Self, Desire, and Virtue in Romantic Relationships: A Novel Integration of Buddhist Philosophy and Relationship Science
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Our project aims to study the interplay of self, desire, virtue, and flourishing in the relational contexts that characterize daily life. This presentation will focus on the initial seeds that have blossomed from deep integration of Buddhist philosophy with current literature in relationship science during Year 1 of this project. Much empirical research indicates that close, caring relationships are a key to flourishing, but less is known about the psychological functioning or context that promotes caring behaviors. Buddhist philosophy offers a unique perspective that focuses on mental states instead of behaviors, suggesting that the psychological context of intention is critical for understanding the expression of virtue in relationships. In particular, Buddhist traditions suggest that wisdom and compassion foster the virtuous mental states that underlie interpersonal flourishing. In this talk, we will discuss ways in which the Buddhist framework of wisdom and compassion integrates and advances current relationship theory and findings. We will also present our efforts to develop and pilot a key methodological approach for studying complex mental states in daily life. Finally, we will discuss our approach for Year 2 of this project, which will empirically test the Buddhist framework in the context of romantic relationships using a multi-method approach that assesses first-person experience, behavior, and peripheral psychophysiology.
- Moral Self Archive 
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