The Academy of Philosophy & Letters

"Men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters." – Edmund Burke

2017 Conference Schedule

The Academy of Philosophy & Letters

June 2-4, 2017 at Villanova University

“Man as Political Animal: Person, Family, Polis … Empire?”

Modern democratic societies hold themselves up as the singular type of regime that allows human beings to fulfill their political natures.  One representative of this type of thinking is Francis Fukuyama, who argued that with the end of the Cold War “democratic capitalism” would reign triumphant precisely because it fulfilled the human demand for “recognition.”  However, Alexis de Tocqueville observed nearly two centuries ago that the democratic impulse for equality of itself leads to the dissolution of those mediating institutions of civil society necessary to a genuine political community.  This, in turn, leaves individuals’ isolated, weak, and at last compelled by fear to entrust their lives to an ever more expansive and ever more centralized state.Despite its promise to be the truly political society, modern democracy poses threats to each of the dimensions of political life Aristotle first identified in his Politics: to the individual’s dignity as a political animal; to the family and free association; and even to the integrity of political society as such.  In the spirit of Tocqueville, the 2017 APL Annual Meeting will revisit the nature of man as a political animal.


(All Friday events in Villanova Room, Connelly Center, Villanova University)

6:00 Happy Hour

7:00 Dinner

7:030 Keynote Address

     Mark Shiffman, Villanova University,

9:00 Cocktail Reception


(All Saturday Events in West Lounge, Dougherty Hall)

8:30-10:30 “Human Nature and Political Life”

Chair: Jeff Polet, Hope College

Robert Koons, University of Texas, Austin

Ann Wiles, James Madison University

Steven Knepper, Virginia Military Institute

Lorraine Krall McCrary, Wabash College

10:45-12:45 “The Family: Cultural Threats to the Cornerstone of Society”

Chair: William F. Byrne, St. John’s University

Alan Carlson, Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society

Nichol King, Howard Center for Family, Religion & Society

Joseph S. Devaney, Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College

C.R. Wiley, Presbyterian Church of Manchester

1:00-2:30 Lunch

Speaker: Ryan T. Anderson, Heritage Foundation

3:30-5:30 “The Polis and Civil Society”

Chair: Steve McGuire, Villanova University

Jude P. Dougherty, The Catholic University of America

Carl Trueman, Westminster Theological Seminary

Jay Schalin, The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal

Luke C. Sheahan, Duke University

6:30 Happy Hour

7:30 Dinner

8:00 Keynote Address

Michael Federici, Middle Tennessee State University

9:00 Cocktail Reception

Dougherty West and East Lounges


(All Sunday Events in West Lounge, Dougherty Hall)

9:00-10:00 Member Breakfast

10:00-12:00 “Domestic Distortions of Empire”

Chair: Joseph Baldacchino, National Humanities Institute

Richard Gamble, Hillsdale College

Stephen Jordan, IO Sustainability

Justin Litke, Belmont Abbey College

Bill S. Smith, Center for the Study of Statesmanship, The Catholic University of America

12:00-2:00pm  Meeting of APL Board of Directors and Officers

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