Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Movin' to Leuven

The Institute of Philosophy, at KU Leuven

One week from today, I will be flying out to Belgium to begin my graduate studies at the University of Leuven (KU Leuven) - where Charles De Koninck and other greats received their education. I have rather little idea of what the world of graduate school will be like in practice, but I anticipate a full immersion into the studies of ancient and medieval philosophy, and a fuller encounter with the world of academic scholarship in a fairly specialized philosophical setting. At Thomas Aquinas College, my studies were very broad - they encompassed everything from theology to the mathematical arts. This sort of education was, I think, extremely beneficial to my formation as a whole, and if I were to ever have the chance, I would do it again and probably benefit much more from it the second time. (It is a rather obnoxious paradox that growth in wisdom also entails a growth in receptivity to wisdom, so that one will always look back upon one's prior education with some regret that one did not benefit as much as one could have, and that one could benefit much more now, did circumstance permit it.)

However, there is a place in education also for specialization, and my time has come to specialize in ancient and medieval philosophy. As I have summarized before, my primary interests will be in Plato, Aristotle, Neoplatonism, and Thomas Aquinas: the task is largely to rediscover the harmony between Plato and Aristotle, and the influence of Plato and Platonism on Thomas Aquinas - and this will, I think, shed further light on the precise way in which Thomas was influenced by Aristotle himself as well. As a Thomist, one of my interests will be to bring to the Thomist world a renewed appreciation for the depth of the philosophical tradition which St. Thomas himself inherited. This will - and indeed it has, in some measure, for me - deepen the understanding of St. Thomas' own thought, both in philosophy and theology. This project is something I hope to write more about on this blog, as I progress with my studies.

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The next couple of weeks are most likely going to be rather busy for me. This week I need to do some preparations of my own, and as soon as I arrive in Leuven there will be all sorts of official procedures that I will need to follow - registrations, orientations, housing arrangements, and so forth. School officially begins for me on the 25th of September. Until I am actually spending the majority of my time studying and writing - when this blog will hopefully become something like a notebook of my discoveries - the blog may be somewhat slower, as I make the move and prepare for school.

Keizersberg Abbey, where I will be residing in Leuven.

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