The Issue of Truth - In Honor of Robert Sokolowski

September 4 
John McCarthy, The Catholic University of America
Hume's Curious Love of Truth

September 11
John Brough, Georgetown University
Photography, Film, and the Phenomenology of the Human Person
Abstract: The human person, Robert Sokolowski argues, is the agent of truth.  One way of attaining truth is through speech and language.  Another is through images, and especially through pictures created by the agency of an artist.  In this paper I will focus on picturing as displaying the truth and intelligibility of things and persons.  The themes I will develop originate in Robert Sokolowski’s rich and lively discussions of imaging in his essays and in his recent book, The Phenomenology of the Human Person.  Among the things I will consider are the analogies between language and pictures, including the sense in which one can speak of pictorial syntax.  I will discuss the embodiment of things and their essences in pictures, and the ways in which pictures can be said to capture the truth or be deceitful.  I will discuss these and other themes with special attention to photography and film, modern forms of imaging that bring to portraiture, landscape, the experience of time, and the telling of a story their unique ways of presenting the truth of things.  Finally, I will consider Sokolowski’s provocative idea that the search for happiness underlies artistic imagery, and how it might join wonder and the quest for truth as the fundamental motivations lfor the creation and appreciation of images.

September 18  
Guy Mansini, OSB, St. Meinrad's Seminary, Indiana
Christianity and Plotinus
Abstract: Robert Sokolowski says that it is more difficult for Christians to come to terms with Plato and Platonism than with Aristotle precisely because Platonism seems closer.  Rather than directly revisiting the contested ground of Enneads VI.9.8, the essay finds a point of departure in A. H. Armstrong's observation that while Plotinus' world is in itself both theophanous and hospitable to the gods, the Christian universe is not.  The essay proceeds to relate this difference to the difference of the kind of whole the world is for Plotinus on the one hand and Christianity on the other.  The Plotinian world contains everything that can come from the One; the Christian world does not contain everything that God can create.  Further differences are related to these quite different ways of thinking about the whole the world is in relation to its first principle.

September 25
Alasdair MacIntyre, University of Notre Dame
Ends and Endings

October 2
Alva Noë, University of California, Berkeley
On Over-Intellectualizing the Intellect

October 9
Daniel Maher, Assumption College
"To signify not one is to signify nothing": Aristotle on Unity and Contradiction

October 16
Francis Slade, Saint Francis College
Philosophy and Political Form

October 23
Richard Cobb-Stevens, Boston College
The Contemporary Relevance of Husserl's The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology

October 30
James Hart, Indiana University
The Singularity of Love
Abstract: Pascal’s question, “If I am loved for my qualities am I loved for myself?” requires reflection on what “I” means and whether in attending to you lovingly I target what you refer to when you say “I.” The “I”’s non-sortal status  is the foundation for the claim that “person” is a non-sortal term.  Although the referent of “person” of necessity is pervaded by properties and is a constellation of properties, nevertheless what each person refers to when she says “I” is a radical singularity and not a communicable repeatable eidetic singularity.  Indeed, “I” is self-individuating, and individual per se and not per accidens. And love is a belief and emphatic affirmation and delight in this unique essence.  Amare est  esse alterius delectari.

November 6
John Rist, University of Toronto and the Istituto Patristico Augustinianum
We Don't Do Truth

November 20 
John Drummond, Fordham University
Having the Right Attitudes
Abstract: Aristotle claims that the virtuous person is “right” in feelings and actions.  The paper will explore what it means to be “right in feelings” or, in other words, what “truthfulness” is in the axiological sphere.  The paper borrows themes from Husserl to provide (1) an account of the intentional structure of the ‘feelings’; (2) a distinction between bodily feelings, intentional feelings, emotional episodes, and emotional (dispositional) states; (3) an account of “evidence” in the sphere of axiological reason (as distinct from theoretical and practical reason).

December 4
John Wippel, The Catholic University of America
Aquinas on Creation: A Philosophical or Theological Issue?

All lectures are held at 2:00 p.m. in the Auditorium of Aquinas Hall at The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., 20064.

This series is made possible by a generous grant from the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation and the support of the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation and the George Dougherty Foundation.

For further information, contact the Office of the Dean, School of Philosophy, 202-319-5259,