The Conviction Workshop

From a research perspective, personal conviction, as a moral, cultural, and emotional concept, has largely escaped scrutiny, with few studies investigating what is defined as “an unshakeable belief in something, without seeking evidence”; or, as the Oxford English Dictionary has it, “a firm and settled persuasion.” Beliefs are based on certain sets of values, but what about the much stronger term “conviction”? Where do our convictions come from? Why do they compel us to certain actions? Are they generated or maintained by certain affects? Does it cost us to follow our convictions? How do we communicate them to those around us? And can we listen when conviction clashes with conviction?

These questions are at the core of this 2-day workshop as we are looking for ways to repair fissures and tears in our social tissue. We live in a time where the loudest, and often most caustic, voices appear to garner the lion’s share of national attention. Where divisiveness gets rewarded and polarization is often the result, it is critical to demonstrate that there are other paths we can take towards a more civil national and international discourse.

Organized by Anke Finger, Nathan Kellen, Michael P. Lynch, and Manuela Wagner.


Friday, February 1, 2019

  • 8:30-9:30 Breakfast
  • 9:30-10:00 Anke Finger and Michael P. Lynch: Introductions
  • 10-11 Jen Cole Wright: “The Role of Moral Conviction in Imperfect Moral Communities”
  • 11-12 Matthew Pianalto: “Conviction, Detachment, and Humility”
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch
  • 2-3 Regina Rini: “Civility and/or Solidarity: Disagreement Under Oppression”
  • 3-4 Discussion of Day 1

Saturday, February 2, 2019

  • 8:30-9:30 Breakfast
  • 10-11 Christiane Heibach: “Convincing Atmospheres? The Influence of Diffuse Factors on Conviction Building”
  • 11-12 Justin E. H. Smith: “Conviction, Conspiracy, and Pseudoscience”
  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch
  • 2-4 Concluding Discussion

For more information, visit The Conviction Project website.

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