November 28, 2017
In his poem “Invictus” (Latin for “Unconquered”) William Earnest Henley famously proclaimed, “I am the master of my fate: I am the captain of my soul.”
Henley sentiment expresses well the spirit of the age we live in more than one hundred twenty-five years after he penned those words. Our culture feeds our desire for autonomy and individualism. The rugged individual who blazes his or her own trail needing and depending only on but what Henley called, “my unconquerable soul” is today’s heroic cultural icon.
In his book Dependent Rational Animal: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre takes aim at that kind of wishful human autonomy expressed in Henley’s poem. Wyoming Catholic College Academic Dean, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski has been reading MacIntyre with our juniors and is our guest this week on The After Dinner Scholar.
November 14, 2017
What does it mean to be alive? How does the life of a pine tree differ from the life of a puppy differ from the life of a person? What is it that we possess through life, but lose in death? Is it a soul? And if so, what exactly is a soul?
In De Anima, On the Soul, Aristotle explored these questions, questions that while seemingly abstract remain critical to many of our current debates. The definition of “to be alive” is central to questions of abortion and euthanasia and the way we understand the human body and the human soul inform what we think about sexuality and marriage.
Our guest this week, Wyoming Catholic College philosophy professor Dr. Michael Bolin, specializes in the work of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas. He is currently teaching De Anima to Wyoming Catholic College sophomores.
November 7, 2017
In 1984, when a young Gleaves Whitney journeyed from his home in Colorado to graduate school at the University of Michigan, it was with some trepidation. His doctoral advisor, according to a friend, “can be a mite prickly and doesn’t suffer fools gladly.”
Dr. Whitney’s advisor was historian Stephen Tonsor. Tonsor—a faithful Catholic with a strong belief in truth and a decidedly conservative political philosophy—seemed out of place at Michigan where he taught for nearly forty years. Yet his academic excellence, his brilliant mind, and his strong Christian character changed the lives of many of his students including Dr. Whitney.
Dr. Gleaves Whitney is Director of The Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University, a member of Wyoming Catholic College’s Catholic Scholars Advisory Board, and our guest on The After Dinner Scholar.
The book Dr. Whitney recommends in the podcast is Equality, Decadence and Modernity: The Collected Essays of Stephen J. Tonsor edited by Gregory L. Schneider.
October 24, 2017
When Wyoming Catholic College sophomores take Theology 201: The Mystery of the Trinity, they’re typically surprised that before diving into the theology of the Trinity, they’re up to their ears in philosophy. God exists. God is unmovable. God is eternal. God is necessary. God is everlasting. God is simple.
Such considerations need to come first since without them, theology can lose the moorings it needs in the intellect and in the world as it is.
To help us understand the place of philosophy in our theology, our guest this week is the professor who teaches Theology 201: The Mystery of the Trinity, theologian Dr. Jeremy Holmes.
Books Recommended by Dr. Holmes
- Summa Theologiae by St. Thomas Aquinas (Aquinas Institute Edition)
- Who Designed the Designer?: A Rediscovered Path to God's Existence by Michael Augros
- Aquinas: An Introduction to the Life and Work of the Great Medieval Thinker by F. C. Copleston
- Aquinas (A Beginner's Guide) by Edward Feser
- A Summa of the Summa by Thomas Aquinas and Peter Kreeft
October 17, 2017
Behind the personal conflicts in in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, says Wyoming Catholic College board member Dr Khalil Habib, the bard is making the case that “politics always swims downstream from culture.”
Just as Caesar believes that he is driving changes in Rome, so, too, Brutus, Cassius, and their fellow conspirators believe that they are driving changes by murdering him. In fact, it is the changing Roman culture that drives the events much more than the men involved. Rome changed from the days of the Republic to the eve of the Empire. Killing Caesar cannot and does not undo those changes.
In addition to being Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Pell Honors Program at Salve Regina University, Dr. Habib is a member of the Wyoming Catholic College Board of Directors and our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.
October 10, 2017
“What is good?" asked Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Anti-Christ. Whatever augments the feeling of power, the will to power, power itself in man. What is evil? Whatever springs from weakness. What is happiness? The feeling that power increases—that resistance is overcome.”
Thus it seems curious that Sean Steel, a member of the education faculty at the University of Calgary, should use Nietzschean categories--the Dionysian, the Apollonian, the anti-Dionysian--to propose a rather congenial understanding of a good education.
The Wyoming Catholic College faculty read and discussed Steel’s article “Schooling for ‘Deep Knowing’” during a recent symposium. Our Academic Dean, Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski, led our discussion and is our guest on this week’s After Dinner Scholar.
Sean Steel's article, "Schooling for 'Deep Knowing'" can be found here.
September 26, 2017
When The New York Journal published the text of the newly proposed United States Constitution, alongside they ran a column criticizing the constitution as aristocratic tyranny and calling for a “No” vote on ratification.
Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay, quills in hand, stepped forward to defend the document. In a series of 85 newspaper columns, they not only defended the Constitution as written, but provided all the background and the logic that went into the framers’ thinking.
The result is what is known as The Federalist Papers, a book Wyoming Catholic College political philosopher Virginia Arbery has taught repeatedly and is currently teaching to our seniors.
September 19, 2017
“What do you hope to achieve by bothering me?” It’s a question many asked Socrates and in the dialogue Alcibiades, he answers the question.
Alcibiades yearns for a life in politics and is both an attractive and ambitious would-be leader of Athens. He would appear to have a great future before him, but Socrates tells him—convinces him, “You are wedded to stupidity, my good fellow, stupidity of the highest degree.” Alcibiades can’t explain the difference between justice and injustice, good and bad, advantageous and disadvantageous.
Professor Kyle Washut introduced the Wyoming Catholic College freshmen to philosophy and the value of studying philosophy with Socrates' conversation with Alcibiades. Through it they see themselves and their need for education in a new way.
September 5, 2017
In her essay, “The Sovereignty of Good Over Other Concepts,” Iris Murdoch wrote, “We [humans] are what we seem to be, transient mortal creatures subject to necessity and chance. This is to say that there is, in my view, no God in the traditional sense of that term; and the traditional sense is perhaps the only sense.”
At the same time she spoke about virtue, morality, love, beauty, and the Good. Does that sound paradoxical? Dr. Thaddeus Kozinski began his junior level course on ethics here at Wyoming Catholic College by having students read and discuss Murdoch’s essay complete with paradoxes.
August 29, 2017
The great American experiment in religious liberty expressed in the words of the First Amendment to the Constitution was unprecedented in the eighteenth century, remains rare in the world today, and is under attack even in spite of the Constitution and the Western intellectual tradition that informed the Constitution.
Dr. James Tonkowich discusses religious liberty and introduces the free Wyoming Catholic College distance learning course "Religious Liberty in America."
To request your copy of the lectures, study guide, and Dr. Tonkowich's book The Liberty Threat, fill in your name and mailing address here.