Virtue and Vocation

Our discussions in this seminar will focus on the ways in which we might consider the four cardinal and three theological virtues in relation to our teaching, our scholarship, and to the wider patterns of our lives. Toward that end, we will chiefly draw on three books: Joseph Pieper’s The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance and Faith, Hope, and Love Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue. We will also discuss a few readings in conjunction with these works. Why the focus on virtue? Over the last decades, especially in the wake of MacIntyre’s groundbreaking book, the virtues, and the practices that foster them, have been very much part of our national conversation, including the conversations about higher education. One prominent example is Mark Schwehn’s Exiles from Eden. In the context of affirming “the belief of a Christian university that there is an integral connection among the intellectual, the moral, and the spiritual dimensions of human life and experience,” Schwehn claims that “some of the moral and spiritual virtues have vital cognitive significance and hence strengthen the practices of both teaching and learning.” The conversations of our seminar will set out to test this claim by exploring the virtues – in their particularity and interrelation to each other – and by sharing with each other the ways in which the virtues may have animated – and, one hopes, will continue to animate -- our common work and calling here at Pepperdine University. Schedule of Readings: Monday: Alasdair MacIntyre, from After Virtue (selected chapters) Mark Schwehn, from Exiles from Eden, on the practice of the virtues in the academy Tuesday: Pieper, Prudence, Justice Wednesday: Pieper, Temperance, Fortitude Thursday: Pieper, Faith, Hope Friday: Pieper, Love Simone Weil, “On School Studies” THIS SEMINAR IS OPEN TO FACULTY AND STAFF Dates: AUGUST 12-16, 8:30 a.m.- 1 p.m. Led by Paul Contino The seminar includes a $250 stipend (bi-weekly paid employees must get approval from their supervisors for time off from work), books, and a light continental breakfast and lunch each day. OPEN TO THE FIRST 14 PARTICIPANTS TO RSVP!! For questions, please contact Stephanie Cupp, stephanie.cupp@pepperdine.edu or (310) 506-4141.
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