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Proposal # Date Panel Title Paper Title
Proposal # 228 2023-01-28 Thucydides' Approach to Liberal Education
Proposal # 222 2023-01-28 The Thou of the Text and the Conversation We Ourselves Are: Reading the Tradition with Gadamer
Proposal # 227 2023-01-27 The Nature of Text: Socrates on Writing, and Ficino's Printing of Plato's Opera
Proposal # 226 2023-01-26 Dante's understanding of rhetoric in theory and practice
Proposal # 221 2023-01-25 Augustine, Moral Evil, and the Reductio
Proposal # 220 2023-01-25 The Abstracted Arts
Proposal # 219 2023-01-23 Virtue in Plutarch’s Depictions of Cimon and Nicias
Proposal # 218 2023-01-23 “The price of everything and the value of nothing”: Oscar Wilde, Alain Locke, and the Value of Cultural Commerce in the Harlem Renaissance
Proposal # 217 2023-01-22 John Duns Scotus on the Placement of Moral Virtues in the Will
Proposal # 216 2023-01-21 Moral Education for Democracy in James Wilson's Constitutionalism
Proposal # 215 2023-01-21 LIBERAL EDUCATION IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY Du Bois on the Potential for Nobility in American Education
Proposal # 214 2023-01-21 Words and Deeds and Stories: Hannah Arendt on Isak Dinesen
Proposal # 213 2023-01-21 Rhetorical and Dialectical Exchanges
Proposal # 212 2023-01-21 Reading Nursi’s Risale as a Reasoning-based Dialogue between Traditional Abrahamic Belief and Empiricist Principles
Proposal # 211 2023-01-21 Sonic Accords and the Tension between Two Worlds in Derek Walcott's "Sea Grapes"
Proposal # 210 2023-01-20 Expanding the View: E. M. Forster's "A Room with a View" in the Context of Study Abroad
Proposal # 209 2023-01-20 Montesquieu on the Muses as Commercial Artists
Proposal # 208 2023-01-20 Burke, Wollstonecraft, and a Conversation with the Past.
Proposal # 207 2023-01-20 Reason, Religion, and the Dialogue of Cultures (as part of the proposed panel: "In Memory of Benedict XVI: Reflections on the Regensburg Address")
Proposal # 206 2023-01-20 Benedict and Byzantium: Manuel II's Text in Context
Proposal # 205 2023-01-20 Legislating Desire: On the Significance of the Three Cities-in-Speech in Plato's Republic II-VII
Proposal # 204 2023-01-20 Redeeming Lysimachus: The Miracle of Conversion in Pericles
Proposal # 203 2023-01-20 Dante’s Thomistic Realism: The Imperfections of Marco the Lombard in Purgatorio 16
Proposal # 202 2023-01-20 Livy on the Conditions for Freedom: An Introduction to Book I of Ab Urbe Condita
Proposal # 201 2023-01-20 Arendt's "Eichmann" in Light of Newly Released Archival Material
Proposal # 200 2023-01-20 Aristotle, Critical Thinking, and the Future of Creativity
Proposal # 199 2023-01-20 Rhetoric of the Bee-Wolf: Beowulf as Agent of Agency
Proposal # 198 2023-01-20 “Autobiography and ‘Marketing’ Liberal Arts Graduates" Applying the liberal arts to running a business
Proposal # 197 2023-01-20 “My Resistance Is Vain”: Comedy, Tragedy, and the Abdication of Responsibility
Proposal # 196 2023-01-20 Title: A Reasonable Study of History in the Light of Regensburg
Proposal # 195 2023-01-20 Educating for Liberty: Cicero, Petrarch, and the Origin of the Humanities
Proposal # 194 2023-01-20 Logos and the Provision of Freedom in Aristotle's Economic Teaching
Proposal # 193 2023-01-20 Rhetoric as a Liberal and Illiberal Art
Proposal # 192 2023-01-19 The Misguided Search for Connection in Ted Chiang’s “The Great Silence”
Proposal # 191 2023-01-19 The Perfect Storm of Accreditation Reform
Proposal # 190 2023-01-19 Hegel, Mind, and Wealth
Proposal # 189 2023-01-19 “Making Room for Mistral in the XXI Century: new contexts, new answers”
Proposal # 188 2023-01-18 Making Use of Resources at Your Institution to Market The Liberal Arts in Video
Proposal # 187 2023-01-18 A Case Against Experts in Plato’s Apology
Proposal # 186 2023-01-18 In Memory of Benedict XVI: Reflections on the "Regensburg Address" A Well-Crafted Speech: Getting at the Heart of Benedict XVI's "Regensburg Address"
Proposal # 185 2023-01-18 “Conversion and Controversy in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament”
Proposal # 184 2023-01-18 Forgotten Ethics and Forgotten Ethicists
Proposal # 183 2023-01-17 Cyrus’s Abortive Apotheosis in The Education of Cyrus
Proposal # 182 2023-01-17 "You have spoken after drinking too much beer": Rhetoric in Beowulf, and How Speech Influences the World
Proposal # 181 2023-01-17 Cicero's Arrangement Applied Across Modern Arrangements
Proposal # 180 2023-01-16 God's Foreknowledge and Man's Dreams in Paradise Lost
Proposal # 179 2023-01-16 Philosophy, Play, and Education in Plato's Republic
Proposal # 178 2023-01-16 The Commerce of East and West in Dostoevsky's Demons
Proposal # 177 2023-01-16 Submitting and Yet Also Sacrificing: Democratic Wives in Tocqueville's America
Proposal # 176 2023-01-13 Liberal Education and Work: W.E.B. DuBois’s Mature Reflections on His Old Debate with Booker T. Washington
Proposal # 175 2023-01-13 Thomas Traherne's Place in the Tradition of Ethical Reflection
Proposal # 174 2023-01-12 Prudence in Aristotle's Metaphysics
Proposal # 172 2023-01-11 Hegel, Conscience, and the Beautiful Soul
Proposal # 171 2023-01-10 Shakespeare on the Promise and the Perils of Globalization
Proposal # 170 2023-01-10 Panel submitted by Dan Nuckols separately Frankenstein though the Eyes of Adam Smith
Proposal # 169 2023-01-09 Liquid Ancients: Achilles as Rootless Cosmopolitan
Proposal # 168 2023-01-07 Divine and Human Origins of Language in Hamann's "The Last Will and Testament of the Knight of the Rose-Cross"
Proposal # 108 2023-01-06 Mercy and the Art of Grieving Well
Proposal # 167 2023-01-05 Hope for Students in an Information Age
Proposal # 78 2023-01-05 Commerce and Comics: Re-reading Uncle Scrooge with Dorfman, Rosa, and Martina
Proposal # 75 2023-01-05 Protean Commerce in Shakespeare's Venice
Proposal # 74 2023-01-05 Teaching, Knowing, and Calling: Augustine's Beginning Prayer of the Confessions and the Structure of the Summa
Proposal # 68 2023-01-05 being offered as part of Dan Nuchols panel submitted separately Frankenstein Throught the Eyes of Adam Smith
Proposal # 65 2023-01-05 From Shakespeare to Descartes: Using Literary Readings to Enhance Philosophy Instruction
Proposal # 52 2023-01-05 On Whether "hamartia" means intellectual error or sin, Oedipus is guilty of it
Proposal # 43 2023-01-05 Augustinian Natural Law, Frederick Douglass’s Autobiography, and Recognition of Essential Aspects of Humanity as Essential to the Argument Against Slavery
Proposal # 166 2023-01-04 Humanity and the Holy Kant and the Problem of Enlightenment
Proposal # 164 2023-01-04 The Curse of Ambition
Proposal # 145 2023-01-04 Unpacking Walter Benjamin’s Library: Collecting Conversation
Proposal # 162 2023-01-03 Virgil and the Art of Law
Proposal # 161 2023-01-03 “The idea of property in men:” Frederick Douglass’s 1860 Glasgow speech as a response to the "1619 Project"
Proposal # 160 2023-01-03 The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Lyricist: The Awakening of Faith in Shakespeare's Cymbeline
Proposal # 158 2023-01-02 Reading Simone Weil on Reading
Proposal # 156 2023-01-01 The Intersection of Economics and Literature: Issues for Contemporary International Commerce
Proposal # 153 2023-01-01 Calvin Uses Great Men to Discover Meaning
Proposal # 152 2023-01-01 "Religion at the Margins: Margery Kempe and Her Book"
Proposal # 150 2022-12-31 Despair and the commerce of reason in Plato’s Phaedo
Proposal # 148 2022-12-31 Hegelian Dialectic and the Concept of “Commerce”
Proposal # 144 2022-12-31 Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts: A workshop on curricular and pedogogical innovations in institutions using the liberal arts
Proposal # 143 2022-12-31 Autobiography and "Marketing" Liberal Arts Graduates Augustine and Autobiography: Were the Confessions Marketing New Liberal Arts?
Proposal # 142 2022-12-31 Beyond Meaningful Exchange? Core Texts and Character Education. Can a Program of Liberal Artistry Be Ethical?
Proposal # 141 2022-12-31 Between Presentism and Relativism: Why Pair Frederick Douglass with Octavia E. Butler in a Core Course
Proposal # 139 2022-12-31 The Political Community in The Merchant of Venice: Justice and Friendship in the Commercial Republic
Proposal # 138 2022-12-31 “The coherence of Sartre’s existentialist atheism.”
Proposal # 137 2022-12-31 Moments in the Liberal Education of Frederick Douglass
Proposal # 136 2022-12-31 Judeo-Christian and Islamic Philosophy on God and the Possibility of Knowledge Maimonides' Guide as a Forerunner to Aquinas' reimagining of Being/Essence as Act/Potency
Proposal # 135 2022-12-31 Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth and the Promise of a Liberatory Education Re-imagining a ‘Great Books’ Canon through Fanon?
Proposal # 133 2022-12-31 John Maynard Keynes' "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren" and the Mythos of Progressive Economics
Proposal # 130 2022-12-31 What Can Core Texts Teach Us About Contemporary Issues in Economy and Technology? Money and Technology in Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians
Proposal # 129 2022-12-31 How to talk about the impossible? The impossible dialogue with the idea of God
Proposal # 128 2022-12-31 Nietzsche and Chesterton: Mythical Axioms and Common Visions
Proposal # 127 2022-12-31 “Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education” Knowing and Becoming in Liberal Education: Liberal Learning Paths to Virtue
Proposal # 126 2022-12-31 Cross-generational commerce: conversations between the old and the young, as narrated by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Proposal # 125 2022-12-31 Aristotle's Definition of Soul
Proposal # 124 2022-12-30 The Political Art of Art and Literature The Narrative of a Well Lived Life
Proposal # 123 2022-12-30 "Son of Man, eat this scroll": Isaac McCaslin as Prophet of the Wilderness
Proposal # 122 2022-12-30 Philosophical Rhetoric in Cicero's On the Ideal Orator
Proposal # 121 2022-12-30 Humanism in the Anthropocene: The Role of the Liberal Arts in a New Epoch
Proposal # 120 2022-12-30 TEACHING AGAMEMNON: MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS ON THE ORESTEIA
Proposal # 119 2022-12-30 Egg Imagery in King Lear: Cracking Open "Nature's Moulds"
Proposal # 118 2022-12-30 The "Ancient Quarrel": An Exploration of Poetry and Philosophy as "Makers" and "Users" in Plato's Republic
Proposal # 117 2022-12-30 Justice, Prudence, and Action in Cicero
Proposal # 116 2022-12-30 Incorporating Aristophanes's Plays into Platonic Pedagogy
Proposal # 115 2022-12-30 Helping Students Consider Problems of Translation in Republic
Proposal # 114 2022-12-30 Western Civilization and Network Theory Part II: Digital Map Analysis
Proposal # 113 2022-12-30 Two Hegelian Moments in Morrison's Beloved
Proposal # 112 2022-12-30 Core Texts and Digital Humanities Western Civilization and Network Theory Part I: Theoretical Considerations
Proposal # 111 2022-12-30 Part of the Whole: Providence and Citizenship in Rousseau’s Political Thought
Proposal # 109 2022-12-30 FDR, Myth, and Grover Cleveland: Imitation and Invention in Presidential Politics
Proposal # 107 2022-12-30 Commerce in the First Book of Plato's Republic: Wealth, Inheritance and Virtue
Proposal # 106 2022-12-30 Tocqueville and Political Contestation in the July Monarchy
Proposal # 105 2022-12-30 Commerce and innovation in Plato's Laws
Proposal # 104 2022-12-30 Aquinas and Kant on the the virtue of fortitude
Proposal # 103 2022-12-30 Does Ethical Wittgenstein have a Parmenides Problem?
Proposal # 102 2022-12-30 “Uses” and “Abuses”: The Relationship Between the Commonwealth, Language and Metaphor
Proposal # 101 2022-12-30 Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education The beautiful and the godlike in Homer’s Iliad
Proposal # 100 2022-12-30 Suffering Delight: Physical and Spiritual Vision in Julian of Norwich’s Showings
Proposal # 99 2022-12-30 Beyond meaningful exchange? Core Texts and Character Education
Proposal # 98 2022-12-30 Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education
Proposal # 97 2022-12-29 National Patriotism and International Peace in Constant's "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns"
Proposal # 96 2022-12-29 The Tyranny of Law in Herodotus' Histories
Proposal # 95 2022-12-29 Migration of the Soul II
Proposal # 94 2022-12-29 Socratic "Gentleness," Menonic "Tyranny," and Anytean "Freedom": The Mean of Intellectual Exchange
Proposal # 93 2022-12-29 Revolutionary Thought: Reconsidering Algernon Sidney in Liberalism
Proposal # 92 2022-12-29 The Brothers Karamazov and the Moral Value of Happiness
Proposal # 91 2022-12-29 Amphibole at Sea: Reading Eliot's "Marina"
Proposal # 89 2022-12-29 Aristotle and Machiavelli: Competing Conceptions of Virtue/Virtú
Proposal # 88 2022-12-29 Wealth, Trade, and Fate in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing
Proposal # 87 2022-12-29 Migration of the Soul I
Proposal # 84 2022-12-28 Incomprehension and Understanding: Thought's Exteriority in Descartes' Third Meditation and Beyond.
Proposal # 83 2022-12-28 Melville's Baconianism
Proposal # 82 2022-12-28 Analytical Toolbox: Speakers, Structures, and Settings
Proposal # 81 2022-12-28 Economizing Motherhood in Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust
Proposal # 80 2022-12-28 Aristotle on Things in Relation to Something
Proposal # 79 2022-12-28 One moving image: Rembrandt's etching Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving Little Children
Proposal # 73 2022-12-27 Han Fei, Confucianism, and the Challenges of Ruling Effectively
Proposal # 72 2022-12-27 Conversation and Coinage in the Antigone
Proposal # 70 2022-12-26 The impact of forgiveness
Proposal # 69 2022-12-26 The Silver and the Mind: Commerce and Value in Nostromo
Proposal # 66 2022-12-26 New Forms of Commerce in Lady Montagu's _The Turkish Embassy Letters_ and Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent"
Proposal # 64 2022-12-26 The Characteristic Unity of Plato's "Phaedrus"
Proposal # 63 2022-12-26 Augustine’s Trinity and the Origins of Modernity
Proposal # 60 2022-12-24 “From now on may we enjoy good fortune together”: The Brownings’ Scholarly Exchange with Euripides's Hercules Furens
Proposal # 58 2022-12-23 Lincoln and Douglas on Popular Sovereignty and American Prosperity
Proposal # 57 2022-12-23 The Federalist and Toleration: Faction and Federalism in Light of Locke's Letter
Proposal # 56 2022-12-23 Martin Van Buren and National Parties: The Republican Function of Meaningful Exchanges at a National Level
Proposal # 55 2022-12-23 Nietzsche and the Need for Limited Horizons
Proposal # 54 2022-12-23 The Aristocratic Imperative: Tocqueville & the Art of Self-Forgetting
Proposal # 53 2022-12-23 Aristotle, Commerce, and Justice: Market Exchange as Deliberation
Proposal # 51 2022-12-23 Risking Your Life for a Basketball? A Lockean Analysis of Canada's "Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun"
Proposal # 50 2022-12-22 On "Error" and "Sin" in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem “If I forget thee . . .”: Greeks and Hebrews on Error and Sin
Proposal # 48 2022-12-22 On “Error” and “Sin” in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem Prometheus and the Art of Error
Proposal # 46 2022-12-22 The Fugitive Homicide as a Simile of Similes
Proposal # 44 2022-12-22 On “Error” and “Sin” in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem Evagrius of Pontus on the Demonic Involvement in Hamartia
Proposal # 41 2022-12-19 Where everybody knows your name: Harlots, Beer, and Human Connection
Proposal # 39 2022-12-17 Focusing on Force in "Forced to be free"
Proposal # 38 2022-12-17 Dream Migration: Baudelaire's "L' Invitation au Voyage" as Core Text and Singular 'Fleur du Mal'
Proposal # 37 2022-12-16 Montaigne and the Liberal Disposition
Proposal # 36 2022-12-16 Commerce and Contemplation: Going Under the House in Tomás Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
Proposal # 35 2022-12-15 Justice and Prudence Across Time and Place: Classical and Christian Perspectives St. Thomas Aquinas on the Complex Relationship between Justice and Prudence
Proposal # 34 2022-12-15 New Atlantis Turned Flying Island: Bacon vs. Swift on the Scientific Regime
Proposal # 33 2022-12-15 Karl Marx, the 1844 Manuscripts, and the Perfection of the Human Senses
Proposal # 32 2022-12-13 Truth or Consequences: Everyday Research and Confirmation Bias in Three Jane Austen Heroines
Proposal # 31 2022-12-13 The Liberal Arts in Classical Education
Proposal # 30 2022-12-10 The Was That Is Not
Proposal # 29 2022-12-10 Lucian and Democracy
Proposal # 28 2022-12-10 The Concept of Truth in the Book of Genesis
Proposal # 27 2022-12-05 Sophocles and Deraspe: Re-framing Lessons from Antigone in a Diverse Classroom
Proposal # 26 2022-11-21 On Manly Firmness: Washington's Continental Army and the Declaration of Independence
Proposal # 25 2022-11-21
Proposal # 24 2022-11-07 The ‘Quaestio’ Structure of Aquinas' 'Summa': A Blueprint for a Meanigful Learning Expirience in Dialecticts Amongst First Years Students
Proposal # 23 2022-11-06 When Life Is a Game: Agency and the Game in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Proposal # 22 2022-11-06 Commerce and Conversation in "Alatiel" (The Decameron)
Proposal # 21 2022-11-01 The Given in C.S. Lewis
Proposal # 20 2022-11-01 Kairos and Commerce
Proposal # 19 2022-10-31 Some Lessons from Al-Ghazali on How and How Not to Engage Challenging Ideas
 

Proposal Number: 228
Date: 2023-01-28
Paper Title: Thucydides' Approach to Liberal Education
Core Text:
The Peloponnesian War
Abstract:
There is much controversy today over banning new approaches, like Critical Race Theory, to prevent indoctrination, i.e., so-called "wokeism." Thucydides takes a different approach. In Book I of his account of the Peloponnesian War, he examines three different hypotheses regarding the causes of the war, and finally settles on one, Sparta's fear of the rising power of Athens, as the "truest cause." He begs his readers to examine the evidence in support of each hypothesis, however, thus perhaps establishing a standard for addressing controversial new theories today: test them against the evidence, so that scholars, students, citizens, and leaders can learn to find the truth as best they can, which some my say is the core purpose of the commerce of ideas that we call liberal education.


Proposal Number: 222
Date: 2023-01-28
Paper Title: The Thou of the Text and the Conversation We Ourselves Are: Reading the Tradition with Gadamer
Core Text:
Gadamer, Truth and Method
Abstract:
Hans-Georg Gadamer's Truth and Method has, at various times, been criticized by both sides of the proverbial academic 'aisle.' Leo Strauss, writing to Gadamer himself, referred to the work as “the most important work written by a Heideggerian,” while accusing its approach of being relativistic. Others (most notably Habermas) found Gadamer’s work too conversative, while yet others still (most notably Derrida) insisted that Gadamer’s hermeneutics were not relativistic enough. This paper will attempt to (briefly) demonstrate how Gadamer’s hermeneutics cuts through such simple dualisms and bifurcations by reading the tradition as an encounter with the Thou of the text in “the conversation we ourselves are.”


Proposal Number: 227
Date: 2023-01-27
Paper Title: The Nature of Text: Socrates on Writing, and Ficino's Printing of Plato's Opera
Core Text:
Plato, Phaedrus; Ficino's Commentaries and Letters
Abstract:
In the Phaedrus, Socrates criticizes the medium of writing, but the great irony of this is that if Plato hadn’t written down Socrates’ criticism, likely no one would know it. Despite Plato’s writing about Socrates, and many copies handmade on bookrolls, Plato’s texts were largely lost to the Latin West. It wasn’t until 1484 when Ficino translated and published Plato’s Opera for the first time in Latin that Plato was widely reintroduced to audiences throughout Europe. The distribution of Plato to European readers and the re-establishment of Plato as a core text would likely not have happened without employing a new medium for commerce (in both senses of the word): the printing press.


Proposal Number: 226
Date: 2023-01-26
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Dante's understanding of rhetoric in theory and practice
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
These papers will examine the role of a poet and the poet's work in shaping communities and leading souls through Dante's writing and poetry. Dante presents his understanding of poetry in a theoretical way in the De Vulgari; in the Commedia, he both displays his own skill and invites the reader to consider the implications of the rhetoric used by speakers within the poem. Ms. McElvain will present on the poets' political role in the De Vulgari Eloquentia. Ms. Dow will present on the hyperbolic speech of Marco Lombardo in Purgatorio XVI. Fr. Stephen will present on the opening of Inferno.


Proposal Number: 221
Date: 2023-01-25
Paper Title: Augustine, Moral Evil, and the Reductio
Core Text:
Augustien, On Free CHoice of the Will
Abstract:
On a number of occasions in On Free Choice of the Will, Augustine dismisses the questions of his interlocutor Evodius, shutting down the search for an answer to the problem of moral evil, a very serious matter. Two passages stand out, and both implicitly address Evodius’s opening question: “Isn’t God the cause of evil?” Since the truth is so evident in these two passages, the only logical response is to declare the absurdity of continuing the conversation. Although Augustine does go on to say a good deal more, this is his mistake; for once it is established that a question has been answered without remainder, there is no reason to continue to pose the question: in fact, to do is absurd, leading to explanations that are untenable.


Proposal Number: 220
Date: 2023-01-25
Paper Title: The Abstracted Arts
Core Text:
Heidegger's "The Question Concerning Technology" in dialogue with sections of the Nicomachean Ethics, the Prima Secundae, and Truth and Method
Abstract:
The modern world has an abstracted conception of art. There has been a community formed around the aesthetic that leaves the rest of human making relegated to the menial and servile. Art, it its older meaning, has been divorced from itself. To reunite the servile and the fine arts, to see the thread that joins brick laying to oil painting, may be a step toward bringing economic "commerce" back into meaningful connection with cultural "commerce."


Proposal Number: 219
Date: 2023-01-23
Paper Title: Virtue in Plutarch’s Depictions of Cimon and Nicias
Core Text:
Plutarch's Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans
Abstract:
Four Athenians who appear prominently in Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War receive consideration by Plutarch in his Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans. In this paper we consider two of those four, Cimon and Nicias, both generals and statesmen, both killed in battle. We consider Plutarch’s assessment of their respective characters against the classical virtues, justice in particular. In what respects did they succeed in being men of virtue, and where did they fall short?


Proposal Number: 218
Date: 2023-01-23
Paper Title: “The price of everything and the value of nothing”: Oscar Wilde, Alain Locke, and the Value of Cultural Commerce in the Harlem Renaissance
Core Text:
Alain Locke's "The Ethics of Culture"
Abstract:
In 1923 Alain Locke, philosopher of the Harlem Renaissance, gave a talk entitled “The Ethics of Culture,” in which he argued that it is an ethical duty to be cultured, urging in particular that in order for the work of Black artists to continue to expand, Black Americans must understand and support it. In urging this point, he references a concept from Oscar Wilde, who described individuals who were overly fixated on practicality and utility as knowing the “price of everything and the value of nothing.” In some ways it might seem surprising to find a Black American in the early 20th century referencing a concept from a disgraced Irish playwright, but Locke’s own vision that invigorated the renaissance in Black arts in America was heavily influenced by Wilde’s championing of art for art’s sake. In this paper, I will look at the parallel arguments that Wilde and Locke made against favoring economic value over cultural value; as well as the way in which Locke’s own deployment of Wildean aestheticism to invigorate the emancipatory platform of Black arts exemplifies the significance of cross-cultural commerce.


Proposal Number: 217
Date: 2023-01-22
Paper Title: John Duns Scotus on the Placement of Moral Virtues in the Will
Core Text:
Ordinatio
Abstract:
When students are introduced to virtue ethics, it is most often through Aristotle and Aquinas. Outside of a medieval philosophy course, undergraduate students are almost guaranteed to have no exposure to John Duns Scotus at all. But, I will argue there is good reason to include a non-eudaimonistic virtue ethicist, like Scotus, more widely in philosophical curricula. Because Scotus places the moral virtues in the will, rather than identifying them with emotional tendencies, his ethics implies that even a heroically virtuous person could frequently have emotions that are in conflict with their will, so that psychological development does not perfectly track moral development.


Proposal Number: 216
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Moral Education for Democracy in James Wilson's Constitutionalism
Core Text:
James Wilson's "Lectures on Law"
Abstract:
James Wilson is often thought to be the “most democratic” of the Framers of the Constitution. This paper argues Wilson’s emphatically democratic reading of the American Revolution and Constitution in his Lectures on Law also made the question of moral and political education a more urgent public concern than it was for most of the other American founders, who tended to rely on institutional structures to address the ills of democracy. Wilson’s constitutionalism thus elevated education, rather than institutional structures, as the means of addressing the vices of democracy. He furthermore uniquely interpreted institutional structures, like the separation of powers and federalism, as a means of providing this political and moral education broadly to the American citizen.


Proposal Number: 215
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Du Bois on the Potential for Nobility in American Education
Core Text:
W.E.B Du Bois, "Talented Tenth" and Souls of Black Folk; Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Abstract:
In “The Talented Tenth”, W.E.B. Du Bois writes that the training of a human being is “a difficult and intricate task” because “its technique is a matter for educational experts, but its object is for the vision of seers.” This paper will consider this notion of the “vision of seers” and what light it sheds on the more complicated demands of education – not its technical demands, but it’s need to shape something that is neither tangible nor predictable – something which includes at least “intelligence, broad sympathy, knowledge of the world that was and is, and of the relation of men to it,” and as he adds in The Souls of Black Folk,” ideals, broad, pure, and inspiring ends of living.” In both texts, Du Bois ties this defense of liberal education to a need society has for “aristocratic” leavening from within. Does a serious difficulty arise for Du Bois’s vision, in an inevitable conflict with the strong democratic tendency Alexis de Tocqueville finds in the landscape of American education?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: LIBERAL EDUCATION IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
In the second volume of Democracy in America, Tocqueville wrote that in America science, great art, and fine poetry were rarer than in every civilized nation of his time, and that a concurrence of events hampered America’s pursuit of “the empire of the mind” – not democracy itself, but the Puritanical origins of Americans, their exclusively commercial habits, the nature of their country’s geography, their ability to benefit from the European pursuit of education, and “a thousand special causes”. He avers that these causes have fixed the American mind always on practical objects. This is a loss for the United States in Tocqueville’s view because it obscures a crucial truth about the expansion of the empire of the mind: it is necessary, he says, to turn aside from the object of our desire occasionally, “in order the better to attain it in the end.” Despite Tocqueville’s concerns, the United States has gone on to produce both creative and important forms of liberal education. This panel will consider the objects and importance of liberal education in America by exploring primary texts which discuss its relationship with American politics, culture, equality, and commerce.


Proposal Number: 214
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Words and Deeds and Stories: Hannah Arendt on Isak Dinesen
Core Text:
Men in Dark Times, The Human Condition
Abstract:
I argue that when Hannah Arendt defines power as "acting in concert" she means that power is the ability to shape a collective story that becomes the normative limit of political experience. In her study of several great lives, Men in Dark Times, Arendt develops this theory by exploring life and work of luminaries of the fraught political conditions of the twentieth century. Among these is Karen Blixen, professionally known as Isak Dinesen, whom Arendt critiques as someone who tried to arrange or lay out the story of her life ahead of time instead of living through it as an actor and sharing authorship of her life story with those around her. Arendt uses a line from Dinesen as an epigraph for her chapter on action in The Human Condition, and by looking more closely at Arendt on Dinesen, we gain greater clarity on the role Arendt imagines for politics in The Human Condition.


Proposal Number: 213
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Rhetorical and Dialectical Exchanges
Core Text:
Aristotle's Art of Rhetoric
Abstract:
The Art of Rhetoric begins with the claim that "rhetoric is a counterpart to dialectic." Based on this claim, Aristotle argues that rhetoric is indeed a genuine art, despite the criticism found in Plato's Gorgias. But is Aristotle's initial claim true? My paper will explore the possibility of exchanging opinions by means of dialectical speech and how that exchange differs for rhetorical speech.


Proposal Number: 212
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Reading Nursi’s Risale as a Reasoning-based Dialogue between Traditional Abrahamic Belief and Empiricist Principles
Core Text:
Said Nursi's Risale-i-Nur (Epistle of Light)
Abstract:
This paper problematizes the contentious intellectual relationship between traditional Abrahamic belief on the one hand, and empiricist principles on the other, through the unique lens of Said Nursi’s direct appeals to discursive reasoning in his Risale-i-Nur (Epistle of Light). From this perspective, we will engage directly with key passages of this post-Ottoman religious scholar’s work. More specifically, we will discuss some noteworthy occurrences of Nursi’s use of discursive reasoning methods (namely, the demonstrative syllogism, dialectical syllogism and enthymeme) in his promotion of intellectually grounded dialogue. In doing so, through the lens of a non-Western core text, we will discuss key distinctions raised through pure reasoning-based dialogue between these two very distinctive forms of belief/conviction.


Proposal Number: 211
Date: 2023-01-21
Paper Title: Sonic Accords and the Tension between Two Worlds in Derek Walcott's "Sea Grapes"
Core Text:
"Sea Grapes" by Derek Walcott (and The Odyssey by Homer)
Abstract:
Derek Walcott is a West Indian poet who often explores how economic and cultural exchange with America and Europe affects the economic, political, and literary landscape of his home in the Caribbean; he even participates in this exchange, for the style of his poetry is greatly influenced by the Western literary tradition. However, in many of his poems, Walcott wonders if this exchange truly benefits himself, his poetry, and his home. One such poem is “Sea Grapes,” in which Walcott compares himself to Odysseus and explores the tension between the classical world of Odysseus and his own Caribbean world. In my paper, I will focus on how Walcott uses the poem's sonic accords, including rhyme, alliteration, and assonance, to emphasize both how indebted he is to the Western tradition which formed his as a poet and how that tradition fails to bring him true peace as both an artist and a man.


Proposal Number: 210
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Expanding the View: E. M. Forster's "A Room with a View" in the Context of Study Abroad
Core Text:
"A Room with a View" by E. M. Forster.
Abstract:
Expanding the View: E. M. Forster’s “A Room with a View” in the Context of Study Abroad. In the Fall of 2019, I supervised 10 American students on a semester-long study abroad experience in Maastricht, Netherlands. Rather than teaching a course that the students could easily have taken at home, my course, “Journeys,” called on the students to integrate classroom discussions with their individual travel experiences. E. M. Forster’s 1908 novel “A Room with a View” set the tone, and thus the trope of expanding the “view” became the overarching theme of the course, as their written responses to the novel made clear.


Proposal Number: 209
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Montesquieu on the Muses as Commercial Artists
Core Text:
Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws
Abstract:
Montesquieu’s invocation of the Muses in the opening of book 20 (“On the laws in their relation to commerce, considered in its nature and its distinctions”) is in itself, especially to modern readers looking for inspiration from sociology’s forerunner, a pretty wild thing to do; moreover, to readers of a more classical bent, Montesquieu’s invocation is more of a proposed bargain than a pure invocation: “But if you do not want to soften the harshness of my labors, conceal the labor itself.” The request that the Muses conceal his labor suggests that Montesquieu’s aim in his treatment of commerce is to highlight its pleasant aspects and conceal its true, laborious nature. This division of the pleasant and laborious aspects of commerce is borne out in book 20’s distinction between traders and commerce: Traders can be regulated, possibly quite heavily, without commerce being hampered.


Proposal Number: 208
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Burke, Wollstonecraft, and a Conversation with the Past.
Core Text:
Edmund Burke's _Reflections on the Revolution in France_ (1790) and Mary Wollstonecraft's _Vindication of the Rights of Man_ (1790).
Abstract:
1.) In a well-known conversation that occurred in 1790, Edmund Burke once worried that “When antient opinions and rules of life are taken away, the loss cannot possibly be estimated;" Mary Wollstonecraft rebuts his argument, lambasting what she sees as his “mortal antipathy to reason,” mocking his “antient opinions and rules of life” as a mere “reverence the rust of antiquity.” 2.) When I have taught these two texts alongside one another, students inevitably see in this exchange some parallel to our current moment of politics, with Burke as the token conservative and Wollstonecraft as the token liberal. 3.) In looking at the conversation between these two figures, I urge us as core text instructors to set aside for a moment the fact that the terms “conservative” and “liberal” have a fraught, complex, and layered history that many of our students are not aware of, and instead focus on the acts of meaning-making that our students are engaged in. 4.) As representatives of political perspectives from another country at two centuries’ remove, Burke and Wollstonecraft allow students to defamiliarize themselves with the political labels they once thought they knew, and instead explore two political perspectives that are both illuminating and self-contradictory, both taking place as a historical moment that would shape the centuries to come.


Proposal Number: 207
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Reason, Religion, and the Dialogue of Cultures (as part of the proposed panel: "In Memory of Benedict XVI: Reflections on the Regensburg Address")
Core Text:
Benedict XVI’s “Regensburg Address”
Abstract:
Central to Benedict XVI’s “Regensburg Address” address is his claim that the narrowness of the currently prevailing conception of reason forestalls any serious “dialogue of cultures” involving religion--and especially the Christian faith--as a legitimate source of "scientific" truth. In advocating a broader view of reason, a reason open to the divine, Benedict seeks to recover a legitimate place for theology among the scientific disciplines and thereby make genuine, full dialogue of cultures once more possible. In this paper three related elements of Benedict XVI’s “Regensburg Address”—reason, religion, and the dialogue of cultures—will be examined. Along the way, Benedict's emphasis on "conversation" (Greek dialexis) will be considered.


Proposal Number: 206
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Benedict and Byzantium: Manuel II's Text in Context
Core Text:
The Regensburg Address
Abstract:
I HAVE ALREADY SUBMITTED A CONFERENCE PAPER PROPOSAL AND HAD IT ACCEPTED. THIS WEEK, I WAS ASKED BY MATTHEW WALZ TO SUBMIT IN ADDITION A PANEL PAPER PROPOSAL FOR "In Memory of Benedict XVI: Reflections on the "Regensburg Address"". IN CASE THERE IS SOME PROBLEM WITH ME GIVING TWO PAPERS, PLEASE LET ME KNOW HOW TO PROCEED. Among the most controversial aspects of Pope Benedict's Regensburg Address was his quotation of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II's dialogue with a Persian scholar on the roles of faith and reason and the relationship between these two faculties of the human intellect. The quotation of this somewhat obscure piece of late medieval philosophy demonstrated both Benedict's deep knowledge of Greek literature and his professorial gift for engendering academic discussion by courting controversy. This paper examines Benedict's rhetorical purpose in his use of Manuel II's text while contextualizing its place in the inter-religious dialogues of the late fourteenth and early twenty-first centuries.


Proposal Number: 205
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Legislating Desire: On the Significance of the Three Cities-in-Speech in Plato's Republic II-VII
Core Text:
Plato's Republic
Abstract:
In Books II-VII of Plato’s Republic, Socrates founds three different cities-in-speech. This fact raises a number of questions, which this paper will briefly address: What are the essential characteristics of each of the three cities? How should one understand the relation between these cities? And, most importantly, how does the overall progression of cities bear on the main question of Plato’s Republic, whether or not justice is good-in-itself for the just individual?


Proposal Number: 204
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Redeeming Lysimachus: The Miracle of Conversion in Pericles
Core Text:
Pericles
Abstract:
At the end of Shakespeare’s Pericles, the title character agrees to wed his daughter Marina to Lysimachus, a man who, earlier in the play, had less than noble intentions toward that same Marina when she was a captive in a brothel. Lysimachus’s conversion might seem unconvincing at best and absent at worst, threatening to undermine the joyous reunions of the end. However, understanding the medieval inheritance that still saturated Shakespeare’s literary cosmos may help us to understand Lysimachus in a new light. When we approach Pericles as a play in a tradition of miracle plays and imagine its early modern audience as one familiar with the lingering conventions of such stories of the saints, then we can understand Lysimachus’s rapid conversion as a miracle, one prompted by Marina’s skillful rhetoric but brought to fruition quickly and completely by the same divine aid that effects the other recoveries in the play.


Proposal Number: 203
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Dante’s Thomistic Realism: The Imperfections of Marco the Lombard in Purgatorio 16
Core Text:
Dante’s Commedia
Abstract:
The souls in Purgatory are imperfect, and in keeping with the Thomistic frame of this discussion I argue that this imperfection lies in Marco’s reason, as shown by the decisions he makes and his use of metaphors. His use of metaphors is in contrast to the way Dante uses metaphors elsewhere in the Divine Comedy, and produces grotesque images which are in line with the grotesque political reality Marco Lombardi describes. This is significant because this speech is said to be an expression of Dante’s political views as laid out in De Monarchia. However, Marco’s treatment and placement in Purgatory suggest that Dante acknowledges his vision to be problematic even as he recommends it to rulers.


Proposal Number: 202
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Livy on the Conditions for Freedom: An Introduction to Book I of Ab Urbe Condita
Core Text:
Livy's History of Rome (Ab Urbe Condita)
Abstract:
At the outset of Book II, Livy makes two major claims: he tells his reader that the 'libertas' of the Roman people will be his theme from that point forward, and that Brutus would have acted against the interests of the city if he had sought to found the republic any earlier. Together these two claims indicate the proper interpretation of Book I and the (almost surely fictionalized) account of the seven kings of Rome; it is an effort to identify and teach the conditions for republicanism, or free government, and the logic that informs their sequence. I present a portion of this reading of Book I in this paper.


Proposal Number: 201
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Arendt's "Eichmann" in Light of Newly Released Archival Material
Core Text:
"Eichmann in Jerusalem" by Hannah Arendt
Abstract:
My paper examines how the newly available Eichmann tapes popularized in the documentary "The Devil's Confession: The Lost Eichmann Tapes" inform our reading of Arendt's classic study of political evil. The paper also examines the material Bettina Stangneth used in her landmark 2014 study "Eichmann Before Jerusalem." Do these archival materials support or undercut Arendt's thesis about the banality of evil?


Proposal Number: 200
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Aristotle, Critical Thinking, and the Future of Creativity
Core Text:
Aristotle's Rhetoric and Topics
Abstract:
“Critical thinking” is a term derived from the Greek word kritikos which means to judge or discern. This exploratory paper reflects on Aristotle’s Rhetoric and Topics, and tripartite division of oratory into forensic, deliberative, and epideictic as a way to frame key aspects about how critical thinking courses can be constructed. The ability to question, analyze, interpret, evaluate and make a judgement depends on the type of judgment being sought, akin to the questions raised in rhetorical stasis method. Particular attention will be given to whether and how critical thinking informed by Aristotle might inhibit or enhance creativity and innovation around crucial conversations about topics such as commerce and migration.


Proposal Number: 199
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Rhetoric of the Bee-Wolf: Beowulf as Agent of Agency
Core Text:
Beowulf
Abstract:
Beowulf’s first speech to King Hrothgar is a bold boast interlaced with sober speculation and most strikingly, submission. Having been granted an audience with Hrothgar through the sweetness of his rhetoric, Beowulf expresses to the king his desire to achieve what no man so far has been able to accomplish: the defeat of the monster Grendel. In this desire there is an unmistakable implied hierarchy of martial prowess. The impotent king, powerless to resist Grendel’s bestial reign over Heorot, stands in stark contrast to the warrior who intends to defeat even this rampaging foe. However, because Beowulf submits his strength to Hrothgar’s command by asking for permission to fight Grendel, he refuses to let martial strength be the primary determining factor in his relationship with the king. Instead, in Beowulf’s speech, we see not only an affirmation of Hrothgar’s rule, but a stirring of the passive monarch to perform his kingly duty. I will argue that Beowulf’s presentation of his martial ambitions as a boon to be granted by Hrothgar, he subtly invigorates Hrothgar, priming him for regal activity by framing what is an otherwise passive response as magnanimous agency. Further, even in the worst-case scenario, Beowulf’s defeat, his request that Hrothgar return his armor to Hygelac directs the languishing monarch into active political engagement.


Proposal Number: 198
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Applying the liberal arts to running a business
Core Text:
The Great Books Program as a whole
Abstract:
My experience with the core texts program at St. John's College uniquely prepared for success in running a school. The big ideas are engaging for students of all ages and the dialogue modeled by the authors prepared me to build a successful faculty and community culture. The paper is part of the “Autobiography and ‘Marketing’ Liberal Arts Graduates panel.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Autobiography and ‘Marketing’ Liberal Arts Graduates"
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
J. Scott Lee already submitted the abstract for this panel.


Proposal Number: 197
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: “My Resistance Is Vain”: Comedy, Tragedy, and the Abdication of Responsibility
Core Text:
Corneille, Racine, Molière (references to multiple texts from the theatre of each); La Princesse de Clèves, Madame Bovary
Abstract:
What do American sitcoms of the late 20th century and 17th century French theatre have in common? I see a recurring pattern in both that I would call a darkening of the tragicomic vision. Just as the upbeat sitcoms of the 60s (Father really does end up knowing best) eventually give way to the darker humor of the 90s, so the superheroes of Cornelian tragedy are bumped off the stage by Racine’s deeply flawed, more “modern” characters. We can trace a similar movement in the French novel: from classical resistance to temptation through to Naturalist nihilism. Is there a natural human instinct toward devolution? This paper aims to explore that question across several genres.


Proposal Number: 196
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Title: A Reasonable Study of History in the Light of Regensburg
Core Text:
Core Text: Benedict XVI, Regensburg Address
Abstract:
Abstract: In his Regensburg Address, Benedict XVI identified history as one of the disciplines that has been subjected to a “canon of scientificity” imposed by a view of reason that limits it to the empirically verifiable. This paper will explore the contrast between classical and modern approaches to history to illuminate Benedict’s critique of the canon, and indicate how one might approach history with “a courage embraces the whole breadth of reason.”


Proposal Number: 195
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Educating for Liberty: Cicero, Petrarch, and the Origin of the Humanities
Core Text:
Cicero's Pro Archia and Petrarch's Coronation Oration
Abstract:
The phrase “liberal arts education” elides intellectual traditions that have distinct etymological histories and have inspired diverse pedagogic aims. In our own contemporary educational milieu, phrases such as “the liberal arts,” “liberal education,” “liberal arts education,” or “the humanities” either become confused as mere synonyms or alternatively conjure radically different meanings and associations. In returning to the ancient origination of the idea of liberal education, which is to say, that transformation of the human being through learning which makes us free, we discover a bond that is still vital today between the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom (philosophia), the desire for justice, and the purpose of civic education. This tradition of liberal education as civic education entered modernity through the writings of the Renaissance humanists who followed in the footsteps of Petrarch, the founder of that movement who first articulated a course of studies for youth in ancient history, literature, and moral philosophy as the best preparation for living a good life AND being in a position to rule over others, if called upon to assume positions of leadership, with virtue and wisdom. For his part, Petrarch understood humanist studies to be focused on primarily Roman and to a lesser extent Greek texts. On this path back to the ancients taken by Petrarch and his fellow Renaissance humanists, Cicero was the guiding light (as Vergil had been for Dante). His speeches and writings modeled for Petrarch the way of life that he hoped to revive in his own times. Cicero, in turn, had reoriented the traditional understanding of liberal education, which he had inherited from Socrates and Plato’s "Republic," around the needs of Roman political life, thus making liberal education the foundation for civic education. The main thread that runs through this tradition is the idea that quieting the turmoil in our own souls through the pursuit of wisdom prepares the way for human beings to live well and to engage virtuously in politics.


Proposal Number: 194
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Logos and the Provision of Freedom in Aristotle's Economic Teaching
Core Text:
Aristotle's Politics
Abstract:
Most "economic" interpretations of Aristotle shy away from the role Aristotle's teaching on slavery plays in his accounts of acquisition, the money-making art, and household management in Book I of the Politics. But a more careful and literal look at key arguments in Politics I.4-11 reveals the necessity for reading these arguments as part of a movement towards a freer view of acquisition and rule for households and cities. For Aristotle, the true provision of freedom in economic and political life comes not through acquisition and exchange, but the logos informing these practical pursuits.


Proposal Number: 193
Date: 2023-01-20
Paper Title: Rhetoric as a Liberal and Illiberal Art
Core Text:
Aristotle, "Rhetoric" and "Politics"
Abstract:
The nature of rhetoric is partly obscured today by a common view of liberal education, in which education is servile if it is approached as a practical and useful means to extrinsic ends, and it is liberal if it is solely devoted to the search for truth as an end in itself. But this common view is challenged by the view of liberal education laid out in Book VIII of the Politics, where Aristotle says that useful arts are liberal if they are practiced for the sake of virtue and for the sake of one's friends . This implies that in a liberal education, rhetoric should be studied in two ways: both as an object of knowledge to be studied theoretically; but also as a practice proper to free citizens in a democracy--the art of speaking in public for the sake of the common good. A close reading of Aristotle supports the view that liberal education is not just theoretical but practical as well.


Proposal Number: 192
Date: 2023-01-19
Paper Title: The Misguided Search for Connection in Ted Chiang’s “The Great Silence”
Core Text:
"The Great Silence" by Ted Chiang
Abstract:
Award-winning sci-fi author Ted Chiang provokes contemplation about humanity’s desire for interstellar communication at the expense of our connection with nature here on earth. Chiang’s short story “The Great Silence” is the textual component of a multimodal collaboration that also includes visceral juxtapositions of imagery and sound. The narrating voice of the story is a parrot, who laments the loss of its natural habitat due to the construction of the Arecibo Observatory, a gigantic array of radar dishes built to discern the slightest hint of extraterrestrial intelligence. What is lost in this misguided search for connection beyond the bounds of earth is the precious, unheard message of nature longing for our attention.


Proposal Number: 191
Date: 2023-01-19
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Perfect Storm of Accreditation Reform
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Most faculty experience accreditation as an empty “box-ticking” exercise divorced from any real consideration of what constitutes effective teaching or how students actually learn. This unfortunate experience is rooted in the early 1990s, when accreditors adopted a “strategic-management” approach from the corporate world and began applying it to colleges and universities. The language of learning “objectives” and “outcomes” has thus become common, yet in reality institutions’ strategic planning often fails to take learning seriously. Perceiving this disconnect, faculty generally view the accreditation process as an unproductive and distracting burden. For the first time in two generations, accreditation reform is now on the docket of both political parties. The status quo is being challenged as the result of a “perfect storm” of factors, beginning with regulatory changes that created a national marketplace for accreditors and ended regional accreditors’ monopoly over their regions. This presentation will review the factors that have led to the likelihood of major accreditation reform, the direction this reform might take, and how this reform might be beneficial or harmful to the teaching of core texts and courses.


Proposal Number: 190
Date: 2023-01-19
Paper Title: Hegel, Mind, and Wealth
Core Text:
Phenomenology of Spirit; Philosophy of Right
Abstract:
Hegel’s significance for contemporary philosophy of mind has been noted by some philosophers, including John McDowell. This has raised his profile in certain areas of philosophy that are not well-known for being influenced by Hegel. This paper seeks to sketch out some foundations of contemporary positions Hegel’s philosophy of mind. It will also show how these interpretations relate to Hegel’s position on wealth, commerce, and related issues.


Proposal Number: 189
Date: 2023-01-19
Paper Title: “Making Room for Mistral in the XXI Century: new contexts, new answers”
Core Text:
Selected texts (Gabriela Mistral)
Abstract:
In a changing and convulsed world, the reading experience of Gabriela Mistral`s work is challenging and comforting. Challenging because it confronts us with problems that are still current, and comforting because it gives us clues about the paths that could lead us to find some solutions. This presentation examines some questions and answers that Mistral offers us in this century.


Proposal Number: 188
Date: 2023-01-18
Paper Title: Making Use of Resources at Your Institution to Market The Liberal Arts in Video
Core Text:
a video focused on teaching core texts and the impact of a core text program
Abstract:
This is meant to be a part of the Autobiography and "Marketing" the Liberal Arts and Artistry Panel. Did you know that your institution probably has a dedicated person or team responsible for producing instructional and marketing videos? Working with these resources on your campus is a great way to help spread the word about the impact of core-text based programs on your campus. The Great Questions at Austin Community College has made good use of media production resources at ACC to produce a number of helpful videos that do just that. You'll learn more about one of these successful projects and how to start one of your own in this short talk.


Proposal Number: 187
Date: 2023-01-18
Paper Title: A Case Against Experts in Plato’s Apology
Core Text:
Plato's Apology
Abstract:
During his “Delphic Quest”, Socrates questions the statesmen, the poets, and the craftsmen about what they claim to know. This paper will explore what he learns from his conversations with these “experts” and what we might learn from reflecting on these exchanges in engaging with and considering the guidance of the “experts” in our time.


Proposal Number: 186
Date: 2023-01-18
Paper Title: A Well-Crafted Speech: Getting at the Heart of Benedict XVI's "Regensburg Address"
Core Text:
Pope Benedict XVI, "Regensburg Address"
Abstract:
In 2006, in the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg, Pope Benedict XVI delivered a well-crafted speech called "Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections," now known to most as the "Regensburg Address." This paper examines the structure of the speech as a whole, with a view to determining what stands at the heart of Benedict XVI's memories and reflections at a university of whose faculty he was once a member. Attentiveness to the structure of the "Regensburg Address" surfaces the central claims that Benedict XVI makes regarding the relationship between faith and reason, the nature of a university, and Europe as a historical-cultural reality.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: In Memory of Benedict XVI: Reflections on the "Regensburg Address"
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel honors the memory of the recently deceased Pope Benedict XVI. Each panelist will bring out different aspects of a short, but dense text written and delivered by him, namely, the "Regensburg Address." Officially entitled by Benedict XVI as "Faith, Reason, and the University: Memories and Reflections," the address will be considered in terms of its overall structure, its central claims, and its key themes. In addition to simply digging more deeply into the thought of this great theologian and teacher, this panel hopes to manifest the worthiness of the "Regensburg Address" as a core text for those teaching about the relationship between faith and reason as well as about the nature of the university.


Proposal Number: 185
Date: 2023-01-18
Paper Title: “Conversion and Controversy in the Croxton Play of the Sacrament”
Core Text:
The Croxton Play of the Sacrament
Abstract:
The Croxton Play of the Sacrament is a fifteenth-century English miracle play in which five Jewish characters obtain a consecrated Host and subject it to violence as a late medieval re-enactment of Christ’s Passion. By the end of play the Jews discover to their astonishment that the Host is truly the body and blood of Christ and undergo conversion to Christianity. The play emphasizes several important themes that encapsulate late medieval English society and culture, from anti-Judaism and Christian triumphalism to piety, violence and the divine. But the play also includes a sharp polemical subtext that was written to confront heresy through a clear demonstration of late medieval Christian orthodoxy regarding the Eucharist. The play can serve as a great primary source for students studying history, religion or English drama as they seek to understand the complexities of English culture and society during the late Middle Ages.


Proposal Number: 184
Date: 2023-01-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Forgotten Ethics and Forgotten Ethicists
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The discipline of Ethics is among the oldest in the western philosophical tradition. As with many disciplines and subdisciplines, the place of ethics has often been unbounded. This is true whether, like Aristotle, ethics is seen to bleed into the political, or whether, like Foucault, it is considered to be a mask worn by raw power. Few thinkers, if any, believe it to be a discrete pursuit undertaken without accompanying considerations. In this panel we will explore forgotten ethicists or forms of ethical consideration which, while not forgotten, are under explored and deserve greater direct engagement.


Proposal Number: 183
Date: 2023-01-17
Paper Title: Cyrus’s Abortive Apotheosis in The Education of Cyrus
Core Text:
The Education of Cyrus
Abstract:
In this paper on Xenophon’s Cyropaedia, I argue that Cyrus tries—and fails—to deify himself in the eyes of his subjects. Cyrus’s failure stems in part from his defective education, but Xenophon also uses Cyrus’s failure to intimate what would be required for a successful apotheosis. In addition to the Cyropaedia, I will also draw from Machiavelli’s account of Cyrus in the Prince, as well as Xenophon’s account of Lycurgus in his Regime of the Lacedaemonians.


Proposal Number: 182
Date: 2023-01-17
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: "You have spoken after drinking too much beer": Rhetoric in Beowulf, and How Speech Influences the World
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
It is curious that, although Beowulf is known principally for his martial prowess, both by characters within the poem and by readers generally, the heroic feats he performs and the overwhelming battles that he fights comprise only a relatively small portion of the poem--around one-sixth. The vast majority is, by and large, devoted to speech: speech between characters; between allies and enemies; and even between the poet and the audience, all aimed at particular ends. Indeed, it is noteworthy that the poem's introduction to Beowulf as a character is one of words rather than of steel. Though the watchtower guard is initially struck by his armed appearance, Beowulf instead proves himself to be first and foremost a diplomat and an orator, relying not on his strength but his rhetoric to gain access to Danish shores and then to Heorot Hall. The way characters speak, the rhetoric they employ, immediately colors our perception as readers of them, and allows the poet room to play in-between the lines in ways that either affirm or undercut the ideas presented thereby. This panel will seek to examine a few moments in the poem where rhetoric is its most potent, and perhaps also seek some understanding of why the poet has made it so that rhetoric plays a pivotal position within the poem.


Proposal Number: 181
Date: 2023-01-17
Paper Title: Cicero's Arrangement Applied Across Modern Arrangements
Core Text:
Cicero, De Oratore, Focusing on Book I.
Abstract:
Cicero's De Orator outlines the arrangement or order in which a speech should go. This paper will show how Cicero's arrangement can be used to provide better insights into contemporary arrangements. Specifically, the paper will show how Cicero's arrangement creates synergy with 1) The scientific research paper, 2) The Toulmin Model, 3) Monroe's Motivated Sequence, Tordov's narrative model, and 4) The inverted pyramid. By bringing these contemporary modes of arrangement in dialogue with Cicero, they can be both better understood and create more compelling speech.


Proposal Number: 180
Date: 2023-01-16
Paper Title: God's Foreknowledge and Man's Dreams in Paradise Lost
Core Text:
Paradise Lost
Abstract:
Some readers of Paradise Lost might deem it unfair of Milton's God to limit Adam and Eve’s knowledge and thus lead them to err and eventually sin, but Milton seems to want to defend God by having Him assert that, in endowing Adam and Eve with “Reason and Will,” He gave them exactly what they needed to “stand” rather than fall (3.98-111). This paper will explore the consistency of Milton's argument for God's justice by drawing parallels between God's foreknowledge and man's foresight in dreams. Through Adam's dreams, God communicates to and educates Adam, training his reason and will to discern the deceptive nature of Eve's dream and thus equipping the two to "stand" rather than "fall." In comparing God’s foreknowledge to Adam and Eve's Dreams, Milton presents that fallible free moral agents must be wary of acting based on any presentation of future possibility that appeals to the intuitively unreasonable desire to be God rather than to desires that accord with man's position as creature.


Proposal Number: 179
Date: 2023-01-16
Paper Title: Philosophy, Play, and Education in Plato's Republic
Core Text:
Plato's Republic
Abstract:
In the middle of his account of the education of the philosopher in Book Seven of Plato’s Republic, Socrates suddenly pauses to admonish himself for having become “ridiculously affected.” “I forgot,” He says, “that we were playing and spoke rather intensely. For, as I was talking I looked at Philosophy and, seeing her undeservingly spattered with mud, I seem to have been vexed and said what I had to say too seriously.” If we take Socrates as speaking seriously here and not ironically, how is it that Socrates can play with his friends while philosophizing but still warn against the dangers of play in the education of the young, with an ultimate view toward an education in philosophy? This paper argues that Socrates at times criticizes play to refine its role in education, and his "play" serves as an indication of the childlike, but not childish, posture one should adopt in order to be receptive to philosophy.


Proposal Number: 178
Date: 2023-01-16
Paper Title: The Commerce of East and West in Dostoevsky's Demons
Core Text:
Dostoevsky's Demons
Abstract:
In Richard Pevear's introduction to Dostoevsky's Demons, he raises the troubling question of who or what the title, Besy, is intended to describe. He argues that the possessors are ideas which have overtaken the characters, "the isms that came to Russia from the West." But these ideas do not behave the way one might expect from inert dogmas. Rather, Pevear follows Bakhtin in identifying a peculiar quality in these ideas: these "evil or alien ideas" have the capacity to "inhabit a person, misleading him, perverting him ontologically, driving him to crime or insanity." In my paper, I will argue that Dostoevsky's penchant for thinking of ideas this way, as having what amounts to a kind of agency capable of distorting and destroying a person intentionally, coheres with an Eastern Christian tradition that can be traced back to Evagrius of Pontus' articulation of the "eight thoughts" from which we draw our tradition of the seven deadly sins. Evagrius' description of these intrusive, manipulative, and even strategic thoughts, and his claims regarding their demonic origin, and his strategies for combatting them all cohere with Dostoevsky's account. I will argue that Dostoevsky's demonic ideas preserve and articulate Evagrius' view, reflective of Ancient African and Eastern roots, over and against the western tradition of the Seven Deadly Sins transmitted by Cassian, in which inert concepts replace these active agencies. The two mutually illuminate each other, and point to their shared roots in an eastern Christian tradition.


Proposal Number: 177
Date: 2023-01-16
Paper Title: Submitting and Yet Also Sacrificing: Democratic Wives in Tocqueville's America
Core Text:
Democracy in America, Alexis de Tocqueville
Abstract:
Tocqueville famously attributes the "singular prosperity and growing strength" of the American people to the "superiority of their women." Yet though he praises America's women, he also notes that in marriage, American women both submit and sacrifice with a new intensity compared to that found among European women. Tocqueville's analysis indicates that amidst the freedom and equality of the American frontier, a transformation of Christian marriage has occurred in which women bear an unequal marital burden. While on a Pauline basis, wives are to submit to their husbands and husbands are to sacrifice for their wives, American wives, Tocqueville suggests, take on both roles, that of submission and that of sacrifice.


Proposal Number: 176
Date: 2023-01-13
Paper Title: Liberal Education and Work: W.E.B. DuBois’s Mature Reflections on His Old Debate with Booker T. Washington
Core Text:
DuBois, The Souls of Black Folk; DuBois, The Education of Black People
Abstract:
In The Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. DuBois offers an extended critique of and response to Booker T. Washington’s promotion of industrial education for formerly enslaved blacks and deprecation of liberal education as utterly unsuited for the circumstances of the population he aims to educate. The core of DuBois’s rejoinder can be encapsulated in the following statement: “The object of education not to make men carpenters but to make carpenters men.” By the 1930s, however, DuBois came to soften his view somewhat, without abandoning his commitment to the liberal education he so eloquently celebrated in his earlier work. In this paper, I will explore his arguments in two essays, “Education and Work” (1930) and “The Field and Function of the Negro College” (1933), where he sketches a self-consciously democratic alternative to the aristocratic conception of higher education, which he regards as ultimately sterile and incapable of being sustained.


Proposal Number: 175
Date: 2023-01-13
Paper Title: Thomas Traherne's Place in the Tradition of Ethical Reflection
Core Text:
Thomas Traherne's Christian Ethicks
Abstract:
Thomas Traherne's Christian Ethicks was forgotten almost as soon as it was published in 1675. A sign of its inherent irrelevance, or an accident of history? Well, Traherne and his patron both died just months before the book was published—and thus were not able to champion it, or even keep it in print long enough to attract attention. Subsequently during the Enlightenment, English Protestants who might have read the book gradually abandoned the Aristotelian and Platonic tradition of ethical reflection from which Traherne drew, virtually guaranteeing the work’s continued obscurity. This paper will reconsider Traherne's Christian Ethicks and its place in the broader tradition of ethical reflection, particularly as a text worth recovering in light of the contemporary renewal of Aristotelian ethical reflection kicked off by Anscombe, Foot, and Macintyre.


Proposal Number: 174
Date: 2023-01-12
Paper Title: Prudence in Aristotle's Metaphysics
Core Text:
Aristotle's Metaphysics
Abstract:
Since the Metaphysics is "above" nature, how can prudence (phronesis) figure in it? Yet the word occurs a number of times in the Metaphysics. But does it mean the same thing there as it does in the Nicomachean Ethics? We will explore the meaning of phronesis in the Metaphysics.


Proposal Number: 172
Date: 2023-01-11
Paper Title: Hegel, Conscience, and the Beautiful Soul
Core Text:
Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit
Abstract:
Hegel offers a detailed and far-reaching account of ‘conscience’ and the ‘beautiful soul’ in the section of the Phenomenology of Spirit that addresses the transition from a philosophical orientation that he calls the ‘moral view of the world’ (exemplified by Kantian moral philosophy) to a distinctly religious form of consciousness. ‘Conscience’ is the name for a way of thinking about our moral choices that aspires to unite the universality of Kantian practical reason with an attunement to the inevitable singularity of our concrete decisions. Hegel develops the figure of the ‘beautiful soul’ (someone who judges others but never deems to act themselves) when he considers the limitations or dangers of ‘conscience.’ Hegel’s criticisms of the morbid dimension of the ‘beautiful soul’ have received a good deal of attention, yet despite its limitations, conscience remains for Hegel a rich form of moral thinking, and this paper will attempt to explain why this is the case.


Proposal Number: 171
Date: 2023-01-10
Paper Title: Shakespeare on the Promise and the Perils of Globalization
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
Abstract:
Venice, as a great trading state operating on an essentially global level, must in order to trade with foreigners wherever there is profit to be made, must open itself up to them, with their own laws and customs very different from those of the Venetians. It is thus a kind of microcosm of the modern phenomenon of globalization. As such, it exhibits not only the nature of globalization, but also the possibilities it offers and the problems that it creates. In the Merchant of Venice Shakespeare portrays the one in the beautiful Utopia of Belmont, the other in the gritty reality of real-world Venice, and raises indirectly, in the happy ending that it offers, the question whether Belmont's promise can actually solve Venice's real problems.


Proposal Number: 170
Date: 2023-01-10
Paper Title: Frankenstein though the Eyes of Adam Smith
Core Text:
Shelley's Frankenstein and Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
In this paper I will explore the thematic structure of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through the ideas of sympathy, benevolence and justice developed by Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Panel submitted by Dan Nuckols separately
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 169
Date: 2023-01-09
Paper Title: Liquid Ancients: Achilles as Rootless Cosmopolitan
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
This essay will consider how a decade abroad at war has scrambled Achilles sense of cultural identity. While Achilles regularly threatens to return home, the war has left him ideologically unmoored from any concrete place. He exhibits many characteristics of a subject trying to find an identity in a liquid reality. I will frame my analysis with reference to Zygmunt Bauman, Patrick Deneen, and other contemporary scholars who consider the psycho-ideological impact of rootlessness.


Proposal Number: 168
Date: 2023-01-07
Paper Title: Divine and Human Origins of Language in Hamann's "The Last Will and Testament of the Knight of the Rose-Cross"
Core Text:
The Last Will and Testament of the Knight of the Rose-Cross: Concerning the Divine and Human Origin of Language by JG Hamann
Abstract:
My paper, a part of the 'Humanity and the Holy' panel, examines JG Hamann's "The Last Will and Testament of the Knight of the Rose-Cross: Concerning the Divine and Human Origin of Language" for purpose of understanding Hamann's distinctive approach to the origin and character of language. Drawing on issues raised earlier by both Rousseau and Herder, Hamann's account of language takes seriously the necessity of divine or mythological means of accounting for the origin of language. The relation of nature and supernature is problematized by Hamann's account. As a result, readers are forced to reconsider how authors do or must communicate, including Hamann himself.


Proposal Number: 108
Date: 2023-01-06
Paper Title: Mercy and the Art of Grieving Well
Core Text:
Augustine's Confessions
Abstract:
In this paper, I will argue that mercy – especially as articulated by Thomas Aquinas – is a helpful lens through which to view Augustine’s narrative on grief. To do so, I will examine several Augustinian examples of grief and attend to their distinguishing features. Along the way, I will utilize Aquinas’s discussion of mercy to shed additional light on Augustine’s treatment of grief, and in particular, to clarify how Christian grief as illustrated by Augustine involves mercy as one of its central features. While not the main goal of the paper, I will also be gesturing towards the continuity of thought here between Augustine and Aquinas.


Proposal Number: 167
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Hope for Students in an Information Age
Core Text:
"La Esperanza" (Hope) by Polo
Abstract:
In this introduction, I will situate Polo’s article on hope within the context of the project to introduce Polo’s thought to English-speaking educational institutions. To this end, my aim is four-fold: first, I will highlight the relevance of Polo’s thought for education; second, I will relate the article on hope to Polo’s thought more generally; third, I will provide an overview of the content of the paper; and fourth, I will discuss the significance of this paper for young people in our information age.


Proposal Number: 78
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Commerce and Comics: Re-reading Uncle Scrooge with Dorfman, Rosa, and Martina
Core Text:
Carl Barks' "Duckverse"; Don Rosa's "Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck"; Ariel Dorfman's "How to Read Donald Duck"
Abstract:
Since the publication of Ariel Dorfman’s “How to Read Donald Duck” in 1971, awareness of the international influence and importance of Carl Barks’ “Duck comics” has become deeply rooted in scholarly discussions of 20th-century American culture and its ramifications for American foreign policy and “soft power.” As a primary vector for the creation and propagation of idealizations of the “American way of life,” Barks’ comics have been recognized as a quasi-canonical text, given tangible form in the massive and ongoing Fantagraphics edition, complete with critical essays and bibliographies. While the “Duck books” are no longer popular in the United States, they remain on bestseller lists in Italy, Scandinavia, and the Southern Cone, serving as a flashpoint in the cultural contest between capitalist neoliberalism and marxist critical theory. Arguing that Don Rosa’s graphic novel, “The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck” has been the most effective response to Dorfman’s marxist analysis of Barks’ work, this paper reflects on the power of myth, the limits of scholarship, and the enduring appeal of midcentury American popular culture in European and Latin American contexts.


Proposal Number: 75
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Protean Commerce in Shakespeare's Venice
Core Text:
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice
Abstract:
Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice takes place in the singularly cosmopolitan city of Shakespeare's time, a great center of commerce. Commerce there has many meanings and functions in love, friendship, rivalry, and revenge; it cannot simply be reduced to a sullied instrument, at best a dressed-up filthy lucre. Commerce mixes with gift-giving, sacrifice, rivalry, and revenge. The commercial laws of Venice concentrate all these in a trial of Venetian justice that fulfills and questions the meaning contracts and love's promises.


Proposal Number: 74
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Teaching, Knowing, and Calling: Augustine's Beginning Prayer of the Confessions and the Structure of the Summa
Core Text:
Augustine's Confessions, Aquinas's Summa Theologiae
Abstract:
Bringing Augustine's Confessions and Aquinas's Summa into conversation in the same class might appear to be a challenge, given their vast differences in genre, style, and rhetoric. However, one can find structural and thematic resonance between the first paragraph of Confessions and Aquinas's Prologue and overall structure of the Summa. When one compares the two, one finds that both Augustine and Aquinas give a similar structure of the Christian life. The Christian life begins with being taught, then proceeds to knowing God, calling upon God, seeking God, finding God, and finally praising God.


Proposal Number: 68
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Frankenstein Throught the Eyes of Adam Smith
Core Text:
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Adam Smith's The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
This paper offers a reading of the thematic stucture of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein through the ideas of sympathy, benevolence and justice developed by Adam Smith in The Theory of Moral Sentiments.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: being offered as part of Dan Nuchols panel submitted separately
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 65
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: From Shakespeare to Descartes: Using Literary Readings to Enhance Philosophy Instruction
Core Text:
Descartes' Meditations and Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Abstract:
I will introduce a way in which I try to make philosophical texts more tangible for students taking their first philosophy class as part of the Core Curriculum at Notre Dame by including literary readings. For example, before reading Descartes’s Meditations, we read the first part of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (the Q1 version). Just as Hamlet is concerned about the veracity of the ghost's accusations as it might be a deception of the devil, so is Descartes is concerned about the veracity of the outer world as it might be a deception of the devil. This analogy provides students with a more concrete and relatable context for understanding abstract philosophical ideas.


Proposal Number: 52
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Whether "hamartia" means intellectual error or sin, Oedipus is guilty of it
Core Text:
Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus
Abstract:
Despite Aristotle’s both recognizing hamartia as a central aspect of tragic character and regarding Sophocles’ Oedipus Tyrannus as the best example of an actual tragedy, scholars have been hard pressed to find sufficient fault with the main character’s actions to justify the fate he is made to suffer. This problem may stem from modern readers' insensitivity to a key distinction between piety and impiety in 5th century Greece relating to the proper use of Delphi. The use of this institution was in fact so problematic even then that It was a focus of Sophocles’ concern. The error Oedipus makes stems from his misjudging the powers of the god in whose name Delphi operates; in a Christian context it could well be called "sin".

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: On
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 43
Date: 2023-01-05
Paper Title: Augustinian Natural Law, Frederick Douglass’s Autobiography, and Recognition of Essential Aspects of Humanity as Essential to the Argument Against Slavery
Core Text:
Augustine's On the Free Choice of the Will and City of God and Frederick Douglass's Autobiographies
Abstract:
Augustine’s On the Free Choice of the Will and City of God articulate a compelling account of man’s natural, rational capacity to recognize what is good and to thereby distinguish between law and banditry. Relying on Augustine’s account of man’s natural and rational capacities to know the good and to recognize what is just, I show that Frederick Douglass’s autobiography is in its structure and core arguments an appeal to natural law. Douglass beautifully appeals to man’s nature and reason and to slavery’s contravention of man’s natural capacity as a good and reasoning creature as core arguments against the justice of slavery.


Proposal Number: 166
Date: 2023-01-04
Paper Title: Kant and the Problem of Enlightenment
Core Text:
Kant's "An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?"
Abstract:
Kant’s critical philosophy marks a climax in the enlightenment, and Kant seems to be an enlightenment thinker par excellance. Accordingly, it seems reasonable to turn to Kant’s “An Answer to the Question: What is Enlightenment?” as a source of special insight into his self-understanding, and at first glance, this essay appears to be a programmatic statement that illuminates the unity and coherence of his philosophical project while simultaneously shedding light on the implementation and implications of his critical philosophy. In this essay, however, I will highlight three problems that emerge over the course of Kant’s enlightenment essay in order to highlight the limits of the conception of enlightenment that Kant presents therein. I will conclude by suggesting that Kant becomes increasingly aware of the challenges that confront enlightenment and the problems inherent in his early vision of enlightenment over the course of the second half of the 1780’s and that his awareness of the challenges that confront enlightenment sets the stage for his later, novel accounts of how enlightenment is possible.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Humanity and the Holy
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This year's conference addresses the theme of 'meaningful exchange.' While there are many forms of exchange between human beings, there seems to be another form of exchange that takes place between the divine and the human. Socrates and Euthyphro famously discuss this possibility in Plato's Euthyphro (14e). The question of the nature, possibility, and significance of exchange between the divine and the human lies at the very heart of questions of the relationship between reason and revelation that have been a vital force in the development of the Western intellectual tradition. This panel will investigate the theme of "humanity and the holy" in order to explore the questions outlined above. It will seek to illuminate these questions from a variety of perspectives by examining thinkers like Aristophanes, Hamann, Kant, and Kierkegaard.


Proposal Number: 164
Date: 2023-01-04
Paper Title: The Curse of Ambition
Core Text:
Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments and Shakespeare's Macbeth
Abstract:
This essay reads Adam Smith’s story of “the poor man’s son whom heaven in its anger has visited with ambition” alongside Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Both are cautionary tales about the pursuit of power and riches: much is sacrificed for a reward that, in the end, is not worth having. But Smith proceeds to argue that it is well nature deceives us so, while Macbeth amplifies the disorder of such acquisitiveness. Read in conversation, the two texts invite us to consider better and worse ways for pursuing that fundamental human “desire to be praised and praiseworthy”.


Proposal Number: 145
Date: 2023-01-04
Paper Title: Unpacking Walter Benjamin’s Library: Collecting Conversation
Core Text:
Walter Benjamin, "Unpacking My Library: A Talk about Collecting" (1931)
Abstract:
Walter Benjamin invites us to join him in a meditation on his personal library as he narrates and lists volumes from his collection in an essay composed in 1931. Considering this solitary setting and Benjamin’s unabashed embrace of his proclivities, one might expect text to remain at a remove from the reader. However, in his characteristic style, the essay opens a series of intertwined dialectics—or exchanges—that implicate the reader in his reverie. And so, no matter how our own collections align with the books named in the essay, this conversation with Benjamin via his possessions encourages us to consider how our own volumes speak.


Proposal Number: 162
Date: 2023-01-03
Paper Title: Virgil and the Art of Law
Core Text:
The Aeneid
Abstract:
This paper will consider the claim by Aeneas' father in the underworld that the Roman imposition of law on the nations is a form of art (artes). In what way is law like the other works of art in the epic--the murals of Troy, the gold work of Daedalus, the arms of Aeneas, the belt of Pallas, or, above all, the poetry of Virgil? If law does not compare easily to these things, perhaps it relates to art as a condition precedent, making the claim a false dream.


Proposal Number: 161
Date: 2023-01-03
Paper Title: “The idea of property in men:” Frederick Douglass’s 1860 Glasgow speech as a response to the "1619 Project"
Core Text:
Frederick Douglass, “The Constitution of the United States: is it Pro-Slavery or Ant-Slavery”
Abstract:
In a speech delivered in Glasgow, Scotland on March 26, 1860, Frederick Douglass concluded the US Constitution is anti-slavery. Hannah Nikole Jones reaches the opposite conclusion in the original version of her lead-off article for The New York Times Magazine’s “1619 Project” (2020): “the framers carefully constructed a document that preserved and protected slavery without ever using the word.” Jones’s reading looks to the framers' hidden motives while Douglass insists such an approach would be “absurd” because “It was what they said that was adopted by the people, not what they were ashamed or afraid to say.” Douglass also cites James Madison to the effect that the constitutional convention ultimately rejected the “idea of property in men.” The paper will compare Douglass’ and Jones’ approaches to reading the Constitution, and it will conclude with reflections on whether Douglass’ argument succeeds by relying upon an implied Lockean anthropology.


Proposal Number: 160
Date: 2023-01-03
Paper Title: The Lunatic, the Lover, and the Lyricist: The Awakening of Faith in Shakespeare's Cymbeline
Core Text:
Shakespeare, Cymbeline
Abstract:
In the well-trodden intersection of religion and theater, Shakespeare continues to be a spring of refreshment and inspiration at the crossing. How then is the imagination both formative and formed in Shakespeare’s work? How does Cymbeline, with its absurdities, its enchantment, and its sublime poetry evoke the awakening of faith? I answer: The story is too implausible, too good to be true without a robust evocation of the supernatural.


Proposal Number: 158
Date: 2023-01-02
Paper Title: Reading Simone Weil on Reading
Core Text:
Simone Weil, "Essay on the Concept of Reading"
Abstract:
In any “commercial” exchange, whether economic or philosophical, the true nature of the exchange often lies hidden from view. This presentation will first propose Simone Weil’s brief “Essay on the Concept of Reading” as a useful tool for beginning to think with students about our commerce with the world and then pose a couple of questions about how to read the essay itself.


Proposal Number: 156
Date: 2023-01-01
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Intersection of Economics and Literature: Issues for Contemporary International Commerce
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel explores the thematic structures of both economic and literary texts, and how they help to understand some the more pressing problems facing global exchange. Specifically, papers will address how great literature can bring forth a clearer understanding of the challenges facing international commerce. Through Adam Smith's THEORY OF MORAL SENTIMENTS, treatment will be given to his ideas of sympathy, benevolence and justice through the work of Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTIEN; plus how Smith's sympathy is an important part of the persuasion that leads to and undergirds successful market exchange. Further discussion will center around William Shakespeare's THE MERCHANT OF VENICE and how it offers insights into the evolving nature of value, worth and free trade. Daniel Kahneman's work (Nobel Prize Economics) on Type One and Type Two decision-making will be tested through the lenses of Heinrich Kleist's MARQUISE OF O and Albert Camus' THE REBEL, as questions are raised over some of the assumptions that surround modern notions of cultural differences.


Proposal Number: 153
Date: 2023-01-01
Paper Title: Calvin Uses Great Men to Discover Meaning
Core Text:
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Representative Men, "Uses of Great Men"
Abstract:
This paper examines how a young, convicted adult – Calvin -- by fashioning his autobiography through reading two core texts (Malcolm X’s Autobiography, and Emerson’s “Uses of Great Men,”) -- turned his life away from violence towards higher education. In 2020, after reading his autobiography, I interviewed Calvin, and in a collaborative effort, we painted his story to depict the full power of his presence and peace to himself and his public. In the future, using core texts, I plan to help young juvenile delinquents to build their futures in high school and beyond. I will display the painting during the panel and discuss its composition as an aid to building Calvin’s story.


Proposal Number: 152
Date: 2023-01-01
Paper Title: "Religion at the Margins: Margery Kempe and Her Book"
Core Text:
The Book of Margery Kempe
Abstract:
In Crossing and Dwelling, Thomas Tweed proposes that religions “intensify joy and confront suffering by drawing on human and suprahuman forces to make homes and cross boundaries.” Tweed’s definition highlights the dynamic nature of religious experience, and that makes it a useful tool to investigate the Book of Margery Kempe, the first autobiography written in English. Kempe, a fifteenth-century English mystic, transgressed social, economic, and gender boundaries in the course of her religious pilgrimage. However, the Book of Margery Kempe reveals her journey to be more constructive than destructive by showing the fruits of cultural exchange and commerce.


Proposal Number: 150
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Despair and the commerce of reason in Plato’s Phaedo
Core Text:
Phaedo
Abstract:
In Phaedo, Socrates’s students spend the last hours of their beloved teacher’s life debating with him the nature of the soul. This paper will examine this strange commerce of words, a source of both sorrow and solace, primarily in the context of Socrates’s admonishment to Phaedo to avoid the evil of misology, the hatred of reasoned discourse. In this, Socrates reminds us that our conversations, like all commerce, risk leading us to cynicism and despair if they are not guided by a desire for truth instead of seeking to solidify one position or another. This is a timely reminder that we guide our commerce, whether material or intellectual, by the desire for the true, good, and beautiful, and not by a desire for material or intellectual markers of success.


Proposal Number: 148
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Hegelian Dialectic and the Concept of “Commerce”
Core Text:
Hegel’s Science of Logic
Abstract:
This paper with apply Hegel’s dialectical method—as described in the Science of Logic—to the concept of “Commerce.” Dialectics is a way to define and analyze core concepts (e.g. Being, Infinity, Good, Evil), so it should be possible to apply the dialectical method to the concept of “commerce” to define what “commerce” is and to what conclusions it commits us. By applying dialectics to “commerce,” we will be able to see whether the two different meanings of “commerce” (i.e. financial exchange and cultural/social exchange) can be reconciled within its definition.


Proposal Number: 144
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts: A workshop on curricular and pedogogical innovations in institutions using the liberal arts
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
ACTC conducted a summer seminar at the University of Chicago on "Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts" which introduced core texts concerned with formulating and promulgating the use of liberal arts in July 2022 to faculty and administrators from eight institutions across North and South America. Participants will congregate for this workshop to report on their planned and actual pedagogical and curricular implementations in their institutions. Those who participated in the 2019 "R&R" seminar are invited to join as well, as are any faculty member and administrator interested in re-introducing the liberal arts in a programmatic effort to inculcate student knowledge and use of them from ancient times to modernity.


Proposal Number: 143
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Augustine and Autobiography: Were the Confessions Marketing New Liberal Arts?
Core Text:
The Confessions
Abstract:
Augustine was a foremost lecturer on the liberal arts before his conversion. After his conversion, he rose quickly to become a Bishop. Then, he published his Confessions, perhaps still one of the most widely read core texts in our programs. He had rhetoricians and grammarians, Christians and Manicheans, not to mention many literate people as his audience. Was Augustine persuading, marketing, himself and Christianity's concerns and new liberal arts through the Confessions? This paper looks internally at the book to explore those questions.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Autobiography and "Marketing" Liberal Arts Graduates
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The fraction of our students who become professors or tutors in core text, liberal arts programs is infinitesimal. What happens to them, where do they go? Beyond those concerns, humanistic liberal arts are losing students and programs at an alarming rate. Can we retain our traditional concerns with contemplation, democracy, and conversation, while at the same time finding new ways to make our programs and graduates visible. Recent work by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, publications in Daedalus, and surveys by the Humanities Index all indicate that a re-joining, a re-alignment with the arts might be a path to rejuvenation. This panel explores how liberal arts student stories might take advantage of that path.


Proposal Number: 142
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Can a Program of Liberal Artistry Be Ethical?
Core Text:
Republic, Nicomachean Ethics, "There is No Frigate Like a Book," and a Dickenson forgery
Abstract:
This paper reviews classical arguments for using the inculcation of the liberal arts and an artistic character as a way to approach ethical questions. in core text programs.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Beyond Meaningful Exchange? Core Texts and Character Education.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Submitted by Cohen de Lara: The activity of reading a core text - in solitude or together with others - entails a meaningful conversation about topics that are important to us as human beings. Core texts provide insights and opportunities for dialogue about quintessentially human questions. But can the reading of core texts do even more than that? Can core texts change the reader, whether by providing insights or arousing emotions that make one live life differently and change one’s habits and dispositions? Do core texts provide models to imitate or avoid in real life? Do core texts have a moral function and, if so, when and how? This panel focuses on the different ways in which reading core texts may educate character. It takes the seven strategies of character education (Lamb et. al. 2021), such as promoting self-reflection, virtue literacy, awareness of situational variables, and moral reminders, as point of departure and includes specific examples of core texts.


Proposal Number: 141
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Between Presentism and Relativism: Why Pair Frederick Douglass with Octavia E. Butler in a Core Course
Core Text:
Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
Abstract:
Engaging with the conference theme of "Meaningful Exchange," this paper explores the pedagogical benefits of reading Frederick Douglass's Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (1845) and Octavia E. Butler's Kindred (1979) in a core curriculum course. By pairing Douglass's autobiographical slave narrative with Butler's novelistic neo-slave narrative, it argues that these two texts prompt students to interrogate two extreme positions on the interpretative spectrum: uncritical moral presentism and hypercritical historical relativism. In other words, these texts show students how to navigate between the Scylla of reflexive moral condemnation and the Charybdis of tentative moral indeterminism, especially in relation to the fraught history of American slavery.


Proposal Number: 139
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: The Political Community in The Merchant of Venice: Justice and Friendship in the Commercial Republic
Core Text:
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice; Aristotle, Politics
Abstract:
In The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare chooses a commercial republic to highlight the conflict between Christianity and Judaism as a vehicle to understanding friendship—in the Aristotelian sense—and justice. In this paper, using as a guide Aristotle’s position that a political community with commercial ends is not a city at all, I will show that while commercialism holds the people of Venice together, ultimately it is an insufficient and unsatisfactory end for the political community. The reduction of the city to commercial ends ultimately gives rise to a rigid version of justice, the result of which—as seen in The Merchant of Venice—upholds a perverse contract that defies the natural law. The social landscape of the play, especially the conflict of a dual-religious society, underscores this inadequate end by emphasizing the necessity of friendship and like-mindedness in the political community insofar as they reconcile mercy with justice.


Proposal Number: 138
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: “The coherence of Sartre’s existentialist atheism.”
Core Text:
Jean-Paul Sartre, "Existentialism is a Humanism"
Abstract:
In his classic essay, “Existentialism is a Humanism,” Jean-Paul Sartre claims that his philosophy “is nothing else but an attempt to draw the full conclusions from a consistently atheistic position.” The truth of atheism, he argues, is a necessary condition for human free will; this would be equivalent to the contrapositive, “if God exists, free will would not be possible.” Yet, in the same essay he claims, “… even if God existed that would make no difference.” My essay seeks to render coherent Sartre’s philosophy in light of these seemingly contradictory assertions.


Proposal Number: 137
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Moments in the Liberal Education of Frederick Douglass
Core Text:
My Bondage and My Freedom
Abstract:
The lecture examines three key phases in Douglass's education in and towards freedom, with a view to understanding what the deepest roots of freedom are in his account. What do we learn about freedom from his pursuit of it? His freedom is found and realized not only or especially through a willingness to risk his life in the confrontation with Covey, but in his repeated, penetrating, and uncertain inquiries into the nature of God and the place of religion in society.


Proposal Number: 136
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Maimonides' Guide as a Forerunner to Aquinas' reimagining of Being/Essence as Act/Potency
Core Text:
The Guide of the Perplexed by Moses Maimonides
Abstract:
Scholars have long contended that Aquinas managed to escape the Platonistic implications of the being/essence distinction by reimagining being/essence as act/potency rather than as accident/substance. Through a careful analysis of the Guide, this paper considers the possibility that Maimonides had a similar conception of the being and essence distinction as Aquinas. This paper thereby grapples with Averroes' critique of Avicenna's ontology from his Long Commentary of the Metaphysics. It argues that though Maimonides' explication of being and essence are not as robust as Aquinas', his consideration may contain the beginnings of Aquinas' later thoughts.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Judeo-Christian and Islamic Philosophy on God and the Possibility of Knowledge
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel considers the limits of human knowledge in Judeo-Christian and Islamic philosophy by examining key texts in the history of philosophy. Specifically, this panel considers the relationship between the quest for and attainment of truth and God. The papers consider thinkers like Maimonides and Aquinas on the metaphysics of being, as well as thinkers like Augustine on the very possibility of knowledge. The texts analyzed shed light on the nature of providence, the limits of human reason, the possibility of a rational proof for God, and the nature of the philosophic life.


Proposal Number: 135
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Re-imagining a ‘Great Books’ Canon through Fanon?
Core Text:
Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth
Abstract:
In _The Wretched of the Earth_, Franz Fanon critiques the ostensibly liberatory value of a colonial education since such an education, he argues, ultimately leaves colonized intellectuals caught between future aspirations shaped by the very ideals that perpetuate their disenfranchisement, and nostalgic desire to revive a pre-colonial cultural past that bears no living relation to their peoples’ present reality. Ultimately, for Fanon, it is not the intellectual but the artist who holds liberatory promise because the artist is able to escape the intellectual's dilemma and to articulate a unifying vision and motive force towards a future in which the formerly-colonized people are free to self-determine in a way informed by their past situation but not limited by it. As an instructor at a liberal arts university founded on unceded Mi’qmaw land, and as a teacher convinced of the broad value of a “great books” liberal arts education, I am interested in exploring the questions and tensions raised, both by Fanon’s critique of colonial education and by the promise he sees in the artist, for the possibility of a liberatory “canonical” education. Not against but through Fanon, this paper explores possibilities for conceiving of a liberatory education in “canonical” Western texts modelled on the promise of Fanon’s artist – a curriculum informed by “great books,” convinced of the value of studying and critiquing them, and committed to the importance of imagining concrete new possibilities, informed by this meaningful genealogy and by present needs, without falling into the horns of the intellectual’s dilemma.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Frantz Fanon’s Wretched of the Earth and the Promise of a Liberatory Education
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
In The Wretched of the Earth, Franz Fanon describes the value of a colonial education as fundamentally limited for the colonized’s project of de-colonization because the colonized intellectuals it produces remain caught, impotently, between their aspirations, which have been shaped by the very colonial values they seek to overthrow, and their nostalgia for a mummified pre-colonial world that, he argues, bears no living relation to their peoples’ present reality and culture. Moreover, intellectual commerce (meaningful dialogue and the exchange of ideas) unfolds, for Fanon, within a colonial context of economic extraction and exploitation, and often in such a way that it supports, justifies, and enforces colonial power structures to the exclusion and alienation of colonized peoples. Prima facie, then, Fanon’s text would appear to condemn the value of an education in the “Western canon” as exclusionary, oppressive, and, ultimately, useless (if not altogether harmful) for the project of collective liberation. But Fanon is self-aware of the intellectual genealogy that informs his own thinking (Hegelian dialectic, psychoanalysis, and existentialism), and he recognizes not only the value of being able to “talk back to the colonizer,” but also the value of commerce (in the older sense), more broadly, for self-determination (both individual and national), emancipation, and solidarity. Ultimately, his text encourages us to “delve deeper,” beneath binary thinking, underscoring the ambivalent (if ultimately impotent) values of both the nostalgia for a pre-colonial past and the “commercial” value of colonial education, as well as what he sees as the more emancipatory possibilities of decolonial art. In the proposed papers, this panel looks to The Wretched of the Earth for the fruitful questions, tensions, and insights it raises for liberal arts teachers committed (seemingly paradoxically, at times) to the value of “great books” pedagogy and to liberatory, de- and post-colonial pedagogy.


Proposal Number: 133
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: John Maynard Keynes' "Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren" and the Mythos of Progressive Economics
Core Text:
Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren
Abstract:
This proposal is meant to be a part of a panel w/ Randall Fowler and Greg Camp of Fresno Pacific University-- see below. John Maynard Keynes’ 1930 essay "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren" is a core text of mythic significance for the progressive movement, used as a starting point for arguments as wide and varied as state economic control and universal basic income. Keynes predicted that humanity's capacity for developing advanced technological production would lead to massive uplift and living standards and create a new labor problem--what to do with the newly unemployed. Yet for all the scholarly attention dedicated to "Economic Possibilities" as a part of Keynes' work, many modern critics pay too little attention to the mythic dimensions of this essay as a foundational text of progressive economics. In this paper I identify three appeals central to the staying power of "Economic Possibilities for Our Grandchildren": Keynes' faith in the power of increased production capacity to translate directly to uplift, his trust that a life of bounty would leave most free to pursue "sure and certain principles of religion and traditional virtue," and his latent fear of the effects of an age of leisure and automation.


Proposal Number: 130
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Money and Technology in Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians
Core Text:
Thucydides’ War of the Peloponnesians and the Athenians
Abstract:
From the pre-piratical origin of the city to Athenian expansion into Sicily, money and commerce, along with innovation and techne, animate the course of the Peloponnesian War. Thucydides’ account both opens and closes with references to money. The other side of war are his famous moral debates, presenting cause and blame, rooted in either moral pretexts or genuine beliefs. This may disguise from us the material necessities for two domestically antithetical cities – a commercially savvy, cosmopolitan Athens and an isolationist, agrarian Sparta. Yet such necessities are very much part of Thucydides’ tale. Reflecting on the war, Thucydides asks readers to attempt to reconcile the two fundamental foundations of the city – its moral and material health.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: What Can Core Texts Teach Us About Contemporary Issues in Economy and Technology?
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Commerce and technology are the undoubted, inextricably linked pillars of the contemporary world. With scientific discoveries come technological innovations, new means for human beings’ material advancement. Such innovations have radically changed the relationship between the human and natural worlds. In assessing this changed relationship, can core texts, humanistic studies of a much distant past – in literature, philosophy, and political tracts – teach us anything about the clearly complex workings of global capitalism, accumulated scientific knowledge, and world-changing technological manipulations? Awareness of the power of commerce and technology, we contend, is indeed present in core texts from a pre-industrial world – its power to direct the course of a war, manipulate the psychology of the soul, pressure the internal dynamics of a given government. In turning to ancient works, as well as early modern critics, we seek to provide much needed philosophic insights into the serious challenges that the near omnipotence of contemporary global economies and their buttress, technological innovation, present to human flourishing and well-being.


Proposal Number: 129
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: How to talk about the impossible? The impossible dialogue with the idea of God
Core Text:
John Scotus Eriugena "Periphyseon" I, 1(441A-446C).
Abstract:
John Scotus Eriugena was a core text during the middle ages and shaped the ways in which the Latin tradition reads Greek Mysticism. The conversation about nature always implies a discussion about the divine as well. Eriugena presents some divisions of nature as a way of dealing with the tension that all theology has. In every conversation about God, there are two extremes: one implies renouncing reason and leaving theology to mystics and silence. The other is the reduction of God to the expression of reason, and the identification of the divine with the idea. In the midst of this, Eriugena understands, there is a position that implies managing tension, which for some may be a way in which the principle of non-contradiction is put at risk. The passage from Eriugena that we propose to read is an attempt to show the necessary dialectic to speak of God while maintaining a fragile balance. We would like to show how the text proposes a dialogue to delve into a dynamic according to which from time to time the divine approach us and from time to time it moves away, something of the divine always remains under a veil.


Proposal Number: 128
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Nietzsche and Chesterton: Mythical Axioms and Common Visions
Core Text:
The Birth of Tragedy from the Spirit of Music, Twilight of the Idols, The Everlasting Man, What's Wrong With the World
Abstract:
Nietzsche stands as one of the greatest - if not the greatest - critics of Christianity, and G.K. Chesterton as one of its greatest apologists. Chesterton even confronts Nietzsche in his own works. Despite their opposition with regard to Christianity and atheism, their writings reveal astonishingly similar views on many subjects, including the pessimism and collapse of Greek myth, the modern notion of progress, the rise and prevalence of reason, and their visions for the future. I attempt to resolve the contradictions between the two authors in an effort to provide answers to present issues both correctly foresaw.


Proposal Number: 127
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Knowing and Becoming in Liberal Education: Liberal Learning Paths to Virtue
Core Text:
Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
Aristotle in the Nicomachean Ethics proposes an account of moral education based on the acquisition of virtue that enables to live with the proper rational and affective dispositions for a happy life. When it comes to moral development distinguishes different moral states or characters (hexis), virtue (arête), continence (enkrasia), incontinence (akrasia) and vice (kakos), being the virtuous state the most convenient and desirable for human being. Moral growth, that may involve the transition from one state to another aiming to the life of virtue, and the specific acquisition of required virtues like practical wisdom (phrōnesis), entail habituation, experience and learning. This paper explores how liberal learning and core texts methodoloy can lead to the proper learning that practical knowledge requires as Aristotle pictures it. Following the overall Aristotelian explanation and, in particular paying attention on how he describes the progress from one moral state to another, I will conclude that liberal learning might empower to a practical wisdom reinforcement and to the right deliberation and desire that it demands.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The activity of reading a core text - in solitude or together with others - entails a meaningful conversation about topics that are important to us as human beings. Core texts provide insights and opportunities for dialogue about quintessentially human questions. But can the reading of core texts do even more than that? Can core texts change the reader, whether by providing insights or arousing emotions that make one live life differently and change one’s habits and dispositions? Do core texts provide models to imitate or avoid in real life? Do core texts have a moral function and, if so, when and how? This panel focuses on the different ways in which reading core texts may educate character. It takes the seven strategies of character education (Lamb et. al. 2021), such as promoting self-reflection, virtue literacy, awareness of situational variables, and moral reminders, as point of departure and includes specific examples of core texts.


Proposal Number: 126
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Cross-generational commerce: conversations between the old and the young, as narrated by Kazuo Ishiguro.
Core Text:
Kazuo Ishiguro (2017 Nobel laureate in Literature). A Pale View of the Hills, 1982; An Artist of the Floating World, 1986.
Abstract:
The early literary world of Kazuo Ishiguro frequently explores “commerce” in the traditional sense of enriching human exchange through conversation. Just as this exchange may occur between individuals representing different cultures, it also occurs between members of different generations. We will delve into intergenerational dialogue through excerpts from his first two novels. Kazuo highlights the insight that can only be gained by such conversations, the deeply rooted desire for mutual acknowledgement and acceptance, and the inevitable barriers that keep both sides from understanding each other.


Proposal Number: 125
Date: 2022-12-31
Paper Title: Aristotle's Definition of Soul
Core Text:
Aristotle's De Anima
Abstract:
In De Anima II.1, Aristotle defines the soul. Yet he continues on to define the soul again in De Anima II.2 and then (arguably) proceeds to define it a third time in De Anima II.4. Why does Aristotle present multiple definitions and stretch his defining process over several chapters? This paper argues that part of the answer lies in that his first definition is a grammatical definition which outlines how we speak about soul, his second definition is a demonstration from effect to cause, but only in his third definition (in II.4) do we find a boldly stated causal definition.


Proposal Number: 124
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: The Narrative of a Well Lived Life
Core Text:
After Virtue
Abstract:
In After Virtue and several of hos other most influential works, MacIntyre demonstrates how literature and art inform our moral and political sensibilities.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Political Art of Art and Literature
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the ways in which art and literature inform and drive our political and moral sensibilities.


Proposal Number: 123
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: "Son of Man, eat this scroll": Isaac McCaslin as Prophet of the Wilderness
Core Text:
William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses
Abstract:
“Delta Autumn,” the penultimate story in Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses, records Isaac McCaslin’s last hunting trip in the withdrawing wilderness where he finds out about Roth’s mistress, their brief love affair, his abandonment of her, and the child they conceived out of wedlock. It is also here that Isaac utters the unspeakable word and consequent judgment. It is easy to reject Isaac after reading “Delta Autumn,” consigning him to the Sheol of history—a pathetic, old man with ineradicable prejudices. However, mythically, Isaac belongs to the long line of prophets and ascetics of the Judeo-Christian tradition—people who are not remembered for speaking kindly. The Old Testament prophet Ezekiel in particular and the Hebrew conception of the nature of prophets in general offer a pattern that can help make sense of Isaac’s words and actions in the tent scene.


Proposal Number: 122
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Philosophical Rhetoric in Cicero's On the Ideal Orator
Core Text:
Cicero, De Oratore (On the Ideal Orator)
Abstract:
Cicero’s De Oratore (often translated as On the Ideal Orator) is the first of a trilogy of Platonic dialogues, along with the more well-known works On the Republic and On the Laws, in which the central question debated by the interlocutors is whether a good orator needs to study philosophy. I will argue that programmatic and thematic references to Plato’s Phaedrus and Gorgias, when considered in conjunction with the character Crassus’s insistence on the study of logic and ethics, suggest that Cicero is calling for a philosophically informed Roman oratory that is not only more adept at exploiting logos than the form of rhetoric acquired through traditional handbooks, but also grounded in and guided by moral principle. Crassus advances the notion of the “true orator” who exercises the moral virtue of prudentia in such a way as to employ the potentially dangerous art of rhetoric as a means to the ends of justice and the good of the state. Cicero’s dialogue thus rejects Socrates’ claim in the Gorgias that rhetoric is not an art while endorsing his criticism of Gorgias for failing to teach his students about justice.


Proposal Number: 121
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Humanism in the Anthropocene: The Role of the Liberal Arts in a New Epoch
Core Text:
Sophocles' "Antigone"
Abstract:
It is undeniable that human beings have caused vast and irreversible devastation to the planet since the industrial revolution. One response to this in recent decades has been the rise of different forms of 'anti-humanism.' This anti-humanism shows up overtly in certain forms of environmentalism, and occasionally in environmental philosophy, but an unreflective anti-humanist sentiment is also often expressed by undergraduates. I argue that this recent development is a serious matter, something important to be explicit about when teaching core texts, and that the liberal arts have a special importance int he coming decades in this ongoing conversation about the power and responsibility of the strangely wonderful thing, humanity.


Proposal Number: 120
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: TEACHING AGAMEMNON: MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS ON THE ORESTEIA
Core Text:
AESCHYLUS' THE ORESTEIA
Abstract:
In my SCLA 101 classes, we discuss the gothic elements, in conjunction with revenge and women as war exchange in Aeschylus' Agamemnon. In this paper, I will describe some activities in which students discuss Cassandra's role in a war trade (as commerce) and how this leads to the family tragedy. Students unfold some questions and activities to understand the gothic elements in Agamemnon in conjunction with revenge, women as war exchange, and they try to find modern day solutions to end Aeschylus' play in a different way. In this paper, I will explain and share some modern day solutions my students have found in class discussions.


Proposal Number: 119
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Egg Imagery in King Lear: Cracking Open "Nature's Moulds"
Core Text:
King Lear
Abstract:
King Lear's world is represented in imagery as both a wheel, that is a motion in Time, and an egg, that is a contained, germinating Space. I propose that Lear must become separated from definitions of Time (as the Fool indicates in his disorienting prophesy in the storm), which defines him as merely a creature who was born and will die, and must enter the cracked, then completely shattered, external space of the infinite and apparently meaningless universe, and the internal space of his own mind and heart, to find (or create) his own meaning. Lear's immediate, central experience in the play becomes almost outside of, or irrelevant to, Time. In the hovel, the Timeless Space in the eye of the storm, people eat supper in the morning and go to bed at noon.


Proposal Number: 118
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: The "Ancient Quarrel": An Exploration of Poetry and Philosophy as "Makers" and "Users" in Plato's Republic
Core Text:
Plato's "Republic" and Homer's "Odyssey"
Abstract:
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates states that there is “an ancient quarrel” between philosophy and poetry and yet, Republic is full of references to poetry, notably to Homer. (607b.) Plato uses the same scene from the Odyssey in which Odysseus speaks with Achilles in Hades, first in Book III as an example of the dangerous influence poetry’s message can convey and again as a powerful didactic tool in Book VII to distinguish shadows of the good from the true good in the parable of the cave. Ironically, Socrates has already, in a way, provided a defense of poetry through his different use of Homer’s scene in the Republic. I apply the framework in Book X of “users” and “makers,” exploring how philosophers as “users” can guide poets as “makers.”


Proposal Number: 117
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Justice, Prudence, and Action in Cicero
Core Text:
Marcus Tullius Cicero's "On Duties," "On the Republic," "On the Orator," and several orations
Abstract:
The concept of "prudence" rather than "wisdom" is central to Cicero's idea of "justice" in his core text, On Duties. This paper will examine the importance of this distinction in Cicero's texts about the state and the statesman. In particular, it will emphasize the role of prudence for the statesman in the active, deliberative process of governing of the state.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel:
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 116
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Incorporating Aristophanes's Plays into Platonic Pedagogy
Core Text:
Aristophanes's "Clouds"'; Plato's Symposium
Abstract:
My paper primarily argues for an increased role for Aristophanes's plays in introducing students to Plato's texts. I support my argument with a brief interpretation of Aristophanes's speech in the "Symposium." The paper highlights the possible benefits for both interdisciplinary education and student engagement.


Proposal Number: 115
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Helping Students Consider Problems of Translation in Republic
Core Text:
Plato's Republic and Virgil's Aeneid
Abstract:
The paper uses the example of teaching Plato's Republic in English to discuss a pedagogical method with applications for any core text being taught in translation. Students are given a writing exercise in which they imagine how certain parts of Republic would read differently if the term "justice" were replaced with either "righteousness" or "fairness". This draws the attention of students to the fact that any English term will only be an approximation of the original "dikaiosyne," and it also helps them to understand for themselves why "justice" is probably the best among a number of imperfect choices. This same exercise can be applied to other key terms in Republic, and it may be even more useful in helping students consider a term for which translators have not reached a consensus, such as the "pietas" of Virgil's Aeneid.


Proposal Number: 114
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Western Civilization and Network Theory Part II: Digital Map Analysis
Core Text:
Immanuel Kant: What is Enlightenment?
Abstract:
In this collaboration with Dr Alex Moffett I examine the implications of of a network model of the Development of Western Civilization course we teach to first and second year students at Providence College. Using the syllabus data of professors who have been teaching the course across a six year span, I developed a network analysis of the connections between various texts in the course. This analysis produces not only a genealogy of the course itself, but also a map of the vectors of influence of texts and ideas in Western civilization. In my paper, I'll be discussing the technical details of the model, and adumbrating some of the pedagogical benefits and historical insights it might provide.


Proposal Number: 113
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Two Hegelian Moments in Morrison's Beloved
Core Text:
Beloved (Toni Morrison); The Phenomenology of Spirit (Hegel)
Abstract:
In Morrison’s Beloved, Sethe’s decision to kill her children and herself rather than submit them to re-enslavement has some affinity with the dialectic of Lordship and Bondage in Hegel’s Phenomenology. The estrangement of mutual judgment between Sethe and her community and its eventual overcoming has some affinity to the dialectic moment entitled “Conscience. The ‘beautiful soul’, evil and its forgiveness.” I will try to explain and explore these two affinities.


Proposal Number: 112
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Western Civilization and Network Theory Part I: Theoretical Considerations
Core Text:
Aristotle's Metaphysics
Abstract:
In this collaboration with Dr. Mark Pedretti, I examine the implications of of a network model of the Development of Western Civilization course we teach to first and second year students at Providence College. I argue that both the difficulties in teaching Western Civilization and the overheated ideological debates about the idea stems from an impoverished conceptualization that presents civilization according to Benedict Anderson's model of imagined communities. When we conceive civilizations as being networks rather than communities, we can overcome these impediments, as well as develop new insights about how civilizations interconnect and exchange. Such an approach lends itself to techniques in digital humanities, which will be explored by my colleague in the second part of the presentation

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts and Digital Humanities
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel explores the intersection of core text pedagogy with techniques in digital humanities. We are particularly interested in the way that new developments in digital humanities might be used to reimagine the classic Great Books curriculum. How can we use techniques of "distant reading" while also teaching students the value of closely reading difficult texts? How might computer models help us to reconceptualize canons of literature in the Anglophone and/or the Western World? Can such techniques reveal new lines of exchange between Western and non-Western traditions? Our panel will present papers and encourage conversations that take on these questions.


Proposal Number: 111
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Part of the Whole: Providence and Citizenship in Rousseau’s Political Thought
Core Text:
Rousseau’s Social Contract and Letter to Voltaire Concerning the Lisbon Earthquake
Abstract:
I argue the civil religion discussed in the Social Contract, Book IV, Chapter VIII supports republican citizenship. The civil religion provides the social cohesion needed for a people to remain a people not only because the beliefs are shared but because of the content of the beliefs themselves. For example, Rousseau insists citizens believe in a provident God because belief in providence habituates people to recognize themselves as part of a greater whole. This recognition is essential to the formation of a political community.


Proposal Number: 109
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: FDR, Myth, and Grover Cleveland: Imitation and Invention in Presidential Politics
Core Text:
Grover Cleveland address at the University of Michigan, 1892; Franklin Roosevelt, 1936 Annual Message to Congress
Abstract:
Perhaps more than any other chief executive, the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt is understood in mythic terms. For everyday Americans, his voice and his era remain a constant point of comparison to the present moment; for his fans, he is the progressive New Dealer and liberal internationalist par excellence; and for his critics, FDR’s shortcomings have been unfairly minimized in favor of an image of him and his team “as exalted beings moving in glory across the vast stage of war, uttering eloquent appeals to the nation, challenging the enemy in flaming words, striding like heroes and talking like gods” (John T. Flynn, The Roosevelt Myth). This mythic appreciation of Roosevelt particularly informs popular accounts of his presidential rhetoric, as his words have become reference points for innumerable policy proposals, political campaigns, cinematic films, and even video games. Yet this mythic view of FDR—no matter its political slant—obscures the ways that some of Roosevelt’s most iconic rhetorical flourishes consciously built upon the example of one of his now near-forgotten predecessors: Grover Cleveland. This paper will explore the rhetorical connections between Roosevelt and Cleveland, in the process illustrating the dynamic interplay among imitation, invention, and mythmaking in U.S. politics.


Proposal Number: 107
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Commerce in the First Book of Plato's Republic: Wealth, Inheritance and Virtue
Core Text:
Republic, Plato, Book 1
Abstract:
In this essay, I investigate the art of philosophical conversation deployed by Socrates in the first book of Plato's Republic. Throughout the conversation, Socrates uses commercial metaphors numerous times. We will see that Socrate's conversation is a peculiar kind of commerce in which reasons are exchanged to determine which way of life is the most profitable. At stake in the proper conduct of this commerce is the profit we can make from the philosophical exercise.


Proposal Number: 106
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Tocqueville and Political Contestation in the July Monarchy
Core Text:
Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Recollections”
Abstract:
In his “Recollections,” Alexis de Tocqueville provides a critique of the parliamentary politics of the France’s July Monarchy. His critique centers on the parliamentarians’ “homogeneity of position, interest, and …. point of view,” which, Tocqueville argues, isolated the ruling class from political realities. Tocqueville’s critique betray’s the influence of Montesquieu on the Tocqueville’s own thought, as it parallels arguments present in the former’s “Considerations on the Causes of the Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans.” Additionally, a vision of proper parliamentary conduct underlies Tocqueville’s critique of the regime of the July Monarchy.


Proposal Number: 105
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Commerce and innovation in Plato's Laws
Core Text:
Plato's Laws
Abstract:
The best city of Plato’s Laws is emphatically not a commercial one. Part of the reason is that commerce with foreign nations is said to lead to corrupting innovations in habits and dispositions. On the other hand, that at least a few citizens should travel abroad to observe foreign laws and customs, and to converse with wise foreigners, is said to be indispensable with a view to perfecting the city’s laws, which after all are themselves an innovative blend of Athenian and Dorian elements. How should we understand the apparent contradiction between the closedness of this society and its openness, its conservativism and its progressivism, and what relevance, if any, does this problem have for liberal societies today?


Proposal Number: 104
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Aquinas and Kant on the the virtue of fortitude
Core Text:
Kant's Metaphysics of Morals; Aquinas' Summa Theologiae
Abstract:
The aim of this paper is to compare the conception of the virtue of fortitude of two major philosophers: Thomas Aquinas and Kant. For Aquinas fortitude is only one of the four cardinal virtues, which he regards as the ability to hold out for the good. In Aquinas' ethical conception, fortitude is not considered in isolation; it needs to be practiced in conjunction with the other virtues in order to contribute to human flourishing. For his part, Kant conceives the very notion of virtue (any virtue) in terms of fortitude of the will, that is, as the capacity to overcome the obstacles that hinder the fulfillment of duty. In this conception, fortitude is not simply another virtue, but the specific form of all the virtues.


Proposal Number: 103
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Does Ethical Wittgenstein have a Parmenides Problem?
Core Text:
Parmenides' On Nature
Abstract:
In a sorely neglected article on Parmenides, Elizabeth Anscombe suggests that her teacher Wittgenstein is guilty of a kind of philosophical prejudice when he says “Everything that can be said can be said clearly.” This “prejudice” is the rejection of the possibility of mystery; that is, that something may exist that we cannot clearly know. Anscombe suggests this prejudice stems from an argument Parmenides does not make, yet we are tempted to adopt. I plan to explicate Anscombe’s account and ask if her openness to the possibilities of mystery might show a path one can travel from Wittgenstein’s ethical ambivalence (as seen in his lecture on ethics) towards a more robust account of the ethical life.


Proposal Number: 102
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: “Uses” and “Abuses”: The Relationship Between the Commonwealth, Language and Metaphor
Core Text:
Hobbes, "Leviathan"
Abstract:
There is no way around the explicit distaste that Hobbes professes for metaphor: “The light of human minds is perspicuous words, but by exact definitions first snuffed and purged from ambiguity; reason is the pace; increase of science, the way; and the benefit of mankind, the end. And on the contrary, metaphors, and senseless and ambiguous words, are like ignes fatui , and reasoning upon them is wandering amongst innumerable absurdities; and their end, contention and sedition, or contempt” (Leviathan, V). But, there is also no way around Hobbes’ frequent use of what is commonly understood to be metaphor. Here, to dismiss metaphor, Hobbes creates a fantastic image rife with them. In this paper I will discuss a parallel movement to the conference theme of the restricted notion of commerce (from a former more expansive sense dealing with human goods to a merely monetary connotation) in conversation: in Hobbes' rejection of metaphor he asserts what one can and cannot reasonably talk about, and this involves a definite turning away from certain human goods.


Proposal Number: 101
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: The beautiful and the godlike in Homer’s Iliad
Core Text:
Homer, Iliad
Abstract:
My paper will examine key passages from Homer’s Iliad in light of Plato’s and Aristotle’s remarks on poetry, e.g., Socrates’s claim that when the philosopher educates, they look to the “godlike” in Homer, and Aristotle’s claim that poetry, in order to be beautiful and noble, must be arranged as living beings are. Do the godlike and the beautiful-noble come together in Homer’s work? In what sense might Homer’s work be reflective of the arrangement of a living being? And does this notion of the beautiful-noble (to kalon) in Homer only designate an aesthetic and productive beauty or does it also include what is morally beautiful and, perhaps, even what may be morally illuminating in classroom discussions?

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The activity of reading a core text - in solitude or together with others - entails a meaningful conversation about topics that are important to us as human beings. Core texts provide insights and opportunities for dialogue about quintessentially human questions. But can the reading of core texts do even more than that? Can core texts change the reader, whether by providing insights or arousing emotions that make one live life differently and change one’s habits and dispositions? Do core texts provide models to imitate or avoid in real life? Do core texts have a moral function and, if so, when and how? This panel focuses on the different ways in which reading core texts may educate character. It takes the seven strategies of character education (Lamb et. al. 2021), such as promoting self-reflection, virtue literacy, awareness of situational variables, and moral reminders, as point of departure and includes specific examples of core texts.


Proposal Number: 100
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title: Suffering Delight: Physical and Spiritual Vision in Julian of Norwich’s Showings
Core Text:
The Showings by Julian of Norwich
Abstract:
The English anchoress, Julian of Norwich’s Showings is a collection of her mystical visions that hold an important place in the theology and spirituality of the Middle Ages. A curious feature of the work is the way it bounces back and forth between physical and spiritual visions. What is the relationship between her physical and spiritual visions, and how does this relationship bear on her deeper themes around the meaning of suffering? I will propose that the key to her thought is the mediation of Christ’s own sufferings at the center of the work, and will offer suggestions for teaching the work in a Great Texts format.


Proposal Number: 99
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Beyond meaningful exchange? Core Texts and Character Education
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The activity of reading a core text - in solitude or together with others - entails a meaningful conversation about topics that are important to us as human beings. Core texts provide insights and opportunities for dialogue about quintessentially human questions. But can the reading of core texts do even more than that? Can core texts change the reader, whether by providing insights or arousing emotions that make one live life differently and change one’s habits and dispositions? Do core texts provide models to imitate or avoid in real life? Do core texts have a moral function and, if so, when and how? This panel focuses on the different ways in which reading core texts may educate character. It takes the seven strategies of character education (Lamb et. al. 2021), such as promoting self-reflection, virtue literacy, awareness of situational variables, and moral reminders, as point of departure and includes specific examples of core texts.


Proposal Number: 98
Date: 2022-12-30
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Beyond meaningful exchange? Core texts and character education
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The activity of reading a core text - in solitude or together with others - entails a meaningful conversation about topics that are important to us as human beings. Core texts provide insights and opportunities for dialogue about quintessentially human questions. But can the reading of core texts do even more than that? Can core texts change the reader, whether by providing insights or arousing emotions that make one live life differently and change one’s habits and dispositions? Do core texts provide models to imitate or avoid in real life? Do core texts have a moral function and, if so, when and how? This panel focuses on the different ways in which reading core texts may educate character. It takes the seven strategies of character education (Lamb et. al. 2021), such as promoting self-reflection, virtue literacy, awareness of situational variables, and moral reminders, as point of departure and includes specific examples of core texts.


Proposal Number: 97
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: National Patriotism and International Peace in Constant's "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns"
Core Text:
Benjamin Constant, "The Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns"
Abstract:
Benjamin Constant regards the "spirit of conquest" in modernity as conducive to homogenization, rather than to national glory or healthy patriotism. At the same time, he considers modern commerce, whose powers of homogenization he also notes, compatible with patriotism and the preservation of national identity. This paper will consider why patriotism and national sentiment, attitudes often associated with the spirit of conquest, might be morally desirable even as commercial relationships act to bring about peaceful relations between citizens of various nations. If Constant, and with him many contemporary advocates of economic globalization, is right that global commerce encourages peace through interdependence, why might this project fail in the absence of what Constant calls "a pure, deep, and sincere patriotism"?


Proposal Number: 96
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: The Tyranny of Law in Herodotus' Histories
Core Text:
The Histories by Herodotus
Abstract:
In the Histories, Herodotus paradoxically presents the Spartans as sacrificing their own lives for their city but unwilling to sacrifice their city's good for that of the greater good of Greece. This reveals a nuanced understanding of the relationship between a polity and its neighbors, showing how a city may view itself in relation to its broader ethnic and cultural community. In this paper, I argue that the Spartan self-sacrificing courage for the city and cowardly neglect of their Greek neighbors is due to the Spartan regime's "tyranny of law" mentioned in Book 7, that is, the Spartan citizens' surrender of their own good and practical deliberation to the law. This shows more broadly that if a citizenry rejects their own participation in rule for the sake of relying on inherited, written law, they will be unable to unite their good with others outside of their immediate political community.


Proposal Number: 95
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Migration of the Soul II
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel proposes a conversation on the relationship between liberal education and the human good. It will focus on how different faculties, powers, or activities of the soul are shaped through liberal learning. The first paper will treat the formation of human attention through the poetry of Richard Wilbur. The second paper will discuss how comedy transforms our perception of the world, with particular interest in Aristophanes and comedic dualities. The third paper will take up the teaching of rhetoric from the perspective of Shakespearean set-speeches. Together, the papers will consider how liberal education directs particular achievements of the soul.


Proposal Number: 94
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: Socratic "Gentleness," Menonic "Tyranny," and Anytean "Freedom": The Mean of Intellectual Exchange
Core Text:
Plato's Meno
Abstract:
In Plato’s Meno, Meno and Anytus are dialogic partners serving as foils for Socrates in many respects; but one under-explored respect is the manner in which Socrates is the “mean” between the extremes of Anytus’s unreflective loyalty to Athenian democratic sensibilities and Meno’s traitorous adoration of Persian authoritarian sensibilities. As such, through the conversation, Socrates provides the proper model for the “sharing of ideas across cultures” that is necessary for any exchange that has as its aim and possibility the discovery of truth. In doing so, Socrates embodies the mode of exchange proper to reflective free citizens. For he both embodies the “democratic” spirit of Athens in entertaining any idea or claim that comes his way while subjecting those claims to the “authoritative” rule o f logos. In this sense, Socrates demonstrates what is needed for any authentic exchange of ideas among individuals and citizens: a fierce, loyal commitment to the truth coupled with the willingness to be refuted by whomever might express the truth correctly.


Proposal Number: 93
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: Revolutionary Thought: Reconsidering Algernon Sidney in Liberalism
Core Text:
Algernon Sidney’s “Discourses Concerning Government”
Abstract:
When teaching political theory, the core text for Enlightenment and Liberal thought is typically John Locke’s Second Treatise of Government, which sets up conversations about American political thought at the time of our Founding. Teaching the Founders’ writings, however, reveals the numerous other thinkers who more directly influenced their political thought than Locke, calling into question the reasons for teaching Locke as opposed to these more explicitly influential texts. In this paper, I look at Algernon Sidney’s Discourses Concerning Government, now neglected in our discussions of the Liberal origins of America but much more politically impactful in its time than Locke’s work. I make the arguments for and against choosing such a text to learn about Enlightenment and Liberal thought in our contemporary context, and examine the importance of “real” influence when it comes to the history of ideas.


Proposal Number: 92
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: The Brothers Karamazov and the Moral Value of Happiness
Core Text:
Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov
Abstract:
Philosophical inquiry has questioned the value of individual happiness in creating a meaningful communal life. Indeed, some thinkers have seen happiness as leading to complacency, as individuals adapt to oppressive circumstances rather than struggling against them. Dostoevsky’s novel The Brothers Karamazov challenges this dichotomy: rather than dramatizing the tension between a happy complacency and a dissatisfied rebellion, Dostoevsky compares an activism rooted in unhappiness with activism rooted in a profound sense of the goodness of the world. Dostoevsky’s happiest characters are, paradoxically, the most effective in bringing change.


Proposal Number: 91
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: Amphibole at Sea: Reading Eliot's "Marina"
Core Text:
"Marina" by T.S. Eliot
Abstract:
Each modernist poem presents a different challenge to the reader, so that, before the reader can ask what the poem means, he or she must ask how the poem should be read, or what kind of meaning the poem offers. "Marina" by T.S. Eliot offers a set of interesting challenges, intentionally mingling images of the past and the future so carefully that it creates a dream-like state in which the reader loses all linear sense of time and all definite sense of place. To confuse matters further Eliot makes two literary allusions, one to Shakespeare's Pericles, a comedy in which the protagonist rediscovers his daughter whom he though was dead, and another to Seneca's Hercules, a tragedy in which the protagonists finds that he has murdered his family. My paper will show how Eliot uses intentional ambiguity along with these two recognition scenes to build up to his own recognition scene in "Marina" which somehow encompasses both the tragic Hercules and the comic Pericles.


Proposal Number: 89
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: Aristotle and Machiavelli: Competing Conceptions of Virtue/Virtú
Core Text:
*Nicomachean Ethics* and *The Prince*
Abstract:
Niccolò Machiavelli, in his most famous letter to Vettori, outlines his daily reading habits and the mutual exchange he has in his library across the barrier of time with men who are long dead. Machiavelli’s admiration for Rome is clear, and perhaps the most famous of his interlocutors is Livy; however, there is a conversation to be had surrounding his dialogue with ancient Greece, namely Aristotle. The *Nicomachean Ethics* and *The Prince* are both, in some meaningful way, books about how one ought to live their life; and whether the goal be the attainment of *eudaimonia*, or *mantenere lo stato*, the “answer” of how to achieve the end of both books is the same: virtue. In examining the *Nicomachean Ethics* and *The Prince*, we ask ourselves, just how close are both thinker’s conceptions of virtue, and with a realization that they are closer than we might think at the outset, the even more interesting question becomes: who aims higher?


Proposal Number: 88
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title: Wealth, Trade, and Fate in Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing
Core Text:
Homegoing
Abstract:
In Gyasi’s acclaimed novel, Homegoing, which begins in 18th century Ghana, eight generations of people intertwine with the devastations of the transatlantic slave trade and its continued social and cultural ramifications. This paper will examine the cultural routes for types of commerce, both humanistic and profit-riven, that Gyasi’s storytelling reveals. The psychology of human trafficking in the novel’s core scenes in Africa and North America also bears a relationship to the motif of fate and the creation of un-monetized forms of wealth.


Proposal Number: 87
Date: 2022-12-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Migration of the Soul I
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Many explorations of liberal education focus on explaining how the liberal arts are intrinsic goods. This panel discusses how liberal education is concerned with the human good, focusing on the different ways powers and activities of the soul are transformed by liberal education. The first paper will treat the formation of memory from the perspective of Plato's Phaedo and Symposium. The second will consider Vergil's Aeneid and the value of learning how to lament. The third paper will look at Thomas More and his vision of liberal education, with particular attention to the last two dialogues he wrote. Together, the papers will try to articulate parts of the journey that is education.


Proposal Number: 84
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: Incomprehension and Understanding: Thought's Exteriority in Descartes' Third Meditation and Beyond.
Core Text:
Meditations on First Philosophy
Abstract:
What does it mean to chart thought's frontiers, to reconnoiter its limits with regard to both its objects and its grasp? What does it mean to affirm a necessary exteriority to thinking itself and posit as its origin an incomprehensible other? Descartes' conception of infinity in the third of his Meditations offers an exemplary opportunity to asking such questions, while suggesting pathways for extending this inquiry beyond the Cartesian paradigm and into contemporary debates about what it means to think.


Proposal Number: 83
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: Melville's Baconianism
Core Text:
"Mardi: and a Voyage Thither" by Herman Melville
Abstract:
This paper explicates the Baconian scheme of knowledge present in Herman Melville's 1850 novel "Mardi: and a Voyage Thither." The narrator's three companions––Mohi the historian, Yoomy the poet, and Babbalanja the philosopher––represent Francis Bacon's threefold division of knowledge into history, poetry, and philosophy in his "Advancement of Learning." In the first place, I propose that Melville viewed Bacon as a principal figure in the founding of modernity whose thought undergirds (and ultimately limits) the modern quest for truth. In the second place, I argue that Bacon's influence on nineteenth-century American literature is not confined to this obscure work of Melville, but rather a prominent and unfortunately neglected philosophical source for the best writers of the era.


Proposal Number: 82
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: Analytical Toolbox: Speakers, Structures, and Settings
Core Text:
The Canterbury Tales
Abstract:
The 3-S Toolbox is an effective and simple way to analyze literary works. Students can easily memorize this system, which leads to great confidence in approaching and discussing any work of literature. By discovering the key speakers, settings, and structures, a reader will find his/her way into the heart of any literary work. In this presentation, I will use the 3-S Toolbox to unpack a story from Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales.


Proposal Number: 81
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: Economizing Motherhood in Evelyn Waugh's A Handful of Dust
Core Text:
A Handful of Dust
Abstract:
The classics, from the Book of Genesis to Homer's epics, are in a preeminent way concerned with xenia (hospitality), which reveals likeness and a sense of belonging among those who at first appeared to be strangers. The modern world, however, tends to be a less hospitable place, a fact revealed and criticized by twentieth century literature such as Evelyn Waugh's novel A Handful of Dust (1934). In the novel, Brenda Last neglects her son John Andrew, constantly leaving her home in the country for "economics classes" in the city, —an excuse which masks the reality that she spends her time in the city having an affair with John Beaver. By his repeated use of the image of the economics class, Waugh points to Brenda’s failure as a mother to practice oikonomia (household management, or even more true to the Greek roots of the word, the rule of the household) as part of a larger pattern of failures of parental xenia towards children in the novel.


Proposal Number: 80
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: Aristotle on Things in Relation to Something
Core Text:
Aristotle's Categories
Abstract:
In chapter seven, of his Categories, Aristotle explains his conception of "things in relation to something" or "relatives" (ta pros ti). Partway through his account, however, Aristotle fears that certain substances (ousiai) might be included among the things in relation to something. This paper endeavors to see why that is so. More specifically, its goal is to uncover the consequences if that were true and to consider if indeed, given the open-ended concluding lines of chapter seven, certain substances are among the things in relation to something.


Proposal Number: 79
Date: 2022-12-28
Paper Title: One moving image: Rembrandt's etching Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving Little Children
Core Text:
Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving Little Children (also known as The Hundred Guilder print), etching by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1649
Abstract:
In this presentation, we will discuss as our core “text” a work of visual art, Rembrandt van Rijn’s etching Christ with the Sick around Him, Receiving Little Children, also known as The Hundred Guilder Print, from 1649, which embodies transformative conversations. People from many walks of life, rich and poor, old and young, believers and doubters, are depicted interacting with Christ and one another, weaving together various passages from Matthew 19. Built into the technique of this print is an indication of people’s different levels of development: we will study the visual aspects of this print to discover a sense of movement within the still image. Knowing how to look for unfolding within a picture may offer a restful alternative way for students to satisfy a wish for connection and change instead of scrolling through more posts.


Proposal Number: 73
Date: 2022-12-27
Paper Title: Han Fei, Confucianism, and the Challenges of Ruling Effectively
Core Text:
Han Feizi
Abstract:
The classical Chinese philosopher, Han Fei, is notorious for his anti-Confucian claim that no practical system of government can be based on rule by sages whose virtuous example inspires universal assent. For Confucians, virtuous people will rule prudently: they will have the wisdom to respond to complex and ever-changing situations by suspending or creatively interpreting the laws. Han Fei regarded these assumptions as naively idealistic, given the mediocrity of most rulers. In this paper I shall look critically at Han Fei's appeal to law and administrative methods as the key to effective rule, arguing--in a Confucian vein--that knowing how or when to apply rules is the essence of practical wisdom.


Proposal Number: 72
Date: 2022-12-27
Paper Title: Conversation and Coinage in the Antigone
Core Text:
Antigone
Abstract:
Creon attempts to unify the economic and humanistic senses of "commerce." He says, for instance, that you cannot know a man completely until you have tested him, that is, literally, until you have rubbed (εντριβής) the metal of which he is made to discover his worth as an ancient merchant would test a coin. This paper examines this key moment and several other moments in Sophocles' "Antigone" where Creon sees commerce of an economic type as normative for commerce of a human type. Along the way, the paper will point up the insights into human fellowship that such a clever error could provide us.


Proposal Number: 70
Date: 2022-12-26
Paper Title: The impact of forgiveness
Core Text:
The Buddha and the Terrorist, by Satish Kumar with Foreword by Thomas Moore
Abstract:
To err is human, to forgive divine, there is value in listening to others, listening to forgive can be considered divine. Forgiveness through listening to others, and seeking stories from those different from ourselves to create opportunities for self-reflection crucial to a fully functioning commerce. Providing forgiveness to self and others opens happiness. Happiness creates thoughtful engagement with other human beings and a myriad of commerce opportunities.


Proposal Number: 69
Date: 2022-12-26
Paper Title: The Silver and the Mind: Commerce and Value in Nostromo
Core Text:
Nostromo (Joseph Conrad)
Abstract:
Nostromo is a novel about the impact of commerce on the political and personal lives of individuals, and any treatment of the novel must involve analysis of the commercial interest at the heart of the book: the silver of the San Tomé mine. Some characters (such as Mr. Gould, Mr. Holroyd, and Martin Découd) see the silver as a tool for political change in Costaguana while others (such as Mrs. Gould) see it as a source of corruption, and Nostromo attaches his reputation and personal value to the safe transportation of the treasure. I will argue in this paper that the variety of the silver’s meaning to different characters, as well as the reasons for the differences in its significance to each character, suggests commerce’s near-infinite power of manipulating meaning and, more to the point, value. I will conclude this paper with some thoughts on the role a core text like Nostromo might play in the education of the many students who will depart the academy for a career in the commercial sector.


Proposal Number: 66
Date: 2022-12-26
Paper Title: New Forms of Commerce in Lady Montagu's _The Turkish Embassy Letters_ and Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and Final Continent"
Core Text:
_The Turkish Embassy Letters_
Abstract:
In contrast to the inward-focus of political theorists such as Machiavelli and Montesquieu whose works see commerce as something to be minimized, Montagu and Lahiri's texts see commerce as something that allows opening, expansion and growth. This paper will analyze Montagu's conceptualization of commerce, and think through one instance in terms of Lahiri's more contemporary language of the "third" continent.


Proposal Number: 64
Date: 2022-12-26
Paper Title: The Characteristic Unity of Plato's "Phaedrus"
Core Text:
Plato's "Phaedrus"
Abstract:
Readers frequently, and rightly, indicate that there is a thematic split in the midst of Plato's "Phaedrus". I argue that the unity of the dialogue consists precisely in the attention that Socrates wants to give to Phaedrus. Phaedrus’s soul is at stake and Socrates knows this. He wants to purify Phaedrus’s disordered understanding of love, awaken him to the guiles of clever speechwriting, and begin to convert him to a life of philosophy.


Proposal Number: 63
Date: 2022-12-26
Paper Title: Augustine’s Trinity and the Origins of Modernity
Core Text:
Augustine Confessions
Abstract:
This paper will consider Charles Taylor’s account of the origins of the modern world and argue it’s basic narrative: the Reform Master Narrative is ungrounded. The paper will suggest that the grounding for Taylor’s thesis can be found in Latin Western Trinitarian thought and specifically that articulated by Augustine. The paper will look at the Confessions and De Trinitate to try to justify this claim. It will look specifically at the interconnection of Augustine in the Incarnation to his account of the Trinity to show how in Augustine ancient ontology is crucially transformed to lay the basis for the Reformed Master Narrative Taylor articulates.


Proposal Number: 60
Date: 2022-12-24
Paper Title: “From now on may we enjoy good fortune together”: The Brownings’ Scholarly Exchange with Euripides's Hercules Furens
Core Text:
Hercules Furens (Robert Browning's translation)
Abstract:
In this paper I examine Robert and Elizabeth Browning’s scholarly commerce with Euripides’s Hercules Furens. Using the Brownings’ marginalia in their jointly-owned copy of Hercules Furens, I establish the importance of shared ownership and scholarly exchange for their appreciation of the play. Through a close reading of Robert’s translation of the play, I argue that Robert followed Elizabeth’s earlier example in highlighting and defending Euripides’s play as “the perfect piece,” and that the Brownings’ investment in Euripides’s reputation and the themes of Hercules Furens enabled them to productively translate these issues into their own lives and poetic compositions. I conclude by considering how the Brownings’ understanding of classical scholarship as both highly personal and critically rigorous can enrich current approaches to classical education.


Proposal Number: 58
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: Lincoln and Douglas on Popular Sovereignty and American Prosperity
Core Text:
Lincoln-Douglas Debates
Abstract:
In 1776, the authors of the Declaration of Independence incorporated the understanding that men, “created equal” and “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” institute governments which, “deriving just their powers from the consent of the governed,” exist for the sake of securing rights such as “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” Roughly eighty years later, Senator Stephen A. Douglas and future-president Abraham Lincoln would engage in a prolonged rhetorical battle regarding the application of the Declaration’s principles to the future of American slavery. For, while Douglas understood majoritarian self-government as the best means of addressing the slavery question while also promoting American liberty and prosperity, Lincoln would instead emphasize the role of inalienable individual rights. Accordingly, this issue of commerce in human beings came to encompass further questions about democracy, national identity, and the drivers of economic growth.


Proposal Number: 57
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: The Federalist and Toleration: Faction and Federalism in Light of Locke's Letter
Core Text:
The Federalist and John Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration
Abstract:
The influence of Locke's Letter Concerning Toleration on the disestablishment of religion in the states of the early American republic is widely recognized, but comparatively little is said regarding the impact of the Letter on the purely secular political policies of the Constitution. Through similar political principles, strategies, and policies, both Locke in the Letter and Publius in the Federalist attempt to mitigate the dangers of faction within the civil society. The authors of these political texts also had to settle the question of which institutions would have the final jurisdiction within their respective societies for settling controversies between citizens, religious associations and civil society, states and the federal government. Both authors build their arguments on a similar—but not identical—understanding of human nature, political justice, and the common good.


Proposal Number: 56
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: Martin Van Buren and National Parties: The Republican Function of Meaningful Exchanges at a National Level
Core Text:
Martin Van Buren, Inquiry into The Origin and Course of Political Parties in the United States
Abstract:
This paper will explain Martin Van Buren’s understanding of the importance of meaningful exchanges about political principles on a national scale. The former president explained that meaningful exchanges over political principles at a national scale enabled majority rule in America by enabling political parties to form and represent “the American landed class.” With these parties, America would be the Republic her nature demanded; however, without these parties, America would be governed as an oligarchy. This paper will explain the essential role played by parties—and thus essential conversations about political principles—in preserving Republicanism, as understood by Martin Van Buren.


Proposal Number: 55
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: Nietzsche and the Need for Limited Horizons
Core Text:
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
Abstract:
Nietzsche is commonly presented as having an ethic that promotes unlimited human changeability. By closely examining aphorism 188 of Beyond Good and Evil, I will demonstrate that Nietzsche understands human nature to be such that it is natural for human beings to create moralities that provide limited horizons for themselves, which in turn create the conditions necessary for human greatness. Rather than an unlimited openness to all ways of life, a narrow, perhaps even "parochial" approach to the world is Nietzsche's path forward to achieving human flourishing.


Proposal Number: 54
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: The Aristocratic Imperative: Tocqueville & the Art of Self-Forgetting
Core Text:
Tocqueville, Democracy in America
Abstract:
In this paper I will demonstrate that at the root of Tocqueville's political psychology is the phenomenon of restiveness, a sort of anxiety peculiar to democratic times, a plague of insecurity that causes each man to give over the rule of his town, his family, and himself, to the state. I will show how the forces of democracy—both political and social—make citizens feel their weakness and forget about their strength. The democratic man cannot forget his own weakness, and it therefore looms over him; for Tocqueville, men, if they are to govern themselves, must learn to forget their past failures, their smallness in the face of the majority, and their insignificance as a mere fraction of a massive state. Lastly, I will comment on the connection between restiveness and the ever-more-frequent calls for a new Caesar, and why Tocqueville would in the strongest terms reject such a solution.


Proposal Number: 53
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: Aristotle, Commerce, and Justice: Market Exchange as Deliberation
Core Text:
Aristotle Nicomachean Ethics
Abstract:
Modern economics is indistinguishable from abstract mathematics; its explanations, draped in differential equations, garnished with regression coefficients, and adorned with complicated diagrams, seem unrelated to the practical concerns of citizens and their political leaders. When citizens speak of commerce, economists talk of free markets subject to measurable forces of supply and demand that determine market prices by mathematical necessity; mathematical determinacy replaces human freedom and choice. While explaining the principle of commutative justice, Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics provides a commonsensical alternative to the scientific account of market exchange, thereby revealing the limitations of economic science.


Proposal Number: 51
Date: 2022-12-23
Paper Title: Risking Your Life for a Basketball? A Lockean Analysis of Canada's "Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun"
Core Text:
John Locke, "Second Treatise of Government" and Geoffrey Canada, "Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America"
Abstract:
This paper explores my use of Geoffrey' Canada's Fist, Stick, Knife, Gun: A Personal History of Violence in America to introduce Bronx students to the political philosophy of John Locke. I will begin by explaining the conflict between Mike and the unnamed man in Chapter 6 of Canada's memoir and how this conflict escalates into Mike's willingness to kill or be killed to recover his basketball. Next, I will discuss Canada's suggestion that Mike risks his life because he is devoted to a certain conception of masculinity and was socialized into the codes of conduct of Union Avenue. Finally, I will offer a Lockean interpretation of Mike's actions, highlighting the lack of an effective civil government to which Mike can appeal when his right to property is violated and why this necessitates Mike inaugurating a state of war against the man. Some of the benefits of introducing political philosophy to students by means of existentially relevant anecdotes will also be discussed.


Proposal Number: 50
Date: 2022-12-22
Paper Title: “If I forget thee . . .”: Greeks and Hebrews on Error and Sin
Core Text:
Plato, Phaedrus; Exodus
Abstract:
The Greek notion of morally culpable error (hamartia) differs from the Jewish one of sin (for which there are various Hebrew words) in that the former presupposes no divine revelation and violates no divine command. Yet there is a common thread that unites these concepts: memory. This talk will explore the moral significance of memory in the Greek and Hebrew traditions with the aim of illuminating the kinds of forgetfulness that produce hamartia and sin.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: On "Error" and "Sin" in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 48
Date: 2022-12-22
Paper Title: Prometheus and the Art of Error
Core Text:
Prometheus Bound
Abstract:
Hamartia occurs only once in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound, in the opening monologue by Zeus’ henchman, Force, to characterize Prometheus’ stolen gift of arts-enabling fire to humans. Force also introduces a juxtaposition between Zeus’ tyranny and Prometheus’ philanthropy, the former of which, and the designation of Zeus as tyrant, pervades the drama, while the latter of which Prometheus himself affirms repeatedly as he acclaims his technical-salvific assistance of humans and decries his punishment for it. Insofar as the conflict between Prometheus and Zeus represents the independence of learning and knowing from the claim of wisdom of authority, Prometheus’ punishment represents the effort of authority to consolidate control over learning and knowledge. Absent perfect foreknowing, however, the discovery and the development of the arts, insofar as they represent the results of human learning, involve trial and error. Zeus in his tyranny and his punishment of Prometheus amounts to a monotheistic despotism wherein the difference between error and sin is the will or self-interest of an authoritarian god.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: On “Error” and “Sin” in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
As a locus classicus, Aristotle’s Poetics asserts the phenomenon of hamartia, “error,” as an alternative to “vice” or “wickedness” to explain a change from good fortune to ill-fortune. The Christian New Testament, however, also uses hamartia, but to designate the phenomenon of “sin.” Aristotle implies that “error” is an intellectual failing, whereas the Judeo-Christian concept of “sin” is a moral or a spiritual failing. The fundamental issue at stake in the question of the relationship between “error” and “sin” is whether, or to what extent and how so, one is responsible for one’s deeds and/or deserving of some misfortune and/or divine punishment. This panel explores the relationship between “error” and “sin” toward exploring the relationship between the two foundational Western cultural traditions represented by Athens and Jerusalem.


Proposal Number: 46
Date: 2022-12-22
Paper Title: The Fugitive Homicide as a Simile of Similes
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
This paper takes up the transport of Priam by Hermes in book 24 of The Iliad and the simile of the fugitive homicide that follows. This simile typically has been noted for the power of its reversal: Priam, a native of Troy, supplicates Achilles, a murderous newcomer, in the manner of a fugitive homicide seeking amnesty in a foreign land. This paper, however, prioritizes the sense of "wonder" ascribed to those witnessing the situation. In doing so, it finds this simile to be instructive regarding the proper relationship of a reader to similes in general, all of which stage an encounter between native and newcomer and demand an openness to unexpected exchanges and hermeneutic possibilities. The paper concludes by observing how a similar disposition of hospitable wonder maybe be required today, as migrant crises across the globe confront nations with the consequences war, the retrieval of lost bodies, and supplication across borders.


Proposal Number: 44
Date: 2022-12-22
Paper Title: Evagrius of Pontus on the Demonic Involvement in Hamartia
Core Text:
Evagrius, Greek ascetic corpus
Abstract:
Usually translated as "sin," hamartia occupies a central place in Christian theology. Evagrius of Pontus was among the earliest writers to explore the nature and varieties of sin, promulgating a list of eight: gluttony, fornication, avarice, sadness, anger, acedia, vainglory, and pride. He refers to these not as hamartias, but rather as "thoughts" (logismoi) and "demons" (daimones). The purpose of this paper will be to consider the effect that the eight logismoi/daimones have on the anchorite, according to Evagrius, in light of his understanding of the composition and operations of the soul. Works to be consulted include Evagrius's Praktikos, Atirrhētikos, and On Thoughts.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: On “Error” and “Sin” in the Relationship between Athens and Jerusalem
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 41
Date: 2022-12-19
Paper Title: Where everybody knows your name: Harlots, Beer, and Human Connection
Core Text:
The Epic of Gilgamesh
Abstract:
Enkidu knew nothing about eating bread for food, And of drinking beer he had not been taught. The harlot spoke to Enkidu, saying: “Eat the food, Enkidu, it is the way one lives. Drink the beer, as is the custom of the land.” Enkidu ates the food until he was sated, He drank the beer-seven jugs! and became expansive and sang with joy! Shamhat was a harlot. The word harlot, or harimtu, awarded her both the sacred duties of the temple and the status of hospitality worker in the city of Uruk. Shamhat was Enkidu's guide to human civility. Human connection, facilitated by the social lubricant of alcohol, was the path Enkidu took to evolve from monster to man. I will examine the roles that harlots and beer played in the social dynamics of Uruk. I seek to explore the interplay of commerce that runs its thread through time, tying the ancient tavern to the modern bar.


Proposal Number: 39
Date: 2022-12-17
Paper Title: Focusing on Force in "Forced to be free"
Core Text:
"The Social Contract". Jean-Jacques Rousseau
Abstract:
The sanguinary secret of The Social Contract is exposed when Rousseau admits that the paradoxical relation of the General Will to particular wills is that they will be “forced to be free.” Yet both wills make up the same self, once that self has entered into the Social Contract. Looking forwards we can see in this formulation the seeds of Freud’s psychology of repression, and the role of “struggle” in Hegel and Marx’s political and economic dialectics. Looking backwards we can see that Rousseau has internalized the ‘two humors’ Machiavelli saw in every city—those who want to oppress, and those don’t want to be oppressed. Oppression, force, repression, the negative, and struggle, therefore, not surprisingly, lie at the heart of the many notions of freedom we have inherited from Rousseau.


Proposal Number: 38
Date: 2022-12-17
Paper Title: Dream Migration: Baudelaire's "L' Invitation au Voyage" as Core Text and Singular 'Fleur du Mal'
Core Text:
Baudelaire's "L' Invitation au Voyage"
Abstract:
Baudelaire’s poem, once heard, even in a long-ago, low-level French lit class, stays in memory like some blossom pressed and dried. After the poet’s curious quasi-incestuous address to a young(er) female companion, probably one of his courtesan lovers--“Mon enfant, ma sœur” (“my child, my sister” – all translations my own)—the poem immediately enters its dream mode: “Songe à la douceur/D’aller là-bas vivre ensemble! (“Dream of the sweetness of going yonder and living together!”). Whether desperate economic migrants or affluent vacationers, human beings tend to pre-glamorize their travel destinations, and never more seductively than here. This close reading also compares the 1855 poem to a less-successful Baudelairian prose poem of the same title, and to other travel-related works by the ill-fated international flâneur.


Proposal Number: 37
Date: 2022-12-16
Paper Title: Montaigne and the Liberal Disposition
Core Text:
Montaigne Essays
Abstract:
In On Human Conduct Michael Oakeshott identifies the emergence of the liberal order with the cultivation of a certain disposition. The classic expression of which is to be found in Montaigne’s Essays. The paper seeks to understand that disposition by consideration of Montaigne’s comparison of Democritus and Heraclitus and Diogenes and Timon of Athens. These comparisons hinge on the difference between the comic and tragic disposition towards the human condition.


Proposal Number: 36
Date: 2022-12-16
Paper Title: Commerce and Contemplation: Going Under the House in Tomás Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
Core Text:
Tomás Rivera's And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
Abstract:
Tomás Rivera’s collection of linked short stories, And the Earth Did Not Devour Him, explores from multiple perspectives a nascent community of Chicano migrant workers before concluding with the story “Under the House,” in which the male protagonist hides under a house in his neighborhood. It is tempting to read the house as an image of the community, and the protagonist’s position underneath the house as an image of the individual experiencing the weight and burden of that community. However, one can also see the time spent under the house as an escape from such communal commerce into an environment of solitude and thought, a space that allows the protagonist to imagine, as he says, “bring everybody together.” This paper explores the meaning of this retreat under the house and aims to offer insight into what Rivera’s text suggests about the relationship of exchange between artists and communities.


Proposal Number: 35
Date: 2022-12-15
Paper Title: St. Thomas Aquinas on the Complex Relationship between Justice and Prudence
Core Text:
Summa Theologica
Abstract:
St. Thomas argues that justice is a kind of equality essential to the political community, which is the perfect community necessary for human survival and the development of human virtue. Human standards of justice vary from regime to regime, and the justice and injustice of each are ultimately measured by an absolute justice belonging to God's eternal law. While St. Thomas does not insist or even recommend that relative earthly justice conform entirely to absolute justice, he does argue that human prudence must select not only the proper means to desired ends but also direct human actions to the right end. This paper will analyze the difficulty of directing human actions to the right end within the limitations of the bonds, just and unjust, uniting various communities.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Justice and Prudence Across Time and Place: Classical and Christian Perspectives
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The demands for justice resonate across place and time as political communities fall short of what many consider the minimal requirements of justice. This panel will examine the foundations of justice and whether an absolute standard can be used to measure the variety of political communities and the interactions between them. Does human prudence suggest a human providence that demands absolute standards of justice, or does prudence abandon absolutes standards for relative ones adapted to the circumstances of various peoples.


Proposal Number: 34
Date: 2022-12-15
Paper Title: New Atlantis Turned Flying Island: Bacon vs. Swift on the Scientific Regime
Core Text:
Francis Bacon's "New Atlantis" and Part III of Jonathon Swift's "Gulliver's Travels"
Abstract:
The scientific revolution brought about not only a change in the methods and curriculum of university studies, but also a new conception of society and its commerce. As Francis Bacon envisioned, the enlightened society of the future would be supremely rational at every level. Yet, well before this revolution was brought to completion, Jonathon Swift lampooned this vision and satirically depicted a dystopia unique to the scientific age. In this paper I will bring their two islands before our view as places that help us reflect on the benefits and harms of the modern project.


Proposal Number: 33
Date: 2022-12-15
Paper Title: Karl Marx, the 1844 Manuscripts, and the Perfection of the Human Senses
Core Text:
Economic and Philosophic Manuscripts of 1844
Abstract:
After the fall of the Soviet Union, Karl Marx's philosophy has often been criticized in public discourse for failing to account for basic realities concerning human psychology, including that man's self-interested nature will never result in a classless, equal society. However, Marx's 1844 Manuscripts attempt to lay out a path for how the human mind might develop in the future so that man no longer sees objects as his property but as a part of a greater sense of "species being" where all objects belong to mankind. In the process, man's individual senses also become perfected into a truly "human" sense, where one takes pleasure in art not for its monetary value or as an individual sense impression but because one can see its objective artistic beauty and mutually share in it with the whole species. In the end, Marx envisions a world where man's selfishness not only dissolves because mankind has overcome the exploitative nature of industry and commerce, or the petty jealousies of property, religion and family, but also because mankind come's to realize true pleasure, happiness, and freedom comes through embracing the communist consciousness.


Proposal Number: 32
Date: 2022-12-13
Paper Title: Truth or Consequences: Everyday Research and Confirmation Bias in Three Jane Austen Heroines
Core Text:
Jane Austen--Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, and Emma
Abstract:
All of Jane Austen’s novels are essentially about choosing, with a focus on the way in which her heroines make their decisions, and then, as now, heroines make their choices based on what they know—or think they know—to be true—and this truth is, in turn, based on their “everyday research.” “In our everyday research, we are often very casual in our methods and sometimes, when we want to convince ourselves that something we want to do should be done . . . we neglect information that might convince us that a course of action we want to take is wrong . . . So the research we do, on the personal level, at times, is not a matter of seeking truth but of finding support and justification” (Berger 6). Austen portrays the way in which three heroines in particular engage in the kind of everyday research that is flawed due to its tendency to engender “confirmation bias,” which causes heroines to seek to justify choices that are more emotional than rational. Choices based on such reasoning block meaningful exchange, or conversation in Austen’s novels, between interlocutors because they cause errors in judgment about people and about situations; my essay will discuss the key terms and apply them to the choices made by three of Austen’s heroines: Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice, and Emma in Emma.


Proposal Number: 31
Date: 2022-12-13
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: The Liberal Arts in Classical Education
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will consider the role of the traditional liberal arts, especially the Trivium, in classical education broadly construed. Classical education is a movement in K through 12 education. It was inspired originally as a response to what have now become conventional approaches to the education of teachers and students in departments of Education in colleges and universities in the US. Like some elements in the classical education movement, this panel will exemplify the revival of classical approaches to education. Foremost among those approaches is the study of the liberal arts of the Trivium: grammar, dialectic, and rhetoric. Our panel papers will address in some cases directly, in other cases indirectly what the arts have to do with liberal education.


Proposal Number: 30
Date: 2022-12-10
Paper Title: The Was That Is Not
Core Text:
Chapter one
Abstract:
"Was" is the most comic chapter in Go Down Moses. It explains how Ike Mccaslin's father tried to avoid marrying Ike's mother. Some readers believe it treats slavery too sentimentally. It is, however, according to the chapter, the was that is not: slavery cannot be treated sentimentally at the period belonging to the remainder of the novel..


Proposal Number: 29
Date: 2022-12-10
Paper Title: Lucian and Democracy
Core Text:
Lucian of Samosata's *The Parliament of the Gods*
Abstract:
Set in and intended for the Greek world of the polis under the Roman Empire of the second century, the time of the Pax Romana and the Second Sophistic—the satire of Lucian of Samosata (ca. 120-180 CE) reflects the agonistic, assembly-based republicanism that managed to survive at that local level. In order to make the case that Lucian defends this version of democracy, I will first survey his frequent, sometimes offhand references to the mechanisms of polis-based democracy. Then I will identify the council as a key motif in Lucian’s satire, focusing on The Parliament of the Gods. Non-monarchical councils abound in his work: parliaments, juries, and tribunals that deliberate toward a crucial, if occasionally flawed decision. I will conclude by hinting at Lucian’s legacy in Early Modern Europe, where what I call “Lucianic conciliarism” often accompanied an anti-absolutist proposal of some kind, ranging from 1) limitations on monarchy to 2) expansion of parliamentary power to 3) outright republicanism.


Proposal Number: 28
Date: 2022-12-10
Paper Title: The Concept of Truth in the Book of Genesis
Core Text:
Genesis chapter 24
Abstract:
The Hebrew word for truth--emes- occurs for the first time in the Torah in chapter 24 of Genesis. The paper is an inquiry into what is meant by it in the context in which it occurs. In pursuit of this qulestion basic notions about the structure of time are introduced.


Proposal Number: 27
Date: 2022-12-05
Paper Title: Sophocles and Deraspe: Re-framing Lessons from Antigone in a Diverse Classroom
Core Text:
Antigone
Abstract:
Sophocles’ Antigone offers a thematic exploration of the tension between natural law and positive law, morality and legality, the individual and the state. Despite the salience of the play’s universal and ubiquitous messages, the frame of their presentation, namely as a debate on ancient Greek burial laws, is less accessible and relevant to the modern student. In this paper, I will discuss how pairing Sophocles’ play with Sophie Deraspe’s cinematic adaptation of Antigone (2019) can facilitate a more resonant understanding of the play and engagement with the original text. The paper will address not only how Deraspe reconceptualizes the themes of Antigone to explore socio-economic factors that affect political outcomes for immigrant communities in North America, but will also hopefully produce discussion on the educational goals of teaching the so-called Classics in a diverse modern classroom.


Proposal Number: 26
Date: 2022-11-21
Paper Title: On Manly Firmness: Washington's Continental Army and the Declaration of Independence
Core Text:
The Declaration of Independence; George Washington's General Orders of 9 July, 1776
Abstract:
This paper examines the context in which the Declaration of Independence was first read to the soldiers under George Washington's command on July 9th, 1776. Far from the typical orders one would expect from a commander in the field, Washington's general orders of that day reflect a keen understanding of the relationship between civil and military life, the shared virtues necessarily for both, and the political, spiritual, and philosophical bonds that tie together the patriot cause. Washington's orders further show the need combine force and persuasion for effective military or political command. When read alongside the Declaration of Independence, it becomes clear that self-government depends upon virtues of discipline and assertiveness.


Proposal Number: 25
Date: 2022-11-21
Paper Title:
Core Text:
Citizen: An American Lyric (by Claudia Rankine)
Abstract:
Claudia Rankine's long poem, Citizen: An American Lyric, is a valuable addition to any list of core texts insofar as it engages human themes of citizenship, equity, racism, and relationship; it wields a breathtaking and expansive scope of artistic and contemporary cultural references; and it employs a sophisticated formal poetic style. In addition, Rankine addresses the original sense of ‘commerce’ as an interchange of ideas with those whose perspectives we misunderstand or do not share, and she is attentive to the economic dimension of commerce and human transactions, both within and between racial communities. In exploring this poem and its visual references, I conclude that an extended engagement with the poem can be a powerful tool for critiquing and envisioning authentic human relationships.


Proposal Number: 24
Date: 2022-11-07
Paper Title: The ‘Quaestio’ Structure of Aquinas' 'Summa': A Blueprint for a Meanigful Learning Expirience in Dialecticts Amongst First Years Students
Core Text:
Aquinas, Summa Theologiae
Abstract:
One of the goals of core text education is enhancing students’ understanding of others, themselves and the world, and to intelligibly convey it. It is common for universities today to aim to train students in the latter through essay writing, which is a challenge when students get to higher-education without dialectical abilities. The Medieval university supplemented these abilities thorugh the use of the literary structure of the ‘quaestio’, famously fixed in Aquinas’ ‘Summa’. This structure, our institution has found, can be successfully incorporated into core curriculum courses as a meaningful learning experience for first and second years students to strengthen their capacity for orderly though and argument before they move to the more taxing assesment through essays.


Proposal Number: 23
Date: 2022-11-06
Paper Title: When Life Is a Game: Agency and the Game in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Core Text:
Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Abstract:
When reading Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, students often find the game that structures the poem troubling. To help students clarify their issues with the game, I teach the poem through the lens of the philosophy of games, particularly the work of C Thi Nguyen, who argues that games are “the art of agency.” Focusing on the effects the game has on Gawain’s agency opens insights about both problems inherent in the game design and why the gamification of our actual lives ruins the values a game is meant to promote.


Proposal Number: 22
Date: 2022-11-06
Paper Title: Commerce and Conversation in "Alatiel" (The Decameron)
Core Text:
Decameron
Abstract:
I will discuss commerce and conversation in Boccaccio's Decameron, both of which are prominent themes in the text. In particular, I will focus on the story "Alatiel," in which the protagonist is to some extent comparable to a product of the trade routes of the Mediterranean. I will discuss the role of commerce in the story, the lack of conversation in it, and the conversation that follows it. I will then contextualize the story within the Decameron as a whole, emphasizing the importance of storytelling and conversation in Boccaccio's classic work. In addition, I will present my report on how the Summer Institute on the Liberal Arts influenced our teaching at MSU, including the new course I will be teaching on rhetoric.


Proposal Number: 21
Date: 2022-11-01
Paper Title: The Given in C.S. Lewis
Core Text:
Perelandra
Abstract:
This paper examines the metaphors of fruit and waves in C.S. Lewis' novel Perelandra to support Lewis' theory of the given and the response that reality demands from individuals. Lewis presents Ransom encountering reality through these natural phenomena, and that encounter forces him to either accept or reject the good that is given. Transformation of the protagonist occurs through accepting and rejoicing in the good that is given rather than seeking a different good. This paper is already written, but currently unpublished.


Proposal Number: 20
Date: 2022-11-01
Paper Title: Kairos and Commerce
Core Text:
Isocrates "Against the Sophists"
Abstract:
As a rhetorician, I view this year's conference theme as an invitation to appreciate kairos, which refers to the moments out of which rhetoric arises, either by necessity or spontaneously. In the classical tradition, kairos was the standard by which rhetoricians were judged, since a skilled rhetorician knew how to speak to the moment (necessity) and how to capitalize on the direction of a discursive exchange (spontaneity). In my paper, I will discuss the theme of kairos in Isocrates' "Against the Sophists" as both a pedagogical tool and a theoretical concept. I will demonstrate the centrality of kairos to the interpretation of this text -- the first major educational statement by one of the most famous teachers in Athens -- and connect kairos back to the conference theme, arguing that meaningful exchanges about open questions require careful attention to kairos.


Proposal Number: 19
Date: 2022-10-31
Paper Title: Some Lessons from Al-Ghazali on How and How Not to Engage Challenging Ideas
Core Text:
Al-Ghazali's The Incoherence of the Philosophers
Abstract:
This paper examines how Al-Ghazali's The Incoherence of the Philosophers models different intellectual virtues and vices in response to Aristotelian ideas incompatible with Islamic faith.


Proposal Number: 197
Date: 2021-03-28
Paper Title: Hume’s Standard of Taste and the Future of Classics
Core Text:
David Hume’s “Of the Standard of Taste”
Abstract:
David Hume’s essay “Of the Standard of Taste” argues that, despite wide variations in individual tastes and culture values, there are properties that enable literary classics to achieve enduring success at providing pleasure to readers and that some people (astute critics) are better than others at judging whether a work has such properties. He thinks the literary merits of a work can be separated from flaws arising from the prejudices and false opinions of the age in which it was written, but he doubts that the same tolerance can be extended to moral flaws like bigotry. I propose to discuss the relevance of Hume’s essay to the concept of classics and to recent arguments by scholars like Dan-el Padilla Peralta who question whether Greek and Latin classics should have a future in light of the uses to which they have been put in constructing a narrative of white superiority.


Proposal Number: 194
Date: 2021-03-26
Paper Title: Julian of Norwich: A Medieval Perspective on Solitude and Suffering
Core Text:
Julian of Norwich: Revelations of Divine Love
Abstract:
Julian of Norwich is a central figure in the medieval Christian mystical tradition. In this paper, I will discuss the contemporary relevance of her theological vision within the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. I will examine her response to solitude and isolation, which she understands as an opportunity to turn inward to find God. I will also consider the ways in which, amidst the pandemic of her own time, she finds meaning in Christ’s suffering and death.


Proposal Number: 192
Date: 2021-03-25
Paper Title: Aristotle and Islam: Honor and Rhetoric
Core Text:
Aristotle, Rhetoric and Ibn Sina, Shifa’
Abstract:
Historically, honor has been embedded in customary practices that predate larger intellectual or theological traditions in the West and East. Because of its long and global history, honor has been richly contended with across disciplinary boundaries in a way that should not be overlooked in the western tradition or elsewhere. This paper offers one comparative case study in the intellectual history of honor, as both Aristotle and Ibn Sina (Avicenna) take up the question of honor in relationship to rhetoric. Comparing their ideas, especially Ibn Sina’s adaptation of Aristotle, opens up a conversation about the ongoing significance of respect for community and family as a highly translatable aspect of honor.


Proposal Number: 190
Date: 2021-03-24
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Hablaremos de la creación de la red latinoamericana de AALL y de la posibilidad de que el 2022 o 23 el congreso internacional de ACTC se realice en alguna de nuestras universidades.


Proposal Number: 189
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Core Text:
John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”
Abstract:
In the context of debates about educational delivery in the midst of pandemic-related school closures, this paper discusses how one popular alternative schooling method–homeschooling–relates to the educational philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Mill emphasizes the right of children to receive an education while criticizing the need for a state monopoly in providing that education directly. Arguably, Mill’s writings on education provide a blueprint for a modern-day defense of a fairly broad right to homeschool one’s children, albeit under certain regulations.


Proposal Number: 188
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Achilles and the Dangerous Conflation of Personal and Social Justice
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
This essay examines CDC Reeve’s argument that Achilles has not “stepped outside the heroic code and become an existential hero at odds with, and critical of, the values of his society,” but is simply unable to manage conflicting allegiances. I will extend this argument using the concepts of justice (commutative, distributive, and legal) as articulated by Aquinas in order to argue that Achilles’ just protest of Agamemnon’s unjust treatment subsequently leads Achilles to an imbalance in his own conception of justice. He never quite solves this imbalance, and we witness the dangerous potential of a man who cannot integrate the Thomistic categories of justice. I will conclude with a short reflection on the relevance of this matter in modern public discourse on justice.


Proposal Number: 187
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Core Text:
San Juan de la Cruz, Cantico espiritual
Abstract:
Reading has been, for Spanish writer José Jiménez Lozano, a conversation with others, a meet between souls. Along his life these meetings became the seeds for the essays and fiction works. This paper will address his reading of Fray Luis de León and san Juan de la Cruz in the critical moment of his life to discover the lesson of resistance and isolation of both in the XVI century. And how, through documentation and imagination, Jiménez Lozano writes -El mudejarillo and Fray Luis de Leon- books that are, at the same time, portraits of these writers and a research into the deep processes of their writing.


Proposal Number: 186
Date: 2021-03-23
Paper Title: Dialog and resistance: José Jiménez Lozano’s portrait of Fray Luis and san Juan de la Cruz
Core Text:
San Juan de la Cruz, Cantico espiritual
Abstract:
Reading has been, for Spanish writer José Jiménez Lozano, a conversation with others, a meet between souls. Along his life these meetings became the seeds for the essays and fiction works. This paper will address his reading of Fray Luis de León and san Juan de la Cruz in the critical moment of his life to discover the lesson of resistance and isolation of both in the XVI century. And how, through documentation and imagination, Jiménez Lozano writes -El mudejarillo and Fray Luis de Leon- books that are, at the same time, portraits of these writers and a research into the deep processes of their writing.


Proposal Number: 185
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title: What Core Texts Can Learn from Political Science
Core Text:

Abstract:
This paper examines what core texts can learn from the discipline of political science and will use Tolstoy’s War and Peace as an example.


Proposal Number: 184
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title: Noticing Nineteenth-Century Epidemics: Cholera, Typhoid and Fictional Contagion in the COVID-Era Classroom
Core Text:
Jane Eyre
Abstract:
In the early chapters of Jane Eyre (1848), Charlotte Brontë’s heroine passes a surprisingly pleasant May rambling through the gardens of her boarding school; the normally strict rules and schedules of the institution have been relaxed because of an outbreak of typhus. In teaching Jane Eyre and other nineteenth-century texts during our own outbreak, I’ve found myself and my students paying closer attention to such moments of illness and health, isolation and connection, and their accompanying emotions, which range from fear to at times creativity or even freedom. This paper reflects on research done by scholars of nineteenth-century medical humanities including Pamela Gilbert, Lorenzo Servitje, Kari Nixon, and Travis Chi Wing Lau to ask specifically pedagogical questions. How might we read and teach nineteenth-century questions of health in novels like Jane Eyre differently during (and after) Covid-19?


Proposal Number: 183
Date: 2021-03-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Rethinking – Again – Universities, College and Hutchins
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the distinctions as well as relationships between “great books” or “core text” curriculums and the related ideas of “inter-disciplinarity,” “general education” and the “liberal arts” altogether. Our pretext is a talk delivered at Shimer College by J Scott Lee in January 2011 on “Rethinking Universities, College and Hutchins” (collected in his book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts) on why core text programs should be part of undergraduate curricula in light of Hutchins’ arguments in The Higher Learning in America. In 2011 Lee was (as he recognized) preaching to the choir in the faculty and students of Shimer College, where the entire curriculum was based on Hutchins’ own plan for a self-contained undergraduate education through core texts. Six years later, however, Shimer College became the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College and its curriculum – still based on Hutchins’ plan – is now just one among an array of interdisciplinary programs, all of which exist in the interstices of a full complement of traditional disciplinary departments, which in turn are linked through a complex general education program that in turn marks North Central College as a liberal arts college. Our panel will be devoted to thinking through the institutional relationships between these distinct but clearly related forms of educational enterprise, partly with a view to understanding how best to chart a path forward for the Shimer School in its new guise and new home. More generally, we hope to renew Scott Lee’s and Hutchins’ questions about how to ensure the integral presence of core text programs as all universities and colleges emerge into the post-pandemic world, particularly with reference to our colleagues’ own experiences addressing such questions through their own programs.


Proposal Number: 180
Date: 2021-03-21
Paper Title: Freud’s Flat Conscience: Is Moral Discontent 2D or 3D?
Core Text:
Civilization and Its Discontents
Abstract:
Freud’s theory on conscience proposed in chapter 7 of Civilization and its Discontents views it as a results of the conflict between the desires of the id and cultural demands internalized in the superego. This makes it flat or two dimensional. The ego appears as a rationalizer and a manager of such conflicts between these two, but not as adding its own dimension by exercising reason as a moral truth-discerning faculty. I suggest that moral conscience arises only when reason can be seen as more than a rationalizer and manager–giving the person moral depth, as opposed to making the person merely the place of conflict between the desires of the id and the expectations of civilization.


Proposal Number: 178
Date: 2021-03-20
Paper Title: Travel and Challenging the Tragic Mulatto Archetype in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand
Core Text:
Quicksand, by Nella Larsen
Abstract:
In late 19th and early 20th century American literature, mixed-race characters are frequently depicted as confused, miserable, pitiable, and perpetually in crisis because of their racial betweenness. Rejecting the pathetic and self-destructive traits inscribed by this “tragic mulatto” assumption, this paper analyzes mixed-race identity and travel scenes in Nella Larsen’s Quicksand (1928), with the intention of extracting the protagonist from a tragic reading and repositioning her within one of agency. In other words, positing travel as a literal and metaphorical state of refuge, this paper uses geographic, cultural, and racial boundary crossing to theorize a rereading of the mixed-race character.


Proposal Number: 176
Date: 2021-03-19
Paper Title: Contextualizing Injustice in Otsuka’s When the Emperor Was Divine
Core Text:
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
Abstract:
Given the current dramatic rise in anti-Asian hate crimes, this paper suggests the urgency of teaching Julie Otsuka’s novel When the Emperor Was Divine about the internment of the Japanese in the 1940s. Primary documents from the era such as Executive Order 9066 introduce students to the historical and cultural setting. The poignantly multivalent novel introduces five perspectives within one family’s experience of incarceration. Additional primary documents such as belated presidential apologies underscore how the lingering past intersects with ongoing struggles for justice.


Proposal Number: 174
Date: 2021-03-19
Paper Title: This world below as an abode of trial and trouble and the consolation of the union with the beloved
Core Text:
Ibn Hazm: The Ring of the Dove
Abstract:
“The Ring of the Dove” is a famous typology of love in all its possible appearances dating back to the beginning of the 11th century, written by the great Andalusian Muslim scholar in theology and law, Ibn Hazm. Remarkable of this book, opposed to other classical literature on love from Islamic background, is that the descriptions of the various ways love can come to expression (or not) are embedded in the common experiences of daily life in Al-Andalus of that time. So to say: the human condition, including the hardships, are all around. That love and the beloved can be a wonderful consolation during difficult times is therefore an obvious theme of the book.


Proposal Number: 173
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 171
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title: Experiential Learning Online: Practicing Mindfulness for Understanding Classics and Sustainability
Core Text:
The Heart of Understanding – Thich Nhat Hanh
Abstract:
Thich Nhat Hanh puts forth the idea of “interbeing” as central to the Buddhist text Heart Sutra, and proposes mindfulness as a way to look deeply into ourselves and develop compassion for others. Eric Kandel’s In Search of Memory pinpoints the central role of the amygdala in our response to fear, stress and anxiety, which could be relieved by mindfulness practices, according to recent scientific researches. Two micro-modules were produced to introduce the concept of mindfulness in Engaged Buddhism and the scientific basis of mindfulness practice, followed by three online workshops of meditation practices, guiding students to become more focused and sensitive as they enjoy each mindful moment in stretching, sitting, breathing, listening, eating and tea-drinking together, to promote students’ awareness of their “Health and Well-being (the third of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals identified by the United Nations), and compassionate understanding of the people and of the world around them. This presentation will focus on our experience in designing and implementing the experiential-learning project and initial findings on its impact.


Proposal Number: 170
Date: 2021-03-18
Paper Title: The Constitutional Turn in the Political Thought of Frederick Douglass
Core Text:
Douglass’ Narrative and July Fourth Oration
Abstract:
This paper studies the series of ‘turns’ experienced by Frederick Douglass in his Narrative (published in 1845) and his July Fourth Oration (1852). In his first autobiography, Douglass describes his turn toward liberal education – understood as freedom of the mind, by overcoming the enslaving chains of ignorance – which is the prolegomena to his actual liberation from physical bondage through his escape. After his experience traveling in England (to avoid pursuit as an escaped slave in America) and working with the abolitionist editor William Lloyd Garrison, Douglass in his Oration articulates his turn away from the anti-constitution ideology of the Garrisonians to an open embrace of the American Constitution as a “glorious liberty document” that (far from being a pact with the enslaving devil) demands the abolition of slavery.


Proposal Number: 169
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Digital Literacy and Classical Mythology: Cupid and Psyche and the Animal Bridegroom
Core Text:
The Golden Ass, Apuleius
Abstract:
Teaching Classical Mythology during the COVID-19 pandemic presented two unique opportunities: to put to use some of the myriad digital resources available to students of the Classics, and to put to test the digital literacy skills of the so-called digital native generation. Using our class’ assignments and discussions around Apuleius’ Cupid and Psyche fable, this paper will argue that teaching the classics through digital resources can help students learn how to communicate, understand and navigate today’s digital world.


Proposal Number: 168
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Solitudes in the desert: a pilot, a prince, a fox
Core Text:
Saint-Exupéry: The Little Prince
Abstract:
Very often this book is used -at colleges and universities- as way for understanding what friendship and dialogue mean. Used in the pandemic it can hekp to understand how to overcome solitude that results from external circumstances but also from personal attitudes. In the analysis of this text in virtual classrooms the superficial reading -that is very commen- has to be substituted by a “better reading” with the consequence of a more profound understanding of the conditions for dialogue.


Proposal Number: 167
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Francis of Assisi, a Protestant Saint?
Core Text:
Paul Sabatier, Life of Francis
Abstract:
In 1893, French Protestant scholar Paul Sabatier published his ground-breaking biography of Francis of Assisi. Sabatier´s account presents the saint as an independent thinker with an unmediated connection to God. Yet what some viewed as the strength of the new more universal Francis, his independence and revolutionary spirit, others saw an insidious appropriation of a Catholic (and Italian) saint by Protestants, Modernists and agnostics (and non-Italians!) Does Sabatier’s liberal Protestantism reveal in Francis elements missed by Catholic hagiographers and scholars, or does it blind him to the evidence of a more traditional observance by Francis?


Proposal Number: 166
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title:
Core Text:
Core text in Europe
Abstract:
Core text in Europe is closely connected and related to the aims of ECOLAS — European Colleges of Liberal Arts and Science. It is important that the activities of the two branches with similar aim be inteconneced. Especially in Europe where Core Text teaching and LAS are marginal segments of the university systems.


Proposal Number: 165
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: Antigone Now: Purgation or Nonviolent Communication?
Core Text:
Antigone
Abstract:
In a 2019 adaptation (by Sophie Deraspe) of the Greek tragic play Antigone, the female protagonist portrayed by Sophocles as a headstrong girl from an aristocratic family (albeit accursed) finds herself in a marginalized immigrant family in contemporary Montreal. European cities in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak inspired a short production in May 2020, in which the focus becomes “a world in strife, a nation in fear, a woman stranded, in grief” (“AntigoneNow,” UC Davis). Different as the two productions may be, Antigone is presented as an “underdog” amidst troubles imminent to the audience in the respective place and time. As I introduce the play as a core-text to my students from 2019 to 2021, different crises have emerged from one semester to another, each inevitably directs or reinvents the meaning-making of the plot and of the characters. This presentation will look at some of the new possibilities in approaching the characters and the plays in response to the changing crises of our times. Aristotle’s theory of purgation and certain concepts of “nonviolent communication” will be called into play.


Proposal Number: 164
Date: 2021-03-17
Paper Title: A Sutta on Global Warming
Core Text:
Suriya Sutta
Abstract:
The “Seven Suns Sutta” in Pali Buddhism presents a scenario in which seven suns gradually destroy the earth. In the narrative Intense heat gradually destroys vegetation, lakes, oceans, and all life. The dhamma teaching is not to rely on impermanent things, since even Mount Meru is impermanent. The Suriya Sutta concludes with a contrast between Buddha’s teaching on the highest goal, nibbana, and the popular teaching of someone who taught the lesser goal of rebirth in the deva world.


Proposal Number: 162
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Severing the Edge: Takuan’s Immovable Wisdom for Crisis Management
Core Text:
Takuan Sōhō’s Unfettered Mind
Abstract:
This paper is part of Robert Scott’s panel, “Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis”(see below). Takuan Sōhō (1573–1645) was not only an accomplished Zen master; he was also friend and spiritual advisor to the legendary swordsman Yagyū Munenori. It was for Yagyū that Takuan wrote Fudōchishinmyōroku, “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom,” which explains how Zen principles can enhance swordsmanship though the cultivation of fudōshin, a state of mind that remains unfettered even in the chaos of combat. This paper explores the value of fudōshin for crisis management—particularly in the time of COVID-19—along with methodologies for incorporating Takuan’s work into interdisciplinary liberal arts classes.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Robert Scott has already submitted a proposal for our panel. Here is his abstract: “This panel explore ways in which East Asian traditions offer resources for cultivating responsive virtuosity in times of crisis. Each presentation considers ways in which East Asian texts respond to crises in their historical contexts and how they offer resources for responding to the pandemic and other crises in our time. The panel includes presentations on the 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk Chōmei’s Hōjōki by James Mark Shields (Bucknell University), the 12th century Korean Buddhist monk Chinul’s “Secret on Cultivating the Mind” by Robert Scott (University of North Georgia), and the 17th century Japanese Zen master Takuan’s “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom” by James McRae (Westminster College), and on the Confucian text The Great Learning by Yi Deng (University of North Georgia).”


Proposal Number: 160
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Machiavelli’s letter on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his experiences during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Core Text:
“Description of the Plague of Florence in the Year 1527”
Abstract:
Machiavelli’s letter describing his sufferings & the events of his life during the plague in Florence is his most “erotic” work, to which little or no attention has been paid. Machiavelli speaks most effusively, not to say romantically, of his friendship & love during this time, while letting one see these relations for what they are. The author appears to turn neither to philosophy nor to God in his time of tribulation, but to some sweet consoling sentiments & pleasures which help us forget the most painful thoughts we can have.


Proposal Number: 159
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Dirty Foot Desert Physician: What is Wholeness?
Core Text:
Life of St Anthony
Abstract:
Athanasius’ describes St Anthony’s desert existence including never washing his feet with water yet was as if a physician had been given by God to Egypt. The Life of St Anthony is a description of the paradox of embracing the Christian claims of the death of Jesus Christ as being the locus of true life and wholeness. Life in the desert away from aspects of life usually viewed as being essential to life, away from social norms, away from physical comforts, wrestling with the elements, with spirits and demons, power and principalities, and with the self, resulted in clarity, vibrancy, and healing. Athanasius found consolation and healing in the life of Anthony in the midst of his own engagement with political, social, and ecclesiastical crises not unlike those of our day.


Proposal Number: 158
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Kafka and the Pandemic
Core Text:
The Metamorphosis and The Trial
Abstract:
A theme that is present throughout Kafka’s work, primarily in The Trial and The Metamorphosis, is an overview of the individual’s conflict with the seemingly uncontrollable and random. Such a confrontation is being experienced in the modern context due to the isolation and disruption caused by the lockdowns of the COVID-19 pandemic. Understanding Kafka’s characters’ conflicts can offer one a reflective moment to reach a state of catharsis during this uncontrollable and random time. This paper discusses the similarities of Kafka’s themes with the individual’s experience during the COVID-19 pandemic and how, through understanding these themes, one can begin to overcome such a conflict.


Proposal Number: 157
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Constitution: An Unevenly Destabilized Text
Core Text:
United States Constitution
Abstract:
Constitutions are valued for their stabilizing power, but one of the prime virtues/features of a “written” constitution is its verbal amendability – or instability. How how do constitutions plan for and adapt to amendments (especially transformational ones)? This paper will consider, in various ways, the United States Constitution textual stabilities/instabilities, particularly by considering the crisis over the very first amendments (the Bill of Rights): should they have been interwoven or supplemented? And what differences has the decision made?


Proposal Number: 156
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: The Value of Liberal Education and Hesse’s Glass Bead Game
Core Text:

Abstract:
Considering the conference theme’s statement, “One of the grand claims advocates of liberal education make is that the books we teach can provide consolation and refuge in times of trouble,” this paper will examine other possible values of liberal education that are suggested by The Glass Bead Game by Hermann Hesse. One of these possibilities is that liberal education is not simply a source of consolation and refuge, but rather the most valuable thing that must be preserved during troubled times. At the other extreme, another possibility is that liberal education is a frivolity that is of no real value in troubled times–or, perhaps, any time. The paper is intended to be not merely provocative, but productively provocative.


Proposal Number: 155
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Plague, Civil Discord, and Human Nature in Thucydides
Core Text:
Thucydides’ History of the Peloponnesian War
Abstract:
“Almost too grievous for human nature to endure” writes Thucydides about the plague that struck Athens in 430 BCE. This paper will consider the historian’s brief consideration in Book II of the plague’s effects on the Athenian population, and what he observes—or perhaps, teaches–about human nature in time of pestilence as compared with his observations in Book VIII about a population in civil conflict.


Proposal Number: 154
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “No Superior Devotion to Memory”: Monumental Memory in the Writings of Douglass and Nietzsche
Core Text:
Frederick Douglass, Oration in Memory of Abraham Lincoln. April 14, 1876; Friedrich Nietzsche, Untimely Meditations, “On the Use and Abuse of History for Life” 1874
Abstract:
In April of 1876, Frederick Douglass delivered a speech at the dedication ceremony for the Emancipation, or Freedman’s Monument, a sculpted piece depicting Abraham Lincoln holding the Emancipation Proclamation while standing over a kneeling black man with broken chains. While praising the artistry and effort invested in the monument’s creation, Douglass also offers a cautionary critique of what such monuments can do to the complex memory of a complicated man. In this paper, I compare Douglass’s words of restraint with Nietzsche’s three categories of history: monumental, antiquarian, and critical. In distinct voices, both argue against a rush to memorialize any historical event or hero. History, especially history set in stone, must be simultaneously celebratory, preservative, and critical. To conclude, this paper will consider possible applications to the current monument wars taking place in the US and beyond.


Proposal Number: 153
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “’A joy it will be one day, perhaps, to remember even this’: Resilient Students and Transformative Texts”
Core Text:
multiple (Aeneid, Gilgamesh, Beowulf, etc.)
Abstract:
The foundational Transformative Texts courses in Purdue University’s Cornerstone Integrated Liberal Arts program hold great texts out as valuable lenses through which to understand the “pains and pleasures of being human” (Course Description). When the COVID-19 pandemic came along, the Cornerstone program offered students a special chance to think through the frustrations and renewed appreciations associated with this transformational time. Specifically, Cornerstone sponsored two contests calling for essays, artwork and other creative endeavors that addressed how the ideas or characters of their course texts resonated with them in the pandemic context. This essay, focusing on the second of these contests, revealed the value of a variety of works (The Epic of Gilgamesh, The Aeneid, Beowulf, The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, Things Fall Apart and more) in helping students understand, cultivate and embrace Resilience in the sense of a way to cope with and counter the disorientation and sense of loss accompanying change


Proposal Number: 152
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: On the Aristophanic Myth
Core Text:
Plato’s “Symposium”
Abstract:
In this essay, I will take a look at the myth created by Aristophanes during the party which serves as the setting of Plato’s “Symposium”. This dialogue, and in particular, this speech, raises a series of provocative questions concerning Love (or Eros) and its objects. For the moment, I am interested in only the following two: What are the great or chief differences between Socrates and Aristophanes’ speeches? What does this tell us as readers, if anything, about the relationship between philosophy and property–more precisely, the relationship between philosophy comedy? I hope that a thoughtful and close reading of their respective openings will illuminate this topic.


Proposal Number: 151
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: “a world of abstraction”: 
Echoes of the Southern Critique of ‘Science in the Abstract’ in Albert Camus’ La Peste
Core Text:
La Peste (The Plague)
Abstract:
As might be expected, a number of articles have been recently published examining Albert Camus’ novel La Peste (or The Plague, 1947), emphasizing either a need for solidarity in the face of the coronavirus and other “public health crises,” the importance of healthcare workers, or contagion as a metaphor. What has not yet been noticed is the presence, within Camus’ novel, of a critique of his protagonist/narrator Dr. Bernard Rieux, which echoes the critique made by Southern Agrarian writers against ‘science’ and ‘abstract systems,’ especially embodied in the progressive-industrial complex. Although it is unlikely that Camus read I’ll Take My Stand, the Agrarian manifesto first published in 1930, he was enamored of the work of William Faulkner, in many ways their successor, and profitably read the works of Fyodor Dostoevsky, which contain a similar critique of abstract thinking. This paper will provide a close reading of these echoes within La Peste, beginning with the conversation between the journalist Rambert and Rieux in Part Two, in order to elucidate that critique in reference to the Agrarian ‘Statement of Principles,’ and assess how Rieux’s reception of Rambert’s accusation shapes the form of the novel. To conclude, the paper will briefly suggest the inadequacy, and more than this, the danger of allowing abstract thinking to govern a society facing a pandemic, given the inability of the abstract mode of science to comprehend the full contours of the human good, especially under the auspices of state-sponsored atheism or agnosticism.


Proposal Number: 150
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Wings in the Abyss: Reading Keats in the Pandemic
Core Text:
John Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale” and Letter to JH Reynolds (3 May 1818)
Abstract:
“The difference of high Sensations with and without knowledge,” wrote John Keats in May 1818, “appears to me this – in the latter case we are falling continually ten thousand fathoms deep and being blown up again without wings and with all horror of a bare shouldered Creature – in the former case, our shoulders are fledged, and we go thro’ the same air and space without fear.” Sounds like a pretty good description of pandemic anxiety, and of the intellectual grounding we hope will help students live, and think, through it – and maybe even soar. I’ll describe how teaching Keats’s great Odes and letters on Zoom the day after the Capitol insurrection and amid the still-raging pandemic helped me, and my students, accept ambiguity and chaos while hoping to find our wings.


Proposal Number: 149
Date: 2021-03-16
Paper Title: Socrates and the Love of Money
Core Text:
Plato’s Republic
Abstract:
Socrates is often pegged as a a hater of democracy via Plato’s Republic. But his comments on oligarchy are at least as virulent, if not more so: he describes the rich as worthless, playing no role in his one man/one job schematic, and remarks that virtue and love of money exist in inverse proportion–the more you love money, the less you love virtue. Can the intensity of Socrates’ devaluing of the wealthy be linked to his life of poverty and the poverty of his philosopher-kings? And what of Aristotle’s description of the harm that poverty and wealth do to our relation to reason in Politics IV.11–does Socrates escape this, or does he somehow springboard onto greater things, via his antagonism for the rich?


Proposal Number: 148
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Tragic choices in Homer and Greek Tragedy and the Limits of Autonomy
Core Text:
Homer, Iliad; Sophocles, Oedipus the King; Isaiah Berlin; Hegel on tragedy
Abstract:
Teaching about tragic choices in Homer’s Iliad and Greek tragedy during a pandemic reveals the tension between many students’ unexamined faith in human autonomy and the Greek sense of human mortality. Plague is one of the means by which the gods maintain cosmic order as heroes contest the limits of human action. An ethical comparison of the choices made and limits revealed by different heroes helps students and readers understand the difference between ancient and modern world views and provides a forum for discussion of our own possibilities.


Proposal Number: 147
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Montaigne’s Arguments for Tolerance
Core Text:
The Essays
Abstract:
What can Montaigne contribute to our understanding of the virtue of tolerance? In this essay I point to several chapters from Book One of the Essays in order to bring out Montaigne’s arguments on behalf of the kind of tolerance that he seems to take to be a necessary condition for living well with others.


Proposal Number: 146
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Nietzsche’s ‘Dionysian’ Hamlet: Prospects and Pitfalls
Core Text:
Shakespeare’s Hamlet; Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy, Beyond Good and Evil, Ecce Homo
Abstract:
Shakespeare surfaces throughout Nietzsche’s corpus as one of the paradigmatic great artists whose work is deemed worthy of critical engagement—particularly Hamlet and the suffering of its titular character. It is not surprising, then, that Nietzsche’s readers have sometimes felt an invitation to interpret Hamlet with The Birth of Tragedy’s commentary as a starting point. In this paper, I will offer an assessment of my own, drawn from across Nietzsche’s writings and posing the following three questions: 1) what does Nietzsche’s reading of Hamlet and his response to suffering essentially consist of; 2) what in Hamlet, if anything, does his reading illuminate; and 3) what might it obfuscate?


Proposal Number: 145
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Teaching the Trivium in Political Theory
Core Text:
Texts on the Trivium
Abstract:
This paper reflects on emphasizing logic, rhetoric, and grammar in an introduction to political theory course. Following the “Reinventing and Rejuvenating the Liberal Arts Seminar” significant changes were made in a western political thought class focused on liberty, justice, and the common good. Students were attracted to this approach that focused on the liberal arts as skills vital to the practical science of politics. However, at several places in the course the question of intrinsic value and the need for leisure was raised. Significant improvement was shown in writing which was stressed as a place where the liberal arts were critical.


Proposal Number: 143
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Socrates on the Antinomian Effects of Oligarchy
Core Text:
Republic
Abstract:
In Plato’s Republic, Socrates presents oligarchy as the primary catalyst for political and moral decline. I attempt to clarify the main reasons for his critical assessment, and conclude by illustrating how oligarchy prepares the worst features of democratic morality. I argue that Socrates’ approach is helpful for diagnosing some of our own cultural problems insofar as he compels us to consider whether we misunderstand or overemphasize the role of intellectual influence at the expense of seeing the economic roots of negative behavior.


Proposal Number: 142
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: “Nine Parts of Ten:” Man’s Malleable Character and the Importance of Good Education
Core Text:
Locke, Some Thoughts Concerning Education and An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
Abstract:
n his work, Some Thoughts Concerning Education, John Locke muses that “of all the men we meet with, nine parts of ten are what they are, good or evil, useful or not, by their education,” making it imperative that individuals, especially those who will engage in public life as adults, have properly supervised educations as children. His statement draws on another concept from his writings, namely, that the minds of men are blank slates when they are born, suggesting that what is written on those slates will inform what kind of person they become. This essay will expound upon Locke’s educational views to show their importance for human life. I will conclude with a brief reflection of the importance of education as a fortification against crises such as the one we have experienced as a result of Covid.


Proposal Number: 141
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Aristotle and Arendt on the Solitary Person: Boors, Beasts, or Barely There
Core Text:
Nicomachean Ethics (Aristotle), The Human Condition (Arendt)
Abstract:
The lockdowns, quarantines, and social and physical distancing of the last year have highlighted again the permanent question of whether it is good for man to be alone. This question is a fixture of the human condition, and though they come to different conclusions on the appropriate hierarchy of human activity, both Aristotle and Hannah Arendt agree that the solitary person can be compared to a beast. In his Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle gives a taxonomy of men who stand apart from their fellows—the boorish man, the insensible man, and the contemplative man—and the metaphorical family resemblance between them reveals that not even Aristotle’s contemplative philosopher remains solitary. In The Human Condition, Arendt takes issue with Aristotle ordering the contemplative life higher than the active life, but she also argues that the person who never engages in the self-disclosing action of the public realm lives a less-than-human life. Comparing Aristotle and Arendt on the figure of the solitary person gives us the occasion to affirm the good of communal life in the face of socio-political isolation.


Proposal Number: 140
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Well…the Constitution Plainly Says… How Today’s Public Policy’s Actors Are Responding to the Corona Virus with Arguments “Found” in the United States Constitution
Core Text:
The U.S. Constitution
Abstract:
The nation’s public policies evolve from the collective efforts of a host of actors in the public, private, and non-profit sectors who vigorously promote “their side,” “their take” on political issues. Among them are the White House, businesses, interest groups, state and local governments, activists, lobbyists, the courts, the media, Congress and others—operating coast-to-coast within the nation’s ever-changing social, economic, political, and cultural landscapes. Using the COVID-19 virus as its foundation, this paper discusses how these actors’ responses to the virus are built on the Constitution’s seminal arguments–with each actor attempting to not only justify its point of view based on “what the Constitution plainly says,” but also attempting to shape/influence history’s take on the virus in favor of that viewpoint.


Proposal Number: 139
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Machiavelli on Love & Friendship: Reflections on his Letter during the Plague to a most Dear & Honored Friend
Core Text:
“Description of the Plague of Florence in the Year 1527
Abstract:
Machiavelli’s letter describing his sufferings & the events of his life during the plague in Florence is his most “erotic” work, to which little or no attention has been paid. Machiavelli speaks most effusively, not to say romantically, of his friendship & love during this time, while letting one see these for what they are. The author appears to turn neither to philosophy nor to God in his time of tribulation, but to some sweet consoling sentiments & pleasures which help us forget the most painful thoughts we can have.


Proposal Number: 138
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Does the Origin Story of Politics in Plato’s Protagoras Still Hold True?
Core Text:
Plato’s Protagoras
Abstract:
“Death to him who cannot partake of shame and justice, for such a person is a pestilence on the community,” so Zeus is given to say in Plato’s Protagoras (emphasis added 333d). And so, the the art of politics was invented by the Gods and humans so that each citizen would have a civic voice in the life of the city. It might be argued (and this paper does) the real plague confronting the city (then and now) is not the disease but the shameful and unjust responses to it. This paper explores the ethic of virtue in face of shame, and the role that the art politics, as found in Protagoras might play in its remedy.


Proposal Number: 136
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Against Consolation. Simone Weil’s reevaluation of values
Core Text:
Simone Weil, Gravity and Grace
Abstract:
In Gravity and Grace Simone Weil (1909-1943) undertakes what can be seen as a (non-Nietzschean) re-evaluation of values. Through her method, an intriguing combination of attention and contradiction, she analyses concepts such as ‘imagination’, ‘void”, ‘evil’, and ‘consolation’ in a way that purifies these concepts of any selfish interpretation. A close, slow reading of this difficult text may lead to conversations not only on the concepts involved, but also on Weil’s style of doing philosophy and, relatedly, to her activism and mysticism.


Proposal Number: 135
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 134
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Why the Classics Now
Core Text:
Cicero Tusculan Disputations
Abstract:
In the Tusculans Cicero makes the first real association of Soul/Mind/Will. This is a far cry from Aristotle’s proairesis (Choice) which is a deliberate desire. It is desire that acts as cause not Will. Cicero opens the door to Augustine’s early doctrines of free will but also the more radical modern notions which run aground in Postmodernism as Will hangs in mid-air willing ex nihilo. Knowing the tradition gives us a purchase on the ideas of our time in a way our nihilistic contemporaries would just as soon we forgot–all of which leads down a path to trying to purge the Classics of “whiteness.”


Proposal Number: 133
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Agriculture & the Preservation of a Republic
Core Text:
Webster, Noah, “Miscellaneous Remarks on the Division of Property” & “An Examination into the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution.”
Abstract:
Noah Webster writes extensively on the nature of republicanism and the necessity of widespread property distribution in a republic. In his writing, he anticipates the politics of the Progressive Era and offers some solutions for avoiding, or at least delaying, the onset and effects of political and economic centralization. For Webster, civic virtue is inextricably bound up with the labors of property ownership. Only via property ownership and tending to the land can a citizenry long maintain its independent spirit and zeal for liberty. With extensive urbanization, citizens will tend to lose their patriotic zeal, becoming servile and obeying the ruling class with little resistance.


Proposal Number: 132
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The realist revival sparked by John Senior has done much to inspire a renewed appreciation of classical realism in education. Leonardo Polo’s philosophical project illustrates how core aspects of modern thought can be valuable additions to classical realist insights into what it means to be human. Polo is not blind to modernity’s drawbacks, nor does he compromise core realist tenets. We explain why Freedom in Quarantine is an important text to facilitate the constructive interaction between realism and modernity, and how we plan to make these insights accessible to teachers at realist Great Books programs.


Proposal Number: 130
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: ‘Paidiá’ and ‘Eunomía’ in Plato’s Republic
Core Text:
The Republic (Plato)
Abstract:
In this Paper I would like to study the relation between games and education moral education. It is interesting to notice that in ancient Greek, the words education (paideia) and playing (paizein), come from the same root: child (pais). Plato is not blind to this conections and makes playing central to his educational proposal. I will focus on the relation between paidiá and its importance for one of the aims of moral education: eunomia, affinity with the law.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: the many faces of Socrates
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The panel will involve a discussion of the different ways in which Socrates is presented as a philosopher in the Platonic dialogues. We will look at Socrates as a teacher and think about what kind of friend he is as a philosopher. We will look at Socrates’ relationship to the poets and discuss his attitude towards death. We will also analyze the relationship in the Republic between moral education (paideia) and law-abidingness (eunomia).


Proposal Number: 129
Date: 2021-03-15
Paper Title: Solitude is Power: Teaching Milton and Rousseau during the Pandemic
Core Text:
Paradise Lost & The Discourse on Inequality
Abstract:
The elevation of the individual during the early modern era included an elevation of solitude that is perhaps best represented by Robinson Crusoe. Between Defoe’s creation stand three characters in Paradise Lost (God the Father, Satan, and Eve) on the one hand and, on the other hand, the savage man of Rousseau’s Discourse on Inequality. This paper offers a reflection on the powerful and fearsome place of solitude in these two texts. Why is solitude associated to power and happiness? How come its experience during a time like the pandemic suggest that it is different? This paper also ends with a few thoughts about teaching these texts to undergraduate during Fall 2020.


Proposal Number: 128
Date: 2021-03-14
Paper Title: The Plague and the Republic
Core Text:
Albert Camus– The Plague
Abstract:
The characters and action of Camus’ The Plague provoke reflection on the meaning and value of public action for human welfare and happiness. Through the character Rieux and his response to the plague, the novel depicts the need and reality of the public while rendering the needs and aspirations of individuals, like Rambert, as inadequate, even unimportant, to the circumstances. However, the novel itself nonetheless questions the adequacy of public action to satisfy the enduring human needs for meaning and love, as evidenced in the aftermath of the plague for even those characters who respond to the needs of the public and act for it. Camus’ novel thus addresses the perennial debate about the public and the private in their respective claims on and for human life.


Proposal Number: 127
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: What kind of poets does Socrates want?
Core Text:
Plato, Republic
Abstract:
Plato’s Republic has many surface contradictions, for example, between the abstract, idealized citizens of the city in speech and the very concrete, often personal exchanges between Socrates and his interlocutors. Another such surface contradiction emerges between Socrates’s critique of Homer’s poetry as un-philosophic and his many references to Homer’s verses, not as rhetorical flourishes, but as authorities and sources for his key insights into virtue, human nature, and the human condition. Socrates clearly argues that poetic composition and appreciation should be guided by philosophy, even if we may dispute exactly how intrusive he wants that guidance to be. However, in my paper, I will argue that Socrates also hints that there’s a kind of poet who may serve not just as a handmaiden, but as an indispensable guide, to philosophers and citizens both, a poet whose work exhibits many of the same qualities that Socrates otherwise restricts to philosophy, but whose work retains a concrete encounter with human nature that contemplative philosophy may lack.


Proposal Number: 126
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: The 1592 Plague and Shakespeare’s return to Ovid
Core Text:
Shakespeare – Venus and Adonis
Abstract:
In the summer of 1592, the twenty-eight year old actor and neophyte playwright, William Shakespeare, was confronted with the closing of the London theatres because of an outbreak of bubonic plague. His answer to this temporary – but how was he to know how long? – cessation of his revenue streams, was to revisit the work of the poet Ovid and write two long narrative poems: ‘Venus and Adonis’ and The Rape of Lucrece’. Shakespeare was returning to the classical writing that he studied as a boy at Grammar School of King Edward VI, Stratford-upon-Avon and in so doing he injected his writing with an influence that was to shape his playwriting until his death. With a particular focus on ‘Venus and Adonis’, this paper will explore this ‘brilliantly sophisticated erotic comedy’ (Wells) and the impact that Shakespeare’s debut in print, and subsequent bestseller, was to make on his subsequent playwriting.


Proposal Number: 125
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title: The Invisible Man: Teaching through Lockdown
Core Text:
Magna Carta/US Constitution
Abstract:
Through teaching core texts to pre-university UK high school students, a range of pedagogical responses and shifts occurred through the long months of lockdown. At the start of the process the focus was on the institutional expectation of methodological change and ‘discovery’ (or rediscovery) of student vulnerability and visibility. At the end the focus had evolved (or perhaps dissolved) to one of increasing self-awareness of the fundamentals of the invisible online setting: were the students actually there? Who was teaching who?


Proposal Number: 124
Date: 2021-03-13
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute held a two-week project at Carthage College in the summer of 2019 on “Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts.” Attended by faculty from 10 institutions around the world and supported by the Institute and the Bradley Foundation, faculty members explored and discussed over fifty texts which directly shaped the purpose, structure, matter, techne, applications and productions of the trivium and quadrivium — ancient to modern. Inquiries led beyond the trivium or quadrivium to perspective in painting, modern scientific foundations, and recent innovations in grammar and rhetoric. Faculty members discussed the use and implementation of these texts in new and projected curricula. This panel will receive reports on a wide variety of course and textual use — rejuvenating the direct use of the liberal arts in higher education. Joshua Parens, Ben Desmidt and J. Scott Lee will co-chair the panel. Reports will be made available through ACTC and will lead to the development of a future project on the liberal arts. Faculty and administrators interested in the history, theory, and application of the liberal arts are warmly invited to attend.


Proposal Number: 123
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: Ibn Khaldun, the first sociologist?
Core Text:
Muqaddimah
Abstract:
Both long-term and recent debates about eurocentrism and decolonizing the university curriculum pose the question of how to enrich the history and practice of the social sciences without substituting one ethnocentrism for another. The paper addresses this pressing concern by exploring the various strategies of reading the sociologically relevant fragments from the Muqaddimah (Prolegomena), the wide-ranging treatise by the 14thcentury North African social theorist Ibn Khaldun. Was Ibn Khaldun a founder of sociology avant la lettre? Was he a precursor of major classical and modern social theories? Or, do these perspectives merely modernize and Westernize the ideas of a medieval thinker steeped in the Arab approaches to government and in the Islamic “religious sciences”? By looking at Ibn Khaldun’s perspectives on human difference, social solidarity (asabiyya), political power, and social change, the paper makes suggestions on how to teach the Muqaddimah and on the strategies of further revising and expanding the classical canon of sociological theory and research.


Proposal Number: 121
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC Liberal Arts Institute Project: Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts. Reports on innovations in 10 institutions.
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The ACTC Liberal Arts Institute held a two-week project at Carthage College in the summer of 2019 on “Rejuvenating and Reinventing the Liberal Arts.” Attended by faculty from 10 institutions around the world and supported by the Institute and the Bradley Foundation, faculty members explored and discussed over fifty texts which directly shaped the purpose, structure, matter, techne, applications and productions of the trivium and quadrivium — ancient to modern. Inquiries led beyond the trivium or quadrivium to perspective in painting, modern scientific foundations, and recent innovations in grammar and rhetoric. Faculty members discussed the use and implementation of these texts in new and projected curricula. This panel will receive reports on a wide variety of course and textual use — rejuvenating the direct use of the liberal arts in higher education. Joshua Parens, Ben Desmidt and J. Scott Lee will co-chair the panel. Reports will be made available through ACTC and will lead to the development of a future project on the liberal arts. Faculty and administrators interested in the history, theory, and application of the liberal arts are warmly invited to attend.


Proposal Number: 120
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: “The Present Calamity in a True Perspective”: C. S. Lewis on Learning in the Time of the Pandemic
Core Text:
C. S. Lewis’s “Learning in War-Time”
Abstract:
During times of great crisis, whether a world war or a global pandemic, it may seem that scholarly pursuits, including the reading and teaching of core texts, are out of place or even unfitting—akin to fiddling while Rome burns. Drawing inspiration from C. S. Lewis’s essay entitled “Learning in War-Time,” which he originally delivered as a talk at the start of World War 2, I argue that, if our work was important and worthwhile before the time of crisis, it remains so during the crisis. The key premise in my argument, which I take from Lewis, is that crises create no absolutely new situation; rather, they only exacerbate the ordinary. After defending this premise and the argument of which it is a part, I explore some practical ramifications of my conclusion for teachers of core texts as well as for students.


Proposal Number: 119
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: Solace in a Torn World – Reading the Hōjōki in the Age of Covid19
Core Text:
Hojoki
Abstract:
Exactly 809 years ago, in a tiny hut measuring roughly 10×10 feet in eastern foothills of the bustling capital of Kyoto, a 57-year old ex-court poet and musician sat down to compose a short text known as the Hōjōki 方丈記, loosely-translated as An Account of My Small Hut. In this work, Kamo no Chōmei (1155–1216) reflected on the “torn world” around him—a world ravaged by natural disasters such as earthquakes, famine, fires, in addition to unrest produced by the political uncertainties of the early Kamakura Era. In this paper, I introduce the Hojoki, situating the text within the genre of Sino-Japanese recluse literature but also in relation to both Chinese Daoist and Indian Mahāyāna Buddhist thought, with a particular focus on the ways that the Hōjōki might help us to understand and engage with our current situation of overlapping crises, both natural and social.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 118
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Many faces of Socrates
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The panel will involve a discussion of the different ways in which Socrates is presented as a philosopher in the Platonic dialogues. We will look at Socrates as a teacher and think about what kind of friend he is as a philosopher. We will look at Socrates’ relationship to the poets and discuss his attitude towards death. We will also analyze the relationship in the Republic between game (paidiá) and law-abidingness (eunomia).


Proposal Number: 117
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Core Text:
Mission of the University by José Ortega y Gasset
Abstract:
In my paper I will be sharing my experiences of using Mission of the University, by José Ortega y Gasset, in my classes on Ethics for undergraduate science students – medicine, nursing, biology and chemistry. I use this text after student have read “The Revolt of the Masses” and Plato’s Apology and debated about the problem of hyper-specialization. In the conclusions I argue that the reading of Mission of the University is a fruitful way to understand why university teaching is much more than professional training.


Proposal Number: 116
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title: The big picture, interdisciplinarity and the role of university teaching in the training of intellectuals.
Core Text:
Mission of the University by José Ortega y Gasset
Abstract:
In my paper I will be sharing my experiences of using Mission of the University, by José Ortega y Gasset, in my classes on Ethics for undergraduate science students – medicine, nursing, biology and chemistry. I use this text after student have read “The Revolt of the Masses” and Plato’s Apology and debated about the problem of hyper-specialization. In the conclusions I argue that the reading of Mission of the University is a fruitful way to understand why university teaching is much more than professional training.


Proposal Number: 115
Date: 2021-03-12
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:


Proposal Number: 112
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Finding Skillful Means in Seon Master Chinul’s Secrets
Core Text:
Secrets on Cultivating the Mind by Chinul
Abstract:
This paper explores ways in which the 12th century Korean monk Chinul demonstrates the Buddhist virtue of skillful means in responding to a time of crisis. While there had been an exemplary spirit of harmony and cooperation among Buddhist schools and the state in 7th-8th century Korea, by the 12th century a sense of “the degenerate age of the dharma” (Kr. malpōp) had set in, along with discord between scholastic schools and meditation schools and corruption among monks. While others had tried and failed to restore a shared sense of devotion and harmony among Buddhist schools, the Seon monk Chinul succeeded by applying skillful means in his call for renewal by recognizing the value of the texts, doctrines, and practices of other schools, in particular the Hwaeom doctrine of “gradual cultivation,” while at the same time affirming the central Seon doctrine of “sudden awakening.” Chinul’s devotion, ecumenism, and innovation helped both to renew harmony among Buddhist schools in Korea and to established a distinct identity for Korean Seon.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel explore ways in which East Asian traditions offer resources for cultivating responsive virtuosity in times of crisis. Each presentation considers ways in which East Asian texts respond to crises in their historical contexts and how they offer resources for responding to the pandemic and other crises in our time. The panel includes presentations on the 13th century Japanese Buddhist monk Chōmei’s Hōjōki by James Mark Shields (Bucknell University), the 12th century Korean Buddhist monk Chinul’s “Secret on Cultivating the Mind” by Robert Scott (University of North Georgia), and the 17th century Japanese Zen master Takuan’s “The Mysterious Record of Immovable Wisdom” by James McRae


Proposal Number: 111
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Synchronous Learning in Plato’s Phaedrus
Core Text:
Plato, Phaedrus
Abstract:
After Socrates’ second speech in the Phaedrus, a discussion about the nature of rhetoric commences, culminating in the distinction between the art of writing and the art of dialectic. This passage provides deep insight into the advantages of synchronous learning, especially for the liberal arts. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many colleges made a rapid shift to online education, and depending on particular circumstances, professors had to quickly choose between synchronous and asynchronous learning. Remarkably, there is very little literature on the philosophical grounding for the advantages of in-person versus online education, nor the advantages of synchronous versus asynchronous learning. This paper uses the Phaedrus’ distinction between writing and dialectic as the basis for understanding the necessity of in-person education, or at the very least synchronous online education, for liberal learning.


Proposal Number: 110
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: Blood and Virtue: The Role of Political Violence in Machiavelli’s Restorative Political Project
Core Text:
Machiavelli’s The Prince and The Discourses on Livy
Abstract:
A key theme in Machiavelli’s thought, present in both The Prince and The Discourses on Livy, is the ordering and reordering of corrupt modern states in accord with his understanding of ancient virtue. Machiavelli proposes a number of methods to achieve this goal, but a central motif is the use of political violence. Bloodshed is repeatedly given Machiavelli’s approval in order to achieve the goal of freeing a state from its corruption and creating or restoring virtuous modes and orders. This paper examines the place of political violence in Machiavelli’s thought, paying particular attention to how Machiavelli recommends that violence ultimately be turned to restorative ends and be used to bring about the sort of regime Machiavelli views as desirable.


Proposal Number: 109
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Core Texts in East Asian Traditions and Responsive Virtuosity in Times of Crisis”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 108
Date: 2021-03-11
Paper Title: What Kind of a Teacher was Socrates?
Core Text:
Xenphon’s Memorabilia and select Platonic dialogues
Abstract:
This paper will ask what kind of a teacher Socrates was. It will begin by examining the various types of human beings he speaks to in Plato’s dialogues as well as in Xenophon’s Memorabilia. Central to my inquiry will be the hypothesis that Plato never presents Socrates teaching, and Xenophon only recounts briefly what Socratic education may have looked like. What is commonly called the “Socratic method” was a proptreptic or propaedeutic.


Proposal Number: 104
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Aquinas, Locke, and Lewis on Natural Law and Tyranny
Core Text:
Summa Theologiae, Questions Concerning the Law of Nature & Second Treatise, The Abolition of Man
Abstract:
Thomas Aquinas, John Locke, and C.S. Lewis each posit a natural law doctrine of their own. While their doctrines might differ in some regards, one thing that the three have in common is that they see the natural law as a restraint against tyranny. Aquinas, Locke, and Lewis all agree that the natural law is the basis of non-arbitrary and non-tyrannical positive law. In this paper I will consider why each of these authors hold this opinion and I will argue that it is of utmost importance for us to heed their advice.


Proposal Number: 103
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Health, Disease and Self-knowledge
Core Text:
“Lo Radical y la Libertad” by Leonardo Polo
Abstract:
Complex disease is difficult to handle, but paradoxically it provides a handle for knowing ourselves. In this paper we will dive into this route towards self-knowledge following insights from the recently published “Freedom in Quarantine” book, which contains a translation of core text “Lo Radical y la Libertad” by Spanish philosopher Leonardo Polo. And we will explore how self-knowledge can in turn be important to healing.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Know thyself. Developing a teacher training course around Freedom in Quarantine
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
The realist revival sparked by John Senior has done much to inspire a renewed appreciation of classical realism in education. Leonardo Polo’s philosophical project illustrates how core aspects of modern thought can be valuable additions to classical realist insights into what it means to be human. Polo is not blind to modernity’s drawbacks, nor does he compromise core realist tenets. We explain why Freedom in Quarantine is an important text to facilitate the constructive interaction between realism and modernity, and how we plan to make these insights accessible to teachers at realist Great Books programs.


Proposal Number: 102
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title: Language in Dante’s Divine Comedy: The Place of Praise in Paradiso
Core Text:
Divine Comedy
Abstract:
In the Divine Comedy, the souls in paradise know each other’s thoughts without speaking, seemingly making language unnecessary. However, since a portion of Cacciaguida’s speech in paradise is incomprehensible to Dante and the reader, it is a language proper to paradise. In contrast with Nimrod’s infernal speech and Adam’s account of natural language, Cacciaguida’s language expresses what the souls in paradise intellect through their vision of God instead of the knowledge they obtain through reason. Because the language of paradise expresses intellection, Dante indicates that the highest level of human speech is the expression of love toward the being of another through praise.


Proposal Number: 100
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica–Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 95
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica–Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 94
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC’s future in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 93
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: ACTC’s future in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 74
Date: 2021-03-10
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica–Planning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 101
Date: 2021-03-09
Paper Title: J.S. Mill on Education and Homeschooling
Core Text:
John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty”
Abstract:
In the context of discussion related to educational delivery in the midst of pandemic-related lockdowns and closed schools, this paper discusses how one popular alternative schooling method–homeschooling–relates to the educational philosophy of John Stuart Mill. Mill emphasizes the right of children to receive an education while criticizing the need for a state monopoly in providing that education directly. Arguably, Mill’s writings on education provide a blueprint for a modern-day defense of a fairly broad right to homeschool one’s children, albeit under certain regulations.


Proposal Number: 99
Date: 2021-03-07
Paper Title: Tyranny and Wisdom: Pandemic Politics and the Limits of Expertise
Core Text:
Xenophon, Hiero
Abstract:
In our contemporary context, we can consider two sorts of issues raised by Xenophon’s Hiero, and the debate between Leo Strauss and Alexandre Kojeve to which it gave rise. One is the possibility of “wise rule” (e.g., by public health experts) over an “unwise” (i.e., insufficiently enlightened) populace. The second is connected with the competing claims of expertise (e.g., public health, economic, psychological and educational) that would seem to demand a comprehensive of “architectonic” art to put them in their place. What can we learn about the possibility of wise rule that Kojeve imagines as the working out of the logic of the Enlightenment?


Proposal Number: 98
Date: 2021-03-05
Paper Title: ARS RHETORICA: Great Readings of the Ancient World
Core Text:
A selection of Greek and Roman speeches and rhetorical treatises
Abstract:
Presentation of a new module of the Core Curriculum at the University of Navarra dealing with Rhetorics, the power of eloquence and the prevalence of Greek and Roman oratory in liberal education. The development of this module came as a result of the ACTC Summer Program on Rejuvenating Liberal Arts that was held at Kenosha College, WI. There are texts from Thucydides, Plato, Isocrates, Aristotle, Cicero, Quintilian, Tacitus and Lucian.


Proposal Number: 97
Date: 2021-03-04
Paper Title: La muerte como reflexión de vida. Notas desde la filosofía de Platón
Core Text:

Abstract:
Para nadie es ajena la concepción de Platón sobre la muerte. En Fedón (64a) somos testigos de que la filosofía es una preparación para la muerte. ¿Cuál es el alcance de esta afirmación?¿Qué es lo que realmente quiere decir? La concepción sobre la muerte en el pensamiento de Platón puede ayudarnos a comprender mejor cómo vivir la vida. Esta inevitable relación entre la vida y la muerte nos convoca a reflexionar constantemente sobre nuestra existencia.


Proposal Number: 96
Date: 2021-03-04
Paper Title: Mentoring with Core Texts in the Covid Era
Core Text:
various
Abstract:
The past year has been dark, difficult, and disorienting for everyone, but particularly for students navigating the already challenging transition to college, particularly students from underserved backgrounds. This paper will reflect on and explore strategies for addressing those challenges through individual core text-focused mentorship programs, as well as the challenges–and possibilities–of online learning modalities for teaching critical reading, writing, and preparing students for intellectual life in the post-covid world.


Proposal Number: 91
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: The Problem and Promise of the Sensual for the Ascetic in Books I and II of Celano’s “First Life”
Core Text:
Thomas of Celano’s biography of St. Francis
Abstract:
Lepers, lilies, sweet fragrant fruits, suffering, the physicality of stigmata, the shining beauty of Francis’ dead body, and lovely language itself – Thomas Celano’s First Life of Saint Francis, concerning the earthly journey of this ascetic saint, ironically abounds with evocations of the sensual world. In this, it reminds me of my children’s and grandchildren’s favorite film, The Labyrinth. The similarities between the two texts, created almost eight hundred years apart, suggests a universal subtext in Celano, a message evidently as relevant to post-Jungian audiences, and to we who endure COVID-19, as to those of the thirteenth century and long before (Achilles, Odysseus, Aeneas): One must pass through hell to achieve love and personal destiny.


Proposal Number: 90
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: A WORLD OF WOUNDS: JOB AND THE ECOLOGIST
Core Text:
Bible, Job. Leopold, Essays from Round River
Abstract:
The Conference theme states, “One of the grand claims advocates of liberal education make is that the books we teach can provide consolation and refuge in times of trouble.” This talk explores connections between Job in the Hebrew Bible and the essays of Aldo Leopold. Job suffers loss and pain, apparently inflicted without reason, while Leopold finds that he “lives alone in a world of wounds.” The two come to realize that humans are not the center of creation and that our conventional wisdom must be replaced by a new understanding.


Proposal Number: 89
Date: 2021-03-02
Paper Title: Mrs. Dalloway as a Pandemic Text
Core Text:
Mrs. Dalloway
Abstract:
Virginia Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway has traditionally been taught in the context of postwar trauma. Elizabeth Outka’s recent monograph Viral Modernism: the Influenza Pandemic and Interwar Literature explores, both in the character of Clarissa Dalloway and in society at large, the presence of the “lingering physical and psychological damage the virus could inflict even months and years after the attack.” This paper will draw on my experience of teaching and discussing Mrs Dalloway through the lens of Outka’s reading and will incorporate undergraduate responses to this text in a post-pandemic time, as the world prepares for a return to “normal.”


Proposal Number: 88
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title: “Old People Will Die Anyway”: Senescence, Mortality, and Exiled Healer in Euripides’ Alcestis
Core Text:
Euriplides’ Alcestis
Abstract:
The myth of Alcestis’ vicarious sacrifice on behalf of her husband Admetus, vividly recounted in Euripides’ tragedy, includes a vexed exchange between Admetus and his father, Pheres, whom Admetus had at a previous plot point unsuccessfully petitioned to die in his stead (Alcestis 606-740). Looming large in the exchange is the ethical question of old age’s value, negotiated in light of the survival of younger people, paternal and filial piety, and widowhood. The exiled Apollo, god of destruction as well as healing, is accomplice to the situation that results in Alcestis’ untimely death. The healing god’s exile is a mythic twist that invites reflection on our own contemporary response to the question of senescence and responsibility during pandemic.


Proposal Number: 86
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Rethinking – Again – Universities, College and Hutchins
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
This panel will explore the distinctions as well as relationships between “great books” or “core text” curriculums and the related ideas of “inter-disciplinarity,” “general education” and the “liberal arts” altogether. Our pretext is a talk delivered at Shimer College by J Scott Lee in January 2011 on “Rethinking Universities, College and Hutchins” (collected in his book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts) on why core text programs should be part of undergraduate curricula in light of Hutchins’ arguments in The Higher Learning in America. In 2011 Lee was (as he recognized) preaching to the choir in the faculty and students of Shimer College, where the entire curriculum was based on Hutchins’ own plan for a self-contained undergraduate education through core texts. Six years later, however, Shimer College became the Shimer Great Books School at North Central College and its curriculum – still based on Hutchins’ plan – is now just one among an array of interdisciplinary programs, all of which exist in the interstices of a full complement of traditional disciplinary departments, which in turn are linked through a complex general education program that in turn marks North Central College as a liberal arts college. Our panel will be devoted to thinking through the institutional relationships between these distinct but clearly related forms of educational enterprise, partly with a view to understanding how best to chart a path forward for the Shimer School in its new guise and new home. More generally, we hope to renew Scott Lee’s and Hutchins’ questions about how to ensure the integral presence of core text programs as all universities and colleges emerge into the post-pandemic world, particularly with reference to our colleagues’ own experiences addressing such questions through their own programs.


Proposal Number: 85
Date: 2021-03-01
Paper Title: Restlessness and Contentment: Happiness in Wind in the Willows
Core Text:
The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
Abstract:
Many works of children’s literature raise eternal questions about the human condition. Fewer of these masterfully play with possible answers to those questions. The Wind in the Willows is one of these works–Grahame offers a sustained examination of the question of the proper relationship one should have to one’s home, particularly in the chapters “Wayfarers All” and “Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” This paper seeks to clarify what “the wind is whispering in the willows” about the restlessness of the human heart.


Proposal Number: 83
Date: 2021-02-28
Paper Title: A Pure Scream
Core Text:
Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star
Abstract:
Clarice Lispector’s The Hour of the Star recounts the painfully unhappy story of an impoverished girl named Macabéa, a story that, as the author bluntly notes, “takes place during a state of emergency and a public calamity.” Yet this is not at all a tale framed by plague, insurrection, or natural catastrophe. Nor is it about the crushing powerlessness that oppresses a more-than-substantial portion of the human race at this very moment. Rather, Lispector’s Hour should be better thought as occurring within an indefinite age in which we all – rich or poor, happy or unhappy – lack the “delicate essential” to which the novella’s male narrator refers. What is this essential? And what does it have to do with the act of writing, a writing that Lispector claims “trips up” her life, but which also seems to have something to do with not having answers to life’s own questions?


Proposal Number: 82
Date: 2021-02-27
Paper Title: Moral Evil: Lessons from Rousseau and the Lisbon Earthquake
Core Text:
Rousseau, Second Discourse
Abstract:
Eighteenth-century Europeans explained the Lisbon earthquake as a natural evil, part of a providentially ordered world in which disasters were evidence of a moral order in which every sin had its consequences. What was puzzling was why the Creator allowed crimes that would require such punishment. Rousseau was the first to treat the problem of evil philosophically, and to offer something of a solution to it. He explained that if the orthodox view is true—that evils have their place in this best of all possible worlds—then there’s no need to do anything about them. His Second Discourse effectively took responsibility for evil out of God’s hands and put it in ours. In this paper I shall argue that modern disaster researchers essentially follow Rousseau’s lead. Although they have abandoned the word “evil,” they rightly argue that disasters occur in societies, not in nature. And yet, when human heedlessness causes destruction, then leaves the world’s poorest people at its mercy, it isn’t merely disastrous, it’s evil.


Proposal Number: 81
Date: 2021-02-27
Paper Title: Contagion of Grief: Orphans, Theft of Language, and Loss during War and Economic Crisis
Core Text:
The Painted Bird
Abstract:
Children living precariously during times of war are often rendered invisible by their societies, just as children in dire economic circumstances often are. These twin wars (power and economics) run through the works that this paper will juxtapose. In The Painted Bird (1965), by Jerzy Kosinski, a child is abandoned by his parents to wander through horrors in Eastern Europe at the outset of WWII – the pandemic of war in this controversial novel is newly relevant due to the release of the film of this work at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Sacrifice, and rescue, of orphan children and language during a (war-like) economic pandemic are also at the core of the film Central Station (1998), as retired teacher Isadora goes from “stealing” the words of her illiterate fellow citizens— taking their money in exchange for writing their dictations of letters to loved ones, and then never mailing those letters—to rescuing an orphan named Josué.


Proposal Number: 79
Date: 2021-02-26
Paper Title: What Political Science Can Offers to Core Texts
Core Text:

Abstract:
This paper examines how the main subfields of Political Science – American Politics, Comparative Politics, International Relations, and Political Theory – offer a typology to understanding core texts. This approach not only can reveal new insights about core texts but can also be adopted as a pedagogical approach to help students appreciate them.


Proposal Number: 78
Date: 2021-02-25
Paper Title: Knowledge for Its Own Sake in the Thought of John Henry Newman and F. W. J. Schelling
Core Text:
John Henry Newman, Idea of the University
Abstract:
In the 19th century, most prominent reforms in the world of higher education drew much of their inspiration from German idealists like F. W. J. Schelling. John Henry Newman wrote his Idea of the University in part as a response to these reforms. However, both Schelling and Newman state that the aim of the university is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake. This paper will analyze how these two thinkers understand knowledge for its own sake and the repercussions of their thought in the university.


Proposal Number: 75
Date: 2021-02-23
Paper Title: Honey in the Coffin: The Disaster that Inseminated the Talmud
Core Text:
Tractate Gettin from the Talmud
Abstract:
The Talmud or Oral Torah is the single greatest work of Exilic Jewish literature. It had its beginning when a “dead” rabbi was smuggled out of besieged Jerusalem and failed to answer a Roman emperor’s riddle. Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai’s vision, bravery, and quick wit initiated the writing of the Talmud and kept Judaism alive in the midst of disaster. The riddle that puzzled him is still at the heart of our own uncertain future.


Proposal Number: 72
Date: 2021-02-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core texts in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 70
Date: 2021-02-22
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core Texts in Europe
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
We will discuss the next European core text conference. We will also discuss how we can expand the network in Europe, and upcoming publications and activities.


Proposal Number: 71
Date: 2021-02-21
Paper Title: Theaetetus and the History of Rhetoric: An Epistemic Counterstatement
Core Text:
Plato’s Theaetetus
Abstract:
In Theaetetus, Socrates, Theodorus, and Theaetetus attempt to define knowledge, often in terms of and in reference to figures, such as Protagoras, familiar to the study of rhetoric, yet even though the study of rhetoric takes a decidedly epistemic turn in the 1960s – most notably with Robert L. Scott’s “On Viewing Rhetoric as Epistemic” – Theaetetus generally has not been adopted as a core text in studies in rhetoric. Histories of rhetoric generally limit Plato’s presence to two dialogues: Gorgias and Phaedrus. In Gorgias, Plato presents his notion of false rhetoric through Socrates’s dialogue with the famous sophist Gorgias and some of Gorgias’s students while Phaedrus presents Plato’s notion of true rhetoric through Socrates’s and Phaedrus’s inquiries into the nature of love, the soul, memory, and writing and the relationships among them. My presentation argues that while Theaetetus stops short of asserting an epistemic rhetoric of the kind frequently associated with sophistic and in some cases Aristotelian thinking, it nonetheless inquires into rhetoric’s relationships to knowledge, judgment, and being, and thus offers an important counterstatement to sophistic and Aristotelian epistemic rhetorics. Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.


Proposal Number: 57
Date: 2021-02-20
Paper Title: The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd: Rediscovering Solace, Wonder, and Joy in the Natural World
Core Text:
The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd
Abstract:
Written during the long hard years of World War II, The Living Mountain takes the reader into the heart of Scotland’s Cairngorms — subarctic highlands, mountains some four million years old, having been conceived in the Devonian Period. Author Nan Shepherd explores themes such as air and light, the senses, plants, and being to slowly encourage us to recover our fractured and endangered relationship with the natural world, in which we can find solace. In The Living Mountain, Shepherd gives us a classic that ranks with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Emerson’s Nature. Having been rediscovered, The Living Mountain should be widely read .


Proposal Number: 68
Date: 2021-02-19
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Core y las Artes Liberales en Latinoamérica–Panning Session
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Planning session for a core texts and liberal education conference in Latin America in 2022 or 2023. Session will be conducted primarily in Spanish.


Proposal Number: 67
Date: 2021-02-19
Paper Title: Platonic Dialogue and the Joys of Synthesis
Core Text:
Plato’s Phaedrus
Abstract:
Despite perennial calls for synthesis, the field of writing studies is driven by (if not reliant upon) a bifurcation of rhetoric and poetics. Nevertheless, many rhetorical texts provide ample evidence that rhetorical mastery requires the resistance of this division. My presentation starts with Phaedrus as a model for teaching the dialogue as a form which enables students to learn stasis theory and argumentation. By creating their own characters who walk through the argumentative stages of conjecture, definition, quality, and policy, students may learn how classical texts were written and learn to think of themselves as more than passive agents of classical work. The creation of dialogues more fully synthesizes creative and analytical thinking and also invites us to put aside preconceptions in argumentation.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato’s Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical.


Proposal Number: 66
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: The Platonic Soul of Belles Lettres
Core Text:
Theaetetus, Theory of Moral Sentiments, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres
Abstract:
This paper will compare Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments and the belles lettres tradition of rhetorical teaching with the Plato’s epistemology inquiries in the Theaetetus, finding in both a surprisingly consonant idea of a philosophical education. In the Theaetetus, Plato argues against the kind of practical education that “prevents…free, straight growth,” in favor of a philosophical education that develops the soul’s capacity for seeking knowledge and wisdom. Plato begins his argument inquiring into sensory perception as an adequate ground of knowledge, which is also the epistemic ground of the eighteenth-century tradition of moral sentiments most fully developed in Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759). Like Plato, Smith understands pedagogy as a tool for the moral development of students, both as individuals and as participants in the economy of judgment and sentiment (Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres).

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato’s Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical.


Proposal Number: 65
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: A Kinder, Gentler Socrates: Socrates in and through the Looking Glass of Plato’s Theaetetus
Core Text:
Plato’s Theaetetus
Abstract:
Plato’s Socrates may be the best known and most highly esteemed version of the barefoot sage, but as self-appointed “gadfly” of Athenian society (self-described as such in Plato’s “Apology”—399 B.C.E.), Socrates has a veritable swarm of identities: the historical, sometimes malodorous figure who actually lived (469-399 B.C.E.); the Aristophanean Socrates (Aristophanes lived c. 450 to c. 388 B.C.E., featuring Socrates in “The Clouds”— 423 B.C.E. — and other plays); the Xenophonic Socrates (the soldier/historian Xenophon lived 430-354 B.C.E.); the ‘matured’ Socrates (cf. Leo Strauss’ Socrates and Aristophanes, 1966, rev. 1980) of the Persian Muhammad B. Zakariyya al-Rāzi (c. 865-925 C.E.); plus the hundreds of other Socrates created by the remarks of Nietzsche and other philosophers and readers. So puzzlingly disparate are these versions of Socrates that the whole matter of distinguishing them and, more importantly, figuring out how an historical/literary ‘character’ even exists at all in our collective consciousness, has its own name: “the Socratic Problem” (cf. Strauss and others). Plato’s c. 369 B.C.E dialogue Theaetetus, however, offers us a unique perspective on the Socratic Problem because it involves the often-truculent Socrates’ surprisingly warm interaction with a gifted 16-year-old youth, Theaetetus, who is both as physically unattractive and as soulfully brilliant as Socrates himself. This presentation examines the way Socrates coddles, consoles and chastens his young interlocutor (destined to be a famous mathematician), whom Socrates clearly sees as both a mirror image of himself and as an individual seeking his own knowledge on the other side of the glass.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” will explore the conceptualization of crisis in Plato’s dialogues and the application of those conceptualizations to develop stances from which modern crises could be addressed. Core Texts: Sophist, Theaetetus, Republic.


Proposal Number: 64
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: The Purification of Social Practice in Plato’s “Sophist”
Core Text:
Plato’s “Sophist”
Abstract:
In Plato’s “Sophist,” the Eleatic stranger proposes that the purification of a mind may require the refutation of that mind’s ideas. However, it is especially difficult to demonstrate weakness in social thought – what Richard Rorty terms the problems of relativism and skepticism. American political life, for example, is occupied with de-radicalization/purification of the terrorist mind, as a January 19th Tweet by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez might demonstrate. Rhetoricians dealing with this crisis may want to analyze classical examples of purification in practice, and “Sophist” offers a way forward that is as consolatory as it is thorough. [Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato”
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:


Proposal Number: 62
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: Virtue in Online Spaces: A Platonic Exploration of Culpability and Chaos
Core Text:
The Republic
Abstract:
This past year, social media giants have been blamed for sowing chaos, crises, and conspiracies. If individual users are responsible for creating and interpreting content, can we blame newsfeeds and algorithms? This paper explores how online political rhetoric works against the cultivation of virtue by exemplifying a number of the ills that corrupt a soul as spelled out in The Republic: extreme classism, indulgence, excessive pleasure, and a tyrannic nature that voids any chance for happiness and true clarity. In The Republic, Plato argues that virtue and moral development should be a primary pursuit, acknowledging that the human soul naturally bends towards injustice. However, if we can acknowledge the way we harm ourselves, there is a chance for redemption. Submitted as part of the “Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” panel.


Proposal Number: 61
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Symbolic and Social Crises in Plato” will explore the conceptualization of crisis in Plato’s dialogues and the application of those conceptualizations to develop stances from which modern crises could be addressed. Core Texts: Sophist, Theaetetus, Republic.


Proposal Number: 60
Date: 2021-02-18
Paper Title: Math, Metaphor, and Numerical Satisfaction in Theaetetus
Core Text:
Theaetetus
Abstract:
Plato’s Theaetetus is often and rightly summarized as an examination of the following propositions: knowledge is perception; knowledge is true judgment; knowledge is true judgment with an account. Examinations of these propositions, however, rarely take into account Plato’s use of metaphor not only to charm but also to establish the contours and conceptual ground for his dialogue’s propositional work. This presentation will examine how the metaphors of the wax block of memory (191c-196c) and the pigeon coop of the soul (197c) are metaphorical responses to Heraclitus’ notion of flux (itself expressed as a metaphor: a stream into which one might not step twice). Then, the interaction of these key metaphors will be shown to reveal a conceptual and metaphoric field from which the being of numbers and our satisfaction with them might emerge. Submitted as part of the “Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” panel.

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Plato’s Comforts and Consolations
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
“Plato’s Comforts and Consolations” explores the orientation of joy and comfort in four domains: the interpersonal, the symbolic, the pedagogical, and the ethical. Core Texts: Theaetetus, Phaedrus, Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments.


Proposal Number: 58
Date: 2021-02-17
Paper Title: At the Foot of the Mount: A Meditation on Dante’s <Purgatorio> as a Pandemic Vade mecum
Core Text:
Divine Comedy
Abstract:
The Covid-19 pandemic has not only ruptured social norms but has also laid bare the inadequacy of a medicalized/ scientistic understanding of the human condition. The pandemic demands/ed that we all pause and reflect on gaining a more authentic measure of ourselves and on discovering more authentic sources of meaning and purpose in our daily lives. This paper will address how the pandemic compelled a reinvention of teaching Dante’s <Divine Comedy> (which I do every semester in our Great Books seminars) and how, as part of that reinvention, the <Purgatorio> cantica especially became a contemplative space of personal accountability and moral inventory.


Proposal Number: 56
Date: 2021-02-12
Paper Title: Great Books at War. Apropos Robert M. Hutchins
Core Text:

Abstract:
The birth of some of the major Great Books programs in the US occurred during the most troubled times the country had to go through during the 20th century. While John Erskine’s General Honors Course at Columbia College could be partly taken as a response to the context of the American entry in World War I, for Robert M. Hutchins, a course of studies based on Great Books at Chicago made total sense not only in the context of the Great Depression, but even more at the eve of the US involvement in World War II. This paper means to examine the view Hutchins had during World War II about the role that a liberal education had to play for a nation that was willing to go into war in defense of an ideal such as democracy.


Proposal Number: 55
Date: 2021-02-11
Paper Title: An Introduction to Alexander Hamilton’s Political Epistemology in The Federalist
Core Text:
Publius, The Federalist
Abstract:
Scattered throughout Alexander Hamilton’s contributions as Publius are brief statements regarding the nature, limits, and origins of political knowledge. These statements are brief and easily overlooked; a reader may be led to assume that Hamilton eschews abstract reasoning and looks to historical precedent and concrete facts as the only secure sources of political knowledge. While it is true that he recognizes and even emphasizes the dangers over-abstraction poses to good politics, he does not reject all abstract knowledge. According to Hamilton, man’s capacity for self-government begins with and rests upon the ability to recognize pre-political truths and engage in non-empirical, axiomatic reasoning.


Proposal Number: 54
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: Using Thomas Merton to Reframe Our Pandemic Isolation
Core Text:
Thomas Merton (selected essays)
Abstract:
When students were sent home on Friday, March 13, 2020 to finish out the semester online, they became keenly receptive to Thomas Merton’s proposal to engage intentionally in the practice of solitude. Merton’s essays, including “Rain and the Rhinoceros,” “Learning to Live,” “Fire-Watch, July 4, 1952,” and “The Inner Experience,” invited undergraduates experiencing personal loss, fear, and isolation to practice attentive focus on the current moment, allowing judgments of “good” and “bad” to be set aside and instead permitting the world to simply exist. Students kept “Hermitage Journals” to document their practice of meditation and reflect on how it had an impact on their academic and personal growth. This paper will detail what Merton has to offer to undergraduate students perennially, but particularly during a pandemic health crisis.


Proposal Number: 53
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: Disasters,Literature and the Value of Life: Percy’s Lost in the Cosmos
Core Text:
Walker Percy, Lost in the Cosmos
Abstract:
Our current pandemic predicament is a result of an unanticipated genetic mutation. In Walker Percy’s “self-help book”, Lost in the Cosmos, Percy often uses the human reaction to unanticipated natural disasters as a way of thinking about the value of life as something irreducible to our artful constructions of our lives.  He also considers how literature in particular captures this irreducibility. In this paper I will discuss how Percy’s discussion indicates that we become aware that life is good precisely because life isn’t always as we artfully wish it to be–and nature’s unpredictability is around to remind us of this.


Proposal Number: 52
Date: 2021-02-10
Paper Title: The Plague as Ethical Crisis in The Iliad
Core Text:
The Iliad
Abstract:
Though it seems to play only a minor role in the overall narrative of The Iliad, the plague constitutes the determining crisis that triggers the main conflict of the epic–Achilles’s anger against Agamemnon.  This paper argues that the plague functions in a more important way than just as a starting engine for the plot, in order to offer an ethical framework of interpretation for the rest of the epic. The plague presents itself as a disaster, and what ensues as a consequence of the characters’ choices is an ethical disaster as well.  This paper reads the conflict between Agamemnon and Achilles in terms of an ethical dilemma, and the way the protagonists’ response to crisis–first that of the plague, and later that of the warrior conflict–shapes individual fates and the fate of the war itself. 


Proposal Number: 51
Date: 2021-02-09
Paper Title: Liberal Education and Leadership
Core Text:
Tocqueville, Clausewitz, Thucydides
Abstract:
Tocqueville’s critique of democratic history, Clausewitz’s discussion of critical analysis of strategic decisions, and Thucydides’ account of the Sicilian Expedition offer useful ways to enable students in core programs to think about the challenges of leadership in democracies especially. By learning to put themselves in the shoes of past leaders and evaluate the options available to them, students learn to think critically about addressing the constraints and opportunities real leaders in the real world. In this way, liberal education, which might seem unrealistic to many because it is within an ivory tower might be the most realistic kind of education required for producing thoughtful and effective leaders in our own age.


Proposal Number: 50
Date: 2021-02-08
Paper Title: Aquinas vs.the Skeptic
Core Text:
Aquinas, Summa Theologiae; Sextus Empiricus, Outlines of Pyrrhonism
Abstract:
In his Summa Theologiae, Saint Thomas Aquinas presents several different arguments against skepticism. Two of these arguments involve the claim that the skeptic falls into a self-contradiction. In contrast, the most famous of all ancient skeptics, Sextus Empiricus, argues that the skeptic need not fall into a self-contradiction. In this paper, I argue that Aquinas is right.


Proposal Number: 48
Date: 2021-02-07
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: A Plague Book for Plague Time
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
We will present appreciations of Alessandro Manzoni’s The Betrothed, with it’s description of the ravaging plague, mob panic, and ruling negligence, with remarkable transformations of good to evil and evil to good, of inveterate human weakness, yet rare shining virtue, whose discerning representation convicts the wicked and comforts the suffering, when rewritten in Tuscan united all Italy, still unites all Italians, and belongs in all core curricula.


Proposal Number: 47
Date: 2021-02-06
Paper Title: Virtue, Tyranny, and Political Rule in David Milch’s Deadwood
Core Text:
Deadwood
Abstract:
It is for good reason that David Milch’s Deadwood has been described as the best television show ever made, for it provides a careful and complex account of a mining town’s attempt to form a political community, and the various types of virtues, vices, and claims to rule that compete with one another in the process. Providing examples of democratic, aristocratic, oligarchic, kingly, and tyrannical rule, the series explores why the virtues and vices that belong to these forms of rule are not able to provide the basis for a well-ordered political community. In so doing, Milch provides a subtle yet robust account of the relationship of politics to virtue and vice that in turn illuminates the deep challenge posed to Aristotelian political science by modernity’s emphasis on commerce. In sum, this paper means to examine Deadwood as a work of art worthy of being taught alongside the more traditional core texts.


Proposal Number: 46
Date: 2021-02-06
Paper Title: “You are Dearer to me if you Receive my Advice”: Cicero’s as Teacher
Core Text:
Cicero’s On Obligations
Abstract:
Love can be measured, but only in terms of time – especially time spent teaching. So it was with Marcus Tullius Cicero’s famous letter to his son, which we know as On Obligations. Here, the great statesman-philosopher of Rome shows us what it means to teach in a spirit of charity; it is not a philosophic treatise aimed at cosmic speculation or political reform, but a transmission of the greatest gift that the old can offer the young: their wisdom about the right way to live. How might this text model for us what it really means to teach, ensure the reception of our students, and see what is truly valuable in the content – distinguishing between what is truly good and truly useful? This essay will explore these questions, and develop a theory of the role of charity in education and what it means to invest in our students.


Proposal Number: 45
Date: 2021-02-03
Paper Title: Does Adam Smith provide a moral ground for being a front-line hero?
Core Text:
Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
Does virtue require that one sacrifice one’s own interest to the good of others, according to Adam Smith? Not the virtue of justice, according to his initial presentation, in which it requires only abstention from the demerit of doing unprovoked harm to others, nor even according to a later revision, based on a strained revision of the meaning of the impartial spectator as a standard of propriety. Generosity seems a more plausible candidate, but does Smith adequately ground the surplus of its requirements over those of justice?


Proposal Number: 44
Date: 2021-01-29
Paper Title:
Core Text:

Abstract:

Conference Panel Proposal

Title of panel: Scott Lee’s book Invention: The Art of Liberal Arts
Six sentence description or abstract of panel:
Scott Lee’s new book “Invention: the Art of Liberal Arts” will be the theme of this panel. The book presents a bold and refreshing defense of liberal and general studies. The 10 chapters of the book range from a history of the liberal arts to cutting edge contemporary programs. In addition to presenting his defense of the liberal arts, the author presents several demonstrations including an analysis of Botticelli’s Adoration (1475. Emphasis on rhetoric and performance is one of the hallmarks of Scott Lee’s work in general and of this book in particular. Scott Lee is the recently retired Executive Director of ACTC and has been crucially involved in the inception and development of this organization.


Proposal Number: 43
Date: 2021-01-28
Paper Title: Learning in Wartime or During COVID-19: Is Anything Different?
Core Text:
C.S. Lewis’ sermon “Learning in Wartime”
Abstract:
Does C.S. Lewis’ 1939 sermon “Learning in Wartime” have anything helpful to offer people living some eighty years later through the COVID-19 pandemic? This paper considers that question.


Proposal Number: 42
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: Astrology in King Lear and Confessions
Core Text:
Shakespeare, King Lear; Augustine, Confessions
Abstract:
It is possible, perhaps likely, that Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the plague of 1606; it is certain, and perhaps not coincidental, that I wrote a book about the play, relating it to Augustine’s Confessions, during the COVID pandemic (2020). Something in both texts resonated with the isolation and despair I felt during lockdown (and at social unrest and political upheaval), and offered some comfort at such feelings. As a way to focus such inchoate connections, I narrow the comparison in this conference paper to the topic of astrology, which both texts depict as a ridiculous construct that belittles human nature and cheapens human experience, as the texts further struggle to construct a fuller, deeper idea of human nature based on freedom, responsibility, and love.


Proposal Number: 40
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: Plague-ing a Pandemic
Core Text:
The Plague, The Stranger, Things Fall Apart
Abstract:
This paper examines the themes of existential engagement in calamities, issues of alienation and community, in the context of teaching The Plague after years of a program’s use of The Stranger. Other texts considered will be Achebe’s Things Fall Apart and Kolbert’s Pandemics and the Shape of Human History.


Proposal Number: 39
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: “Black Matters” in the Humanities Canon: Toni Morrison and a Trauma-Informed Pedagogy
Core Text:
Toni Morrison, “Black Matters”
Abstract:
A trauma informed pedagogy encourages students to recognize their capacity for agency. This paper argues that autobiographical reflections can provide exemplars for consideration and opportunities for application. In “Black Matters” (1990, 1992), Toni Morrison supplies a resistant reading of the canon of American literature. By naming, questioning, and overturning operative assumptions in her own thinking and in key texts, Morrison models a form of empowerment that complements the use of a trauma informed pedagogy.


Proposal Number: 38
Date: 2021-01-26
Paper Title: The Misinformed Dying: Reading A Prayer for the Dying during Coronavirus
Core Text:
A Prayer for the Dying
Abstract:
An unprecedented pandemic results in a slew of misinformation. A Prayer for the Dying can serve as a harbinger for our own coronavirus pandemic in three ways: disease as the great equalizer, hubris as immunity, and delusion as misinformation of the mind. Unfortunately, while we remain optimistic in this pandemic, there is no optimism in the ending of A Prayer for the Dying. Although the book ends with the town being burned and a sense of renewal, the plague of misinformation is only in its early stages.


Proposal Number: 37
Date: 2021-01-25
Paper Title: Adam Smith and the Antisocial Sentiments of Social Media
Core Text:
Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments
Abstract:
Over the past year, many have sought to understand the paradoxically antisocial effects of social media, effects such as adolescent depression, attention deficiency, and political radicalization. Rather than prescribing how to solve this crisis, this presentation will describe it according to the core text of Adam Smith’s The Theory of Moral Sentiments. This book seeks a holistic description of human happiness wherein individual self-interest is naturally balanced by a reliance upon social approval, but social media disrupts the harmony between these two obligations. Specifically, this talk will discuss how social media undermines the social nature of human sentiments as Smith describes them by enabling people to overvalue fashion rather than virtue, to blame intention rather than action, and to erode both the justice necessary for society and the beneficent friendship necessary for human happiness.


Proposal Number: 36
Date: 2021-01-25
Paper Title: “As One Who Had The Plague Myself” Thucydides’ Plague and Ours
Core Text:
The War Between the Athenians and Peloponnesians
Abstract:
In this paper, I seek to what lessons can be learned from my experience as a Latin & Classics educator who has survived COVID 19 and grappled with the impact on the meaning and aims education at the school where I teach and in society more broadly. At the same time, I have studied the bonechilling history of the plague at Athens in Thucydides’ War Between the Athenians and Peloponnesians in multiple seminars while a student at the online Graduate Institute of the Great Books Program at St. Johns College, Santa Fe, which has provoked me to reflect both on the immediate teachings of Thucydides on a society’s reaction to an invisible enemy as well as the therapeutic effects of a liberal education in times of calamity and uncertainty.


Proposal Number: 8
Date: 2021-01-14
Paper Title: When Sickness is not Sickness: How the
Core Text:
Vimalakirti Sutra
Abstract:
Going back to its earliest Indian forms, the Buddhist tradition (as stated in the first Noble Truth of the Buddha) attests that “Life is suffering.” But through a dazzling use of philosophy and dialogic narrative, the later Mahayana text “The Vimalakirti Sutra” posits a level of non-duality in which pain, suffering, and sickness are seen as the flip-sides and necessary preconditions of joy, contentment, and health. The title character Vimalakirti uses his powers of enlightened awakening to magically feign illness and draw to his sick-bed Buddhist individuals he can then instruct in the teaching of non-duality. The text serves as a meditation on the critical Mahayana Buddhist concept of non-duality and, in its teaching on the possibility of a greater meaning and context to sickness, a foundation for re-conceptualizing times of illness, both for individuals and the larger society.