Online High School Seminars
Faith and Reason – Dr. Jamie Boulding, Associate Director
January 17th, 24th, and 31st — 7:00pm EST over Zoom
The relationship between faith and reason is one of the most important questions in the history of philosophy and religion. Traditionally, faith and reason were both viewed as possible grounds for religious belief. Some argued that, properly understood, there can be no conflict between the two. Others saw faith and reason as being in competition or even in conflict, while still others insisted that because they concern different things they should be kept apart. In recent years, this debate has often been reframed in terms of faith and science.
In this three-part seminar, we will trace the historical and philosophical development of thought on the relationship between faith and reason, beginning with the medieval theologian Thomas Aquinas, whose ideas about how to define faith and reason and how they relate to each other continue to be deeply influential. We will then reflect on the early modern philosopher Blaise Pascal’s famous “wager,” an argument for belief in God that raises important questions about the role and limits of both faith and reason. Finally, we will read one of Pope John Paul II’s encyclicals, which considers faith and reason in relation to modern intellectual trends.
Augustine’s Confessions: Memory and the Self – John David Corwin, Manager of Academic Programs
February 21st, 28th, and March 7th — 7:00pm EST over Zoom
Augustine’s Confessions marks a key shift within the long history of reflection on the self and the formation of personal identity. Augustine emphasizes the interior formation of the self and soul, a central aspect of which is memory. He explores this explicitly in Book 10 of Confessions, but the entire work is itself preoccupied with and a work of memory.
In this seminar, we will read selections of Augustine’s Confessions and consider how we are shaped by memory, a memory that both remembers and forgets.
C.S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man – Dr. Jamie Boulding, Associate Director
April 11th, 18th, and 25th — 7:00pm EST over Zoom
One of C.S. Lewis’s most important and challenging books, The Abolition of Man offers a powerful account of the importance and relevance of universal moral values, as well as the dangers of denying such values in a scientific and technological age. This three-part seminar will guide high school students through the key philosophical and ethical questions that Lewis explores: What is the purpose of education? How do we know there are objective values, and what are they? What might happen if we reject these values? And how might Lewis’s insights bear upon how we think about science and society today?