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
Member of the Alliance for Liberal Learning

Saturday, June 27, 2015

The reconstruction of philosophy: Will philosophy once again be able to bury its undertakers? If so, how?

Scheduled for 2:30 pm–4:00pm Eastern Time, Holy Apostles College and Seminary Metropolitan Philosophy Roundtable Inaugural Session
Chair: Marvin Peláez (University Abat Oliba/Adler-Aquinas Institute)

Speaker: Michael B. Mangini (Adler-Aquinas Institute), “Using justice to bury philosophy’s undertakers”

This paper focuses on the relation between particulars and universals in the order of human knowing and the order of human doing. In the order of knowing, the cogitative sense grasps the intentional content of the forms of particulars, which permits the intellectual activities of apprehension, judging, and reason and makes the connection between the particular sensed thing and its universal nature. Behind this process are the principles of contradiction and its corollaries. In the order of doing, practical reason begins with the principle of synderesis and what is known, and applies universal notions to particular situations. The virtue of prudence, which connects knowledge with action, discovers the means proper to the desired end. Justice is an organizational virtue that orders relations between and among human beings and contributes to Thomistic personalism, which balances biases toward individualism or communitarianism. The proper balance between these two contrary opposites encourages beneficial whole-part relations in human organizations. My desire is that by leveraging the natural human sense of justice into conversations about its metaphysical roots, philosophy, properly speaking, can once again bury its undertakers.

Speaker: Peter A. Redpath (Adler-Aquinas Institute/Aquinas School of Leadership), “Has philosophy ever really buried its undertakers? If not, what can?”

Anyone familiar with Étienne Gilson’s masterful monograph The Unity of Philosophical Experience likely remembers his famous claim therein that “the first law to be inferred from philosophical experience” is: “Philosophy always buries its undertakers.” While Gilson’s monograph catalogs a list of historical cases in which philosophy in the West apparently has buried its undertakers, in this talk I wish to consider the possibility of an alternative thesis consisting of two parts: (1) that while Gilson is right that, historically, many false understandings of philosophy have been intellectually buried in the West, philosophy did not bury them; and (2) in this work, Gilson chiefly used a more remote chief principle, not philosophy, to prove his case. Knowing precisely what this chief principle precisely was, I suggest, can help us understand how, in our time, we can use is to help intellectually to bury those who seek to bury philosophy.

Commentators: Mary Boland (Aquinas Leadership International), Eugene Callahan (Cardiff University, UK), Robert Delfino (St. John’s University, NY), Peter DeMarco (Priority Thinking Institute), Richard Fafara (Adler-Aquinas Institute), Herb Hartmann (Catholic University of America), Joseph Jordan (Aquinas Leadership International), Joseph Indelicato (Catholic Education Foundation/Caritas Consulting), Sebastian Mahfood (Holy Apostles College and Seminary), Alice Ramos (St. John’s University, NY), Br. Owen Sadlier (St. Francis College, NY), Frank Slade (Emeritus Professor, St. Francis College, NY)

Livestream of video from the Conference will be at the Holy Apostles College and Seminary YouTube Channel.

Next session scheduled for 4:00pm.

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