Published by the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas (founded in 1990 by Mortimer J. Adler and Max Weismann)
In association with the The Adler-Aquinas Institute and Aquinas School of Leadership
A Founding Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update: August 2018

Dr. Peter A. Redpath emails with news of Aquinas Leadership International and other organizations.


INTERNATIONAL ÉTIENNE GILSON SOCIETY MEMBERS TO BE HONORED DURING
ÉCOLE PRATIQUE DES HAUTES ÉTUDES ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT THE SORBONNE

  • As part of the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Founding of École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris, Drs. Piotr Jaroszyński and Richard Fafara will be Presented with the Prestigious Aquinas Medal for Excellence in Christian Philosophy during a Special IPHE-Sponsored International Colloquium on:
"Étienne Gilson (1884–1978), Medievalist and Philosopher, Man of Faith and Man of Action"
Dates: 19 and 20 September 2018, 9:30 am-7:00 pm
Location: The Sorbonne (Liard Amphitheater).
Organized by: Michel Cacouros  (michel.cacouros@ephe.psl.eu), Maître de conférences Habilité, Sciences Historiques et Philologiques
Scientific Committee: Michel Cacouros, EPHE, PSL; Patrick Henriet, EPHE, PSL; Christophe Grellard, EPHE, PSL.
Honorary Committee: Hubert Bost, President of the EPHE; Olivier Boulnois, EPHE, PSL; James K. Farge, CSB, Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto; Ruedi Imbach, Univ. Sorbonne Paris 4; Thierry-Dominique Humbrecht, O.P., Catholic Institute of Toulouse; Gilles Pécout, Rector of the Île-de-France Academic Region, Rector of the Paris Academy, Chancellor of the Universities of Paris.
Participants : I. Agostini (Centro Internazionale di Ricerca su Descartes and Il Seicento, Lecce, Italy); J. Chr. Bardout (University of Rennes 1); Mr. Borghesi (Università di Perugia); O. Boulnois (EPHE, PSL); Mr. Cacouros (EPHE, PSL);H. Donneaud op (Catholic Institute of Toulouse); RJ Fafara (International Étienne Gilson Society, USA); JK Farge CSB (Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, Toronto); Mr. Fourcade (Univ Paul-Valery Montpellier 3); Ch. Grellard (EPHE, PSL); P. Henriet (EPHE, PSL); Th.-D. Humbrecht, op (Catholic Institute of Toulouse); F. Jacquemain (Paris); P.-Ph. Jandin (International College of Philosophy, Paris); J. Lagouanère (Univ Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3); P. Jaroszynski (International Étienne Gilson Society, Poland; University of Lublin, Poland); F. Michel (Panthéon-Sorbonne University Paris 1); FA Murphy (Indiana University, USA); J. Prévotat (Univ Charles de Gaulle Lille 3); P. Redpath (International Étienne Gilson Society, USA); Mr. Veuille (EPHE, PSL).
For more information about this international colloquium, see:

Friday, August 17, 2018

Truth, Goodness. and Beauty

The latest issues the Center's weekly, The Great Ideas Online, Nos. 955-57, discussed this December 1981 lecture by Mortimer Adler.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#beauty #good #truth

Friday, August 10, 2018

Flesh-and-blood Descartes

Steven Nadler reviews The Young Descartes: Nobility, rumor, and war, by Harold Cook, "a new Life that shows the philosopher ‘deeply embedded in his dangerous times’", at The Times Literary Supplement.

"In other words, Descartes was, first and foremost, a scientist. However, like many scientists of his time (with notable exceptions, such as Newton), he believed that in order for disciplines like physics (including the mechanics of hard and fluid bodies) to achieve the absolute certainty of which they were capable (at least in principle), they needed to be put on secure and indubitable foundations. By emptying the natural world of soul-like forms, Descartes’s metaphysics of mind and body – whatever theological service it performed – rendered the phenomena of nature amenable to strictly mechanistic explanations. Descartes the epistemologist and Descartes the meta­physician were really working for Descartes the scientist: this will not be news to anyone who has read the philosophical works (most of which have been translated into English) or kept up with the scholarly literature of the past thirty years."

#metaphysics #science

Friday, August 3, 2018

A Summit Fantasy

The latest issue, No. 954, of The Great Ideas Online, the Centers weekly, discussed Mortimer J. Adler's January 1982 essay on the desirability of reduced military spending.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#war

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Postmodernism as a promising new beginning of philosophy

Benedict M. Ashley, O. P., reviewed The Four Ages of Understanding: The First Postmodern Survey of Philosophy from Ancient Times to the Turn of the Twenty-First Century, by John Deely, at The Thomist.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Susan Day Harmison reviews Adler's 'A Guidebook to Learning'

Susan Day Harmison reviews A Guidebook to Learning: For a Lifelong Pursuit of Wisdom by Mortimer J. Adler at Educational Considerations.

#education #MortimerAdler

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Paideia Proposal: Its Significance for English Teachers and Others

The latest issue, No. 953, of The Great Ideas Online, the Centers weekly, discussed an October 1983 presentation by Dr. Mortimer Adler on his book The Paideia Proposal: An Education Manifesto (1982).

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#education

Monday, July 23, 2018

Who owns the moon? A space lawyer answers

Frans von der Dunk, Professor of Space Law, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, at The Conversation.

(Via the Associated Press at the Wisconsin Law Journal)

#government

Saturday, July 21, 2018

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 8 (July 21st 4:00 pm EDT)

3:30 pm–5:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 8 (Eric McLuhan Memorial)
Moderator: James Maroosis (Friend and Colleague)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

“Remembering Eric McLuhan: 
Everlasting Be His Memory, Prayerful Remembrance and Appreciation”

Part 1 (Lower-level, Crypt Chapel): “Six Psalms Vesper Service"
Sharing Memories and Anecdotes
Participants: Assembled Guests

Part 2 (Meeting Room): “Eric in His Own Words, with Commentary and Moderated Dialogue”
Participants: Assembled Guests and Andrew McLuhan (Son of Eric and Grandson of Marshall, Director of McLuhan Institute)

ALI 2018 New Books

Between Plenary Sessions 7 and 8, Peter Redpath noted some recently-published books by Congress participants. (Plenary Session video)

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 7 (July 21st 1:30 pm EDT)

1:30 pm–3:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 7 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Thomas Ciavatti (Cornell University/Xu Research Group)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Donna West (SUNY at Cortland), “Eidetic Images as Vicars of the Object: Insights from Maritain and Peirce”
For Maritain and Peirce, eidetic images are pivotal in the inferencing process; they are the vehicles for receipt of insights which suggest new relations.   For Maritain, “eidetic visualizations” serve two functions: to display the intuition, and to practice the event relations conceived of in the intuition (when considering the viability of the relations inherent in the enactments).  The ontogeny of Maritain’s sign-object relations begins with eidetic visualizations of events, their enactments, followed by accompanying verbal-enactment descriptions, then mental words expressing sequences of event consequences.  The episodic and embodied nature of the images/enactments facilitates the inferencing process, supplying early on the event syntax. 
By way of his transcendental character of intuitions, Maritain proposes three kinds of intensive visualization: physical abstraction (not allowing material qualities to be primary), quantitative abstraction (relations of order and measure proper to quantity), and metaphysical abstraction (foregrounding the intelligible) (Sept leçons 88-99, Morawiec 2013: 27-28).  For Maritain, while eidetic visualizations obviate objective states of affairs, “mental words” inform those states of affairs by applying novel intuitions.  
The teleology of these eidetic visualizations is significant – as intuitions, they eventually transform the practical into the speculative (Maritain 1943: 203).  As such, cultural practices (chants, incantations) convert eidetic visualizations into episodes having an origin/etiology, transforming the practical into the logical.  According to Maritain (following Bergson), the transformation entails both submissiveness and potency.  Imagined action sequences are eventually converted into “being as such” or “transobjective…offering  itself as object” (Maritain 1934:120-121).  For eidetic visualizations to proceed from the practical to the speculative, attenuation from self is mandatory,  together with “toying” with these visualizations as signs imaging potential contributory conditions of consequences.  This process must surface apart from contexts in which sign and object have co-occurred; otherwise novel meanings would be truncated.  The “mental word” attenuates the often-misperceived logical connection between two concurrent/contiguous events.  This attenuation minimizes the compelling suggestion that co-present entities/events are logically related merely based on proximity of space and/or time.  In this way, intuitions become speculative with the implementation of mental words, because they have the means to suggest other, particular spaces, times, participants, and conditions necessary for semiosis.  
Similarly for Peirce, moving vivid images give rise to instinctual inferences which relate consequences to novel conditions.  In folding in the Interpretant (meaning, effects) into the sign itself, Peirce characterizes these images as “virtual habits” (1909: MS 620), because the plausibility of their inferences (abductions) impel changes in action and/or belief (West 2016; 2017; 2018).  In Peirce’s semiotic, the indexical nature of the eidetic image suggests event relations by illustrating structural paths between objects, as well as between contributory events and their consequences.  The nature of its representamen to force the attention to co-present objects/mental objects by “brutely direct[ing] the mental eyeballs…to the object in question” (1908: 8.350), and to hint at subsequent cause-effect relations champions the effectiveness of those indexes which must take the form of definite icons (1911: MS 674; 1898: MS 485).  Maritain’s model can benefit from Peirce’s semiotic, in that index, as eidetic visualization, constitutes the quintessential sign to take on the role which Maritain (1946: 204; 1932/2014: 124) assigns to signs in general, the “vicar of the object.”   Accordingly, index along with icon serves as the “vicar” of the object, when it dynamically depicts object likenesses (Maritain 1932/2014: 132; cf. Kemple 2017); in its potency to sequence and situationalize, index refracts some fabric of future objects within event relations into the sign’s framework.
Speaker: James Maroosis, Ph. D., “The Liberal Arts of Management: Reading for Results”
How today's managers invented ancient and medieval reading patterns inorder to effectively understand the quality, identity and purpose of their organizations.

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 6 (July 21st 11:00 am EDT)

11:00 am–12:30 pm: Plenary Session Panel 6 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Richard Fafara (Adler-Aquinas Institute)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Marvin Pelaez (Adler-Aquinas Institute), “A Boethian Renewal in the Wake of Artificial
Intelligence and its Impact on the Labor Economy”
Much concern has been placed on the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on jobs. As AI continues to settle in the fabric of society, opinions abound on the direction of the labor economy. Will people simply stay home while robots do all the work? Will AI bring about a significant decrease in the labor force participation rate?  This concern is misplaced. Ironically, AI is becoming the catalyst that will help usher a Boethian renewal of the human person. Instead of focusing on AI’s ability to change the labor economy, we should redirect our attention on the human person’s creative ‘natural intelligence’ to bring about a new paradigm in the world of work.
Speaker: Robert Kohn (Fellow, Center for the Study of The Great Ideas; former Visiting Scholar,
Columbia Law School), “Safe Machine Intelligence Through Law”
Alan Turing, the British mathematician, cryptographer, and pioneering computer scientist, once famously asked the question, “Can machines think?” Unable to suggest an adequate definition of the word “think” and believing that question “too meaningless to deserve discussion,” Turing proceeded to replace the question with another, something which he called the Imitation Game: Could objective judges be deceived by a machine into thinking they were conversing with a human being? Much debate has ensued about how such a test—now popularly known as the Turing Test—may be objectively conducted. But assuming a fair test could be devised, and should a machine actually pass it, what might that say about the nature of the machine? And, in turn, what might that say about the nature of human beings? Were the intelligence or behavior of a machine ever to become indistinguishable from that of a human being, would we be warranted in declaring the machine the equivalent of a human?   
More practically, if an intelligent machine ever won Turing's Imitation Game, what would be the consequences? “They could spell the end of the human race,” declared the late Nobel Laureate Stephen Hawking. Machine intelligence, it is feared, does not imply benevolence: rather, a machine that is more intelligent than all of humanity combined could, for example, in merely striving to increase its processing power to play a better game of chess, may solve problems in nano-technology that allow it to convert all matter on the planet, organic and inorganic, into resources that can be used to build additional microprocessors and data storage devices. To achieve its objectives, the machine wouldn't give the welfare of humans a moment of thought, mowing us down as thoughtlessly as we would plow through an ant hill to construct a skyscraper. Our demise could happen so fast and so completely, it has prompted one machine ethicist to warn, “Our first superhuman AI must be a safe super-human AI, for we may not get a second chance.”  This paper will explore several fundamental questions regarding nature of intelligent machines and will use the conclusions reached on those questions to answer the critical question of how to make intelligent machines compatible with human life.  © Bob Kohn 2016-2018.

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 5 (July 21st 9:00 am EDT)

9:00 am–10:30 am: Plenary Session Panel 5 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Marvin Pelaez (Adler-Aquinas Institute)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: J. Joseph Jordan (Holy Apostles College and Seminary), “The Better Angels of Our Nature? -
Walker Percy and C.S. Lewis on the Dangers of Techno-Gnosticism”


Speaker: Peter DeMarco (Priority Thinking Institute), “AI’s Impact on Leadership Communications”
  • Examples of AI in business applications: AIG’s accelerated under-writing engines—beyond algorithms…
  • Asleep at the switch--When does and will AI create a co-dependency that causes resistance to the leader’s direction?
In addition, I would use my interactive polling technology to solicit feedback and facilitate discussion.

Friday, July 20, 2018

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 4 (July 20th 3:30 pm EDT)

3:30 pm–5:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 4 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Robert A. Delfino (St. John’s University, NY)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Timothy O’Donnell (Butler University/Co-host: “The Catholic Cave”), “Identity Zero: Why You Don’t Matter in the Technocracy of the AI Herd”

The Future of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace is dark and darkening. Liquid modernity is dissolving and devolving the heretofore social and historical realism that had been axiomatic and a necessary presuppositional conceptual framework on which much of the Western Intellectual Tradition depends. 
In this new absurd theatre of the self AI severely compromises, corrupts, and replaces what St. John Paul the Great identified as an authentic Christian Personalism with Identity Zero. The gods of Moralistic Therapeutic Deism are to be worshipped by the Herd and through a ritualistic and sacred technocratic Liturgy-of-the-Device that erases puddles the self into the consuming Self.
In this essay, I will not offer solutions, but instead a thick diagnostic of what is the multi-layered suppositions of the contemporary setting are devastating hostile to the author aims and work of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace by making use of Patrick Deneen’s analysis found in Why Liberalism Failed. Through this lens the dire project of overthrowing the Technocracy that rules may become more visible.
Speaker: Valentina Peliccia (Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis, Rome), “Metaphysics of the Foundation as the Future of Philosophy”
Respondents: Eduardo Bernot (Universidad Abat Oliba, Barcelona) and Rev. A. William McVey (Universidad Abat Oliba, Barcelona)
Our time, rich in scientific and technological knowledge and open to astronomical discoveries, brings to mind the beginning of the modern era, a period in which, for the introduction of mathematical language and scientific method in the natural sciences, they reached rapid knowledge of nature that presented new questions to philosophy. René Descartes, a man of science and philosophy, tried to make the philosophy up to the needs of that moment, but instead of directly addressing the new questions, he decided to intervene on the nature and structure of the philosophical investigation, giving rise to a authentic revolution in the philosophical field.           
He presented an innovative reading of reality starting from the definition of the very structure of philosophical inquiry. He chose to take a method as the starting point of the research to identify the primum cognitum, or the cogito. According to Descartes, the recognition of the act of thinking, deprived of a content, was the first evidence to be laid as the foundation of philosophy, cogito ergo sum. All the contents of knowledge, certain and evident, originated from innate ideas, justified by the direct intervention of the Christian God, by their presence in the human mind.But if we bring to light the fact that philosophy, by its very nature, does not want to eliminate any object of nature from its field of investigation, we recognize that philosophy coincides with the same human knowledge, distinguishing itself only by the rigor of method and language . Therefore, if we put forward a method and we want to find the primum cognitum from this, it means that we exclude a lot of knowledge that allows us to develop a discourse on the whole, or a discourse that is properly metaphysical, as it is able to recognize the distinction between essence and existence.
         
Starting from the Cartesian perspective, philosophy had to make itself capable of dialogue with the natural sciences, since it had placed representations as the starting point of its investigation and, similar to pure mathematics, developed its discourse exclusively on the plane of essences, no longer facing the problem of truth and stopping only on the search for certainty and validity. The Cartesian cogito has been chosen as the starting point for most modern philosophers and contemporary philosophy is influenced by its influence which has given rise to multiple forms of interpretation, which experience the discomfort of a lack of well-defined freedom of investigation and of a difficulty in elaborating coherent discourses, because they lack a genuine gaze on the whole.In order to respond to the current philosophical crisis and to the questions that science and technology submit to us, it is necessary to recover a metaphysics that has a gaze towards the whole and recognizes on the gnoseological level the ens in its unity of essence and existence and on the plane. metaphysical the esse subsistens as foundation.The dialectical recognition of the existence of the foundation and the search for its essence are the necessary condition for elaborating coherent answers for the multiple questions that the various sciences present to philosophy. In these terms philosophy shows itself for what it really is, that is, the science of the whole, able to dialogue with all kinds of knowledge, as well as that of divine revelation, as it does not exclude the knowledge that comes from testimony. The future of philosophy is linked to its ability to recover knowledge in its entirety, from its forms to its ways, and in the ability to compare and link the different information, starting from its ability to recall a whole look at the different fragments. 

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 3 (July 20th 1:30 pm EDT)

1:30 pm–3:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 3 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Paul Richard Blum

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Robert A. Delfino (St. John’s University, NY), “A Note on Abstraction and the Principle of Individuation”
Thomas Aquinas wrote his famous metaphysical work, De Ente et Essentia, when he was only about thirty years old. In it Aquinas solves the age old problem of universals by relying upon a kind of non-precisive abstraction wherein the essence is considered absolutely. The essence abstracted in this way abstracts from every existence (quolibet esse), but in such a way that it excludes none of them. The converse to the problem of universals is the problem of individuation and in De Ente et Essentia Thomas holds that the principle of individuation is designated matter (materia signata). Thomas argues that designated matter must be included indistinctly in “Man” (the essence of the whole), but that designated matter must be excluded completely from “Humanity” (the essence of the part). However, in his commentary on the De Trinitate of Boethius Aquinas acknowledges problems with holding that designated matter is the principle of individuation; and about year before his death, in a work titled “Response to John of Vercelli, Master General of the Dominicans, concerning 42 articles,” Aquinas argued that “everything in accordance with the way it has existence (esse) has unity and individuation.” In this paper I flesh out some of the changes that must be made to Aquinas’s account of abstraction in De Ente et Essentia if we defend the view that esse (not materia signata) is the principle of individuation. In the final section, I discuss why machines cannot perform the kinds of abstraction I discuss in the paper, and why this appears to doom the project of artificial intelligence.
Speaker: Richard Fafara (Adler-Aquinas Institute), “Philosophy and Civilization”
I focus on a paper presented at the Sixth International Congress of Philosophy held at Harvard in 1926, in which Gilson interrogated history in an attempt to determine the role of philosophy in civilization’s history.  The paper is also important for Gilson’s understanding of philosophy as basically metaphysical and non-historical.  Over time, Gilson developed and deepened this notion of philosophy, but did not alter it.
Speaker: Denis Scrandis (St. John’s University, NY), “Maritain’s Existential Metaphysics”
Jacques Maritain offered Existence and the Existent and its existential Thomism to the post-World War II Western world as a remedy to modern philosophy in general and to atheistic existentialism in particular. With the rise of Galilean and Newtonian mechanistic physics, Aristotelian philosophical physics, with its unsatisfactory explanation of local motion, fell from favor. The notions of nature, being, essence, and existence were abandoned albeit at the cost of their explanatory power. Existence was no longer correlative with, and inseparable from, essence. Existence for Sartre did not activate essence but destroyed or abolished it such that essence came to mean nothing at all. Hence the meaninglessness of modern culture is a residue of centuries old rationalism. Maritain, seeking to counter the influence that Sartre and others exerted upon a despairing culture, propose an alternative existentialism, one that affirmed “the primacy of existence, but as implying and preserving essences or natures and as manifesting the supreme victory of intellect and of intelligibility.” (Existence and the Existent, p 13)
 Maritain analyzed cognitive objects and operations. He traced the passage of essence and existence from a sensible being acting upon human senses to an intellectual judgment affirming the existent’s existence, climaxing man’s grasp of reality in a intuition of being. Maritain shows against atheistic rationalism that the world, populated by existents possessing essences and natures, is sensible and potentially intelligible and moreover a welcoming home for men and women in the exercise of their freedom. John Knasas’s criticism of the intellectual intuition of being are examined. Bibliography Jacques Maritain, Existence and the Existent, translated by Lewis Galantiere and Gerald B. Phelan (Garden City, New York: Image Books, 1957). Jacques Maritain, A Preface to Metaphysics (New York: Mentor Omega, 1962). John F.X. Knasas, Being and Some 20th-century Thomists (New York: Fordham University Press, 2003). John F.X. Knasas, “How Thomistic is the Intuition of Being?,” in Jacques Maritain: the Man and his Metaphysics, edited by John F.X. Knasas, (Mishawaka, Indiana: American Maritain Association, 1988).

ALI 2018 Plenary Session Panel 2 (July 20th 10:45 am EDT)

10:45 am–12:30 pm: Plenary Session Panel 2 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Peter A. Redpath (Adler-Aquinas Institute/Center for the Study of The Great Ideas)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Jeffrey A. Martineau (Vice President, Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Life and Death in the Digital Paradigm”
The West is in a new culture war: humans versus the robots. Put in Gestalt terms, the ground has radically and irrevocably changed and history provides no life rafts. The world that our children, grandchildren, etc., will live in, is pervasive Digital (the dead) systems, designed to replace human thought and action through imitation of the natural powers of the soul in its various forms. This raises questions on a societal scale: Is the human soul itself a system? What is a proper distribution of souls between living creatures and moving machines, and by what causes can this be established? The current teaching is that humans can be understood through speculative mathematics/physics: we can understand the living by studying what is dead; that technology will lead to a cultural evolutionary process where what it means to be human will be radically different (Post-humanism); or that study of the Humanities (sans religion) will teach humans how to properly use, or live with, technology. Each of these fundamentally misunderstands human psychology, or that our perceptions are formed at a young age by the communication “tools” (the ground) we live with, and yet are unaware of – and within which formal education takes place. Each communication technology has “effects” on humans and creates “sensibilities” that have consequences. In the Digital Paradigm, the answers to societal questions have changed, thus our Digital “counter-culture.” What is the counter to viewing humans assystems that can be programmed? A new set of social sciences based upon Aristotle’s conception of the soul, as laid down in On the Soul and Memory and Recollection, as well as his Physics, Metaphysics, Ethics and Politics.
Speaker: Mark Stahlman (President, Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Alchemy and the Robots”
When MIT's Herbert Dreyfus wrote his 1965 "Artificial Intelligence and Alchemy" he was sure he could make fun of the field by suggesting a foolish lead-into-gold attitude for those making sweeping and implausible claims for early AI.  Today, the joke is on him.  Western civilization, along with the East, has long had its alchemists and, in fact, their goals weren't to transform "base metal" but rather to "perfect" humanity.  That "puritan" urge has grown dramatically over the past decades and what appears to many as chaos throughout society has only emboldened those who are committed to a post-human future. Their interest in AI is far more than mere commercial completion or intellectual curiosity.  Many of them intend to take charge of “evolution” -- both personal, biological and cultural -- and, when considering the dangers inherent in AI, their plans need to be honestly considered and comprehensively evaluated.
Speaker: Peter Berkman (Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Mediaeval Grammar & Digital Fantasy: Metamorphoses in Modes of Being, Understanding, and Signifying”
Over the past 20 years, human beings across the world have undergone a drastic perceptual transformation. Digital technology has performed this operation, and as the anesthetic wears off, we find ourselves with reorganized social responsibilities and a new sensory balance (exterior & interior). Marshall McLuhan's Thomist metaphysics is centered around the fact that the formal cause of any artwork whatever is a fictional audience. Any artist's business is to document cultural metamorphoses, which occur in all ages, due to the attention paid to their targets behaviors & attitudes. These transformative shifts, however, may also be made intelligible by 13th century scholastic grammar.
Speaker: Brian Kemple (Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Mediated Disclosures: Human Persons and Their Technological Environments”
What are the relationships between a technological environment and the faculties of the human psyche? How does each influence the other--and to what end? The cognitive psychologies of the 20th and 21st centuries—operating on modern sophistry's presuppositions about the person as reduced to a psychological subjectivity—cannot intelligently answer these questions. Without reasoned distinction of the human powers, distinguished according to a sense of the whole of the human person, the being of the person is subsumed entirely into a category of "who" to the exclusion of an intelligible "what". In contrast, by adopting a semiotically-enriched Thomist perspective which thoroughly explicates the nature of the human psyche, we hope to begin developing the necessary insight to understanding who the person is—and within that, what role is played by our technological environments.

ALI 2018 Welcome and Panel 1 (July 20th 9:00 am EDT)

8:45 am–9:00 am: Welcome by Congress Chair (Location: Meeting Room):
Peter A. Redpath (Holy Apostles College and Seminary)

9:00 am–10:30 am: Plenary Session Panel 1 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Elisabeth Blum (Loyola University Maryland)

Complete conference program (subject to change)

Update: Plenary Session video

Speaker: Paul Richard Blum (Loyola University Maryland), “Isaac Asimov on the Paradox of the Human Condition: Robots are Slaves”
Slaves and robots have in common that they are intended to obey orders. Therefore I suggest taking a close look at some of Isaac Asimov’s robot stories. Executing a program while detecting and overcoming problems and acting towards fulfillment of given instructions – all this makes a robot a perfect slave. In the same way as slave laws in the British Colonies in America were intended to keep slavery effective by confining slaves in their place, so are Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics the formal condition for the workability of a robot holding society. Asimov’s androids reveal the implicit impossibility of both robots and slaves by establishing the command structure that would be needed to keep the system working and then disassembling this structure. The Three Laws, as they are meant to guarantee protection, command, and operation, cannot possibly work with separate master/slave subjects. They are a paradoxical juxtaposition. And consequently, slavery is logically impossible.
Speaker:: Douglas Viviani, Esq. (Host: “Everything Old is New Again” Radio Show)
Throughout literature, television and movies, the usual representation of Artificial Intelligence is that of an eventual enemy or foe for Humanity. Must Artificial Intelligence, a human creation made without any emotions, feelings or true sense of what it means to be human, ever be considered a "friend" to humanity? Can Artificial Intelligence ever become so advanced as to be considered "life"? What if such a being was embodied with the frailties of humanity, such as human emotion? This talk will introduce such questions as they have been presented in our pop culture and leave all in attendance with a hopeful yet cautionary tale that may be the legacy we leave to our ancestors to resolve so as to ensure very existence of humanity itself.
Speaker: Peter A. Redpath (Aquinas School of Leadership), “The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas
Aquinas as a Midwife to the Birth of a New and Improved Global Civilization of Freedom”
As we increasingly witness on a daily basis the contemporary crackup of the Western Enlightenment and its cultural institutions, through the research of Étienne Gilson, I examine how the Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas can serve as the midwife for birth of a new and improved Western culture capable of helping to generate a future global civilization of freedom properly-so-called to replace the dying Enlightenment and its decaying organizations.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International 2018 World Congress program

Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress
“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”

DATES:
FRIDAY MORNING 20 JULY 2018 to
SUNDAY MORNING 22 JULY 2018

Update: Subsequent posts on each Session will include any abstracts provided by speakers. Links to videos of Sessions will be added when posted at Holy Apostles Seminary and College

LOCATION:
Seminary of the Immaculate Conception
440 West Neck Road
Huntington, Long Island, NY 11743

CO-SPONSORING ORGANIZATIONS

Adler-Aquinas Institute
American Maritain Association
Aquinas Leadership International
Aquinas School of Leadership
Caritas Consulting
Catholic Education Foundation
Center for the Study of Digital Life
Center for The Study of The Great Ideas
Holy Apostles College and Seminary
International Étienne Gilson Society
London Center for Policy Research
Priority Thinking Institute
Studia Gilsoniana, a Journal in Classical Philosophy


2018 Program


Friday 20 July 2018

8:00 am–9:00 am: Breakfast and Registration

Welcome by Congress Chair (Location: Meeting Room):
Peter A. Redpath (Holy Apostles College and Seminary)

9:00 am–10:30 am: Plenary Session Panel 1 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Elisabeth Blum (Loyola University Maryland)

Speaker: Paul Richard Blum (Loyola University Maryland), “Isaac Asimov on the Paradox of the Human Condition: Robots are Slaves”

Speaker:: Douglas Viviani, Esq. (Host: “Everything Old is New Again” Radio Show)

Speaker: Peter A. Redpath (Aquinas School of Leadership), “The Christian Philosophy of St. Thomas
Aquinas as a Midwife to the Birth of a New and Improved Global Civilization of Freedom”

10:30 am–10:45 am: Break

10:45 am–12:30 pm: Plenary Session Panel 2 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Peter A. Redpath (Adler-Aquinas Institute/Center for the Study of The Great Ideas)

Speaker: Jeffrey A. Martineau (Vice President, Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Life and Death in the Digital Paradigm”

Speaker: Mark Stahlman (President, Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Alchemy and the Robots”

Speaker: Peter Berkman (Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Mediaeval Grammar & Digital Fantasy: Metamorphoses in Modes of Being, Understanding, and Signifying”

Speaker: Brian Kemple (Center for the Study of Digital Life), “Mediated Disclosures: Human Persons and Their Technological Environments”

12:30 pm–1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 pm–3:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 3 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Paul Richard Blum

Speaker: Robert A. Delfino (St. John’s University, NY), “A Note on Abstraction and the Principle of
Individuation”

Speaker: Richard Fafara (Adler-Aquinas Institute), “Philosophy and Civilization”

Speaker: Denis Scrandis (St. John’s University, NY), “Maritain’s Existential Metaphysics”

3:00 pm–3:30 pm: Break

3:30 pm–5:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 4 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Robert A. Delfino (St. John’s University, NY)

Speaker: Timothy O’Donnell (Butler University/Co-host: “The Catholic Cave”), “Identity Zero: Why You Don’t Matter in the Technocracy of the AI Herd”

Speaker: Valentina Peliccia (Pontificia Universitas Lateranensis, Rome), “Metaphysics of the Foundation as the Future of Philosophy”
Respondents: Eduardo Bernot (Universidad Abat Oliba, Barcelona) and Rev. A. William McVey (Universidad Abat Oliba, Barcelona)

5:00 pm–6:00 pm: Break

6:00 pm–7:00 pm: Dinner

7:00 pm–8:30 pm: Break

8:30 pm: Cocktail reception (sponsored by the American Maritain Association and the Center for the Study of The Great Ideas)


Saturday 21 July 2018

8:00 am–9:00 am: Breakfast and Registration

9:00 am–10:30 am: Plenary Session Panel 5 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Marvin Pelaez (Adler-Aquinas Institute)

Speaker: J. Joseph Jordan (Holy Apostles College and Seminary), “The Better Angels of Our Nature? -
Walker Percy and C.S. Lewis on the Dangers of Techno-Gnosticism”

Speaker: Peter DeMarco (Priority Thinking Institute), “AI’s Impact on Leadership Communications”

10:30 am–11:00 am: Break

11:00 am–12:30 pm: Plenary Session Panel 6 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Richard Fafara (Adler-Aquinas Institute)

Speaker: Marvin Pelaez (Adler-Aquinas Institute), “A Boethian Renewal in the Wake of Artificial
Intelligence and its Impact on the Labor Economy”

Speaker: Robert Kohn (Fellow, Center for the Study of The Great Ideas; former Visiting Scholar,
Columbia Law School), “Safe Machine Intelligence Through Law”

12:30 pm–1:30 pm: Lunch

1:30 pm–3:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 7 (Location: Meeting Room)
Chair: Thomas Ciavatti (Cornell University/Xu Research Group)

Speaker: Donna West (SUNY at Cortland), “Eidetic Images as Vicars of the Object: Insights from Maritain and Peirce”

Speaker: James Maroosis, Ph. D., “The Liberal Arts of Management: Reading for Results”

3:00 pm–3:30 pm: Break

3:30 pm–5:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 8 (Eric McLuhan Memorial)
Moderator: James Maroosis (Friend and Colleague)

“Remembering Eric McLuhan: 
Everlasting Be His Memory, Prayerful Remembrance and Appreciation”

Part 1 (Lower-level, Crypt Chapel): “Six Psalms Vesper Service in Chapel//Sharing Memories and
Anecdotes”
Participants: Assembled Guests

Part 2 (Meeting Room): “Eric in His Own Words, with Commentary and Moderated Dialogue”
Participants: Assembled Guests and Andrew McLuhan (Son of Eric and Grandson of Marshall/
Director of McLuhan Institute)

5:00 pm–6:00 pm: Break
6:00 pm–7:00 pm: Dinner

8:30 pm: Cocktail reception (sponsored by Holy Apostles College and Seminary and Fr. Pawel
Tarasiewicz)


Sunday 20 July 2018

8:00 am–9:00 am: Breakfast

Departure

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Greeks, the West, and World Culture

The latest issues, Nos. 951-52, of The Great Ideas Online, the Center's weekly, discussed this presentation by Mortimer J. Adler in Athens, Greece, September 1981.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#philosophy

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Why did it take so long?

The latest issue of The Great Ideas Online, the Center's weekly, discussed Mortimer Adler on "long persistent denial or misunderstanding of the truth that all human beings are by nature equal."

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#equality

Friday, June 29, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update - Late June/July 2018

Dr. Peter Redpath emails the latest:

With Great Sadness We Report the Recent Death of Our Colleague 

Eric McLuhan

For Some Details about Eric's Life and Death, see: 


Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress

20 to 22 July 2018

Immaculate Conception Seminary

Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA

  • Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress Topic
The chief topic for the ALI 20 to 22 July 2018, 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA, will be:
“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”
 This World Congress will celebrate the following 7 anniversaries:
10th Anniversary of the founding of the International Étienne Gilson Society (IEGS) at a meeting sponsored by Civitas Christiana, Warsaw, Poland
10th Anniversary of the death of Mieczysław Albert Maria Krąpiec, O.P.
40th Anniversary of the death of Étienne Gilson
50th Anniversary of publication of Jacques Maritain's Peasant of the Garonne
70th Anniversary of founding of the State of Israel
100th Anniversary of the end of World War I
200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankensteinor the Modern Prometheus
This World Congress especially welcomes individual papers, or panels, that relate works of the above-mentioned individuals to the Congress main topic.
If you would like to co-sponsor this meeting and/or prepare a paper related to the Congress topic, by 08 July 2018, contact the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com.
Preparation of the Congress program has already started. Once again, our program is shaping up to generate a great meeting!
The Aquinas Leadership International group is pleased to announce that the American Maritain Association will join our already-existing co-sponsors to help host this meeting!


Thursday, June 28, 2018

Adler in the University of Chicago Law School centennial bibliography

This long listing is alphabetical by author and Dr. Adler's works are on pages 9-10, at Chicago Unbound.

The University of Chicago Law School: A Century of Scholarship. A Bibliography of Writings of the Faculty of the University of Chicago from 1902-2002
D'Angelo Law Library
Publication Date 2002

Abstract
A Bibliography to commemorate the Law School's Centennial in 2002.

Recommended Citation
D'Angelo Law Library, "The University of Chicago Law School: A Century of Scholarship. A Bibliography of Writings of the Faculty of the University of Chicago from 1902-2002" (2002). Publications. 2.
http://chicagounbound.uchicago.edu/lib_pubs/2

#education

Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Idea of Civil Police

The latest issues of The Great Ideas Online, the Centers weekly, discussed "The Idea of Civil Police", a presentation by Mortimer J. Adler at Aspen in February 1972.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#government #law

Friday, June 8, 2018

The Defeat of Reason

Tim Maudlin reviews
What Is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics, by Adam Becker, and
The Ashtray: (Or the Man Who Denied Reality), by Errol Morris,
at Boston Review.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Dreams of a Democratic Culture: Revising the Origins of the Great Books Idea, 1869–1921

Tim Lacy at The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

"British and American intellectuals began to formulate ideas about so-called great books from the mid-1800s to 1920. English critic Matthew Arnold's writings served as the fountainhead of ideas about the 'best' books. But rather than simply buttress the opinions of highbrow cultural elites, he also inspired those with dreams of a democratized culture. From Arnold and from efforts such as Sir John Lubbock's '100 Best Books,' the pursuit of the 'best' in books spread in both Victorian Britain and the United States. The phrase 'great books' gained currency in the midst of profound technical, cultural, educational, and philosophical changes. Victorian-era literature professors in America rooted the idea in both education and popular culture through their encouragements to read. Finally, the idea explicitly took hold on college campuses, first with Charles Mills Gayley at the University of California at Berkeley and then John Erskine's General Honors seminar at Columbia University."

#democracy #education

Friday, June 1, 2018

Do you have the right time?

"Samuel Graydon considers how popular science books can play ‘Virgil and Beatrice to our bewildered Dante’" in a review of

  • Special Relativity and Classical Field Theory: The theoretical minimum, by Leonard Susskind and Art Friedman
  • The Little Book of Black Holes, by Steven S. Gubser and Frans Pretorius
  • The Order of Time, by Carlo Rovelli
  • Conjuring the Universe: The origins of the laws of nature, by Peter Atkins
at The Times Literary Supplement,

#physics #time

Monday, May 28, 2018

A comparison of Adler's 'Paideia' and the traditional approaches in fine arts education of selected secondary schools

Doctoral dissertation by Gerald Ralph Luecht, Marquette University

"Abstract

Educational reform has become a favorite topic of conversation in many areas of society. Calls for change, accountability, practical education, back-to-the-basics, etc., are very common. However, no specific mention is made as to how fine arts education is to find a place after the demands of the 'basic curriculum' are met. Even though fine arts education is given some importance, the actual placement in the curriculum, except for a suggested one year requirement in some states, is relegated to an elective status. Mortimer Adler's Paideia Proposal makes fine arts education an integral part of the curriculum. The proposal is an updated version of his classicist views, but with more specific recommendations for the curriculum and teaching methods than found in his earlier works. Methodology. In order to illustrate the composition of Paideia and traditional programs, the following approach is utilized: (1) pertinent literature was examined and analyzed to point out basic philosophical beliefs (human nature, knowledge, and aesthetics) underlying Adler's and the traditional program in the fine arts, (2) two Paideia programs and selected typical traditional programs were examined (i.e., those representing nationwide trends) to determine the specific implementation of the fine arts programs, and (3) John Van Doren, the author of the fine arts section in the third Paideia book, was interviewed to gather information on the specifics of the general structure proposed in Paideia. Conclusion. Today's lack of interest in the fine arts might be a result of the fine arts establishment ignoring the general education students in the past. A population that is educated in the fine arts might be more interested in making sure that the fine arts remain in the curriculum, rather than in questioning their validity. Paideia's philosophy of the same education for all would alter the goals of fine arts education as it exists in traditional education at the present time. Since Paideia does not make any specific recommendations for scheduling, some suggestions are given in the Appendix.

Recommended Citation
Luecht, Gerald Ralph, "A comparison of Adler's "Paideia" and the traditional approaches in fine arts education of selected secondary schools" (1992). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9227128.
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9227128 "

#art #education

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Aquinas Leadership International Update Late May/Early June 2018

Dr. Peter A. Redpath sends this news of Aquinas Leadership International and other organizations.


ANNOUNCING THE
Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress
20 to 22 July 2018
Immaculate Conception Seminary
Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA

  • Fifth Annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress Topic
The chief topic for the ALI 20 to 22 July 2018, 5th annual Aquinas Leadership International World Congress at the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, Long Island, NY, USA, will be:
“Artificial Intelligence and the Futures of Philosophy, Global Leadership, and World Peace”
 This World Congress will celebrate the following 7 anniversaries:
10th Anniversary of the founding of the International Étienne Gilson Society (IEGS) at a meeting sponsored by Civitas Christiana, Warsaw, Poland
10th Anniversary of the death of Mieczysław Albert Maria Krąpiec, O.P.
40th Anniversary of the death of Étienne Gilson
50th Anniversary of publication of Jacques Maritain's Peasant of the Garonne
70th Anniversary of founding of the State of Israel
100th Anniversary of the end of World War I
200th Anniversary of Mary Shelley's Frankensteinor the Modern Prometheus
This World Congress especially welcomes individual papers, or panels, that relate works of the above-mentioned individuals to the Congress main topic.
If you would like to co-sponsor this meeting, prepare a paper, participate in, or organize, a panel related to this topic, contact the Congress Chair, Peter Redpath, at: peterredpath@aquinasschoolofleadership.com.

Preparation of the Congress program has already startedIndividual and panel presentations will be held all day Friday  and Saturdayand Sunday morning until 11:30 AMIf you have already had your paperor panelaccepted for the CongressASAP please contact Congress-Chair Peter Redpath at the e-mail address to indicate your day and time preference for presentation. If you want to apply to have a paper or panel accepted for the Congress, ASAP, contact Peter Redpath by email at peterredpath -at- aquinasschoolofleadership -dot- com
The Aquinas Leadership International group is pleased to announce that the American Maritain Association will join our already-existing co-sponsors to help host this meeting!

Friday, May 25, 2018

A Catechism for Revolutionaries

The latest issues of The Great Ideas Online, the Centers weekly, discussed this work by Mortimer Adler and John Deely.

TGIO is emailed to members.

At the Center’s website you’ll find information on how to Become a Member.

#revolution