Philosophy

 

Chivalry I (9th grade boys) and II (12th grade boys)

Chivalry explores the nature of true manliness as designed by God in the creation. It begins with the proposition that man is made in the image and likeness of God, male and female (Gen 1:27) and that this leads to the notion that male and female are equal but different and, in fact, complementary and generative. With that established, it is the aim of these courses to discover what makes the male different, particular, and necessary in God’s plan of creation. In practical application, students discuss what are the manly virtues as defined throughout the centuries, and how do they translate into true manliness in the 21st century. Readings include The Holy Bible, Genesis, Chapter 1‐2, The Compleat Gentleman, by Brad Miner, articles Welcome Back Duke, by Peggy Noonan, Wimps and Barbarians: The Sons of Murphy Brown, by Terrance O. Moore, What Sports Illustrate, by Professor Anthony Esolen, Lessons in Manliness from ʺBeowolfʺ by Andrew Ratelle, the poem Invitctus by William Ernest Henley, If by Rudyard Kipling, The Man in the Arena speech by Theordore Roosevelt, George Washington’s Rules of Civility and Decent Behaviour and Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and the film Taking Chance starring Kevin Bacon. Chivalry II for senior boys explores all of these topics on a deeper level with the benefit of reflecting on the personal growth and experiences of the two intervening high school years.

Christian Womanhood I (9th grade girls) and II (12th grade girls)

Christian Womanhood explores what it means to be a Christian woman. That is to say, we will study thefeminine nature as it expresses itself in Christian identity, and we will consider the important question ofhow one lives out that identity in the modern world. Christian Womanhood I begins with thefundamental observation of the important features which distinguish women from men both by(created) nature and in society. We will begin by studying the second part of the Creation story inGenesis in order to set up the questions which will guide our discussions:  1. What is distinctive about the feminine expression of human nature?  2. How does the complementarity of men and women play out?  3. What tensions sometimes arise between the feminine nature and the masculine one?  4. What tensions arise between women and society, particularly in today’s world?  5. What does Christianity, and particularly the Catholic Church, have to say about addressing andrectifying those tensions? And further, how does the Church articulate the particular dignity ofwomen?  This course will draw from a variety of sources including various articles, poetry, film and a play. Themajor texts (besides Genesis) include titles such as Alice von Hildebrand’s The Privilege of Being a Woman,  John Paul II’s On the Dignity and Vocation of Women, and Christopher West’s Theology of the Body forBeginners. Christian Womanhood II for senior girls explores all of these topics on a deeper level with thebenefit of reflecting on the personal growth and experiences of the two intervening high school years.

Chess, Leadership, and Strategic Thinking for the Modern World (11th grade)

Students taking this 11th grade course will be taught to play chess at a fairly sophisticated level. They will be required to memorize several professional chess openings (the King’s Gambit, the Sicilian Defense, the Ruy Lopez, the Queen’s Gambit, the French Defense) and understand the intricacies of end game play. They will study the games of Paul Morphy, Emmanuel Lasker, Jose R. Capablanca, Alexander Alekhine, Mikhail Botvinnik, Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasporav and current world’s champion Magnus Carlsen. The ultimate objective of this phase of the course will be to help develop a set of skills that are transferable. These include focusing on immediate situations and problems, learning the ability to adapt to changing circumstances and develop long term plans. Complementing student’s study of chess will be a review of key turning points in history and the nature of leadership as understood by major analysts of human behavior and modern organization. This review will focus on the struggles of Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin. D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Pope John Paul. Two movies will be shown‐‐ 12 Angry Men and The Best Years of Our Lives—in order to underscore for students qualities necessary to standing one’s ground in the face of great personal opposition and the challenge of adapting to changing conditions and circumstances brought on by modernization and technological change.

Philosophy (12th Grade)

The overall aim of this course is to study the writings of the great philosophical minds of Western civilization. The first half of the course examines classical and Christian philosophers and the foundational questions which guide their inquiry: “What is reality and how do we know it?” “What is the nature of the human person?” “What constitutes human happiness or flourishing?” and “What is the best way to live?” The second half of the course considers the radically different approach which modern philosophy takes toward raising and answering these fundamental questions. The course draws from writers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau and Newman. In the first place, this course of study will give students a foundational understanding of the major themes and ideas of the philosophical tradition of the West. Secondly, the course will allow students to be able to engage with and evaluate the ideas they encounter in contemporary society. Our readings will be drawn from:

Plato, The Meno, and The Republic (and possibly The Apology);

Aristotle, selections from The Metaphysics, On the Soul and The Politics;

Augustine, On the Teacher, City of God (Bk XIX) and, if time allows, we may touch on the Confessions (again!);

Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy;

Bonaventure, The Mind’s Road to God;

Aquinas, Summa Theologiae (select questions);

Machiavelli, The Prince;

Hobbes, Leviathan;

Locke, Second Treatise on Government;

Bacon, Great Instauration;

Descartes, Discourse on Method;

Rousseau, First and Second Discourses;

Kant, Grounding for a Metaphysics of Morals;

Newman, A Grammar of Assent.