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Peter Kreeft, pro­fessor of phi­losophy at Boston College, will speak on campus Thursday and Friday in the Dow A & B on logic, heaven, and Christina unity.y

Peter Kreeft, pro­fessor of phi­losophy at Boston College, is speaking Thursday at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Friday at 4 p.m. in Dow A & B to address logic, heaven, and Christian unity.

The Catholic Society part­nered with Inter­Varsity, the Lutheran Society, and the depart­ments of edu­cation and phi­losophy and religion, and the chaplain’s office to sponsor this lecture series, which will cover a range of sub­jects from the pos­si­bility of Christian inter­de­nom­i­na­tional unity to the apparent tension between Aris­totelian and modern logic.

Kreeft has written 75 books on logic, Christian apolo­getics, Catholic Chris­tianity, C.S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien, and surfing.

Catholic Society Pres­ident junior Ryan Asher said the society’s board members wanted to start a dis­cussion across campus. Asher said Kreeft came to mind because he’s a notable aca­demic speaker and author who, while Catholic, would appeal to campus as a whole because of his philo­sophical back­ground and ability to give an ecu­menical talk.

“We need to change the dimension in which we think about Chris­tianity,” Asher said, regarding the ten­dency to focus on denom­i­na­tional dif­fer­ences. “We need to go back to square one: We share a lot more than we dis­agree on, and what we share isn’t super­ficial.”

Asher pre­dicts Kreeft’s lecture will urge Catholics and Protes­tants to see Christ in each other’s faith.

Junior Emily Barnum, who is involved with dorm min­istry at Olds Res­i­dence through Inter­Varsity, said the topic reflects the gen­uineness of faith on campus.

“The fact that we have a speaker coming shows these are the things we are thinking about, that we’re all pas­sionate about Christ but that we’re willing to engage people we dis­agree with, which helps make the faith here so strong,” she said.

As for Kreeft’s lecture on heaven, Asher said it’ll be espe­cially rel­evant since it’s the week after Easter: “Heaven is what we’re all moving toward.”

Junior Hannah McIntyre, a phi­losophy and religion major, learned about Kreeft through friends who read his proofs for God’s exis­tence and the small reflec­tions on aspects of the spir­itual life, like joy and peace, he posts on his website.

“He’s good at making these ideas prac­tical and acces­sible to anybody looking to take their spir­itual life seri­ously and cul­tivate these virtues, using great analogies,” she said. “They’re elo­quent and simple and pretty pro­found.”

McIntyre said she’s excited for both the dis­cus­sions of the spir­itual life and the rela­tionship between logic and phi­losophy his lec­tures will inspire. In par­ticular, Kreeft’s lecture on tra­di­tional versus modern logic interests her.

“I know there’s some con­tro­versy about the nature of what modern logic ‘has done,’ but I’m not super familiar with the debate,” McIntyre said.

Because of this, McIntyre said, there’s a ten­dency, espe­cially among stu­dents, to fall back on Aris­totle and Aquinas, any­thing clas­sical or medieval, to scoff at modernity.

Since taking her second class with Ian Church, a vis­iting assistant pro­fessor of phi­losophy on campus who spe­cializes in ana­lytic phi­losophy and logic, however, McIntyre said she has started recon­sid­ering the tension

She said Church’s classes have shown her the depth of con­tem­porary ana­lytic phi­losophy and how it’s pos­sible to take good things occurring in the movement and incor­porate them into the tra­dition of Aquinas to make it better.

In Church’s view, modern logic is the gold standard in con­tem­porary phi­losophy, but that doesn’t put it in con­flict with the Western intel­lectual tra­dition. His­tor­i­cally, he said, con­tem­porary philoso­phers pitted modern logic against Aris­totelian logic to show its defi­ciencies, but he said he doesn’t see a need to maintain this oppo­sition.

“The Western intel­lectual tra­dition isn’t bound to the past, it lives on today,” Church said. “I don’t think modern logic is in any way at odds with the kind of liberal-arts edu­cation we love here at Hillsdale.”

Whether in the realm of phi­losophy or the realm of religion, Kreeft’s lecture series will provoke dis­cus­sions about unity within the tra­dition. Church is using this as an oppor­tunity to discuss the devel­opment of modern logic as well as the con­tem­porary philoso­phers using this phi­losophy to uphold the Western tra­dition. Asher said Kreeft’s talk will be an oppor­tunity to return to square one and find com­mon­ality between Catholics and Protes­tants.

“Dis­unity is a tragedy, not a source of pride, and it can be dan­gerous,” Asher said. “We need a change in atmos­phere here — which is some­times neg­ative — and we need to focus on our common ground, which is a love of Christ.”