Philosopher Stephen Brock gave the talk “Aquinas and the Life of the Mind” on Friday, May 12, 2017 at the University of Chicago.
Saint Thomas Aquinas regards mind, or intellect, as a form of life. It is even the most perfect form, he says, because it carries the power of free choice. Yet we may wonder how free he thinks we really are. For he insists that our mind’s life depends, intimately, on a cause outside itself. But on his view, freedom of choice would not even make sense without this cause; and our lives are fullest, and freest, when we focus more on it than on ourselves. This is to follow the mind’s deepest urge, which is toward that rather neglected virtue called wisdom.
Stephen Brock (Pontifical University of Santa Croce) is Professor of Medieval Philosophy, Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of Chicago and a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto. Brock writes widely on Thomas Aquinas and action theory, ethics, and metaphysics. He is the author of The Philosophy of Saint Thomas Aquinas. A Sketch (Wipf & Stock, 2015) and Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action (T&T Clark, 1998). Fr. Brock is the 2017 Visiting Scholar with Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life.
On Wednesday, December 14, 2016, at the University of South Carolina Law School, our scholar and philosopher Talbot Brewer, gave the talk, “What Good are the Humanities?”
The president of University of South Carolina, Harris Pastides, delivered the introductory address, and a Q&A followed the talk. To view the talk, click the image below or go to http://virtue.uchicago.edu/brewer.
Talbot Brewer is Professor of Philosophy and Chair of the Philosophy Department at the University of Virginia and a Scholar with Virtue, Happiness, & the Meaning of Life. He specializes in ethics and political philosophy, with particular attention to moral psychology and Aristotelian ethics. He is the author of numerous essays, including “Reflections on the Cultural Commons” (in Nestor García, ed, Being Human in a Consumerist Society, 2014), “Two Pictures of Practical Thinking” (in Jost and Wuerth, eds, Perfecting Virtue, 2011), “Is Welfare an Independent Good?” (Social Philosophy & Policy 26, 2009), “Three Dogmas of Desire” (in Chappell, ed, Values and Virtues, 2007), “Virtues We Can Share: A Reading of Aristotle’s Ethics” (Ethics 115, 2005), “Two Kinds of Commitments (And Two Kinds of Social Groups)” (Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66, 2003), and “Maxims and Virtues” (The Philosophical Review 3, 2002). He has been a visiting professor in the Harvard University Philosophy Department and has authored two books, the most recent of which is The Retrieval of Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2009). He is currently at work on two books, one on Aristotelian action theory and its intersection with ethics, and another on a phenomenon that he calls “tragedies of the cultural commons”.
Fr. Stephen L. Brock is our Spring 2017 Visiting Scholar and on the faculty of our June 2017 Summer Seminar, “Virtue, Happiness, & Self-transcendence.” In doing a little internet surfing about him, we came across a lecture he gave on February 5, 2015 at the University of Chicago, sponsored by our institutional partner Lumen Christi. Bringing the small world concept closer, he’s introduced by our very own principal investigator Candace Vogler.
Fr. Stephen L. Brock is Professor of Medieval Philosophy at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. He is a member of the Pontifical Academy of St Thomas Aquinas and is the author of Action & Conduct: Thomas Aquinas and the Theory of Action. He has written numerous articles on various aspects of the thought of Thomas Aquinas, and he has edited several collections including Thomas Aquinas and the Subject of Metaphysics. Fr. Brock leads week long seminars for graduate students in Rome on the thought of Thomas Aquinas.
On June 6, 2016, Psychologist Howard Nusbaum and Philosopher Candace Vogler participated in a public conversation, held at the University of Chicago’s Swift Hall.
Nusbaum and Vogler discussed various forms of self-transcendence that provide contexts in which the exercise of virtue in daily life can operate as a source of a sense of purpose or meaning and a source of happiness. They also looked at the wisdom that belongs to ordinary human flourishing and requires a deep sense of both humility and social connection.
Their conversation was followed by a discussion with the audience about being wise and being good.
Howard C. Nusbaum is a professor at the University of Chicago in the Department of Psychology and its College, and a steering committee member of the Neuroscience Institute. Nusbaum is an internationally recognized expert in cognitive psychology, speech science, and in cognitive neuroscience. He investigates the cognitive and neural mechanisms that mediate spoken language use, as well as language learning and the role of attention in speech perception. In addition, he investigates how we understand the meaning of music, and how cognitive and social-emotional processes interact in decision-making and wisdom research. He is currently Division Director for the Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences Division in the Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE) Directorate for the National Science Foundation.
Candace Vogler is the David B. and Clara E. Stern Professor of Philosophy and Professor in the College at the University of Chicago. She has authored two books, John Stuart Mill’s Deliberative Landscape: An essay in moral psychology (Routledge, 2001) and Reasonably Vicious (Harvard University Press, 2002), and essays in ethics, social and political philosophy, philosophy and literature, cinema, psychoanalysis, gender studies, sexuality studies, and other areas. Her research interests are in practical philosophy (particularly the strand of work in moral philosophy indebted to Elizabeth Anscombe), practical reason, Kant’s ethics, Marx, and neo-Aristotelian naturalism. Candace Vogler is the Director and co-Principal Investigator for the project “Virtue, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.”
University of South Carolina’s Breakthrough Magazine features our own PI Jennifer A. Frey in their article “Happiness Granted” and video (below).
“USC assistant professor of philosophy Jennifer Frey and co-PI Candace Vogler of the University of Chicago landed just such a princely sum this past fall, and they’re hardly bummed about it. Their pursuit of happiness, however, is really just beginning.” Read full article here.
Our Visiting Scholar, Philosopher Anselm Mueller, considers the traditional opposition between acting well and faring well, and the kinds of steps that thinkers in different cultural settings have taken to address it. He gave this talk at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago on April 11, 2016.