In his Companion to a Higher English Grammar, a most delightful and erudite read by the way, Alexander Bain considers whether to define a noun by its meaning or its office, that is, by what objects a noun names or by what function a noun plays in a sentence. He first does admirable work unfolding the … Continue reading What is a Noun?
Words are not first to little children, but sound. They are thrust, in media res, into a world of sounds. But those sounds they hear spoken by men and women are actually words, though the child does not experience them as such. Yet the cause and reason a child is hearing sound is that adults are … Continue reading Words vs. Sounds: Elements or Wholes?
freely adapted from a class in Moral Philosophy at New College Franklin
Adapted from a talk given for Perspective Student Weekend at New College Franklin, Spring 2017 There are times when a song is in my head, or more precisely, part of a song–a refrain which I repeat over and over. No matter how lovely or stirring such a refrain may be, it is imperfect apart from the whole, and … Continue reading Greek is Regular; Greek is Fun: Memory, Science, and the Face of God
In Plato’s dialogues, one finds room for speculation and wonder. One also finds the discipline of logic, the presence of faith, and the need for each these modes of thinking to co-operate with one another. This helps us see why philosophy is a most serious and yet wonderful kind of play. As I embark on further graduate … Continue reading An Introduction to Philosophy, Platonic or Otherwise
In less than three weeks, I begin my first class at Holy Apostles College & Seminary (HACS). Since I was a freshman in college, back in 1997, I began to set my eyes on graduate work in philosophy. I would never have imagined twenty years would stand between those dreams, that I would be taking … Continue reading A New Stage in the Journey
Between the difficult and the impossible there lies an infinite distance. No dint of human effort or mortal genius can alter the nature of such a boundary. Each individual believes he knows with certainty precisely where these boundaries have been laid. For instance: I am not good at math; I am a poor artist; I hate … Continue reading Re-moving the Boundary Stones!
Being perspective weekend, you will hear much about New College Franklin, about the excellence of our program and community. For this reason, I want to talk about education from a different perspective. I want to conclude some recent meditations on learning by exploring the experience of the educator. Oddly enough, I am going to … Continue reading The Poetics of Faith and Learning, Part 5 (fin)
To R. B. THE FINE delight that fathers thought; the strong Spur, live and lancing like the blowpipe flame, Breathes once and, quenchèd faster than it came, Leaves yet the mind a mother of immortal song. Nine months she then, nay years, nine years she long 5 Within her wears, bears, cares and … Continue reading Gerard Manley Hopkins Poem in Anticipation of College Talk
Euclid The study of Euclid’s Elements serves as an excellent example of the contemplative learning process. Proposition 5, an early proposition in the text, marks a turning point for most students, where they must not only identify a chain of equalities (something akin to a hypothetical syllogism), but do so in transposition. Whereas students needed only identify equality by imposing … Continue reading The Poetics of Faith and Learning, Part 1