Skip Navigation
logoOU homepageInstitute for the Study of Human Flourishing homepage

"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 

Learn about the Institute

To flourish means to live well, to thrive. We believe that humans flourish when they develop to their fullest potential as rational and moral creatures living in healthy communities.

What is Virtue?

We offer a variety of funding opportunities, from postdoctoral and dissertation fellowships to OU course development stipends.


Learn more

We sponsor lectures regularly throughout the semester. View videos of our Last Lectures, Welcome Lectures, Headliner Lectures and more.  


Watch Now

Our Mission

The mission of the Institute for the Study of Human Flourishing is to advance the science of virtue and to promote the flourishing of OU Students and all Oklahomans. Learn more

Featured Virtue - Compassion

Featured Virtue: Compassion

Compassion is the ability to feel sorrow over another person’s suffering, and to express that sorrow by trying to alleviate that suffering. Unlike pity, compassion does not suggest any feeling of superiority to the suffering person.

Learn about this virtue

Institute Colloquium Series

OCT 18 - ISHF Colloquium

Join us on Wednesday, October 18 at 4:00 PM in Bizzell Library (Room LL118) as Dissertation Fellow, Jessica Black, shares her research on "Narrative, Morality, and Imagination."

Learn more

September 18, 2017

Dr. Nancy Snow to Give Inaugural Lecture at Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology

Nancy Snow

Institute Director, Dr. Nancy Snow, was invited to give the inaugural lecture at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology in Cambridge, England. The lecture, titled, "Proliferating Virtues: A Clear and Present Danger?" is scheduled for Friday, October 27th from 5:00 - 6:30 PM.

The event is free but booking is required. To book, please email your name to Ela Wolbek at with ‘Proliferating Virtue’ in the subject line. Learn more>>

Lecture Synopsis: A possible pitfall of the explosion of work in virtue ethics is the needless proliferation of virtues. In this talk Professor Snow will discuss three positions on proliferation.  The first is the situationist approach, taken, for example by Doris (2002), in which virtues are conceptualized as behavioral regularities that are indexed to objectively describable features of situations. This gives rise to virtues such as “office-party sociability,” and “answer-key honesty.” Russell (2010) takes a second approach, arguing that virtue ethical right action is impossible unless we adopt a finite and specifiable list of the virtues. Hursthouse (2007) takes a third approach, looking first to standard Aristotelian virtues, and adding virtues only when the standard set fails to capture something of moral importance for our dispositions and actions. Professor Snow develops a position similar to Hursthouse’s approach. She opts for parsimony in the development of new virtues, and offers explanations of when and why we should seek to bring new virtues into play based on changing articulations of the human good. Any new virtues, she argues, should be clearly grounded in what is good for humans. Thus her position remains within the ambit of neo-Aristotelianism, and rejects situationist accounts.