The work I am applying to do with this grant represents a natural pivot in my research in analytic theology. I have long been interested in and done research concerning moral issues, such as blameworthiness and virtue. My research trajectory for this current project is to look at the advice given in the works of Christian moral wisdom and assess, based on contemporary psychological findings, whether they are apt at producing the virtue toward which they aim. Learning more about psychology is necessary for this line of research; without it, I couldn’t assess the works of Christian moral wisdom. Moreover, learning psychology will benefit my other research interests. My work on free will has focused on growth in virtue, an area where psychological findings would be most useful. My work on the Christian doctrine of the incarnation has already benefited from accounts of temptation given in the psychological literature.
To learn the psychology in question, Dr. Robert Emmons, Professor of Psychology at UC Davis and Editor-in-Chief of _The Journal of Positive Psychology_, will be my cross-training mentor. Not only is Dr. Emmons an expert in positive psychology, he also has deep knowledge of the Christian intellectual tradition, which will aid my application of the psychology to my research. With the benefit of course- and service-reductions, I will take courses at my home institution, do directed reading with Dr. Emmons, and participate in interdisciplinary cluster groups.
After the completion of this fellowship, I intend to submit for publication a book manuscript aimed at a popular audience, in order to disseminate the results of my research to a broader audience. I also intend to seek for funding to collaborate with psychologists to run additional psychological studies on the areas of Christian moral wisdom that are not yet researched (see Outcome 2 for more on this).