DSPT Events

Owl of Minerva Philosophy Forum

For more information about Owl of Minerva, see Student Activities.

Upcoming Owl 

Tuesday, April 22, 8:00 pm - DSPT Student Alexander Ferrant - "Through the Eye of the Owl: Understanding the Role of the Phantasm for Thomas Aquinas and John Duns Scotus"

“There is noknowledge without a phantasm” – every keen disciple of Thomas Aquinas isfamiliar with this Aristotelian dictum concerning the imagination in itsrelation to cognition.But are studentsof Aquinas really prepared to give an account of what the phantasm actuallyis? Is an understanding of the phantasmstrengthened by an understanding of the challenges that John Duns Scotus posesto Thomas Aquinas’ account of cognition?Come to the Owl of Minerva for a phantastic presentation on theimagination followed by robust and lively discussion.


Past Owl Events:

February 19, 2013 - Dr. Walter Schweidler - "The Slave in Ourselves: On the Importance of the Aristotelian Concept of Slavery for Political Legitimation"

DSPT Owl of Minerva Speaker - Prof. Dr. Walter Schweidler There has been a long discussion about the Aristotelian thesis in the Politics that slavery does belong to human nature. There are at least two reasons why the question is still of systematic importance to the Aristotelian understanding of politics. The first is historical, in that the real model of the Aristotelian theory, that is, the Athenian polis, was a slave-state. The second is an intrinsically philosophical one. The Aristotelian concept of freedom is decisive for his model of political legitimation and his definition of political rationality, which refers essentially to an element of citizenship that is defined by the difference between free people and slaves. According to this conception, a free man is someone who acts and thinks on the basis of an experience which, by definition, the slave does not share with him. It is mainly the experience of a way of life that has its meaning or its end in itself, and not in its functionality for the goals of others. Anyone who wants to actualize or use the Aristotelian model of politics for the analysis of our current political system will have to reconcile this principle with the conditions of our social reality. There is no slavery any more, but we have to ask in which sense and to what degree the role of slavery in modern societies has been replaced by the function of wage labor. The Aristotelian model still confronts us with the question how and where in our political institutions and our civil forms of life the experience of a way of life beyond any standard of utility has to be implemented. That means, we have to point out the legitimating role of unsalaried, voluntary, and honorary forms of life within a utilitarian culture.

Dr. Walter Schweider holds the Chair of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt in Germany.

May 8, 2012 - John Johnson - "Christian Metaphysics and Beauty... Through Chocolate"

The human person finds himself in an odd predicament. All that we encounter, we encounter in the senses - yet our fulfillment, our beatitude consists in something spiritual and beyond the realm of sense experience. What is this realm beyond the physical and how is it accessible to human beings? This question is at the heart of the Catholic life because to be Catholic is to be aimed not merely at material things but literally, (Cata-holos) - inclined to the whole of reality. Using chocolate, wine, music, Plato, and other things, we will enjoy an informal investigation of the following questions:
Are some things objectively more beautiful than others? Is beauty in the eye of the beholder? If so, how did it get there? Do we always seek after what is most beautiful? Why not? Is education required for an enjoyment of beauty? What does it mean to know something?


May 1, 2012 - Manuel Nikel-Zueger - "À DIEU - On the Role and Significance of God in the Ethical Philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas"

Much of the contemporary philosophical tradition can be characterized as backing away (if not running) from positions claiming certain philosophical knowledge about God’s existence and God’s attributes. Where does Levinas stand? I’m not going to tell you now – come and find out! In order to discuss our topic comprehensibly, we will discuss Levinas’ philosophy as a response to Heidegger, taking care to note something of the broader philosophical context as well. We will pay special attention to the understanding and role of death for Heidegger and Levinas as evidence for the incompatible ways each understands transcendence. Important Kantian, Cartesian, and Plotinian dimensions in Levinas’ thought will be highlighted in order to explain how Levinas understands God in relation to the ethical relationship and the human experience of transcendence. Finally, we will raise the question whether there is any compatibility between St. Thomas and Levinas.


April 10, 2012 - Disputatio - "Can Any Politician Tell the Truth?"

Fr. Hilary Martin, OP and members of his Thomas Aquinas on Truth xlink class presented. Our panel of distinguished experts was divided in two: One side argued politicians can and should always tell the truth. The other side argued that no political figure can tell the truth. After a brief discussion among the panelists, the audience, the most important participants, posed questions for the panelists (either to the fors or the antis).


March 13, 2012- Br. Richard Maher, OP - "The Human Person at the Root of the Common Good: A Thomistic Response to the Utilitarian Subordination of the Individual"

Contemporary global problems related to financial inequalities, delays in human development, and political corruption remind the Church of the need to rediscover and rearticulate its notion of the common good. Yet many hurdles remain, including philosophical ones. One of these difficulties I contend is the prevalence of Utilitarian thought and concepts that makes dialogue about the common good challenging, with terms employed by this school of thought similar to those of the Church, but with often vastly different definitions. Indeed, most prominent among these divergences is the view of the common good, with utilitarian philosophy and the Church understanding this term in very different ways. Responding to this need, I’ve set out on the project of attempting to formulate a compelling answer from the Thomistic tradition to aid in this articulation of the common good. Only by positing a renewed view of the human person and his or her relationship to society can the Church answer the difficulties specifically posed by Utilitarianism.


November 1, 2011 - Molly McGrath - "Thomas and the Terminator: A Thomistic Response to Caverley’s Imagining a Non-Biological Machine as a Legal Person in Light of Contemporary Philosophy of Mind"

David Calverley of Arizona State University has stated that if an android--a non-biological, humanoid machine--behaves like a human person, then it should be given legal status as one. Calverley's reasoning for this is influenced by a Lockean understanding of law, which defines persons as agents able to be separated from the property they produce. He cites intentionality and autonomy as the two properties necessary to this ability. This paper offers a Thomistic response to Calverley's statements, demonstrating that intentionality and autonomy are qualities possible only for biological human beings, and thus androids, despite how complex or initially convincing they may appear, are still ineligible for legal status as persons. The crucial aspect of the nature of knowledge--and who, or what, can subsequently possess and act upon it-- was also discussed, applying John Searle's philosophy of mind and Terrence Deacon's understanding of icon and symbol, in addition to Aquinas' insights on knowledge presented in his own works.


September 27, 2011 - Scott Fennema - "What’s in a Name? A Philosophical Analysis Concerning Saint Cyprian of Carthage’s Epistula ad Jubainum."

First year student, Scott Richard Fennema, presented a paper on the philosophical problem of "universals and particulars" with a brief historical overview concerning the problem and its alleged solutions in the context of St. Cyprian's Epistula. Determining to which categorie(s) St. Cyprian belongs too, it explored how his corpus ought to be read in order to understand the (in)famous dictum, "no salus extra ecclesiam."


Maruf February 10, 2011 - Maruf A. Khan - "The concept of natural causality and divine action in Islamic traditions and a brief comparison with Christian and other Western writers."

Using the thoughts of Islamic theologians and philosophers, particularly al-Ghazali and Averroes, Maruf Kahn presented a talk on the concepts of natural causality and divine action. In addition to exploring these oft misunderstood thinkers, the implications of these theories of causality and divine action by al-Ghazali and later Sufi writers were also discussed in relation to modern science. 


 October 14, 2010 - Tom Sundaram - "What Moves the Sun and the Other Stars: Wonder and the Epic Tradition"

Tom Sundarum Thomas Sundaram, a student in the Concurrent Master's Philosophy/Theology Program at DSPT, explored, with an intent to better define, the concept of the "epic tradition", as characterized through the Epic of Gilgamesh, Homeric epics, Virgil's Aeneid, Dante's Divine Comedy, and Eliot's Four Quartets and Wasteland. The talk was intended to be accessible to those who have little introduction to epic poetry. 


Emmanuel March 11, 2010 - Br. Emmanuel Taylor, OP - "What Would Aquinas Think of the Prohibition?"

Br. Emmanuel explored Aquinas' view of civil law and how whether it should regulate morality. To do this he investigated the particular case of the American prohibition. To better prepare for this dialogue participants were invited to refer to the following texts from Aquinas' Summa Theologiae: I-II 93.3 ad 3; 95.1; 95.3; 96.2 ad 2; 96.4; 97.2; 99.5; 100.2; 100.9; II-II 10.11; 50.1; 57.1; 58.8; 78.1 ad 3.



FrDuckRabbit

October 8, 2009 - Jamie Roberts - "Aquinas & Wittgenstein"

Jamie Roberts compared Thomas' and Wittgenstein's respective solutions to the problem of universals.


 April 24, 2009 - Mauricio Najarro - "The Chemical Prosthetic: Drug Culture"



April 24, 2008 - Andrew Lang - "Could Socrates Conceive of Zombies?"

March 6, 2008 - D’Agostino, Corban & Stone - "Jesus, Dostoevsky & Nietzsche: Reading Matthew 18:3"

In the gospel of Matthew 18:3, Jesus declared “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” In Dostoevsky's Idiot, Prince Myshkin is childlike and arguably shares resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. Nietzsche's Antichrist finds fault with the childlike innocence praised in Christian teaching. Nietzsche sees a resemblance of Prince Myshkin to the historical Jesus and praises Dostoevsky's characterization of Jesus in Myshkin as idiot. This talk focused on passages in Nietzsche and Dostoevsky to understand these authors' ideas on Jesus and some of his teachings. What does it mean for us to become childlike in our faith?


December 4, 2007 - Trevor Murphy - "Seneca: The Pursuit of Knowledge as Self-Therapy"

The topic addressed the work by Seneca’s Investigations into Nature, where we see ancient philosophy struggling to account for phenomena such as rainbows, lightning, earthquakes, the Nile flood, and comets. This book is a stirring invitation to confront the bizarre and alarming mysteries of nature by means of the human intellect. But is it science? For Seneca, pursuing knowledge about nature is not a worthy end in itself, nor is it in any way justified as the pursuit of social good; it is a contemplative means of self-therapy.


November 15, 2007 - Eric Gerlach - "Say What You Mean: Wittgenstein and the Mad Tea Party"

Alice In Wonderland was one of Wittgenstein's favorite books in English. One of the most interesting connections between Lewis Carroll's nonsense work and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is between the Mad Tea Party of Wonderland and the Mad Tea Party of Trinity (Russell's philosophical circle). Closely reading the 'mean what I say'/'say what I mean' passage, we can gain insights into our differing uses of the word 'mean' and forms of logic.


October 18, 2007 - Prof. Frederick M. Dolan, CCA - "What is Art?"

Classically – that is, in Plato and Aristotle – art was identified with imitation or representation (mimesis). Moderns identified art less with imitation and more with beauty, though they sometimes saw art as the imitation of an ideal rather than a natural beauty. Does the question then become: What is beauty? But much art of our own time questions the equation of art with beauty whether ideal or natural. Given the historical and cultural diversity of art, must we abandon the attempt to define it?


May 7, 2007 - Dr. Andrew Porter - "Fallacies in Intelligent Design Creation"

Intelligent Design, whether you call it creationism or a replacement for creationism, trades on widespread philosophical mistakes: the idea that will-directed motion works like a physical force, and can be used as an explanation for human actions and then divine actions. This way of understanding transcendence (as the modern, not Thomistic, supernatural) is a kind of Naturalism, despite the protests of those who would define naturalism as rejection of the supernatural. With attention to how the pertinent language and concepts of action work, there are better models of both human and divine action. The mistakes in creationism are shared by many Liberals, and by many opponents of creationism, e.g., the recent “new atheism”.


April 2, 2007 - Bodhi Stone - "Does Science Track Truth?"

Scientific Realists claim that their view is the only one that does not make the success of modern science a miracle or cosmic coincidence; that the only scientific answer for the progress of science is the increasing truth of its theories. Is this kind of inference to the best explanation a sound application of scientific method or a case of assuming what is precisely in question? Along with truth, Scientific Realism also claims that our best theories give us epistemic access to what is an objective, observer-independent world of natural kind objects- a kind of ultimate reality. Can we remain good empiricists and believe in this kind of metaphysics?


February 19, 2007 - Sophia Leahy Stone - "Justice and Friendship in Brown v. Board of Education"

When we read the landmark decision, Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954), the arguments presented seem redundant to the values we hold today. This is because we take as a matter of fact that all citizens, regardless of race, need a good education in order to be able to participate fully in the democratic process of government. Yet what is remarkable about reading Brown today is that the case formed and re-shaped American law so that now, when we think of equal education for all, we think of it as a matter of fact, we don’t even question it.

We would not have come to this understanding and belief in education if it weren’t for Brown, and the case goes beyond judicial activism, it extends a kind of virtue that rarely belongs in legal case decisions. That virtue is friendship, "philia", as described in Aristotle’s Nichomachean Ethics, Books VIII and IX. While the decision itself is just, the reasoning that brings the Warren Court to their final decision is not based on justice, "dike", but on friendship.


November 27, 2006 - Prof. Alice Sowaal - "Mary Astell’s Serious Proposal: Mind, Method, and Custom"

In Mary A Stell's "A Serious Proposal to the Ladies" (1694) she argues that women are educable, and proposes the construction of a women's academy. In Part II (1697) she proposes a method for the improvement of the mind. In this presentation, Astell's arguments were contextualized as well as proposals within her theory of mind and her account of the kind of skepticism that is endemic among women. It was argued that Astell's two proposals are best understood as strategies that, when employed, will allow women to protect themselves from prejudice and custom.


October 30, 2006 - Dr. Fred Foldvary - "Natural Law"

Natural moral law is an ethic which is universal to humanity, and applies to all human action. John Locke in The Second Treatise of Civil Government proposed that there is a moral "law of nature" which can be derived using reason, and provides the basis for legitimate governance. Fred Foldvary discussed how we can know that this universal ethic exists. He derived it from premises of human nature, and discussed how the ethic endows us with moral rights. Also discussed was how the universal ethic applies to law and government policy as well as in personal relationships.


October 12, 2006 - Br. Raphael Mary Salzillo, OP - "Consciousness: Can Science or Philosophy Make Sense of it?"

Every view of the world has serious problems accounting for consciousness. The various forms of materialism, which rely on experimental science alone to explain it, continuously run up against the in-principle problem: How can physical, third-person stuff give rise to first-person experiences? This problem was discussed followed by a brief talk about how materialists of various stripes have tried to solve it, and then tried to point us towards what a true solution might look like. The discussion continued into the night (or until we solve the problem to everyone's satisfaction).


May 9, 2006 - Prof. Mark Damien Delp - "End of Reason: End of Science?"

Plotinus maintained that the highest actualization of the human capacity for knowledge is achieved by the cessation of rational inquiry. For over a thousand years the major trends in Latin and Greek (not to speak of Jewish and Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, etc.) philosophy and theology agreed. Prof. Delp will present a sympathetic interpretation of this tradition, and clarify its apparent antipathy towards empirical inquiry into natural phenomena. He will also draw some general conclusions about what “cessation of rational inquiry” might mean for those of us who are not ready to abandon Western science.


March 8, 2006 - Moderated discussion by Sophia Leahy - "Walking on Eggshells"

In a country where freedom of the press is highly valued, are we bound to these two views with respect to the publication of the Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed? If, out of respect for religious views we prohibit the publication of certain images are we in danger of undermining all that freedom stands for, or, are there alternative views we must consider? The worldwide protests and violent opposition in the Muslim world regarding the publication of the Danish cartoons uncovers deep philosophical and ideological issues regarding belief and value. The discussion was held in the hopes of finding whether there can be some common ground reached between faith and freedom.


November 30, 2005 - Br. James Junipero Moore, OP - "Music and Virtue Ethics"

Br. James proposed to look at both positive and negative aspects of music on a diachronic and synchronic community.


October 13, 2005 - Jason Escalante - "Is Science Science?"

The primacy of empirical-metric method in learning is often assumed. I think that this is a mistake and so did the founders of modern natural science. This talk examined the nature, scope, and context of the “scientific method” in the range of human ways of knowing and being in the world.


May 12, 2005 - Sophia Leahy - "Rectifying our Taste for Punishment"

From the beginning of written law, man has incorporated ‘an eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth,’ the law of equivalence for justice. Today capital punishment is justified based on the need to take a life in exchange for a life that has been taken. Even though there are recognized injustices in prosecuting capital punishment cases, some still maintain that punishment is necessary for deterrence and retribution. I argued that we cannot get rid of capital punishment until we acknowledge that we have acquired a taste for punishment and realize that it is something that we ought to give up. My discussion included insights from Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals, Foucault’s Discipline and Punish, and Lock’s Two Treatises of Government.


May 5, 2005 - Br. Robert King, OP - "Participation and John Paul II's Intersubjectivity"

What is going on when two or more of us work together on one project? What do we mean when we speak of "taking common action"? Why do these sentences use the second person plural? Br. Robert King, OP took a look at some extraordinary implications of some very common activities in the light of Karol Wotyla's philosophical work.


March 31, 2005 - Lowell Moorcroft - "Great Chains and Handmaidens: Philosophy's Relationship with Others"

In addition to philosophy itself, we often encounter phrases that combine philosophy with some other inquiry or field, such as "philosophy of history", or "philosophy of biology". How is it that any of these fields can lay claim to having a philosophy? What sort of "philosophy of whatever" would that be? Is it really a philosophy? Does any field really need a philosophy - or does it really need something else?


February 22, 2005 - Fred Foldvary - "Geo-Libertarianism"

Fred will present the universal ethic, a formulation of natural moral law. He will apply it to a geo-libertarian political philosophy with no taxes, no crimes without invaded victims, no government money, and unbridled free enterprise.


December 6, 2004 - Open Discussion - "Just War"

St. Augustine originated Just War theory; a just war must have right authority and a right cause. St. Thomas Aquinas improved upon Augustine’s requirements, adding that a just war must have not only right authority and right cause but also right intention. Opponents of Just War Theory argue that in today’s global community, Just War Theory can no longer be applied to current situations dealing with terrorism, nuclear threats, and civil war. Proponents for Just War Theory argue that we still need Just War Theory as a barometer to indicate when a war is being fought justly. Does Just War Theory still apply to the wars being fought today? Should Just War Theory be amended, and if so, how? You are invited to come discuss the issue of Just War Theory and the contemporary presence of war. This OWL will be different from other presentations. Rather than have a speaker present on a topic, the topic will be open for discussion immediately after the topic is presented. You are welcome to prepare a short thesis or simply come and argue or defend your position.


November 15, 2004 - Jason Van Boom - "The Just Balance: The psycho-politics of rhetoric and dialectic"

Van Boom bases his argument on the method of Plato's Republic, which asserts a relationship of analogy between the interior structure of the soul and the exterior structure of a polity. The supremacy of rhetoric is a distinguishing mark of tyrannical states, while free or liberal polities subordinate rhetoric to dialectic. Unbridled rhetoric necessarily leads to massive lapses in practical judgment; hence, free societies are wiser than tyrannical ones. Plato's dialogues are poetical representations of "outer dialectic," and help the budding philosopher to create an "inner dialectic" indispensable for ascending to Wisdom.


October 18, 2004 - Sophia Leahy - "Why does Plato use humor in his dialogues?"

John Morreall blames the negative valuation of humor in philosophy on Plato and Aristotle. Further, Morreall argues that Plato’s philosophy of humor adheres to the superiority theory of humor coined by Hobbes two thousand years after Plato. I will counter Morreall’s claims, arguing that Plato’s philosophy of humor cannot be limited to a superiority theory of humor and I will contend that Plato has a more charitable view of humor, as Plato uses humor and the comedic genre more than any other literary device for teaching his philosophy.


September 27, 2004 - Jason Escalante - "Rhetoric and Reason: Is Rhetoric Reasonable?"

Many philosophers hold that rhetoric is merely the art of persuasion and has little or no real cognitive value. I will argue that rhetoric, when its great masters such as Aristotle, Quintilian, and Vico are correctly understood, is not only an art which aids cognition proper but indeed does so more globally than the art of logic.


August 16, 2004 - Nicolaus Tideman - "Justice and Morality"

What is the relationship between justice and morality and how can we justify requiring people to be good? Professor Tideman’s argument draws from Henry George and the philosophical tradition of Left Libertarianism.


April 27, 2004 - Derek Baker - "Dreaming Skepticism"

Dreaming skepticism was first raised by Descartes. I’d like to approach the issue by delving deeper into the initial question. How do we think about dreaming? What value do we attach to a dream? What do we mean when we say something is real?


March 30, 2004 - Br. Raphael Mary Salzillo, OP - "How Do We Know that Nature is Uniform?"

If I drop a ball 1000 times and each time it falls, will it fall the 1001st time? The answer to most of us is obvious, but not to all philosophers. Sure, I believe it will fall, but how do I justify that belief? Can I even give a reason for such a claim? Ever since David Hume, philosophers have been struggling with how we can justify our belief in the uniformity of nature. I will explain the problem, examine some proposed solutions to it, and then attempt to give a solution of my own.


February 24, 2004 - Br. Christopher Fadok, OP - "Locating Scepticism in a Theory of Knowledge"

Sceptical about scepticism? If we are confident about what we know, must we refute scepticism, or can it play a role in our thinking about knowledge? Tired of that friend who took a class in modern philosophy and now says he doesn't really know he owes you money? In contemporary theory of knowledge, turnabout is fair play. If I think scepticism is more dubious than what I think I know, I won't try to refute it, I'll just soup up my epistemology.


December 4, 2003 - Bodhi Stone - "How Do I Know What You Believe?"

Do we need to assume a speaker to be rational in order to interpret their linguistic behavior as meaningful? Following the work of Davidson, I will answer yes and attempt to explain how 'rationally' partly consists in the ascription of mostly true beliefs to a speaker. This leads to the important question of on whose authority do those ascribed beliefs rely, if not your own?


November 18, 2003 - Br. Robert King, O.P. - "The Primacy of Play: All Work and No Play Makes Jack a Dull Boy"

Br. Robert doesn't like to work; he likes to play. If he did like to work, would it still be work? If he didn't have fun, would it still be play? What is the difference between work and play, and what is most important for human life? Come hear Br. Robert work through the playful side of being human.


October 18, 2003 - Jennifer Hudin - "Can Science Explain Consciousness?"

I hope to show that there are two notions of consciousness, one which science can explain, the other notion of consciousness is in principle unexplainable by science, i.e., a third person report. This other notion of consciousness is our everyday working notion of it, our particularized contentful states which are always from a point of view, a first person point of view. I will then provide three examples of particularized contentful states which cannot be captured by neuronal descriptions: simple visual percepts, visual percepts of representations, and rational action.


May 15, 2003 - Prof. John Ferrari - "Plato and Freud on the Health of the Soul"

Plato’s and Freud’s psychology resemble each other in their focus on the health of the soul, thought of as a balance between parts of the soul. But in crucial respects, Plato’s and Freud’s psychological theories are quite opposite, and suggest very different prospects for human fulfillment.


April 2, 2003 - Sophia Leahy - "Can Wisdom be funny?"

Why are things funny? How does humor help us cope in the world? Is it even possible to philosophize about humor? Can humor be taken seriously? Come experience humorous stories about learning Ancient Greek, Chess, and Philosophy. Then hear a philosophical account on humor based on Wittgenstein’s discussion of aspect perception in his Philosophical Investigations and why Plato uses the ridiculous when he is talking about something serious.


March 6, 2003 - Open Discussion - "What is Justice?"

There are different views on what is just. Is justice a material notion, each given to according to his need or contribution? Is justice “the advantage of the stronger?” Could our moral sense of justice be the product of resentment and psychological defense? Is justice necessarily a democratic institution? Come and be prepared to talk about what your notion of justice is. This is a wonderful opportunity for community participation and contribution to philosophical dialogue. “Hence the result of the discussion, as far as I’m concerned, is that I know nothing, for when I don’t know what justice is, I’ll hardly know whether it is a kind of virtue or not, or whether a person who has it is happy or unhappy,” Plato, Book I Republic.


December 12, 2002 - Maureen Baldwin - "The News vs. Nous"

Is the philosophical life possible in the 21st Century?
Come hear how the market, media and modern convenience sap the roots of philosophy; why you are at risk; and what spiritual training and discipline can transform you from a mere philosophy student to a noetic freedom fighter. TG 13 Thomistic Guidance recommended (May contain strong Platonic language)


November 12, 2002 - Bodhi Stone - "Solipsism vs. Commonsense in Middle-Late Wittgenstein"

Wittgenstein used characteristic phrases of metaphysical solipsism in his Philosophical Remarks and the Blue Book. How does his use compare with their common sense use? What does this show about their actual normative role in everyday language? Wittgenstein claimed that solipsism is unthinkable. How does the normative role of putative solipsistic phrases lead to that conclusion? Why is it tempting to say "I can only know my own experiences," when I must be mistaken?


October 28, 2002 - Jack Phillips - "The Role of the Individual in an Intelligent Universe"

How do individual ethics fit into a Cosmic order? Drawing upon the work of Joseph Campbell, Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, and others, the presentation will highlight a theory of philosophy-in-action that equally validates the gift of human creativity and its relationship to a higher order of intelligence.


September 24, 2002 - Br. Tom Irish, OP - "Being Someone, Being Oneself"

What does it mean, and how is it possible, that I am the person that I am? To some, notably Wittgensteinians, this question is pointless, but I wish to argue that it is both interesting and important. It is not a Cartesian trap, but a significant metaphysical problem.


May 7, 2002 - Craig Sutphin - "What is thinking?"

The Phenomenology of Thinking: What is thinking, why do we think, and what is its relation to the nature of self? A survey of contemporary cognitive science and philosophy of mind.


April 18, 2002 - Br. Anselm Ramelow, OP - "The Statistics of Freedom"

Freedom is supposed to be unpredictable. How, then, can it be that sociology is a science? If we are free, how can it be that we obey the laws of criminal statistics and demographic development? Is it possible to have a revolution against these laws?


“The OWL of Minerva at DSPT is the most fun some of us are allowed to have.” - Br. Christopher Fadok, OP