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

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Who Decides Which Books Are “Great?”

"The concept of 'Great Books,' the historian Tim Lacy explains, developed in the late nineteenth century as an attempt to foster a 'democratic culture.'" Livia Gershon at JSTOR Daily.

#democracy #education

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - September 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work. 

Our condolences go out to our colleagues at the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies upon the death of Jesper Hoffmeyer                                               
Dear Members,

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that ISBS founding member and spiritus rector of our community, Jesper Hoffmeyer, passed away on 25 September 2019 at age 77.

We may be soliciting your tributes and testimonials about Jesper and his work at some time in the future. But, for today, the most fitting tribute that Jesper would have wanted, we think, is that you read some of his writings and continue his work in biosemiotics.

Kalevi Kull, President

Don Favareau, Vice-President

Paul Cobley, Secretary


See the link below to our colleague Kelly Fitzsimmons-Burton's 19 September 2019 Paradise Valley Community College Public Philosophy Lecture Series Presentation:
Topic:  "What is Public Philosophy and Why do We need it?"


Friday, September 20, 2019

Angels and Angelology

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1007-1010), discussed this August 14, 1979 presentation by Mortimer Adler at Aspen.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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


Monday, September 16, 2019

Soul, Man

Glenn Ellmers reviews De Anima (On Soul), by Aristotle, translated by David Bolotin, at the Claremont Review of Books.

"To try to understand modern political thought as if it had no antecedents in Christian theology is to render it unintelligible. Readers of René Descartes’s 'Cogito, ergo sum' (I think, therefore I am) [Discourse on the Method (1637), fourth part, first paragraph] are often surprised when they come across Augustine’s 'Fallor, ergo sum' (I err, therefore I am)." [The City of God (413-426), book XI, 26]


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Unserious Docility

Thomas P. Harmond reviewed Docilitas: On Teaching and Being Taught, and On the Unseriousness of Human Affairs: Teaching, Writing, Playing, Believing, Lecturing, Philosophizing, Singing, Dancing, by James V. Schall, at Modern Age.

"Schall’s critique of the currently dominant model of teaching and learning leads directly to his critique of the entire anthropological and even metaphysical basis on which it is founded. This is why Schall says that human affairs are 'unserious': because we are not the highest things, and we exist already in a relationship to higher things."


Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Encountering the Beautiful

Steven Knepper reviews The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition, by James Matthew Wilson, at Humanitas Journal.

"There is a modern tendency to reduce wonder to curiosity about how things work. Wonder becomes a state of ignorance, one that can be remedied by inquiry. Francis Bacon, for instance, called wonder 'broken knowledge.' What gets lost in this reduction, though, is a deeper sense of wonder at the mystery of being, wonder at the sheer thereness of it all, at there being something rather than nothing. Martin Heidegger, of course, sought to reawaken us to this mystery, but he also claimed that the reduction of'wonder to curiosity had a much older lineage than Bacon. For Heidegger, this reduction—and the attendant 'forgetfulness of being”—is the faulty foundation for the whole tradition of Western metaphysics…"

#beauty #good #truth

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - August 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work.

● Announcing the 14th World Congress of Semiotics

Dates:  September 09–13, 2019

Location: National University of Arts (UNA), Buenos, Argentina

Topic: "Trajectories"

For more information about the Congress, see:

Monday, August 26, 2019

Can democracy survive?

"UChicago law professors Tom Ginsburg and Aziz Z. Huq explore populism and other threats to our political system" in this article by Jason Kelly at The University of Chicago Magazine.


Friday, August 23, 2019

Stresses and Coping Mechanisms of the Middle Class Family

The latest issues of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (Nos. 1005 and 1006), discussed Mortimer Adler's Opening Address in Symposium on Psychological Stresses and Coping Mechanisms of the Middle Class Family in the 1980's, Sheppard and Enoch Pratt Hospital Baltimore, April 1980.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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


Friday, August 16, 2019

Fate’s scales, quivering

Review essay by "Jenann Ismael on why the problem of free will is not going away" at the Times Literary Supplement.

"The reality of the possibilities is what gives weight to our decisions. It is what keeps us up at night. It is what bestows urgency on sorting out what to do. It is what, in James’s words, 'gives the palpitating reality to our moral life and makes it tingle … with so strange and elaborate an excitement'. But it is the reality of the possibilities that physics seems to contradict."

#cause #liberty #will

Friday, August 9, 2019

Machiavelli and St. Benedict, fear versus love

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1004), discussed Mortimer Adler's Commencement Address at St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, May 1980.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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

#education #government

Friday, August 2, 2019

How to Talk and How to Listen

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1003), discussed Mortimer Adler's July 21, 1980 essay "How to Talk and How to Listen: A Guide to Pleasurable and Profitable Conversation".

TGIO is emailed to members.

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


Sunday, July 21, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - July 2019

Dr. Peter Redpath provides the following about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work

With utmost sorrow we report the 15 JULY 2019 passing of our colleague

                               A. JOSEPH INDELICATO

Founder and president of Caritas Consulting

Founder of The Catholic Education Foundation

Founder of St. John Bosco Schools  

Immediately below is a brief obituary of Joe published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle on 17 July 2019:

A. Joseph Indelicato Honeoye Falls - July 15, 2019. Survived by loving wife of 51 years, Gini; son, Joseph P. (Alicia) Indelicato; grandchildren, Alisabeth, Madilyn, Jacob, Elliana and Ezra; sisters, Rose D'Amico and Augusta Ciarletti; many nieces, nephews, cousins; dear friends and colleagues. Private Services will be held at the convenience of the family. In lieu of flowers please consider donations to the St. John Bosco Schools, 501 Garfield St., E. Rochester, NY 14445.

Monday, July 15, 2019

'Wakefulness and World'

Wakefulness and World: An Invitation to Philosophy, by Matthew Linck, new at Paul Dry Books.


Friday, July 12, 2019

Truth, Beauty and Goodness

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 1000), begins this three part discussion, based on a presentation by Mortimer J. Adler at the Aspen Institute in August, 1981.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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

#beauty #good #truth

Saturday, July 6, 2019

The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation?

The Future of Employment: How susceptible are jobs to computerisation? by Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael Osborne, Oxford Martin School (via The Economist)

"We examine how susceptible jobs are to computerisation. To assess this, we begin by implementing a novel methodology to estimate the probability of computerisation for 702 detailed occupations, using a Gaussian process classifier. Based on these estimates, we examine expected impacts of future computerisation on US labour market outcomes, with the primary objective of analysing the number of jobs at risk and the relationship between an occupation’s probability of computerisation, wages and educational attainment. According to our estimates, about 47 percent of total US employment is at risk. We further provide evidence that wages and educational attainment exhibit a strong negative relationship with an occupation’s probability of computerisation."


Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Introductory Remarks on a Discussion of the Declaration of Independence

The latest issue of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 999), discussed this introduction by Mortimer Adler to a discussion of the American Declaration of Independence conduction at the University of North Carolina in February 1984.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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

#equality #liberty #government

Monday, July 1, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - June 2019

Dr. Peter A. Redpath writes to update about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work. 

● With utmost joy we celebrate that our colleague

                               ARTHUR WILLIAM MCVEY 

recently successfully defended his doctoral thesis entitled

                          "Soulful Organizational Leadership"

    He was granted the degree of "International Doctor"
 with "Highest Distinction" given in Spain, Cum laude, by



● Check out recent radio interviews by our colleagues James Hanink and Mario-Ramos Reyes on the En Route Media WCAT radio show, “The Open Door” at:


Friday, June 28, 2019

Conclusion to "The Capitalist Manifesto" by Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J.Adler

The latest issue/s of the Center’s weekly, The Great Ideas Online (No. 998), concluded the discussion of The Capitalist Manifesto (1958), by Louis O. Kelso and Mortimer J. Adler.

TGIO is emailed to members.

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

#equality #wealth

Thursday, June 13, 2019

The Terrors of the Year 2000

This book by Etienne Gilson was originally published in 1949 by the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto. The College republished it to mark the centenary of Gilson's June 13, 1884 birth. In 2010, the University funded digitization of the work and it is available at The Internet Archive.


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

The Continuity of Being: C.S. Peirce’s Philosophy of Synechism

Brian Kemple at Epoché.

"It is not an unreasonable conjecture that the seeming proliferation of mental ailments in the contemporary West is neither the result of capitalist pharmacological greed nor improvement in diagnostic abilities, but a creeping encroachment of unresolved cultural (and therefore psychological) fragmentation."


Saturday, June 1, 2019

Collaborative Dialogue to Maintain a Free Society

Lennie Jarratt interviews Marsha Familaro Enright at The Heartland Daily Podcast.

"Marsha Enright discusses The Great Connections summer program, Leap Year program, the philosophy and teaching method of reading great books from across the ideological spectrum, and how to hold a collaborative dialogue through civility, logic, and reason."


Tuesday, May 28, 2019

The Great Idea Man

John Murray Cuddihy reveiwed Philosopher at Large: An Intellectual Autobiography, 1902-1976, by Mortimer J. Adler, at The New York Times.

"The turning point in Adler's 'intellectual autobiography' occurred during his sophomore year at Columbia when he entered John Erskine's General Honors course and discovered 'the classics of Western civilization.' Perhaps more important for Adler than the 'great books' themselves was his preceptor's method of conducting their discussion, namely, 'in the manner of highly civil conversations about important themes and in a spirit of inquiry.'"


Sunday, May 26, 2019

The last mortals

Regina Rini at The Times Literary Supplement.

"Imagine that, after a few more breakthroughs, a scientific consensus emerges that we will have conquered illness and ageing by the year 2119; anyone alive in 2119 is likely to live for centuries, even millennia."


Saturday, May 25, 2019

Aquinas Leadership International Update - May 2019

Dr. Peter Redpah emails about some developments related to the Aquinas Leadership International (ALI) group, its affiliate organizations, and other groups interested in ALI’s work. To be added to the email distribution, contact him at 

 See the link below for our last-known and most timely public lecture delivered by our friend and colleague James V. Schall, S.J.

● See the link below to Peter A. Redpath’s 02 May 2019 Paradise Valley Community College Public Philosophy Lecture Series Presentation:

Topic:  “Étienne Gilson as Philosophical Prophet: The Metaphysical Causes of Contemporary Terrorism, and How to Eradicate Them”

● The Angelicum Academy Great Books Program announces MAY EARLY ENROLLMENT DISCOUNT for Its REVOLUTIONARY:

“Angelicum Academy at Holy Apostles College”

Among other reasons, this program is revolutionary because:

1) It enables students to acquire an Associate's degree in the Great Books totally online by the end of 12th grade and a Bachelor's degree as little as two years later.
2) Thanks to the agreement between the Angelicum Academy and Holy Apostles College, total tuition cost for the BA degree is under $30,000, while the average total cost of a four-year BA in private colleges is $180,000+.
3) It includes 12 credits of online Theology courses developed for the Angelicum Academy by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

COLLEGE CREDITS: Angelicum Academy students may earn from 1-75 college credits while home schooling (in grades 9-12) or while in high school, or later. They may earn their accredited Associate’s degree (from Holy Apostles College -requires 60 credits) while in high school or home school (grades 9-12, or later), or they may take individual college-level courses for transfer elsewhere – to other of the hundreds of colleges and universities that accept ACE recommended credits. Students who earn their Associate’s degree while in home school (grades 9-12) or high school, may earn a further 15 credits then as well, enabling them to complete 75 credits towards their accredited bachelor’s degree (requires 120 credits)–that is nearly 2/3rds of their bachelor’s degree, for a fraction of the cost elsewhere.

For more information about this program, phone: 410-282-6172

● Announcing a “Call for Submission of Abstracts” for the 7th Annual AITNER International Conference on Humanities & Arts in a Global World

Dates: 03–06 January 2020

Location: Athens, Greece

Sponsoring organization: Athens Institute for Education and Research (AITNER)/Athens Journal of Humanities Arts

Abstract submission deadline: 31 May 2019
See this link for submission details:
You may also send a stream proposal to be organized as part of the conference. If you need more information please indicate this to Dr. Gregory T. Papanikos, President, ATINER & Honorary Professor, University of Stirling, U.K. via contact information in the above link. AITNER’s administration will send the requested information to you, including the abstract submission form.

● Announcing a “Call for Papers” for the International Journal of Philosophy and Theology
ISSN: 2333-5750 (Print) 2333-5769 (Online)

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology is an international journal that addresses all areas of interest to both philosophy and theology. The Journal publishes original research and review articles. It strives to strengthen connections between research and practice, so enhancing professional development and improving practice within the field of philosophy and theology. Papers accepted for publication are double-blind refereed to ensure academic integrity.

The Journal is published by the American Research Institute for Policy Development, which serves as a focal point for academicians, professionals, graduate and undergraduate students, fellows, and associates pursuing research throughout the world.

Interested contributors are highly encouraged to submit their manuscripts/papers to the executive editor via e-mail at

Please indicate the name of the journal (International Journal of Philosophy and Theology) in the cover letter or simply put ‘International Journal of Philosophy and Theology’ in the subject box during submission via e-mail.

The journal is Abstracted/Indexed in CrossRef, CrossCheck, Cabell's, Ulrich's, Griffith Research Online, Google Scholar,, Informatics, Universe Digital Library, Standard Periodical Directory, Gale, Open J-Gate, EBSCO, Journal Seek, DRJI, ProQuest, BASE, InfoBase Index, OCLC, IBSS, Academic Journal Databases, Scientific Index.

E-Publication FirstTM

E-Publication FirstTM is a feature offered through our journal platform. It allows PDF version of manuscripts that have been peer reviewed and accepted, to be hosted online prior to their inclusion in a final printed journal. Readers can freely access or cite the article. The accepted papers are published online within one week after the completion of all necessary publishing steps.

DOI® number

Each paper published in International Journal of Philosophy and Theology is assigned a DOI® number, which appears beneath the author's affiliation in the published paper.
IJPT is inviting papers for Vol. 7, No. 1. The online publication date is June 30, 2019.

Submission Deadline: May 31, 2019.

For any additional information, please contact with the executive editor


Dr. Christopher R. Trogan, United States Merchant Marine Academy, USA.
International Journal of Philosophy and Theology

● Announcing a “Call for Papers” for the 12th East/West Philosophers’ Conference

Topic: “Walls: Thinking through Insularity”

Dates: 22–29 May 2020

Location: University of Hawaii, Honolulu

Co-sponsoring organizations: The East/West Center and the University of Hawaii

Conference co-directors: Roger T. Ames, Peter D. Hershock, and Tamara Albertini
Paper and panel submission details:
Proposals are invited for individual papers and panels. Please submit a 250-300 word abstract to the Conference organizers via:
Submission timeline: 01 November 2019

Notifications of acceptance for abstracts and panel proposals received by the November 1 will be sent out by December 15, 2019. An early submission timeline has been established to facilitate faculty applying to their own institutions for travel funding.

Abstracts received after November 1, 2019 will be vetted as received, taking into consideration the late submission. The absolute deadline for abstract submissions is March 15, 2020. After this, we will not be able to accommodate additional proposals.

Final papers due: 15 April 2020

For more information about the conference, go to:

● Announcing “Call for Papers” for 2019 Minneapolis, MN, ACPA satellite sessions for the International Étienne Gilson Society

Topic: “Gilson and Schall”

Topic: Open to Suggestions

Contact Information and Submission Date:  Please address inquiries by 15 May 2019 to this year’s session organizer, Richard Fafara, at:

● Announcing a “Call for Papers” for the Journal Open Theology that may be of interest to friends of Marcel, and those interested in Existential Philosophy

Topic: “Existential Conceptions of the Relationship between Philosophy and Theology

 Edited by:
Steven DeLay (Wake Forest University)
Nikolaas Deketelaere (University of Oxford)
Elizabeth Li (University of Oxford)

Description given by editors:

We invite submissions for the topical issue of "Open Theology" ( entitled “Existential Conceptions of the Relationship between Philosophy and Theology.” This issue is prepared in connection with the conference “Figuring Existence” held in collaboration with the Centre of Theology and Modern European Thought, University of Oxford.

This special issue aims to explore and reflect on the ways in which the relationship between philosophy and theology is conceived, problematised, and illuminated in existential or existentialist thought. In contributing to this discussion, papers could for example address the relationship between philosophy and theology through existential analysis of philosophically and theologically significant themes, such as freedom, paradox, sin, salvation, grace, reason and more; papers could also address this relationship by discussing the positions of specific existential or existentialist thinkers on this issue (we understand this group of thinkers broadly, so as to include for example Augustine, Pascal, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers, Sartre, de Beauvoir, Camus, Tillich, Bultmann, Falque and others); or papers could sketch what the very notion of existential analysis might tell us about philosophy and theology today.
This issue thus seeks to address the complex and long-contested question of philosophy and theology’s relationship through an existential lens and thereby shed further light on the possible points of interaction and conflict between philosophy and theology as academic disciplines and modes of reflection.

We invite submissions from the conference presenters and also from the authors who will not attend the conference.


Submissions will be collected by May 10, 2019 via the on-line submission system at:

Choose as article type: “Special Issue Article: Oxford Conference"

All contributions will undergo critical peer-review before being accepted for publication.

Before submission please read the Instruction for Authors:

Because Open Theology is published in Open Access model, as a rule the publishing cost should be covered by Article Processing Charges (APC) paid by authors, their affiliated institutions, funders or sponsors. However, for the conference presenters who will not be able to obtain the funds, the charge will be waived.

For further information please email Nikolaas Deketelaere ( or Elizabeth Li (

In case of technical or financial questions, please contact the journal’s Managing Editor Katarzyna Tempczyk (

Best regards,

Lucas Gworek
Assistant Editor

Find us on Facebook:


De Gruyter Poland Ltd. Ul. Bogumila Zuga 32a, 01-811 Warsaw, Poland

Domicile: Warsaw POLAND
Legal Form: Limited Company
Value added tax identification number: PL9521878738
Managing Director: Jacek Ciesielski

● Announcing final “Call for Papers” on the topic “A Return to Pre-Modern Principles of Economic Science

Deadline for submissions: 30 September 2019

Word limit: 7,000 words

Journal and target publication date: Studia GilsonianaA Journal in Classical Philosophy (Oct.-Dec., 2019)



Advisory Editors:

Dr. Peter A. Redpath, CEO, Aquinas School of Leadership (ASL)
Marvin B. Daniel Peláez, Fellow, ASL School of Economics
Jason Morgan, Fellow, ASL School of Economics

Authors are encouraged to consult the guidelines “For Authors” at:

Please direct any questions and submissions to Jason Morgan ( and Marvin B. Daniel Peláez (

All papers will be anonymously peer reviewed under the direction of Studia Gilsoniana Editor-in-Chief, Pawel Tarasiewicz:

Themes and Topics:

Contemporary “Economic science” emerged out of the Neoclassical tradition in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The meaning of the term is a product of its time because of its strong mathematical orientation and assumptions about the rational nature of human beings and our behavior in the marketplace. In recent decades, economists have come to realize that modern economics can benefit from broader assumptions from other disciplines about the human person. In October 2017, for example, Professor Richard H. Thaler from the University of Chicago received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Science for his work in behavioral economics, a discipline that seeks to incorporate more aspects of human psychology to increase the predictability of economic models.

Taking “economic science” as two separate terms, the pre-modern understanding of “economy” derives etymologically from a Greek word meaning household management, wheremanagement involved the ordering of domestic affairs. The classical, and later medieval, understanding of “science” (or scientia in Latin) is knowledge of causes. According to James Weisheipl in his “Classification of the Sciences in Medieval Thought,” scientia “was used to designate a discerning, penetrating, intellectual grasp of a situation or of a given subject,” which required principles, or starting points. Thus, economic science, like all other sciences, must have principles. Some economists, however, object to attempts at understanding modern economics from the contributions of the past because, they say, doing so is anachronistic. These objections are correct when it comes to economic assumptionsborn in their respective times, but not when it comes to principles. Scientific principles are perennial, and modern economics can benefit from the principles of pre-modern sciences or philosophy. 

Some motivating questions:

A special issue of Studia Gilsoniana (celebrating founding of the Aquinas School of Leadership School of Economics) calls for a renewal of pre-modern scientific principles in a contemporary economic context.  

From this understanding of pre-modern economic science, we entertain some of the following questions: How can principles of pre-modern economics, or science, provide insight about the management, or organization, of modern economic affairs? Do the pre-moderns have anything to say about virtue and the political community and its economic institutions? Does a pre-modern understanding of psychology play a role in economic activity by the human person? Can a pre-modern understanding of philosophy of science provide insight into what economists today understand by the ontology of economics? Finally, can a pre-modern understanding of morality inform economic policy?

● Go to the following link ( for a “Call for Abstracts” from Ave Maria University and the Thomistic Institute at the Dominican House of Studies for a 07 to 08 February 2020 conference on:

“Thomas Aquinas and the Crisis of Christology”

 See the link immediately below for an all-access pass to Institute of Catholic Theology spring 2019 lectures:

● Announcing “Call for Papers” from the Metaphysical Society of America for 2020 annual conference

Theme: “Nature and its Meanings”

In 2020, the 70th anniversary of its founding, the theme of the Metaphysical Society of America’s annual meeting will be “Nature and its Meanings.”  Papers treating any aspect of this wide issue, whether thematic or historical, are welcome. The following questions are some examples of what proposed papers might address.

What is nature? How is nature to be understood metaphysically?  What is the history and analysis of the concept of nature? What are “natures”? What is “non-natural” – the artificial, the cultural, the normative, the transcendental, the divine?

What is naturalism? What are the kinds of naturalism, their virtues and their vices? What is (or are) the opposite(s) of naturalism? How is modern naturalism different from ancient and medieval naturalism? Is naturalism kin to atheism, materialism, physicalism, atomism, empiricism, nominalism, and positivism, and incompatible with theism, idealism, panpsychism, holism, rationalism, realism, and phenomenology? Or are those lists too simple? On which side would humanism go? What are the major disagreements among prominent naturalistic thinkers, from Aristotle to Hobbes, Mach to Quine, Whitehead to Santayana? Must naturalism be “reductive,” or can “non-reductive” approaches (e.g. Peirce, Bergson, Dewey, Teilhard De Chardin) be truly naturalistic? Can naturalism be found in putatively non-naturalistic thinkers, e.g., Plotinus, Spinoza, Leibniz, Schelling, Royce, Merleau-Ponty, and Deleuze?

* What is the relationship of metaphysics and modern natural science? What was the metaphysical view of nature bequeathed us by the 17th century scientist/philosophers? What are its merits and demerits today? What ought to be the role of the results of scientific inquiry in metaphysical speculation, if any? How has the science of the last century and a half, from biological evolution to relativity and quantum mechanics, altered the early modern picture? How have metaphysics and science altered each other – e.g. ethologist Lloyd Morgan’s impact on Samuel Alexander, biologist Jacob Von Uexküll’s on Heidegger, Whitehead’s influence on Conrad Waddington’s epigenetics? Ought recent work on “emergence,” the “disunity” of science, evolutionary biology, and complexity, systems, and hierarchy theory – associated with names like  Donald Campbell, John Duprė, J. J. Gibson, Marjorie Grene, Stuart Kaufman, Ilya Prigogine, William Wimsatt – recast our metaphysical appraisal of natural science yet again?

* Can nature be conceived in ways that are compatible with mindpurpose, self, and free will? Is a naturalistic conception of human nature incompatible with, or uninformative for, understanding intentionality, meaning, experience, sociality, knowledge, or art? Can naturalistic approaches to human mind – for example in neuroscience and cognitive science – be incorporated into an adequate metaphysics of mind?

* Is modern naturalism, or any metaphysics rooted in the modern conception of nature, incompatible with normativity or the Good? Does the naturalistic fallacy in ethics still hold? Are naturalistic and evolutionary approaches to epistemology and logic plausible? Can “natural law” in political theory be compatible with scientific natural law? What is the relation of nature to aesthetic beauty?

* Do non-Western metaphysical traditions – e.g. Orthodox Christian, Chinese, Japanese, South Asian, Islamic, African, Indigenous American – present novel conceptual and cultural resources for understanding nature? Where does Western naturalism, and particularly modern Western naturalism, fail by their standards?

Must naturalism reject God? Is it inherently anti-supernatural, or incompatible with divinity and religion? Must the divine, the transcendent, or the sacred be external to nature? (Or, if nature and God are synthesized, must pan(en)theism endorse a very un-naturalistic notion of nature?) Which conceptions of God or gods are compatible, and which incompatible, with modern naturalism? What relation can be asserted between the eternal and the temporal?

* Do ecology and environmental studies suggest a novel metaphysical perspective? What metaphysics is most appropriate for an ecologically concerned philosophy? What is the place of animal “values,” “goods” or “rights” in a naturalistic account of the world?

* Can metaphysics recast or repair the methodological conflict of the humanities and social sciences with the natural sciences? Is the continuing division of inquiry into C.P. Snow’s “the two cultures,” and with it the century-long battle in the social sciences between the adoption of natural scientific versus “humanistic” or “hermeneutic” methods, unavoidable? Can the metaphysics of nature put this conflict in another light?
* Must current political conceptions, such as feminism, critical race theory, and queer theory, find biological or naturalist theories of human being antithetical? Or is that opposition mistaken? Can the notions of the human person characteristic of these views be compatible with a naturalistic, e.g. biological and evolutionary, context?

Location: College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, Massachusetts

Dates: 19 to 22 March 2020