Welcome to Phronesis Lab!

Phronesis is Greek for practical wisdom. According to Aristotle, wisdom isn’t something you have, it’s something you do, something you practice. There are probably better and worse ways to practice wisdom, and we can experiment to see which ways work well and which work less well.

Our main focus involves designing and assessing curricula to teach peace as phronesis, which we call Peace Literacy. We have particular interest in the use of Peace Literacy in navigating polarized debates in science and policy.

Phronesis Lab supports innovative, interdisciplinary research and training that is focused on real-world problems—in science, policy, and society more broadly—in collaboration with students, faculty, and community members, and dedicated to peace and social justice.

Photo, above, right: Paul Chappell, Executive Director of the Peace Literacy Institute, with Shelley Moon, 2018 Senior Vice President of the Corvallis NAACP.

Phronesis Lab is directed by Professor Sharyn Clough and is housed in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion, in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU. We welcome collaborations from across the campus and the wider community. Email Sharyn Clough if you’re interested in collaborating on any of our projects.

We also have had a number of student interns supporting our Peace Literacy Programming. You can find previous student members of our team on our Partners page.

Our work is now carried out in service of the newly formed non-profit, the Peace Literacy Institute, right here in Corvallis. Scroll down for some of our events.


                Ms Marvel working on their phronesis!



Here’s a wrap-up of 2022-2023 from our work at the Peace Literacy Institute: List of significant events and happenings at the Peace Literacy Institute from 2022 and 2023.You can check out a narrative with more detail, here: https://www.peaceliteracy.org/newsletters-annualreviews.

Caleb Anderson Philosophy Awards June 2023.In June of 2023, OSU Philosophy major and Honors College student, Caleb Anderson successfully defended his Honors thesis investigating the potential for using Peace Literacy skills to strengthen the protocols of the Toolbox Dialogue Initiative, an interdisciplinary science collaborative, with partners in the College of Forestry at OSU. He won the Peter List Award for Excellence in Philosophy, shown here with Sharyn Clough who served as his advisor. Caleb has since been accepted in the Applied Ethics Masters program at OSU where he plans to continue his work on Peace Literacy.

Montfort and Clough Engineering PeaceEarlier in the spring of 2023, Sharyn Clough participated in the Ideas Matter lecture series hosted by the Philosophy Program in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion at OSU. The theme for the series this year was philosophical conversations with colleagues across the university and was held at The Biere Library in downtown Corvallis. Sharyn invited Devlin Montfort from Environmental Engineering for a conversation about their work in Peace Literacy for Engineers. According to Devlin, there is a “Peace-Literacy shaped hole in engineering education,” that he is working to fill.

From the Event Archives

2022 was a blur! We had lots going on as the pandemic wound down – check out https://www.peaceliteracy.org/newsletters-annualreviews for more details. Below is a wrap up of events from 2021.

In July 2020, Sharyn put together a 29 min video on Cognitive Biases, Social Justice and Peace Literacy for the OSU Difference, Power, and Discrimination seminar. Here’s the script that contains links to resources mentioned in the video: Clough Script Cognitive Biases 2020 Summer Workshop.

In the Spring of 2020 we offered a seminar on Peace Literacy and the Politics of Knowledge (PHL 407)- we survived a pandemic and Zoom – so far so good. Diagnosing and addressing political polarization in debates over science policy is challenging work. Here’s a class photo from the thick of it.

In the fall of 2019 our programming focused on faculty and students at the two high schools in the Corvallis School District and we produced some preliminary research PL FormalData2020 on the effectiveness of our Peace Literacy curriculum on aggression. We are grateful for the sponsorship of Rotary District 5110!

The summer of 2019 was busy with Sharyn and Paul traveling to give Peace Literacy workshops for teachers in Ft. Collins, CO, Minneapolis, MN and Cleveland, OH.

In the Spring of 2019 (and again in Spring 2020!), Sharyn and Paul taught a 2 credit weekend Peace Literacy seminar for the OSU Honors College (2019 class photo, right).

Later in April 2019, Sharyn and Paul traveled to the University of the Fraser Valley to co-facilitate a 2-day workshop on Peace Literacy skills and curricular development.

Pictured, left with faculty from the Peace and Conflict Studies Program at UFV, showing off our new toques – the local Canadian headgear of choice 🙂

The fall of 2018 was busy. In November 2018, Paul and Sharyn returned to Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada to co-facilitate Peace Literacy Workshops for 100 members of the Manitoba Department of Education and Training and the Manitoba Teacher’s Society, working with (L-R) Rotary International Peace Scholar Emily Nabakooza, and Middle School teacher Susan Radford.

In October 2018, Sharyn and Paul traveled to the University of the Fraser Valley to coordinate Peace Literacy Curriculum for their Peace and Conflict Studies Program.

We kicked off the school year in late August 2018 with a Peace Literacy professional development training for over 100 faculty and staff at Corvallis High School (CHS). Sharyn then facilitated Peace Literacy activities in 12 sections of a “Senior Seminar” class reaching 48o seniors from CHS and Crescent Valley High School.

July 2018 brought a redux of our panel Phronesis, Power, and Peace Literacy, this time in Dayton Ohio, co-hosted by the Summer Institute for American Philosophy and the Dayton International Peace Museum. The panel was chaired by Tanya Maus, Director of the Peace Resource Center at Wilmington College, with Christian Matheis zooooming in enroute to his new post as faculty in the Department of Justice and Policy Studies at Guilford College in Greensboro, North Carolina. Photo L-R, Paul K. Chappell, Sharyn Clough, and Tanya Maus.

Peace Literacy Workshop
Corvallis School District April 9-10, 2018. The local Corvallis School District sent over 30 teachers, administrators, behavioral support staff, and students from three high schools and two middle schools to a Peace Literacy workshop facilitated by Paul K. Chappell and Sharyn Clough.

Phronesis, Power, and Peace LiteracyPanel Discussion, hosted by the Society for Philosophy in the Contemporary World, American Philosophical Association, Pacific Division meeting, San Diego March 29/18; chaired by OSU MA Applied Ethics student (now graduated!) Katie Zarajzczk, and featuring:

Christian Matheis (Virginia Tech) Peace with Power or No Peace at All
Sharyn Clough (OSU)
Peace Literacy and Phronesis: Implications for Epistemology
Paul K. Chappell (Independent Scholar, Iraq War Veteran, NAPF)
Peace Literacy: An Explanatory Model for Understanding Trauma and Our Current Political Crises

Peace Literacy Workshop and Luncheon
Friday Dec. 15, 2017 10AM-4PM, SEC rm. 354, OSU
This workshop for students, staff and faculty, focused on skills that help support OSU student activism and civic engagement while prioritizing health and safety.

On Sunday Sept 10, 2017, Phronesis Lab, along with the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion and the Difference, Power, and Discrimination Program co-sponsored a public lecture by Paul K. Chappell called “Radical Empathy and Realistic Hope.” The lecture is the keystone event in the Year of Peace Literacy Project.

The lecture kicked off a series of workshops for OSU faculty, students, and staff called “Teaching Through Tensions, Practicing Peace” facilitated by Phronesis co-director Sharyn Clough, as well as Chappell, and featuring the return of two alumni from the OSU MA in Applied Ethics program, Christian Matheis and Masayuki Sugie.

June brought a second major plot point in the Year of Peace Literacy Project.

On June 14/17 we brought back Paul Chappell to give a workshop for 19 teachers and school administrators from Salem, Corvallis, and Eugene. After a luncheon we planned next steps in getting Peace Literacy into k-12 classrooms in Oregon. Read about the event as it was reported in the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation newsletter, here.
Co-Sponsored by the OSU College of Education.

Year of Peace Literacy Project: Tues. March 14 – Weds. March 15 Two experts, Kevin Martin and Reiner Braun, visited Corvallis to discuss the troubled state of international nuclear weapons treaties.  They gave a public lecture on Tues. evening, Mar. 14 at the Unitarian Church 2945 NW Circle, and a lunchtime meet and greet, at OSU MU 213, Weds. Mar. 15. Co-sponsored by Veterans for Peace, and the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.

Phronesis Lab continued the celebration of a Year of Peace Literacy, in collaboration with Paul K. Chappell of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, in Santa Barbara, CA. March 1-2, 2017 Paul gave guest lectures in two classes in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion – Professor Orosco’s  “Great Figures: Martin Luther King Jr.,” and Paul Kopperman’s “Why War?”

Paul also gave a presentation to the students of College Hill High School on strategies for responding to bullying and harassment (Above, right).

(Left) Paul at College Hill High School with Phronesis Co-Director Sharyn Clough


Stephanie Vasko, Michigan State University, gave two lectures in our Philosopher. Scientist. Citizen series in November, 2016.


In Portland in March of 2016, Phronesis Lab researchers Sione Filimoehala, Sharyn Clough, and Rob Figueroa presented their work on pragmatism as a philosophical wedge in the K-12 curriculum at the Society for the Advancement of American Philosophy meeting.


Jan-June 2016

The fourth annual Phronesis Lab/College Hill Collaborative seminar on Peace and Social Justice wrapped up June 4, with 9 high school students from College Hill completing the 10-week class, led by Sharyn Clough, Matt Gaddis, and OSU students Haley Egan, Robyn Morris, Josh Stanley, and Alex Pho.

October 2015 Phronesis Visiting Scholar Mark Tschaepe contributed to our lecture series Philosopher.Scientist.Citizen with a fantastic lecture on Oct. 5/15 called:Quantifying Experience: The Seduction of Neuroscientific Explanation in the Dopamine Democracy.” You can watch it here. And here’s an album of photos from the talk, on Facebook.

July 2015 Phronesis Scholar in Residence Mark Tschaepe gave two presentations during his summer stay. The first was focused on Prison Sexual Violence. You can view the slides here:  A Noxious Injustice as Punishment

His second presentation was based on his paper “The student as philosopher-scientist” (available at his Academia.edu page). Check here for some photos of the event.

May 2015 The Phronesis High School Instructional Team gave a panel presentation “Promoting Social Justice  with Engaged Philosophy” at a recent conference at Villanova University. Here’s some photos of the trip!

April 2015 Photos from our Philosopher.Scientist.Citizen series, featuring Massimo Pigliucci’s visit, as well as a video of his talk “Pseudoscience: Exploiting Public Trust.”

February 2015 Photos from our Philosopher.Scientist.Citizen series, featuring Stacey Ritz’s visit and her talk “On the integration of sex and gender considerations in basic experimental biomedical research.”

January 2015 Photos from our Philosopher.Scientist.Citizen series, featuring Alan Richardson, as well as a video of his talk “Signal Achievements: Reichenbach On Radio.”

Check out our December 2014 Book Panel Video Extravaganza, discussing Colin Koopman’s new book Genealogy as Critique, featuring  Phronesis Lab Director Sharyn Clough, Stephanie Jenkins, and Evan Gottlieb.

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