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Above: Adolph Menzel's "The Iron Rolling Mill" - 1875

What's Wrong (and Right) With Cicero's Religion? - Tiernan Kane J.D. 

Friday, June 1st at 12:15pm at Our Offices - Lunch is Provided

For two thousand years, Cicero's reflections on religion have been a subject of debate. Some scholars have identified the Roman statesman (and priest) as a philosophical opponent of religion. Others have deemed him its anti-philosophical proponent. Still others have resolved that we cannot know Cicero's personal view of the matter. None of these positions hits the mark, though. Instead, the weight of the evidence establishes Cicero as a philosophical proponent of religion. This is not to say that his reasoning is flawless; indeed, an inadequate grasp of transcendence critically mars the effort. What Cicero provides, however, is some indication that religion is a universal human good, accessible to natural reason, at least in principle. This makes Cicero's work quite relevant to understanding the nature of religious liberty--the subject of another longstanding debate, as lively as ever today.

 Tiernan Kane recently earned his J.D. from Harvard Law School, and he is a Ph.D. student in political science at the University of Notre Dame

Restoring Mary Wollstonecraft's Moral Vision - Erika Bachiochi J.D. 

Friday, June 8th at 12:15pm at Our Offices - Lunch is Provided

Mary Wollstonecraft’s best-known work, the Vindication of the Rights of Woman, was written in 1792, just two years after she published the Vindication of the Rights of Man, the most widely read critique of Edmund Burke’s famous 1790 defense of the English monarchy. Unlike most of her contemporaries, Wollstonecraft’s defense of rights was inspired by an ancient view of the human person, one which exalted the common human pursuit of wisdom and virtue above all else. She thus offered a unique synthesis of ancient wisdom and modern political insight, correcting errors she saw among philosophers of her day, and proposing a program that in its fullness remains still yet untried today. Wollstonecraft’s ancient-modern synthesis, and its notable application in her vision of sex and marriage, serves as an especially sharp corrective to conceptions of freedom as autonomy today. 

Erika Bachiochi is a Visiting Scholar at Harvard Law School, a Research Scholar at the Abigail Adams Institute, and a Fellow at the Ethics & Public Policy Center

Two Loves Created Two Cities - Fr. Daniel P. Moloney Ph.D.

Friday, June 15th at 12:15pm at Our Offices - Lunch is Provided

St. Augustine wrote that the earthly city of Man was created by the love of self to the contempt of God, while the Christian city of God was created by the love of God even to the contempt of self.  Today's economics textbooks, political liberalism, and rational choice theory more generally assume self-love as the basis for modern society, and praise self-interest, profit-seeking, and luxury spending as social goods. Three historically-minded critics of capitalism--Alisdair MacIntyre, Brad Gregory, and David Cloutier--have recently tried to tell the story of how this current doctrine developed. Their accounts suggest ways that the ancient and Christian critiques of the moral psychology behind capitalism can show why our current social and economic policies regarding the "pursuit of happiness" are producing such widespread unhappiness and discontent.

Fr. Daniel P. Moloney holds degrees from Yale, Notre Dame, and the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross and has been the Catholic chaplain at MIT since June 2015. Prior to entering the priesthood Fr. Moloney taught in the philosophy department at Notre Dame, in the politics department of Princeton, and in the theology department of the Catholic University of Seoul, South Korea.