Workshop topic:When people speak ofdevotionordevotedagents, they seem to have in mind firm, unwavering commitments to an ideal, cause, relationship, or activity.The devoted parent cares for his child, perhaps making sacrifices and setting aside other competing goods so as to help his child flourish.The devoted teacher won’t compromise on her goals of educating her students.Or, to pick a less agreeable case: the devoted member of a hate group organizes his life around his cause, fomenting violence and discord.Devotion seems to involve a particularly robust form of commitment, which might differ from standard forms of commitment in its intensity, stability, resistance to compromise, epistemic status, or deliberative weight.But how, exactly, should we understand devotion?
This workshop aims to explore the way in whichexisting scientific literatures and philosophical discussions can be integrated with the study of devotion.We will invite proposals that draw on psychological research on devotion and other forms of wholehearted commitment; sociological case studies of the devoted and non-devoted; and philosophical analyses that connect devotion to topics in philosophical psychology. Participants might explore these literatures to ask questions including: How should we understand devotion? Does devotion involve a form of grit? Does it require a particular epistemic stance toward the objects of devotion? Does it involve loyalty?Which kinds of communities, activities, and relationships provide opportunities for manifesting devotion? What are the different objects and forms of devotion? Are some forms of devotion more stable than others?Might devotion be a basic motivation in human beings? If so, why? What are the consequences of failing to satisfy this motivation? What are the most natural targets for devotion?