ICC_NEWMAN_presentation and topic
Presentation and topic
The liberal education proposed by John Henry Newman for the Catholic University of Ireland in the nineteenth century is still valid. For him, the end of the university is knowledge, and its central focus is the formation of intelligence. The rest would come in addition. Among the intellectual skills it seeks to develop is the philosophical habit, without which the ability to link and give unity to different knowledge, the sincere search for truth, and the ability to solve theoretical and practical problems is impossible.
The study of grammar, literature, history, different languages and cultures come to harmonize in the mind thanks to this philosophical habit. In The Idea of a University, Newman describes what he considers to be a true gentleman, beyond a cold and serene man, as was the British ideal in the light of Captain Horatio Nelson. The gentleman for Newman is a well-educated man, a wise man, who has properly formed and "furnished" his mind, but, above all, has a vision of the whole, distinguishes between what is important and what is secondary, what is distant and what is close and, above all, everything, the value of each person. All these positive effects, on the one hand, are manifestations of the philosophical habit and, on the other hand, of an adequate self-control and the forging of character, which open up to a more finished knowledge of reality thus enabling the knowledge of God through of theology.
It is not a matter of looking for a result by including philosophical or theological matters in university studies, but of creating suitable areas for dialogue and reflection, the internalization of what other scholars have proposed for the better knowledge of oneself and of the human nature that we share. It is true that philosophy and theology are comprehensive knowledge of reality, which help this understanding as a whole, but the habit is formed with practice, with dialogue, in the debate, in the reflection and expression of our thoughts and in the exchange between teachers and students.
This III Colloquium on John Henry Newman, its sources and commentators, has the purpose of creating this atmosphere of dialogue about university education.