Wojciech Kaftanski, Program's postodoctoral fellow and Communications Associate, is giving a talk entitled "The Role of Mental Images in Character Education: Some Educational Strategies" at Virtue & Human Development Conference at University of Gdansk in Poland.
In this paper I argue that some mental images, such as future oriented self-representations in imagination, can have a positive (but also negative) influence on our sense of morality and moral practice. In this regard what matters is both the content of the images and how we approach them. I argue that curated future-oriented mental representations of selfhoods can play a positive role in character education. These images are meant to represent real possibilities for human subjects. I define the “real” as pertaining to the realm of actualizable possibilities that can be designated as factual and/or actual. Real possibilities are not simply “pre-existing” possibilities that are merely formal. Thus, they are “practical possibilities” or “potentializabilities” which posit something as “possibly doable.” Engagement of mental images in the framework of character education would require educators to motivate students to create mental images of their future selves and simultaneously (and subsequently) develop a set of virtues reflective of these mental images, or necessary to their actualization. Invested with plans, values, and desires, future-oriented mental representations of the self will a) motivate individuals to learn and b) practice virtues. Acting is important point of orientation for moral development these images c) will facilitate guided moral habituation and d) they will strengthen cross-situational consistency.
This presentation is based on Wojciech's recent publication: Kaftanski, W. (2022) Imagination, Mental Representation, and Moral Agency: Moral Pointers in Kierkegaard and Ricoeur. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. DOI: 10.1007/s11097-022-09813-x