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Battaly, Hawkins to speak at South Dakota State University

Heather Battaly
Heather Battaly

Perspectives on the intellectual virtues required for an informed citizenry will be considered by visiting scholars at South Dakota State University this week during the three-day workshop on “Populism and the Recovery of the Intellectual Virtues.”

Made possible by a grant through the South Dakota Humanities Council, the project aims to explore the phenomenon of populism in relation to ongoing work in the philosophy and science of intellectual virtues.

University of Connecticut professor Heather Battaly will speak on “Closed-Mindedness: Virtue or Vice?” at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the South Dakota Art Museum’s auditorium. Battaly specializes in the philosophy of knowledge, ethics and virtue theory, and she is one of the world’s leading researchers on intellectual humility. In addition to her pioneering work on intellectual vices, Battaly has received several national and regional grants and awards in support and recognition of her scholarship and teaching.

At 7 p.m. Thursday in the Oscar Larson Performing Arts Center’s Fishback Studio Theater, Kirk Hawkins will deliver “What Populism Today Teaches Us About Ourselves.” An associate professor of political science at Brigham Young University, Hawkins studies the political phenomenon of populism in a global and comparative context. An expert in Latin American politics, Hawkins currently directs Team Populism (, a cross-regional network of scholars dedicated to the study of populism’s causes and consequences. Hawkins is the author or co-author of several books.

Kirk Hawkins
Kirk Hawkins

Battaly and Hawkins’ talks are open to the public.

“We have seen the global rise of populist movements on both the political left and right in the last two decades, and their rise coincides with increased skepticism toward traditional outlets of knowledge and renewed interest in various forms of conspiracy theorizing,” said Greg Peterson, the director of the SDSU Ethics Lab and a professor of philosophy and religion. “To the extent that democracy depends on an informed electorate, an important question concerns how best to educate a citizenry, including the question of what intellectual virtues a society should promote. These are the issues our workshop participants seek to investigate, recognizing that various forms of populism may play either a positive or negative role in such value formation.”

The workshop is a project of the SDSU Ethics Lab, which is dedicated to the support of scientific and philosophical approaches to the study of ethics and cooperation. Founded in 2017, the SDSU Ethics Lab also supports public outreach and events to aid public understanding of important issues of ethical significance. More information about the lab can be found at