Please join us for the continuation of the fall 2013 Dean’s Lecture and Concert Series. All lectures are free and open to the public and are followed by a question-and-answer period.
Rousseau is normally thought of as a critic of modern science, but he devoted several years of his life to the study of chemistry. This lecture will explore the issues in chemistry that interested him and make some suggestions about the importance of this study for his mature thought.
Christopher Kelly is Professor of Political Science at Boston College. He received his PhD from the University of Toronto and has taught at Yale, Georgetown, Dartmouth, the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the Ecole des Hautes Etudes Sciences Sociales in Paris. He is the co-editor of The Collected Writings of Rousseau and the author of Rousseau’s Exemplary Life and Rousseau as Author. Recently he co-edited The Challenge of Rousseau.
In 1893, Max Planck, newly appointed professor of physics in Berlin, was seconded to study the department's Eitz harmonium, capable of dividing an octave into 104 steps. An accomplished musician, Planck learned to play this new instrument and used it to devise experiments in musical temperament, the only experiments he ever conducted in a career devoted to theoretical work. Planck's "experiments" consisted of short musical compositions testing whether or not singers would revert to "natural" (just) tuning as opposed to the equal-tempered scale in common use. His surprising results contradicted his expectations and those of his teacher Hermann von Helmholtz: the habit of equal temperament was stronger than the pull of "natural" temperament. The following year (1894), the "black year" of German physics, left Planck the only surviving professor in his department through the premature deaths of Heinrich Hertz and August Kundt. Planck then turned to the problem of blackbody radiation, for which his musical experiments prepared him by alerting him to the power of habitual assumptions as well as by providing him the detailed example of a harmonium with tunable resonators, comparable to Hertzian oscillators. The modes of electromagnetic waves in a cavity have many analogies with the problems of tuning and temperament Planck had just studied. His investigations of universal "natural" temperament led directly to his work proposing a new "natural" tuning of atomic resonators, from which Planck drew the consequence of a truly universal "natural" system of cosmic units.
Sex, Wine, and War
Wednesday, November 13, 3:15 p.m.
Junior Common Room
Lynda Myers, tutor, St. John’s College Santa Fe
The lecture will be an Introduction to Aristophanic comedy through its depiction in ancient Greek art. (A lecture with slides.)
In 1937, as part of the original statement of the New Program, Scott Buchanan observed that movies, “. . . hold the position that was held once by Greek tragedy, the Roman forum and circus, the medieval church ceremonies, the palace arts in the Renaissance, and the opera of the nineteenth century. . . They are increasingly calling on all the cultural resources that we can recover, including even the classics in the sense that we are using them.” If Buchanan is right, it is more important than ever, in the 21st century world of media bombardment, that we learn how to deliberately and consciously cultivate the art of watching, not as passive reception, but as an active engagement with complex and rewarding texts. To this end a group of tutors will explore Coppola’s “The Godfather” from a number of different perspectives, including his use of the close-up, montage, lighting and camera angle, acting, scene and stage setting, plotting and scenario.
Plato’s Statesman contains one of the oddest of Plato’s stories, and the story provides the key to the dialogue. After giving a summary of it I will argue that its two parts, describing first the divinely governed age of Chronos and then the deteriorating age of Zeus correspond to the two parts of the dialogue before and after the story is presented. Statesmanship belongs to the latter age, which includes our own. Dialectic, as the Stranger sees it, must combine the method of division that corresponds to the Chronion age with striving for the good which belongs to the needy age in which arts are pursued. Dialectic is that for which the whole conversation, it turns out, is pursued. I will end with some reflections on the Stranger’s sense of dialectic and its implications for the trial of Socrates that is the dramatic sequel to the Statesman.
This lecture will examine the relationship between language and the way people think and act. In particular, it will involve revisiting the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis in light of recent research by professional linguists. A 2003 graduate of St. John's College, Santa Fe, Corinne Hutchinson taught English for a year at Masaryk University in Brno in Czech Republic and went on to study linguistics at Georgetown University, where she recently received her doctorate. Her dissertation focused on the language use of Navajo children in a small New Mexico community