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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Following on from our Canadian women's hockey triumph at the Olympics, wwp women triumph on the ethics front

Yesterday's salon evening follows hot on the heels of the drama of the Winter Olympics and prior to the start of the Paralympics. In light of certain ethical issues that got a lot of media exposure (our gold winning hockey players' post game on-ice celebrations, for example), Rona and Wendy - a passionate and accomplished sportsperson - took on the task of illuminating what might constitute a 'good' sportsperson through introducing us to virtue ethics. This is an ethical approach that places 'character' and 'virtue' at the centre of our understanding of human good and the good life for human beings. To open up the evening Rona gave us an idea of how virtue ethics works and how we might use it to examine 'who is Wendy?' in her various sporting contexts.

Rona proceeded to interview Wendy about her sporting life while members 'sketched' Wendy’s character in order to find out 'who is Wendy' when she plays, coaches and watches sports.

Members then shared their character sketches in smaller groups through talk and reflection. Each group discussed the various character traits and virtues that surfaced during the interview and posed their own quesions to Wendy in order to get to know her better. In our ongoing quest to learn as much as we can about different conversational forms through experimenting with them, we also talked about the value of the formal interview as a pedagogical tool.

Many thanks to Wendy for her honest and insightful reflections and comments. She really helped us to understand how virtue ethics can be used to illuminate a person's character in a particular context. Thanks also to Marilyn, Mary and Elaine for venturing out to discover more about wine women and philosophy. As always, we are ever grateful to our wonderful cohort of members. You all make these salon evenings such a delight.

The next members' salon evening takes place Thursday May 13 and will be run by Pat and Linnet. The salon topic is 'obedience' and we will explore this concept through Pat's early lifetime experience as a novice. In addition to examining what obeyance entails and what happens when we disobey, we look forward to expanding our understanding of the places where philosophy and religion cross and diverge. As always, our door is open to potential new members.