The Witherspoon Institute's Fifth Thomistic Institute

This in, from Matthew O’Brien of the University of Texas:

The Thomistic Seminar is the Witherspoon Institute’s fifth-annual, week-long, intensive program for graduate students in philosophy. The seminar is devoted to exploring the intersection between analytic philosophy and the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition.

This year’s seminar, entitled “Aesthetics and Morality: Thomistic and Contemporary Philosophical Approaches,” will examine the relationship between aesthetics and morality, particularly with respect to the social aspects of human life. It will take place August 15 - 21, 2010 in Princeton, New Jersey.

Recent years have seen intense philosophical work on the nature and content of morality; addressing issues in normative ethics, moral theory and metaethics. There has also been a growth of serious work on nature and value of the arts, and on the role of the aesthetic as a constituent of human well-being. The seminar will draw together some of these themes and issues, bringing to bear both contemporary ideas and aspects of the theories of value and practice to be found in the writings of Aquinas.

It has been increasingly common to see Aquinas cited or discussed by contemporary moral philosophers outside the Thomistic tradition, such as Philippa Foot, Alasdair MacIntyre, John Rawls, Thomas Scanlon, Michael Thompson, and David Wiggins, but to date aestheticians in the analytical tradition have neglected ideas and figures from the pre-Kantian period. Yet there is in Aquinas the makings of theories of beauty, art and normative aesthetics that are of intrinsic interest and which also suggest ways in which aesthetics and ethics might be interwoven in a general account of value and practice, both personal and social.


John Haldane, Professor of Philosophy, University of St. Andrews
Thomas Hibbs, Professor of Ethics and Culture, Baylor University
Anthony O’Hear, Professor of Philosophy, University of Buckingham
Candace Vogler, Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago

Past student participants in the seminar have hailed from top-tier graduate philosophy programs in North America and Europe. Past faculty participants have included Nicholas Rescher (Pittsburgh), Michael Gorman (Catholic University), John Haldane (St. Andrews), Candace Vogler (Chicago), John O’Callaghan (Notre Dame), Robert Koons (UT, Austin), Gavin Lawrence (UCLA), Mark Murphy (Georgetown), David Solomon (Notre Dame), Alexander Pruss (Baylor), David Oderberg (Reading), Gyula Klima (Fordham), Anselm Mueller (Trier), Jeff McDonough (Harvard) and Thomas Pink (King’s College, London).

Seminar Participants

This seminar is open to graduate students in philosophy. Applications from students in other disciplines (e.g. theology, political theory, and art history), who nonetheless have a background in philosophy, will also be considered.

Seminar Facilities

This seminar will take place on the campus of the Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. Seminar participants will be provided with room and board for the duration of the seminar.

Visit for application information. The application deadline has been extended to April 15, 2010.