Fall Seminar:
Ambition: Intellectual, Moral, Political


Case_for_GreatnessThe Institute is pleased to announce its 2016 fall seminar on Ambition: Intellectual, Moral, Political sponsored by the Center on the University and Intellectual Life. This seminars is part of the Institute’s efforts to assist the next generation of scholars in reflecting on truly human questions.

In this year-long seminar, undergraduate students will study and challenge the ironism found in both society and the university, exploring the intellectual, moral, and political foundations for a healthy and reasonable ambition, including the quests for truth, free society, and statesmanship. Students’ readings will orbit around Robert Faulkner’s The Case for Greatness: supplementing this with readings on political glory and fame in Machiavelli, Nietzsche, Aristotle, Seneca, Montaigne, Josef Pieper, Aquinas, Tocqueville, and the life of George Washington. Professor Faulkner will lead one of the sessions, while all others will be led by Dr. RJ Snell.

In addition to bi-weekly seminars, 4-5 Princeton faculty will be hosted for dinner and conversation about topics related to ambition in their own writings/research and how they think about ambition as individuals. Finally, we plan on two excursions for cultural events, both including great works of art, and dinner and conversation with leaders in business and finance.

The seminar will be led by Dr. RJ. Snell, the Director of the Center on the University and Intellectual Life. Dr. Snell was for many years Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Philosophy Program at Eastern University and the Templeton Honors College, where he founded and directed the Agora Institute for Civic Virtue and the Common Good. His research interests include the liberal arts, ethics, natural law theory, Thomas Aquinas, the Catholic intellectual tradition, and the work of Bernard Lonergan, SJ and is the author of numerous books on those subjects. He earned his MA in philosophy at Boston College, and his PhD in philosophy at Marquette University. Dr. Snell and his family reside in the Princeton area.

Open to all Princeton undergraduates, the seminar will meet twice per month on Fridays, 1:00-3:00pm. For more information, contact at R. J. Snell at rsnell@winst.org.