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Educating the Whole Person

Fusing Horizons: Knowing Each Other, Knowing Our Selves

  Students debate on Copley Lawn

Ignatius Seminars

For many incoming students, the wealth of educational options and courses of study offered at Georgetown College can be both incredibly energizing and at the same time a bit imposing. Georgetown College’s Ignatius Seminar Program —so named for Saint Ignatius of Loyola, on whose philosophy Jesuit education is based — offers first year students the opportunity to delve into one-of-a-kind courses of study that provide interaction with College faculty in a way that makes very real the Jesuit educational theme of Cura personalis: educating the whole person.  Learn more about the philosophy behind our Ignatius Seminars here.

Fusing Horizons: Knowing Each Other, Knowing Our Selves

This fall, Dr. DeGioia is teaching an Ignatius Seminar entitled, "Fusing Horizons: Knowing Each Other, Knowing Our Selves."  Here are his thoughts on the key themes and questions that will be raised:

What enables us to deepen our understanding of our selves? How do we grasp the depth and breadth of the inescapable background context through which we establish meaning in our world? How do we expand the range of possibilities for exercising our individual freedom? How can we breakthrough the blocks and obstacles that inhibit our ability to creatively respond to the most urgent challenges facing our world? These are some of the question we confront when we appropriate a way of life within a university community.

The university is a place where we explore these questions. The university provides a context where we can confront ideas—resources for living with these questions. We make sense of our lives within what the philosopher, Charles Taylor calls a “horizon of significance.” Some of our most powerful experiences come when we meet others who are oriented through a different horizon.

In this seminar we will explore the experience of engaging the “other” and the promise and potential of “fusing horizons.” We will explore four examples of such fusing: the encounter in the late-16th century of Matteo Ricci in China; the quest for interreligious understanding; the influence of science on the idea of the university; and the urgency of fusing horizons with the poor.

In his Letters to a Young Poet, Rainier Maria Rilke encouraged his interlocutor to “Live the Questions Now.” By "living the questions"—the most urgent ones we face as human beings, we are able to identify the influences, values and assumptions that give form and order to our lives. There is no better time and no better place to engage this work than as undergraduates in a university community. The effort begins in this seminar, where we will read widely in literature, history, philosophy, and anthropology; our intensive classroom discussions will help us build upon these individual explorations.

We will draw from the resources of the Academy—a place of incomparable opportunities to engage in the work of deepening our interior freedom and grasping the nature of our responsibilities. In particular, we will seek to understand the world we are living in today—the various assumptions, explicit and implicit, that define the horizon of our times. We will imagine, analyze, characterize, and evaluate our relationship to these assumptions and our responses to them. Throughout we will be asking questions of the world: What is it? How do we see it? How do we engage in it? How do we live in it? And we will be asking questions of ourselves: How do we sustain our efforts in engaging in these "living questions"? This is the work of interior freedom and requires a lifelong commitment. And we will explore what such a commitment requires.

Learn more about the content of Dr. DeGioia's seminar, and all of our Ignatius Seminars, here.

Watch a video about the learning and teaching that happens in Ignatius Seminars here.



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