SIXTH ANNUAL AQUINAS LEADERSHIP
INTERNATIONAL WORLD CONGRESS
“How, If in Any Way, are Metaphysics, Ethics,
Cultural Leadership, and Politics Essentially Related?”
DATES: FRIDAY MORNING 03 MAY 2019 to
SATURDAY EVENING 04 MAY 2019
LOCATION: Spirit of the Desert Retreat Center
PARTICIPATION FEE: $10.00
American Maritain Association
Aquinas Leadership International
Aquinas School of Leadership
Catholic Education Foundation
Center for The Study of The Great Ideas
Holy Apostles College and Seminary
International Étienne Gilson Society
Priority Thinking Institute
Public Philosophy Press
Studia Gilsoniana, a Journal in Classical Philosophy
Friday 03 May 2019
10:00 am-Noon: Welcoming Address and Plenary Session 1 Presentation and Discussion (Location: Chapel):
Peter A. Redpath (Aquinas School of Leadership and Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, USA
Remembering Our Friend and Colleague: Fr. James V. Schall
Speaker: Terrence Berres (Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, USA)
“Mortimer J. Adler and Corporate Organizational Genius”
Noon–1:30 pm: Lunch (Location: Dining Hall)
1:30 pm–2:30 pm: Plenary Session 2 Presentation and Discussion (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Marvin Peláez (Adler-Aquinas Institute, USA)
Speaker: Curtis L. Hancock (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA)
“The Abolition of Man: AI and the Deconstruction of the Human Person”
Speaker: Rev. A. William McVey (University Abat Oliba, Spain)
“A Metaphysics of Actualized Instrumental Individualism and the Psychological Illusions of Social Science”
Break: 2:30 pm–3:00 pm
3:00 pm–4:30 pm: Plenary Session 3 Presentations and Discussion (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Curtis L. Hancock (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA)
Speaker: Owen Anderson (Arizona State University, USA)
“Jerusalem, Athens, and General Revelation”
Speaker: Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton (Paradise Valley Community College, USA)
“Reason and It’s Other”
Break: 4:30 pm–5:00 pm
5:00 pm–6:00 pm: Plenary Session 4 Presentation and Discussion (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Kelly Fitzsimmons Burton (Paradise Valley Community College, USA)
Speaker: Surrendra Gangadean (Emeritus, Paradise Valley Community College, USA)
“The Good as the Source of Unity”
Commentator: Owen Anderson (Arizona State University, USA)
7:00 pm–10:00 pm: Cocktail Reception (Location to be Announced)
Saturday 04 May 2019
10:00 am-Noon: Plenary Session 5 Presentations and Discussion (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Rev. A. William McVey (University Abat Oliba, Spain)
Speaker: Peter A. Redpath (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA; International Étienne Gilson Society, Poland)
“Retrieving a Public Philosophy as a Necessary Condition for Renewing Western Civilization”
Speaker: Jasper Biddy (Columbia Evangelical Seminary, USA)
“Why America Needs Apologists”
Noon– 1:30 pm: Lunch (Location: Dining Hall)
1:30 pm–3:30 pm: Plenary Session 6 Presentations and Discussion (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Terrence Berres (Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, USA)
Speaker: Alexander Kjolsrud (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA)
“The Metaphysics of Markets”
Speaker: Marvin Peláez (Adler-Aquinas Institute, USA) “A Boethian Renewal in the Wake of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on the Labor Economy”
Break: 3:30 pm–4:00 pm
4:00 pm–5:00 pm: Plenary Session Panel 7 (Location: Chapel)
Chair: Alexander Kjolsrud (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA)
Speaker: Adam L. Barborich (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA; University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka)
“Reality and Eternity as Central to Contemporary Metaphysics and Political Philosophy”
Speaker: Peter DeMarco (Priority Thinking Institute, USA)
“The Logician versus Realist Leader and the Principle that Separates Them
5:00 pm: Close of Congress and Dinner/Evening in Carefree/Cave Creek
Summer Conference 2019 Presenters Paper Titles and Abstracts
“How, If in Any Way, are Metaphysics, Ethics,
Cultural Leadership and Politics Essentially Related”
1) Anderson, Owen (Arizona State University, USA)
Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Arizona State University “Jerusalem, Athens, and General Revelation”
What has Jerusalem to do with Athens? The answer is general revelation. General revelation is what all persons can know about God.
2) Barbarovich, A. L. (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA; University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka) “Reality and Eternity as Central to Contemporary Metaphysics and Political Philosophy”
Metaphysics serves as a foundation upon which all knowledge, culture, morals, and sciences are built. Although different metaphysics are found in different cultures throughout the world, all cultures have asked metaphysical questions, which indicates that metaphysics arises from a universal human experience.
The metaphysical reality of the world and the truth of the immortality of the soul and eternal existence are the key metaphysical concepts that are essential to science and morality. Without the ability to know with certainty through his intellectual faculty, man cannot will himself to act with any moral certainty. Likewise, metaphysical annihilationism removes any incentive to know and to act morally and thereby lead a truly human life. Therefore, it is clear why all metaphysics, across civilizations and culture, has historically been grounded in the reality of the world and personal immortality.
In the Western tradition, we have seen philosophy attempt to detach itself from metaphysics. Inevitably, this skepticism about metaphysics has led to nihilism and metaphysical annihilationism in which man’s existential suffering, as well as his faculties of intellect and, will have become meaningless. In the absence of metaphysics, men must subsist as impersonal cogs in a totalitarian machine or as mere atomized and disposable individuals in a multitude of other atomized individuals. It is only by way of a metaphysical reorientation towards reality and immortality that one is able to properly press cultural, ethical, and political thought into the service of man instead of pressing man into the service of abstractions and false idols.
3) Berres, Terrence (Center for the Study of The Great Ideas, USA) “Mortimer J. Adler and Corporate Organizational Genius”
Mortimer Adler is known, among many other things, for his organization of ideas for Britannica’s Great Books of the Western World, organization of knowledge for its revised Encyclopaedia, and work toward a kind of reorganization of philosophy at his Institute for Philosophical Research. In this paper, I examine these to illustrate his approach both to the organization of the subject material itself and to assembling and managing the organizational means of ultimately producing the resulting published works. In each case, I will also evaluate how successful he was with both the organizational means and ends.
Below are two short readings that contain information that might help stimulate discussion after the presentation.
4) Biddy, Jasper (Columbia Evangelical Seminary, USA) “Why America Needs Apologists”
We live in a culture that is becoming more secularized all the time. Church participation is decreasing and there is much misunderstanding about our Christian God. Science is seemingly winning the intellectual battle over the creation of man by convincing the multitudes that man was created by evolution instead of God, in spite of the strong scientific evidence that suggests otherwise.
In an attempt to fulfill the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20), many Christians have focused on the emotional side of evangelism rather than using rational arguments. As a result, many are unprepared “. . . to give an account for the hope that is in you . . .” (1 Peter 3:15). It is through apologetics that Christians can retake the intellectual high ground in providing a rational belief for our faith.
5) DeMarco, Peter (Priority Thinking Institute, USA) “The Logician versus Realist Leader and the Principle that Separates Them”
This paper will discuss the differing natures of the logician and the realist leader to show why being an exceptional leader demands more that skills of abstract logic.
6) Hancock, Curtis L. (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA) “The Abolition of Man: AI and the Deconstruction of the Human Person” (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA)
The digital revolution has produced a culture whose enthusiasm for Artificial Intelligence is virtually boundless. Predictions about AI that years ago would have been dismissed as fanciful are now often accepted as reasonable. Much of the hyperbole about AI follows upon two assumptions which the AI enthusiasts regard as virtually self-evident: (1) the human brain is a digital computer, and (2) artificially designed and manufactured computers can have consciousness; they are, at least in principle, able to think and feel as human beings do. Doesn’t the ability of machines to pass The Turning Test show this? The only difference between human minds and machines is that the latter are artificial, whereas the former are products of nature, more precisely, products of biological evolution. They may be composed of different materials, the standard hardware versus the “wetware” of human biology, but in function, they are the same. Both can function as conscious beings, the one biological, the other mechanical.
In spite of the excitement about AI, there persist philosophical reasons to doubt whether a singularity is on the horizon. While programmers will no doubt continue to program and manufacture machines that will do amazing things, skepticism about mechanical consciousness—that computers have minds—is and ought to remain justifiable. While their arguments have been often ignored, marginalized by the dominant narrative and zeal of the AI culture, several philosophers in the last generation, such as John Searle and Ed Feser, are on record contesting AI. Their arguments remain strong and need revival to remind society how little critical thinking is brought to bear on the basic assumptions of the AI industry. AI cries out for philosophical criticism, a criticism that both AI apologists and engineers seem to ignore. This is especially evident in the way AI apologists blithely use cognitive language about machines (e.g., learning, thinking, knowing, intelligence), when whether there is such cognition is precisely the issue at question.
An intensive philosophical critique of many of the accepted claims of AI is warranted. Such a critique is important because AI makes assumptions about the human person that is objectionable and arguably dangerous. Sophistry about our conception of human nature cannot be healthy for society. In the AI literature, fallacies and falsehoods about human nature abound. There is even a willful deconstruction of human nature, a virtual abolition of man.
7) Burton, Kelly Fitzsimmons (Philosophy Faculty, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ) “Reason and It’s Other”
We are living in an age of anti-reason. Recent challenges to “reason” require us clearly to define what reason is and to distinguish it from non-reason.”
8) Gangadean, Surrendra (Emeritus Professor Philosophy, Paradise Valley Community College, Phoenix, AZ) “The Good as the Source of Unity”
The good is the end in itself and is one, the source of the unity of diversity in every aspect of human existence. The good is objectively clear, both assumed and demonstrable, in all sources of knowledge (general revelation, special revelation/scripture, and historically cumulative insight). The good is fulfilling, the only source of lasting joy for all human beings. There is every reason to believe that mankind will achieve the good.
9) Kjolsrud, Alexander (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA) “The Metaphysics of Markets”
The analogical relationship differs from the metaphorical in the context of real connection. The analogical relationship is the natural (immaterial form) connection. The metaphorical relationship is an artificial or intentional relationship. Markets historically have been places where people exchange things of value with each other placing them in a genus of communication. The act of abstraction over time has simulated or virtualized the place or the thing to the point that the original meaning or purpose of the connection has been lost. The analogical aspects of communication present in the original understanding of markets can be lost as the metaphorical (intentional)markets are created. The loss is in the inability of the metaphor to connect the participant in the analogical relationship. This loss removes the participant from the generative and final end of this specific type of communication. The metaphor without analogy is proximate and finite. Considering markets as highly metaphorical gives insight into where a person’s sense of reality breaks down in the progressive creation of the artificial. This ends in artifice – afront with no meaningful substance to hold it up. The creative act must keep in mind the generative act to get to the end that is the generating principle. Markets as a highly developed species of communication provide a strong experience of the practical that helps delineate the points at which the natural becomes the artificial and the stages of artificial that model the natural more or less faithfully as simulation and virtualization ending in artifice, where the model cannot be reconnected with the natural. Differentiating between the analogical, metaphorical, and abstracted aspects of markets provides inflection points toward or away from reality.
10) McVey, Rev. A. William (University Abat Oliba, Spain) “A Metaphysics of Actualized Instrumental Individualism and the Psychological Illusions of Social Science”
In a recent paper entitled, “Aquinas’s Fourth Way of Demonstrating God’s Existence,” Peter A. Redpath states:
I will argue that modern social science is grounded on a mythology of functional and actualized discrete instrumental individualism. Furthermore, this mythology serves, especially in psychology and economics, as a Metaphysics of Actualized Instrumental Individualism.
I will examine how this metaphysics, although interesting and appealing to a modernistic grounded social science, is insufficient for an understanding of the person. We will aver that modern social science in all its expressions is based on a crude and extreme nominalistic approach to human nature as a consciousness of the self-extending in time. It results in an insufficient understanding of personal and organizational identity, as it is comprehended through a filter of a Lockean and Humean psychological egoism and an atomistic instrumental methodology.
11) Peláez, Marvin (Adler-Aquinas Institute, USA) “If St. Thomas Aquinas ran Apple”
A short dialogue between St. Thomas and Steve Jobs focusing on contrariety in organizations.
12) Redpath, Peter A. (Holy Apostles College and Seminary, USA) “Retrieving a Public Philosophy as a Necessary Condition for Renewing Western Civilization”
Civilizations are the product of a transgenerational behavioral psychology (an organizational, behavioral, psychological enterprise, or public philosophy) that permeates a multitude of cultures: a prevailing habit of psychological metaphysical and moral behavior (organizational habits of wisdom, prudence, and justice) present within a multitude of individual human beings transmitted through educational habits of association from one generation to another.
Since civilizations only exist within cultures that have established transgenerational public philosophies (cultural behavioral psychologies, psychological habits) that bring into being within individuals educational forms of learning that transmit arts, skill, talents from one generation to another, if a civilization is in decay, this decay can only be reversed by first recovering an understanding of the essential principles of the behavioral psychology (public philosophy) upon which the behavioral psychology that first generated the civilization as a transgenerational cultural enterprise.
This paper will attempt to articulate precisely what is the public philosophy inherent in Western cultures (such as French, Italian, Spanish, American, and so on) that needs to be recovered to renew Western civilization.