. Franco V. Trivigno, an anthology for Routledge Press entitled, The Philosophy and Psychology of Virtue: An Empirical Approach to Character and Happiness. Dr. Snow is also the Associate Editor for Ethics and Philosophy of The Journal of Moral Education.

The following is an excerpt from the documentary film The Science of Wisdom. In this interview, Dr. Snow discusses wisdom, virtue, and social intelligence, resource texts for virtue, and the interaction of virtue and oppression. 

Question Index:

0:21 How do wisdom and virtue come together?

1:51 Do you favor the Aristotelian perspective over the Buddhist perspective as a secular viewpoint or because there's something that's in the Aristotelian perspective that isn't addressed in the Buddhist perspective?

3:20 You have written about differences between social intelligence and wisdom, can you explain a bit about that?

3:59 Do you feel that compassion plays a role in social intelligence or in wisdom?

4:52 In your review of the "Moral Psychology Handbook" you specifically note that there are few resource texts for wisdom and virtue. What are some of your favorite sources that one could look to?

7:29 Are there any resources that you might think would be digestible for older teens or young adults who might want to find out more information about wisdom or virtue and to cultivate pondering?

9:00 In the article "Virtue and the Oppression of African-Americans," you write about specific virtues, including prudence, justice, fortitude, and temperance in African-American traditions that were necessary in the struggle against oppression during times of slavery. Can you speak about whether you feel these virtues in African-American traditions still play a role in current black culture?

12:25 Do you think that there are ways that these virtues might be fostered to create a culture of thriving as opposed to just oppression in both African-American culture and in white American culture?

Click here to watch video.

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