SCHOLARSHIP IN THE SERVICE OF VIRTUE AND VOCATION
The Arete Initiative sponsors scholarship and learning opportunities that are focused on recovering and sustaining the virtues in contemporary life, especially in the workplace, the university, and the public square. “Arete” is a Greek word that connotes moral virtue or, more broadly, human excellence.
How do we recognize virtue or excellence? Answers to that question depend on what we understand to be the purpose, or telos, of human persons, a question often neglected in contemporary ethical discourse. The Arete Initiative therefore actively investigates the characteristics of a life well lived and invites reflection on the nature and purpose of human beings. Arete’s support for this investigation takes the form of sponsored research, conferences, classes, and other learning opportunities that help participants to discern the shape of human excellence as well as pathways to foster virtue in the varied concrete circumstances of life.
Funded by the Foundation for Excellence in Higher Education, the Arete Initiative is directed by Farr Curlin, a hospice and palliative care physician who holds joint appointments in Duke’s School of Medicine and in Duke Divinity School. John Rose at the Kenan Institute for Ethics is the program’s Associate Director. Together with faculty and students from across campus, they pursue wisdom regarding some of our most enduring ethical questions. Ongoing projects include a high school summer program on virtue and a summer program in ethics for medical students.