DSPT Events

Text Seminars

"What exactly can a Socratic mythos be...? What might Socrates and Plato understand a myth to be?"

October 2 & 10, 2010

Seminar texts to guide us in our fresh, common inquiry:

Seminar I Hermann Broch's “The Style of the Mythical Age: On Rachel Bespaloff” in War and the Iliad (pp. 103-121 [18 pp.]) by Simone Weil and Rachel Bespaloff, trans. Mary McCarthy, New York: New York Review of Books, 2005. Paperback ISBN 1590171454. Available from Amazon for $10.36, or from your lending library or inter-library loan. This essay is also found in Bollingen Series, IX, On the Iliad from Pantheon Books (1947). PDF of the essay available upon request.

Seminar II Josef Pieper's Tradition: Concept and Claim, trans. E. Christian Kopff, South Bend, IN: St. Augustine's Press, 2010 (paperback); Wilmington, DE: Intercollegiate Studies Institute Press (ISI), 2008, (97 pp. in hardcover, paperback is thicker). Paperback ISBN 1587318792. This translation highly recommended over others. Available from Amazon for $9.36, or from your lending library or inter-library loan.

Led by Reynaldo Miranda, A'99, Chapter President 

Seminar Discussion of "Modern Rationalism" & "Phenomenology and the History of Science"

Two essays by Jacob Klein

April 8, 2010

We will discuss two brief, closely linked texts by Jacob Klein (1899, Libau, Latvia [then Russia] - 1978, Annapolis, Maryland), the lecture text "Modern Rationalism" (9 pp.) delivered to a class on rationalism and capitalism in the US sometime in 1938-1940, and "Phenomenology and the History of Science" (19 pp.) first published as ch. III in Philosophical Essays in Memory of Edmund Husserl, ed. Marvin Faber (Harvard University Press, 1940). Both can be found in Jacob Klein: Lectures and essays, ed. Robert B. Williamson and Elliott Zuckerman (St. John's College Press, 1985), pp. 53-84.

How might rationalism be distinctly modern, if there is such a thing: How can modern rationalism be different from ratio? What can some of the basic relations between science and philosophy be, by way of phenomenology? Why did Husserl think European science had reached a crisis long-latent in that science? How does Husserlian phenomenology and de-sedimentation of thought provide a unique way out of this impasse.

Jacob Klein, PhD 1922 by University of Berlin under Nicolai Hartmann; visiting lecturer in the history of mathematics, University of Prague, 1934-35; fellow of the Moses Mendelssohn Stiftung zur Fordering der Geisteswissenchaften, 1935-37; Tutor, St, John's College at Annapolis, 1938-1978, and Dean, St. John's College at Annapolis, 1949-58, considered the re-founder of the New Program at St. John's. His books include: A Commentary on Plato's Meno (University of North Carolina Press, 1965, and University of Chicago Press, 1989), perhaps the best commentary on that dialogue written in any language; Greek Mathematical Thought and the Origin of Algebra (MIT Press, 1968, kept in print by Dover), a translation by Eva T. H. Brann of his "Die griechische Logistik und die Entstehung der Algebra" published in two parts in the Quellen und Studien zur Geschichte der Mathematik, Astronomie und Physik in 1934 and '36 (the first part was his Habilitation thesis that would certainly have taken place at the University of Berlin in October 1932 had it not been for the political changes in Germany, a pioneering work in that field that is still required reading); Plato's Trilogy: Theaetetus, the Sophist, and the Statesman (University of Chicago Press, 1977); and, the above mentioned Jacob Klein: Lectures and essays. Other important contributions include: "The Idea of Liberal Education" in The Goals of Higher Education, ed. W. D. Weatherford, Jr. (Harvard University Press, 1960); "Aristotle, An Introduction" in Ancients and Moderns: Essays on the Tradition of Political Philosophy, in honor of Leo Strauss, ed. Joseph Cropsey (Basic Books, 1964), perhaps the finest general introduction to Aristotle available in English; "On Liberal Education" in The Bulletin of the Association of American Colleges, vol. 52, no. 2 (Washington, D.C., 1966), text of a lecture first delivered to a Colloquium held at St. Mary's College of California in Moraga; "A Note on Plato's Parmenides" in Orbis Scriptus, Dimitrij Tschizewskij zum 70. Geburstag (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1966); and, many articles in journals such as Interpretation, Claremont Journal of Public Affairs, Cesare Barbieri Courier, Independent Journal of Philosophy, and The Saint John's Review. His younger colleagues, students, and grand students who have carried on his work include Eva T. H. Brann, Br. Sixtus Robert Smith FSC, the Rev. J. Winfree Smith, Simon Kaplan, Robert Sacks, Robert Goldwin, David R. Lachterman, Robert B. Williamson, Curtis Wilson, and Joshua Kates. Jacob Klein, Jasha to his friends, was educated at gymnasia in Lipetsk, Brussels, and graduated from the Friedrichs Realgymnasium, Berlin in 1917. He studied mathematics, physics, and ancient philosophy in the universities of Berlin and Marburg/Lahn. He met Leo Strauss at Marburg in 1920 and the two became life-long, close friends. He and Strauss audited Martin Heidegger's lectures at Marburg from 1923. Klein never became a Heideggerian but credited Heidegger with showing him how to read Aristotle, confident of understanding Aristotle's intentions. His devoted his life's scholarship to the recovery of classical thought, to inquiring into how the classical mode of thought had been transformed into the modern mode--one of his themes was the sedimentation of thought. His teachers and colleagues in Germany had included Jaeger, Husserl, Scheler, Hartmann, Cassirer, Heidegger, Arendt, Stein, von Hildebrand, Gadamer, Schmidt, Lowith, Jonas, Marcusse, and Levinas.


Seminar Discussion of Plato's "Phaedo" led by Prof. John Dragstedt

December 9, 2009

This seminar-discussion of Plato’s Phaedo is modeled after the educational methods of the “Great Books” programs of St. John’s College, Thomas Aquinas College, and St. Mary’s College’s Integral Program. The professor leading the discussion, John Albert Dragstedt, will lead off with a question which provokes inquiry into the heart of the text, and the discussion thereafter is a matter of the participants engaging the text and each other, with Prof. Dragstedt as “facilitator”. Space is limited so RSVP to Reynaldo Miranda at reynaldo.miranda@gmail.com if you can and desire to join us.

Although any translation is welcome, a recommended one is by St. John's Tutors Eva Brann, Peter Kalkavage, and Eric Salem, in the Focus Philosophical Library series, from R. Pullins Company, 1998, an inexpensive paperback.
Various translations of the text can also be found online, e.g. at http://evans-experientialism.freewebspace.com/plato_phaedo01.htm

Discussion led by Prof. John Albert Dragstedt, PhD in Classical Languages by UC Berkeley, Professor of Classical Languages, and Tutor in the Integral Program, at St. Mary's College of California. Prof. Dragstedt studied under Leo Strauss at the University of Chicago, and has taught at St. Mary's College in Moraga for over 45 years in the faculties of philosophy, history, classics, and the Integral Program (founded 1956 by St. John's Annapolis Tutor Brother Robert Sixtus Smith, FSC). Prof. Dragstedt has lectured at the Santa Fe campus of St. John's College, and participated in the "three dialogues on Liberal Education" held there in April, 1977 (published by the St. John's College Press, 1979).

The event is organized by St. John's College Alumni Association - Northern California Chapter.