The Catholic University of America

Jan. 30, 2012

Rist to Give Inaugural Pritzl Lecture Feb. 9


John Rist

John Rist, the first Father Kurt Pritzl, O.P., Chair in Philosophy, will deliver the inaugural Pritzl lecture, “God in and out of Philosophy,” on Thursday, Feb. 9, at 4:15 p.m.

“With reference to the current state of philosophy and of the origins of that state, I shall ask whether the phrase ‘Catholic philosopher’ is a contradiction in terms,” Rist says about the lecture. “In answering that question I shall examine what are — and what should be — the similarities and dissimilarities between secular and Catholic practice in facing a number of important philosophical problems.”

Rist assumed the Pritzl Chair in January. His interests include ancient Greek philosophy, Hellenistic philosophy, Plotinus and Neoplatonism, Greek and Roman Patristics, and medieval philosophy.

“I am delighted that we are able to welcome John Rist as The Catholic University of America’s first Pritzl Chair,” says Catholic University President John Garvey. “He is a great scholar and penetrating thinker who has much insight to share on the issues that are central to our mission as a Catholic university. He demonstrated those qualities when he was our keynote speaker at a symposium on intellect and virtue last year and I’m sure Professor Rist will continue to enlighten our students and faculty throughout his tenure as the Pritzl Chair.”

Rist has written extensively on ethics and is the author of 14 books and more than 100 scholarly essays and articles. His most recent book, Plato’s Moral Philosophy, The Discovery of the Presuppositions of Ethics, will be published by The Catholic University of America Press this spring.

The lecture will take place in the Edward J. Pryzbyla University Center, Great Room, and is free and open to the public.

The endowed chair was announced in 2009 after the University was given an anonymous gift of $2.5 million to recognize the leadership of Father Pritzl, who joined the faculty of the School of Philosophy in 1980 and served as the school’s dean from 2000 until his death in 2011. The chair creates an additional permanent position on the faculty of the philosophy school.

“I cannot help but believe that Fr. Pritzl takes great satisfaction in this appointment,” says John McCarthy, dean of the School of Philosophy. “In the graduate course he is teaching this semester Professor Rist affords students a shining example of the way that philosophical reflection is enriched by assiduous study of the writings of classical antiquity and the patristic period; though somewhat daunted by him, the seniors enrolled in his undergraduate seminar describe his classes as exhilarating, I am told; and his appetite for philosophical conversation is a boon to the faculty of which he is now a member. We are all very grateful to him for agreeing to join us, and most grateful as well to the chair’s generous donors for making it all possible.”

Rist has visited the University several times over the past years. In addition to delivering a lecture during the University’s symposium on intellect and virtue last year, he has given talks on several occasions at the University’s annual Philosophy Fall Lecture Series, one of the oldest, continuously running major series of philosophy lectures in the country.

For more information about the lecture or to request disability accommodations, contact Melissa Grim at 202-319-5260.



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