Beyond Oneself: The Ethics and Psychology of Awe

Moderated by Steve Paulson
Executive Producer, To the Best of Our Knowledge

Lisa Sideris, PhD
Indiana University

Jennifer Stellar, PhD
University of Toronto

Piercarlo Valdesolo
Claremont McKenna College

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.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019
7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
Reception to Follow
The New York Academy of Sciences
7 World Trade Center, 250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor
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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.