“I feel very fortunate to have listened to and engaged with such gifted people from so many places…”
“I’m having a great fascinating time and I’ve heard attendees from all perspectives/traditions express how appreciative they are of getting this opportunity to have a respectful interdisciplinary discussion on these topics.”
We feel the same, and grateful for the comments already coming our way from our fabulous participants.
Today’s sessions are Jennifer Frey on Happiness and Candace Vogler on Happiness and Social Life; follow along with our live-tweeting from @UChiVirtue.
Below is a sampling from yesterday’s sessions with Fr Stephen Brock on Aquinas and the Law and Dan McAdams on Generativity.
This post is part of a series of interviews with our incoming class for the “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” 2017 Summer Seminar. James Dominic Rooney is Dominican Priest and graduate student in Philosophy at Saint Louis University. Valerie Wallace is Associate Director, Communications, for Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.
Valerie Wallace: Where are you from?
James Dominic Rooney: I am from Ohio, originally, but more recently of St. Louis, MO.
VW: What are your research areas? Why?
JDR: I am interested in metaphysics, Eastern and Western medieval philosophy, and philosophy of religion.
I’ve always been fascinated by the most general, fundamental questions of philosophy, such as the nature of casuality, what exists, or basic truths we often take for granted. Much of this explains my interest in metaphysics. Metaphysics as I conceive of it follows on Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas: it is the science of being-as-being, or the structure of reality. While this can seem esoteric, empirical science appears to require metaphysical assumptions, and I am interested in how we should decide between metaphysical theories that might have ramifications for fundamental physics (quantum mechanics, etc.) or other sciences like biology.
Because of my interests in metaphysics, I have found a lot of interesting resources in medieval philosophy both in the Latin West and in China (Confucianism). Both of these traditions have a view of metaphysics as the science of wisdom, knowing the ultimate causes of everything. We tend to divide theoretical and practical concerns far apart, so that scientific inquiry is neither morally good nor bad, and is just beside the point of leading a fulfilled life. But I think the Chinese and Latin philosophers point to a different vision of wisdom: philosophy (and the wisdom it seeks) is not only a kind of theoretical knowledge, but importantly connected to a way of life. This perspective seems to me often forgotten or unpracticed in contemporary philosophy, let alone society. I think we could all benefit from rediscovering how to acquire wisdom.
VW: What are you most looking forward to about this summer’s seminar?
JDR: I look forward to having the opportunity not only to learn from some of the top scholars in their respective fields, but to be able to have personal discussion with them alongside other graduate students. The best and most lively work in philosophy seems to me to originate in these kind of discussions.
VW: What are your non-academic interests?
JDR: I am fond of art-house movies, calligraphy, bonsai trees, skiing, and being generally outdoors. But my aesthetic interests are really just a mature compensation for my love of computer games.
We’re delighted to share the list of participants for our 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, and Self-Transcendence“, who hail from all corners of the globe and will convene at the University of Chicago for a week this June. These young researchers will participate in intensive workshop sessions with our faculty to deepen their own research through conversations with a network of fellow collaborators in the areas of Philosophy, Psychology, and Theology/Religious Studies.
The accepted participants for the 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-Transcendence” are:
Alberto Arruda, University of Lisbon
Samuel Baker, University of South Alabama
Maureen Bielinski, University of St. Thomas, TX
Sarah Bixler, Princeton Theological Seminary
Andrew Christy, Texas A&M University
Ellen Dulaney, DePaul University
Marta Faria, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome
Andrew Flynn, University of California – Los Angeles
Madison Gilbertson, Fuller Graduate School of Psychology
Craig Iffland, University of Notre Dame
Anne Jeffrey, University of South Alabama
Jane Klinger, University of Waterloo
David McPherson, Creighton University
Samantha Mendez, University of the Philippines- Diliman
Elise Murray, Tufts University
Omowumi Ogunyemi, Institute of humanities of the Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos
Cabrini Pak, The Catholic University of America
Carissa Phillips-Garrett, Rice University
Timothy Reilly, University of Notre Dame
James Dominic Rooney, Saint Louis University
Jennifer Rothschild, University of Florida
Theresa Smart, University of Notre Dame
Joseph Stenberg, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Sanaz Talaifar, University of Texas at Austin
Andrea Yetzer, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs