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Fall 2018 meetings of the Gonzaga Socratic Club will be held according to the schedule below.  Our new regular schedule slot is Monday late afternoon / evening, and we are moving this semester to a regular home in Jundt 110 (the auditorium in the Jundt art building). Please note that our first event will be at 7 pm to match the other events in the Fides et ratio series; other events will begin at 5:30 pm.  Information related to each talk will be posted on this site as it becomes available.

Mon Sept 24, 7 pm
Jundt 110
Doug Kries, Philosophy, Gonzaga University
Tom Jeannot, Philosophy, Gonzaga University
other panel members TBA

"Fides et Ratio: the 20th Anniversary"

A panel discussion of the ongoing value and significance of Pope St John Paul II's encyclical Fides et ratio (promulgated September 14, 1998).

This event is part of a series of events commerorating the 20th anniversary of Fides et ratio cosponsored with the Gonzaga Faith & Reason Institute. See the Socratic Club home page for a full listing of these events.

Mon Oct 15, 5:30 pm
Jundt 110
Paul DePalma, Computer Science, Gonzaga University "The Private Lives of Cyborgs, the Decay of Self, and the Melancholy of Scholars"
Why are
people are willing to give up their selves to Google, Facebook, and all the rest?

Following Walter J. Ong, S.J., and many others, I argue that we are slowly becoming different people, different from those Americans who, just two generations ago, protected their privacy by holding telephone conversations in wooden boxes with folding doors.   I will argue that privacy is historically contingent.   Artifacts from ancient Greece to the 17th century, suggest that the inner life, a self, a soul, a consciousness, inaccessible to any other human being without direct consent, did not begin to form until the early modern period.   The invention of letter press printing and subsequent inventions like tables of contents, indices, and pagination played a causal role.   Norbert Elias has argued that the courtesy books in the late medieval-early modern period chronicle a retreat into the private sphere of things once done in public.   These include detailed advice on nose blowing, spitting, and food service.   The appearance of private diaries in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries is especially strong evidence for a growing self

The self that came into existence under particular historical and technological circumstances is now going out of existence. The evidence is everywhere: informality in speech and writing, the retreat of formal, ritualized dress, the flipped classroom where professors are encouraged to talk less and hear more.  In just the past decade, a former senator has appeared in an ad declaring that there is hope for sufferers from erectile disfunction, a vice-presidential candidate coyly winked at her audience during a foreign policy interview, the once dour New York Times, published a confessional series on the struggles of one woman with her psychiatric meds, and the word “memoirist” has been coined to describe a writer whose profession is to produce serial, confessional biographies.    The self of the early modern period has eroded, under pressure from the electronic media with its relentless informality and person-centeredness.  This is not a judgment, only a simple attempt to make sense of puzzling behaviors. Along the way, I’ll read a wonderful passage from Robert Burton’s 17th century extravaganza, The Anatomy of Melancholy.

Mon Nov 5, 5:30 pm
Jundt 110
Dan Churchwell, Associate Director of Program Outreach, Acton Institute

"Evangelical Christian Reflections on the Significance of Fides et Ratio"

What value does John Paul II's encyclical Fides et ratio have to Christians outside of the Roman Catholic Church? What principles in the encyclical can be affirmed as central to the sort of "mere Christianity" that C.S. Lewis affirmed?

This event is part of a series of events commerorating the 20th anniversary of Fides et ratio cosponsored with the Gonzaga Faith & Reason Institute. See the Socratic Club home page for a full listing of these events.

Mon Dec 3, 5:30 pm
Jundt 110
Rose Mary Volbrecht, Professor Emerita, Philosophy, Gonzaga University "Last Lecture"
Dr Volbrecht retired from the Philosophy Department in Spring 2018 after years of service to the Department and to Gonzaga University. This talk is an opportunity for her to look back and reflect on her career and work as a philosopher.


For information about the Gonzaga Socratic Club or to propose topics or speakers for future meetings, contact the Club Director:

David Calhoun



©2004-2018 David H. Calhoun. Papers and presentation materials available on this site are used by permission of the authors. Site last updated October 8, 2018.