Announcing Our Second Moral Knowledge Symposium
See the Knowing What's True; Doing What's Good Symposium Program for topics, speakers and participants.
“People find it easy to call good evil and evil good. Almost any opinion on moral matters can now be voiced with a straight face and an expectation to be taken seriously, even by those in opposition. This is because there is no available, recognized body of knowledge of good and evil against which those opinions can be evaluated. Today you can call anything you want “good” without fear of being shown to be mistaken. One can always reject a moral statement, or a moral reason for acting or not acting in a certain way, without appearing unlearned or ignorant or stupid. Those categories simply do not apply now to moral matters.”
Those words were written by Dallas Willard in 2007. As a professor at the University of Southern California, he had a close-up view of how the declining availability of moral knowledge was impacting students each year. Deeply concerned by the steady deterioration of moral teaching in our culture, Willard wrote and taught on the subject for 15 years. Subsequent to his passing in 2013, Willard’s work is continuing through the work of his students, colleagues and family, leading to the 2018 publication of The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge and the founding of the Moral Knowledge Initiative.
You are invited to join with us for “Knowing What’s True; Doing What’s Good,” an academic symposium offered as part of the Moral Knowledge Initiative and inspired by the work of Dallas Willard. With sessions focused on major aspects of our culture, our distinguished speakers will address the disappearance of moral knowledge in our society and identify actionable steps for its recovery.
On Becoming a Good Person: What’s Knowledge Got to Do with It?
Aaron Preston, PhD
Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Valparaiso University, Author of Analytic Philosophy: The History of an Illusion, co-editor of The Disappearance of Moral Knowledge.
Science and Moral Truth: What Our Unique Biology Can and Can’t Provide
Jeff Schloss, PhD
Distinguished Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Faith, Ethics and Life Sciences at Westmont College; Senior Scholar of BioLogos.
(See Dr. Schloss' article, "Our Shared Yearnings for a Greater Good," which is similar to what he will discuss, but is written for a secular audience.)
Knowledge, Facts & Opinions, and Moral Knowledge
Jim Taylor, PhD
Chairman of the Philosophy Department at Westmont College, Author of Introducing Apologetics: Cultivating Christian Commitment, Learning for Wisdom: Christian Education & the Good Life, and the forthcoming Soul Pilgrimage: Knowing God in Everyday Life.
The Necessary Struggle to Regain the True, the Good and the Beautiful
Mary Poplin, PhD
Professor of Education at Claremont Graduate University, Founder and Director of Upper Room Gathering, Author of Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews, co-editor of Christianity and the Secular Border Patrol: The Loss of Judeo Christian Knowledge.
Diversity And The Common Good: The Urgent Need to Train the Minds of Children and Renew the Minds of Adults
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson, MA
Founder of Leadership LINKS, Author of A Sojourner’s Truth: Choosing Freedom and Courage in a Divided World, former Marine captain.
A diverse panel of 20 interdisciplinary specialists will gather from 9:00-4:30 each day to present and discuss innovative ideas for the restoration and promotion of goodness, truth, and human flourishing in their respective fields. We invite you to come as part of our audience. Listen, learn, and share your own comments and questions with us in the closing Q&A each day.
There is a registration fee of $50 to cover some of our basic costs, which includes lunch both days. We will send out more information closer to the date, including details about the campus and parking. See the Symposium Program for the schedule.
Following the symposium, we invite the local community to join us at 7:00 pm for a summary of highlights from our two days, and to hear from Natasha Sistrunk-Robinson on the topic of, "Leaving a Legacy of Truth and Character: How do we teach truth and instill character in our children?" (Admission is free)