The Catholic University of America

Sept. 10, 2008

CUA to Host Fall Philosophy Lecture Series on Metaphysics
Annual Talks to Honor Monsignor John Wippel

The School of Philosophy at The Catholic University of America has announced its 41st annual Fall Lecture Series, which will be dedicated to Monsignor John F. Wippel, the Theodore Basselin Professor of Philosophy, who celebrates his 75th birthday this year. In celebration of his work, the series will explore themes of metaphysics, one of Monsignor Wippel's areas of expertise.

"Monsignor Wippel is among the world's leading authorities on the metaphysical thought of Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest philosophers and theologians of all time," says Rev. Kurt Pritzl, O.P., dean of the School of Philosophy. "The series presents foremost scholars in the field of metaphysics, the most central area of philosophical reflection, since it studies the nature of 'being' itself."

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 12 scholars from the United States and abroad. The first lecture will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, Sept. 12, in Aquinas Hall Auditorium.

The opening lecture will be delivered by Gregory Doolan, CUA assistant professor of philosophy who did his doctoral studies under the direction of Monsignor Wippel. A CUA faculty member, Monsignor Robert Sokolowski, will also close the series. Monsignor Sokolowski, the Elizabeth Breckinridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy, and Monsignor Wippel were students together at CUA in the 1950s.

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. 12: Gregory Doolan, assistant professor of philosophy at Catholic University, "Aquinas on Substance as a Metaphysical Genus"

Sept. 19: Monsignor John F. Wippel, Theodore Basselin Professor of Philosophy at Catholic University, "Thomas Aquinas on Philosophy and the Preambles of Faith"

Sept. 26:
Rev. Brian Shanley, O.P., president of Providence College, "Thomas Aquinas on Demonstrating God's Providence"

Oct 3: Jan Aertsen, professor of medieval philosophy and former director of the Thomas Institut at University of Cologne, Germany, "Why is Metaphysics called First Philosophy in the Middle Ages"

Oct. 10: Marilyn McCord Adams, Regius Professorship of Divinity at Oxford University, "Mind and Body in the Life to Come"

Oct. 17: Stephen Brown, professor of theology at Boston College, "The Role of Metaphysics in Theology according to Godfrey of Fontaines"

Oct. 24: Dominic O'Meara, professor of philosophy at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland,"The Transformation of Metaphysics in Late Antiquity"

Oct. 31: Andreas Speer, professor of philosophy and director of the Thomas Institut at the University of Cologne, Germany, "The Fragile Convergence: Structures of Metaphysical Thinking"

Nov. 7: Carlos Bazan, professor at the University of Ottawa, "On Angels and Human Beings"

Nov. 14: Eleonore Stump, the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University, "God's Simplicity, the Knowledge of Person, and the Knowledge of God"

Nov. 21: James Ross, professor of philosophy and law at the University of Pennsylvania, "Merely Metaphysical Possibility?"

Dec. 5: Monsignor Robert Sokolowski, The Elizabeth Breckenridge Caldwell Professor of Philosophy at Catholic University, "The Science of Being as Being"

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, e-mail, 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.