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Prof earns $2.1M grant to study virtue, happiness and meaning of life

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Staff Report
Published Sept. 9, 2015

A University of South Carolina philosophy researcher is one of two professors awarded a $2.1 million grant to study connections between virtue, happiness and the meaning of human life and society.

USC assistant professor Jennifer Frey joined Candace Vogler, a philosophy professor at the University of Chicago, as the recipients of the 28-month grant titled “Virtue, Happiness and Meaning of Life.”

The grant will bring together an international team of philosophers, religious scholars and psychologists to do research on questions relating “the development of virtue to deeper human happiness and a sense of purpose in human life,” a release said. The USC and University of Chicago professors will serve as the project leaders.

“It will be a huge breakthrough if our team can begin to show in a rigorously interdisciplinary way that virtue, happiness and meaning in life are related not merely in theory but also in practice,” Frey said. “The implications for social policy and education could be considerable.”

The grant project began in August and will include public lectures each December, as well as a philosophy workshop beginning in spring 2016. The team’s research results will be shared during a two-day conference in October 2017 after the group comes together for four weeklong meetings.

Frey, who will be joined by USC assistant professor Mari Stuart, earned her doctorate in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the USC faculty in 2013.

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