May 5, 2015
For a project sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation to address big life questions, professor of philosophy Christian Miller and assistant professor of psychology Eranda Jayawickreme were among eight professors from around the world invited to write essays addressing the topic, “Why be Good?” for a special feature on Slate.com.
In his essay, “Answering ‘Why be Good?’ for a Three-Year-Old,” Miller recounts a conversation with his three-year old son that leads to this question, “Why should I be a good boy?” Miller explores several possible answers including: God wants us to be good people, having a good character typically makes the world a much better place, having a good character can be personally rewarding, and having a good character is its own reward.
In his essay on “Can Adversity Be Good?” Jayawickreme explores current research and says “we should be open to the possibility that significant adversity can potentially build our character.”
Miller led the Character Project to foster new advances in the study of character and Jayawickreme currently leads the Growth Initiative, which seeks to understand how adverse life events can lead to positive behavioral and cognitive changes.