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Philosophia Perennis Symposium

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The Saint Anthony of Padua Institute's philosophy symposium reads, in fine translations into English, the greatest works of philosophy in our tradition and convenes to discuss these works, presently Plato and Aristotle. They are our teachers and fellow interlocutors. Occasionally we intersperse our readings with some of the best commentators on these sources -scholars like Jacob Klein, Josef Pieper, Julian Marias, and Pierre Hadot - because they help open up the deep texts to our reading and thus assist us in becoming better readers and discussants. But always, the goal is to wrestle directly with these great works, as free from distortions and mediations as is possible, to try and recapture the meaning intended by the great authors on perennial and catholic questions.

We begin each meeting by prayer, thanking God for His gifts, and petitioning the Holy Spirit for the grace of understanding. The leader then opens the conversation with a question. No one, least of all the leader, is present to explain or to lecture. Everyone is there to help one another learn and grow in understanding by participating in the dialogue. You are cordially invited to come explore the praeambula fidei, natural theology, participation with us.

Time: Second and Fourth Fridays, 7:30-10 P.M.
Location: Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption, 1111 Gough St. (at Geary Blvd.), San Francisco, CA 94109 – Msgr. Bowe Room located at basement level.

Thanks to the kind generosity of the Very Rev. John Talesfore, Rector, and the Cathedral Staff.

Participation is free of charge & there is plentiful free parking.

Current Syllabus:

Date.month.A.D. Seminar text(s). If there is a recommended translation, so noted, but any is acceptable.
13.06.2008 Plato's Sophist, Eva Brann or Seth Benardete trans., beginning to 249d.
27.06.2008 ", 249d to end.
11.07.2008 Plato's Statesman, Seth Benardete trans.
25.07.2008 Jacob Klein's Plato's Trilogy: Theaetetus, Sophist, Statesman, beginning to p. 74.
08.08.2008 ", pp. 75 to 145.
22.08.2008 ", pp. 146 to end.
12.09.2008 Plato's Philebus.
26.09.2008 & ff. Aristotle’s Categories, On Interpretation, and Metaphysics.


Past readings include: Plato’s Meno, Hippias Minor, Gorgias, Republic, Euthyphro, Apology, Crito,Phaedo, Symposium,Parmenides, and Theaetetus; Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Politics, and Physics; Thucydides’ Peloponnesian War; Aristophanes’ Clouds; Parmenides’ On Nature; and, secondary texts on some of these by Jacob Klein, Eva T. H. Brann, Leo Strauss, Jan H. Blits, George W. F. Hegel, Willmoore Kendall, and Yves Simon. Occasionally, further optional readings are suggested: for example, Gregory Vlastos, Terence Irwin, Stanely Rosen.