The End of an Era

With a smile on her face, I recently saw a bright young woman go straight to Professor David Solomon and hug him. I’ve seen this happen with many of Professor Solomon’s former students. They return to campus and light up when they see him, almost as if they are seeing their father after a long absence.

When I entered Notre Dame in the fall of 2009, not much time passed before I sat in his office with a couple of other freshmen and had a conversation about how we wanted to write tracts about what it means to be a Catholic university. I think starry-eyed students like us helped Professor Solomon to be ever-creative in his efforts to promote Notre Dame’s Catholic identity, from founding the Center for Ethics and Culture to beginning the Fund to Protect Human Life. I wonder if students have been doing this since he joined Notre Dame’s philosophy faculty in 1968. Continue reading “The End of an Era”

Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality

This chapter summary is part of my reading summaries series. Click here for more information on the series. Click here fore more chapter summaries from Dependent Rational Animals: Why Human Beings Need the Virtues.

“It is most often to others that we owe our survival, let alone our flourishing.” McIntyre opens by drawing attention to human vulnerability to affliction, such as illness, and the corresponding dependence on others for protection and sustenance, especially in childhood and old age. These facts, MacIntyre argues, “are so evidently of singular importance that it might seem that no account of the human condition whose authors hoped to achieve credibility could avoid giving them a central place.” “The disabled” are not “a separate class”, but “ourselves as we have been, sometimes are now and may well be in the future.” Continue reading “Summary: Dependent Rational Animals chapter 1, Vulnerability, dependence, animality”

Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School

Coming to law school has made me particularly glad that I decided to major in philosophy. In many ways, I’ve found many of the ideas I encountered as an undergraduate to be foundational to the way I approach the law. I could make a pretty long list of books that I think every student should study (not just “read,” but “study”) before coming to law school, but here are some texts that I think are particularly important:  Continue reading “Book Recommendations for Undergrads Considering Law School”

Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality

“… and old principles reappear under new forms. It [a great idea] changes with them in order to remain the same. In a higher world it is otherwise, but here below to live is to change, and to be perfect is to have changed often.” So goes the argument of Blessed John Henry Newman‘s Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine. Like any great idea, doctrine must change in order to remain the same. Only dead doctrine cannot change, for “a power of development is a proof of life.” Continue reading “Newman, and the development of Catholic teaching on abortion and homosexuality”

The Great Books at Notre Dame

In November 2010, I presented a paper for the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture’s annual Fall Conference. After several requests, I have reproduced this paper below, with some minimal edits and revisions. Regarding discussions of my experiences in the Program, it must be noted that I only took three of the required classes. My personal experience in the Program was quite minimal. Continue reading “The Great Books at Notre Dame”

Professor Jim Sterba and the Arrogance of the Age

This is a revised version of my earlier post by the same title, which was submitted to but not published in Notre Dame’s Irish Rover.

In the last edition of the Irish Rover, Dr. Jim Sterba, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, offered remarks in “Point-counterpoint: debating Notre Dame’s HHS lawsuit.” At the crux of his argument is the claim that, if the University is to be successful in its lawsuit, it “should abandon its opposition to providing contraceptives, unless it can come up with a reason-alone (non-religiously-based) argument in support of its opposition.” Indeed, a reason-based argument is one that ought to be sought out by the University and its members. However, the motivations to pursue such an argument, as stated in this article, are quite questionable. Continue reading “Professor Jim Sterba and the Arrogance of the Age”

Professor Jim Sterba and the Arrogance of the Age

In the most recent edition of the Irish Rover (Sept. 13, 2012), Jim Sterba, professor of philosophy at Notre Dame, provided remarks in “Point-counterpoint: debating Notre Dame’s HHS lawsuit.” At the crux of his argument is the claim that, if the University is to be successful in its lawsuit, it “should abandon its opposition to providing contraceptives, unless it can come up with a reason-alone (non-religiously-based) argument in support of its opposition.” Such an argument, indeed, is one that ought to be sought out by the University and its members. However, the reasons to pursue such an argument, as stated in this article, are unworthy of the department and the University of which Professor Sterba claims to be a part. Continue reading “Professor Jim Sterba and the Arrogance of the Age”