In this week’s post we will not be reporting on any new research, only the potential for some fascinating research that may happen in the future. The University of Oklahoma recently established the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing. The ISHF aims to study how humans develop their fullest potential as rational and moral creatures living in healthy communities.
According to the ISHF web site, “Our overall aim is to become the preeminent global center for the science and practice of virtue and flourishing.” And ISHF believes “The greatest opportunity to study flourishing lies at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, and education.”
Since the institute takes a scientific and practical approach to the study of human flourishing it should come as no surprise that they won’t be studying the religious aspects of human flourishing. Yet, as a pastor, I happen to know many people who appear to be flourishing and religion is a big part of their lives.
Nancy E. Snow, OU professor of philosophy and director of the Institute, will be heading up the ISHF. She spent 25 years as professor of philosophy at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She is a leading expert in the philosophy of character, virtue and moral psychology, known for her philosophically rigorous and empirically informed scholarly contributions.
Since today is the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I thought it would be good to include a quote from Dr. King that appears on the home page of the ISHF web site:
“We must remember that intelligence is not enough. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
“The Purpose of Education,” 1947
I wonder what Dr. King would think about religion’s contribution to human flourishing.
The institute is being financed by the John Templeton Foundation.
The University of Oklahoma is located in Norman, Oklahoma. On Dec. 19, 1890, George W. Steele, first governor of the Territory of Oklahoma, approved a bill for the establishment of three educational oases — an agricultural and mechanical college at Stillwater, a normal school at Edmond, and a university at Norman.
OU’s “Boomer Sooner” chant goes all the way back to 1889 when the Oklahoma Land Rush began with the boom of a shot gun blast.
The term “sooner” comes from the people who secretly staked out claims for many of the choice lands before the official opening of the Land Rush which led to hundreds of lawsuits. I find it strange that the people at OU still go by the term “sooners”, which refers to people who acted unethically during the Land Rush. And now OU is the headquarters of an institute that seeks to become the “preeminent global center for the science and practice of virtue and flourishing”!