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“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

Human beings really want to have friends. We even seem to need them, as loneliness can be debilitating (and sometimes deadly). And if a person has no friends at all, we take this as a sign that something is seriously wrong. We count our “friends” on social media and revel in the status of “BFF.” But what exactly makes friendship so vital to us? Is it merely insurance against loneliness, or does it have some larger purpose in our lives? Aristotle says that we need friends for a good and virtuous life, but he also claims that many of our friends don’t actually help with this. In this session of Young Philosophers, we will look at Aristotle’s classic take on friendship, compare it with our own experiences, and try to figure out 1) why we need friends and 2) what makes a friend a good friend.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Naomi Rinehold, Ph.D.

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Naomi Rinehold. Naomi is Gutenberg’s student services administrator. She earned a B.A. in History at Campbellsville University in Kentucky and then spent eight years teaching in Argentina—first ESL students at a rural school and then teenagers at Buenos Aires International Christian Academy. After returning stateside, she earned a B.A. in philosophy at the University of Oregon and then moved to Knoxville where she earned an M.A. and, in 2019, a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Tennessee.

“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

All but the most hard-core atheists believe, at some level, that life has meaning. But what is it? In this session of Young Philosophers, we will explore the meaning of meaning, why it is so central to our experience, and various approaches toward an answer.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Chris Swanson, Ph.D.

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Chris Swanson. Chris is the president of Gutenberg College where he has been a tutor since the college opened its doors in 1994. He has a B.S. in physics and math and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics. He has also done post-doctoral research at the University of Oregon and taught at Westmont College in California.

“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

It might seem obvious that I should be courageous, self-controlled, and generous—that I should be virtuous. But if I change myself to be these things, does it mean I stop authentically being me? And in shaping myself to be virtuous, am I just conforming to a mold handed me by society? In this session of Young Philosophers, we will consider questions such as these by examining Aristotle’s answer to the fundamental question “What is virtue?”

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Charley Dewberry

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Brian Julian. Brian is a tutor at Gutenberg College. He joined the faculty in 2021 after having taught philosophy and writing for several years at colleges in the Boston area. He holds a B.A. in liberal arts from Gutenberg College and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Boston University. He specializes in the history of philosophy and has published research on Aristotle. He writes (and cartoons) for Thinking in the Light, a website where he aims to make philosophical ideas accessible to a general audience.

“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

Freedom has become a buzzword in our culture that suggests that we humans should think of ourselves as beings without limitation. We are totally free to choose whatever we want, some might say. Yet, to anyone who has reached the limits of fatigue or hunger, it would seem that in some respects we humans might be more limited than we want to believe. Given our limitations and our options, how might we think about freedom? Join Young Philosophers for a discussion of this question in order to gain greater clarity about freedom.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Eliot Grasso

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Eliot Grasso. Eliot is the vice president and a tutor at Gutenberg College where he teaches art seminars and leads discussions in Western Civilization and the Great Conversation. Eliot holds a B.A. in music from Goucher College, an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance.

“Life has never been normal,” wrote C. S. Lewis in an address to students at the outset of World War II. If we are waiting for a better time to pursue truth, goodness, and beauty, we may never get started. In the Young Philosophers series, Gutenberg College opens its (virtual) doors to high-school-age participants for thoughtful online discussion of important ideas.

What makes you think that we speak the same language? In this academic year’s final session of Young Philosophers, we turn our attention to the one thing that every philosophical discussion begins with: language itself. Is it just a bunch of arbitrary signs made up by people no wiser than we are? What, if anything, do abstractions like humanity refer to? Can two people ever really be sure that they are talking about the same thing? Join us as we consider questions like these alongside Scottish philosopher Thomas Reid with his “philosophy of common sense.”

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Chris Alderman

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Chris Alderman. Chris Alderman is a tutor at Gutenberg College, where he teaches writing, Greek, and German. Chris has self-published two collections of poetry, Poems in Verse and Ephemerides.

In Avengers: Infinity War, the fate of half the universe is at stake. Thanos is intent on making the world better by eliminating fifty percent of all living things. By contrast, Captain America will not achieve his goal by sacrificing even one. This contrast raises many questions. Is there some merit to what Thanos is doing, despite the fact that he is the villain? Should Captain America be a more flexible and realistic hero? What views of ethics underlie the diverging positions, and how should we think about these? In asking these questions, we must also keep in mind that Infinity War is not an ethical treatise, but a film. How, then, does the language of film work—how does it blend narrative, visual, and audio to present us with ideas and impact our thinking?

Join us for an online discussion on Thursday, June 30. Students should watch the entire film before class.

Attendee Requirements: High-school age
Maximum Attendees: 12

 

Register Here for Zoom Attendance

 

Eliot Grasso

Leading this session of Young Philosophers will be Dr. Eliot Grasso. Eliot is the vice president and a tutor at Gutenberg College where he teaches art seminars and leads discussions in Western Civilization and the Great Conversation. Eliot holds a B.A. in music from Goucher College, an M.A. in ethnomusicology from the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance.