Friday, February 29, 2008

Social Sciences

Last night we were talking about “penetrating” the professions. Civis brought up the social sciences. Catholics want to go into the social sciences, so let’s give them some good formation to do it. The school’s focus, I believe, is for clinical psychology.

A friend of mine went to IPS’s summer study program at Oxford University. His professors included John Finnis, Roger Scruton, and Aidian Nichols.

Thank God for programs such as these that consider the whole human person when forming future social scientists such as psychologists.


Civis said...

Do we want to penetrate? I thought that has a dirty word.

Adding to what Jared said in his post, the upshot of our conversation was that there are already Catholics in every profession, they just need to act like good citizens. But we need programs to give good people good training so that they are not weeded out of professional programs.

My point was that what this country needs is not new leadership (though we need that), a new party (though we need that too), or a new political system/return to purist state of our political system. "There is no political solution..." What this country needs is for more salt of the earth Americans, be they Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, atheist--fill in the blank--to

1) Be good citizens
2) Be informed and take part in government
3) View their work/profession as entailing certain civic and professional responsibility, e.g. Plant operators care about the environment and the local economy, doctors, lawyers, accountants, and other professionals to bear some of the weight of the needy in thier community by engaging in pro-bono work).

Unless or until the mass of Americans act like good citizens, this country will continue to go down the tubes (c.f. your high school history book).


Jared said...

That's why I put "penetrate" in quotes. Our discussion was that Catholics are already in the professions or are being called to them. There is no organized effort (and there shouldn't be) of the Catholic Church or some movement therein to infiltrate the profession like some conspiracy theorists think Opus Dei is doing in Washington. What they need to do is work on being more integrally formed in their profession, studies, and life in general so that society (and the country) is a better place, i.e., more easier to be good and do good.

Civis said...

We must all remember that Civis likes to hear himself talk.

We cannot expect him not to have some fun when a juicy word like "penetration" is thrown out.

Flumenanimus said...

So if I become an ear nose and throat doctor would that be considered "Nasal penetration" (c.f. Jerry Seinfeld)

Cerebella said...

IPS sounds like a beacon of hope; IMHO the two professions where good training is most needed for good citizens are education and journalism. Under the present regime, there is -- as far as I know -- nothing similar to the IPS for either.

This seems to me to leave us with few options other than (1) "infiltrating/penetrating" institutions that now exist, caring not a rip what conspiracy theorists say or think, or (2) forming institutions to provide ongoing training for educators and journalists -- and I don't mean just teachers, reporters, and talking heads, but people in a position to forumlate an institutional ethos. Rather than such instutions replacing or competing with establishment entities, they might function outside of them along the "think tank" model (Heritage Foundation comes to mind) but with practical, feet on the ground instruction in "end run" tactics within the respective professional machines (which can grind loners into mincemeat in short order).

Another model that I find exciting is the Institute for Advanced Physics; it would be good for anyone in any profession to apply for membership because although the fundamental goal of the IAP is to infuse Thomism into the scientific community, such infusion would be salutary for all professions. Their Mission Statement is worth a read -- it could generate ideas for other projects.

Jared said...


So a "think tank" on education and journalism? Do you know any good educators to start it? :)

Cerebella said...

Hmmm.... anyone who has thoroughlyabsorbed and assimilated Sister Miriam Joseph's The Trivium would win my nomination. Organize a think tank in the shadow of the dismal colleges of education and hold seminars....