Truth in a Time of Turmoil

Christopher Blum
July 26, 2023

“To catch sight of the truth is difficult in one way; in another, easy” (Metaphysics II.1.993a30). Aristotle’s observation can be appreciated by considering the differences among truths. Some truths are “easy,” that is, evident once the terms in which they have been framed are grasped: the whole is greater than its part. Other truths require considerable teasing out: virtue is a habit of choice lying in a mean relative to us, determined by right reason. And still other truths – the most difficult ones – must be established by argument: the rational soul is a subsistent form and hence in itself indestructible once it has been created.

Today, even easy truths are loudly denied and denounced. It is all the more important, therefore, for men and women of good will to pool their resources of reflection and argument, to pursue the truth together, and to affirm it joyfully.

This October 5 - 7, on our campus in Greenwood Village, the Augustine Institute will host a seminar dedicated to those ends. We are inviting twelve young men and women – either undergraduate seniors or recent graduates – to join a group of philosophers and friends in the consideration of two extraordinary texts: Aristotle’s Metaphysics and Karol Wojtyla’s A Sign of Contradiction.

The seminar’s conversations will be modeled on The Saint Petersburg Evenings, a philosophical dialogue by the Catholic publicist and statesman Joseph de Maistre (1753 – 1821). A devoted student of Plato, Maistre found much to admire in the dramatic structure of his dialogues, but he arguably improved upon them in one respect. In the Saint Petersburg Evenings, Maistre brought together three interlocutors who were essentially equals, with the result being a lively interchange of ideas.

Our seminar, Truth in a Time of Turmoil, will make a similar attempt. Led by Joshua Hochschild, professor of philosophy at Mt. St. Mary’s University, the conversations will include contributions by Anna Halpine, founder of the World Youth Alliance, and myself. We will also be joined by Father Daniel Moloney of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, who will offer Holy Mass daily during the seminar and bring to our conversations the perspective of a philosopher who is first and foremost a priest of Jesus Christ.

Reading key selections of Aristotle’s Metaphysics will prompt wide-ranging discussions of philosophical topics such as: “Does our knowledge have any limit or perfection?” and “Are some things more real than others?” And reflecting upon A Sign of Contradiction, the retreat conferences preached by Karol Cardinal Wojtyla just months prior to his election as Pope John Paul II, will lift our considerations to the theological plane.

For more information or to apply, kindly drop a line to


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