The Catholic University of America

Sept. 12, 2007

CUA's Fall Philosophy Lecture Series to Explore Pre-Socratic Philosophy

Rev. Kurt Pritzl, O.P.
Dean of Philosophy

The School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America will dedicate its 40th annual Fall Lecture Series to the study of pre-Socratic philosophy.

Titled "Early Greek Philosophy: Reason at the Beginning of Philosophy," the event is one of the longest, continuously running major philosophy lecture series in the country. The lectures, which are free and open to the public, will be presented by 11 scholars from the United States and abroad. The first lecture will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 14, in Aquinas Hall Auditorium.

The series focuses on the very earliest philosophers. "The lectures will feature some detective work - since the writings of the first philosophers survive only in fragments - and offer invaluable insights for today when ideology and fanaticism, rather than reason, often seem to determine how we as human persons act," says Rev. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., dean of CUA's School of Philosophy and the first lecturer featured in the series.

"Philosophy - the distinctively rational attempt to understand the principles and nature of all that exists - began around the sixth century before Christ with Greek thinkers like Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus and Parmenides," Rev. Pritzl says. "With remarkable speed this new way of thinking matured into the highly developed and perennially important philosophies of the well-known names of the Greek era - Socrates, Plato and Aristotle."

All the lectures will be held Fridays at 2 p.m. in the Aquinas Hall Auditorium located on CUA's campus at 620 Michigan Ave., N.E. The dates, names of the speakers and the titles of their lectures follow.

Sept. 14:

Rev. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., dean of the School of Philosophy at Catholic University, "Anaximander's apeiron and the Arrangement of Time"

Sept. 21:

James Lesher, adjunct professor of philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "A Systematic Xenophanes?"

Sept. 28:

Carl A. Huffman, Edwin L. Minar Professor of Classical Studies and Robert Stockwell Professor of Greek Language and Literature at DePauw University, "Reason and Myth in Early Pythagorean Cosmology"

Oct 5:

Patricia Curd, professor of philosophy at Purdue University, "The Immateriality of Love and Strife in Empedocles"

Oct. 12:

Kenneth Dorter, professor of philosophy at the University of Guelph,
" 'Changing, It Rests': Flux and Constancy in Heraclitus"

Oct. 19:

Alexander P.C. Mourelatos, professor of philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin, "Parmenides, Astronomy, and Scientific Realism"

Oct. 26:

Daniel Graham, professor of philosophy at Brigham Young University, "Anaxagoras: Science and Speculation in the Golden Age"

Nov. 2:

Georg Wieland, professor of philosophy at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, "Source and Quotation: Early Greek Philosophers on Medieval Commentaries on Aristotle's Metaphysics"

Nov. 16:

John McCarthy, associate professor of philosophy at Catholic University, "Francis Bacon's Third Sailing"

Nov. 30:

Richard Velkley, Celia Scott Weatherhead Professor of Philosophy at Tulane University, "Primal Truth, Errant Tradition and Crisis: The Pre-Socratics in Late Modernity"

Dec. 7:

Charles Kahn, professor of philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania, "From Myth to Reason"

The School of Philosophy is one of only three philosophy faculties in the country organized as a separate school, along with those at Cornell and the University of Southern California. The school is unique for courses and scholarship grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition with an abiding concern for the relation between faith and reason, the intelligibility of nature and the possibility of an ethics and political philosophy based on rational insight into human nature.

The lecture series, offered each year since 1967, is made possible by a grant from the Franklin J. Matchette Foundation and support from the Thomas and Dorothy Leavey Foundation and the George Dougherty Foundation. For additional information, contact the Office of the Dean, School of Philosophy, at 202-319-5259 or go to

MEDIA: For details about covering the lectures, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600.