Coffee with the Classics Module II: Beauty & the Good Life

Date: 10/12; 10/19; 10/26

Time: Wednesdays, 6:30pm-8:00pm

Description:

Beauty is in everything that surrounds us.  We see it in art, the human body, and nature, and we hear it in music of all sorts of cadences and melodies.  Where does this beauty come from? Even though much of the beauty we are aware of comes to us through our senses, there is also a beauty that comes to us through the intangible–the beauty of the intellect, of the virtues, and of the good.  What is the good, and how can it help us come to a vision of this seemingly inaccessible form of beauty?  How must we alter our conduct of life in order to live a good life, and essentially, to see true beauty?

Join us as we continue to explore perennial questions with Coffee with the Classics.  Students, together with faculty facilitators, will be coming together to examine brief selections from works by Plato, Plotinus, Schiller, Maritain, von Balthasar, and Hart.

Meetings will be Wednesdays, starting at 6:30pm, with dinner and texts provided free of charge.  Express interest or ask questions to Elizabeth Feeney: elife@sas.upenn.edu.

On the Secular University and the Church: Reconsidering Newman’s Philosophy of Education Today

When: Thursday, October 13th at 7:00pm

Where: Penn Newman Catholic Center

3720 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA, 19104

Co-sponsored by Penn Newman Catholic Community

Please join Collegium Institute and the Penn Newman Catholic Community for this historic inaugural lecture, the first part of an annual series that marks the legacy of the University of Pennsylvania as the site of the first Newman Club in America.

Dr. Don Briel is the founder, and was for 20 years director, of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, which was the first such Center of its kind.  He has since led efforts to develop similar programs at both Catholic and secular research universities across the country.  At the University of St. Thomas he also held the Koch Chair of Catholic Studies and was the first non-clergyman to hold the Chair of the Theology Department.   He served for a time as Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  He now holds the Blessed John Henry  Newman Chair of Liberal Arts at the University of Mary.

Reception to Follow the Lecture

Please Register Here.  Any questions may be directed to Elizabeth Feeney at elife@sas.upenn.edu.

The text and video of Dr. Briel’s lecture can be found HERE.

Fall Faculty Colloquia Series: Between Justice and Mercy

Should our society be just or merciful? Should we forgive debts, pardon criminals, and offer private charity to the poor? Today, we often pit the two against each other, and question whether mercy is a virtue: we fear that mercy undercuts justice, which we understand in terms of rights and equal, impartial treatment. But mercy was long understood as a virtue that complements justice rather than contradicting it. This fall, Collegium Institute invites faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, and other area universities to take part in a reading group spanning the history of justice and mercy, exploring the tension between the two and the values of justice and mercy in today’s world.

Our five-session survey may include:

1): The Ancient World: Selections from Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and Rhetoric and Seneca, De Clementia (On Mercy)

2): Christianity: Selections from Augustine’s City of God and Political Writings (Letters) and Aquinas’s Summa Theologica

3) The Renaissance: Dante’s Inferno (very brief selections) and Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice

4) The Enlightenment: Beccaria’s On Crime and Punishment and Kant’s Metaphysics of Morals (selections from book 6)

5) The Modern Era: C.S. Lewis’s The Humanitarian Theory of Punishment, Melville’s Billy Budd, Samuel Beckett, “Dante & the Lobster”

For more information or to participate, contact program coordinator Elizabeth Feeney: elife@sas.upenn.edu

Coffee With The Classics Module I:

Can Politics Be Redeemed?

When: 09/07 | 09/14 | 09/21 | 09/28

Time: Wednesdays, 6:30-8pm

Where: Harrison House

Description:

Conflict and animosity seem to have reached unprecedented levels in the current election season.  The most disturbing aspect of this phenomenon, however, may not be its shocking proportions, but on the contrary, its increasing inability to shock us.  We are no longer surprised. Verbal attacks, corruption, negative integration: these “scandals” now seem routine, if not banal.  Behind any compromise or agreement, we tend to assume not so much goodwill as an affinity of interests.  Is it sensible to be so jaded?  What is the end of politics anyway? How much or what kind of unity is necessary in a pluralistic society to be able to pursue a truly common good?  Is there hope for politics, or is that just another self-serving slogan?

This September, the Coffee with the Classics seminar will join students together with faculty facilitators in community to explore these timely yet perennial questions by sifting salient, classical responses to them.  We will consider brief selections from the great conversation of Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Marx, Machiavelli, Rousseau, Winthrop, and Aquinas, none of whom were of one mind, and discuss them over dinner freely, uncompelled by requirements or grades, for our own sakes and, perhaps, for the sake of the polis.

To join this four-part weekly dinner series in September, directed by the Collegium Institute Student Association at Penn, please fill up this form with your contact information and a brief letter of interest (50-250 wds).

Admitted students will receive all dinners free of charge.