Beyond Oneself: The Ethics and Psychology of Awe

Panel Discussion December 4, 2019

At its core, awe and wonder appear to be powerful emotions that can inform and shape our attitudes toward ourselves and others, especially in relation to the larger meaning and purpose of our lives. What are the psychological underpinnings of these universal emotions? How does awe, for example, relate to self-knowledge, and more generally to understanding the enigmatic contradictions of human nature? Is it possible to cultivate and develop this emotion as an ethical incentive in our relations with others? Are awe and wonder capable of awakening and engendering moral transformation? Does the emotion of awe lie at the root of the religious impulse in humans? And is there any room left for a sense of the miraculous in today’s increasingly scientific and secular world?

Prof. of religious studies and ethicist Lisa Sideris joins psychologists Jennifer Stellar and Piercarlo Valdesolo to explore our understanding of how awe shapes our perspectives and views on everything from science to morality.


  • Steve Paulson Journalist and Executive Producer, TTBOOK
  • Jennifer Stellar Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto
  • Piercarlo Valdesolo Associate Professor of Psychology, Claremont McKenna College
  • Lisa Sideris Professor of Environmental Studies, UC Santa Barbara


  • Wednesday, December 4, 2019
  • 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
  • The New York Academy of Sciences
    7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor


This volume presents an exploration of the emotions of awe and wonder, from their role as an incentive or impediment to scientific progress, to the many ways in which they connect to aesthetic experience and ethical concerns.

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About This Series

This event is part of the series The Power of Wonder: Modern Marvels in the Age of Science which brings together leading scientists and thinkers to explore the broader implications of wonder, from its role in inspiring scientific breakthroughs to the many ways in which it connects to aesthetic experience, religious attitudes, and ethical concerns.



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  • Spiritual Awe vs. Scientific Awe Dec 04, 2019 03:06 1200
  • The Ethics of Awe and Wonder Dec 04, 2019 05:30 487
  • The New Psychology of Awe Dec 04, 2019 04:55 859
  • The Experience of Everyday Awe Dec 04, 2019 03:04 1425
  • Is Scientific Wonder Superior to Religious Wonder? Dec 04, 2019 04:24 821
  • How to Cultivate Wonder Dec 04, 2019 03:02 683
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