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Category: Quarterly Discussions

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.

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November 3, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

The October Quarterly Discussion merged two chapters from The Prince by Machiavelli with a chapter from Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Of prime interest was the focus on the Roman Emperor Septimius Severus. Machiavelli presents him as a champion of the princely cause since he successfully tricked and killed his opponents,

 » Read more about: Gibbon Meets Machiavelli  »

Machiavelli quote

September 8, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

If it’s been awhile since you have read Machiavelli’s The Prince, you might consider reading an excerpt with us this fall. We will examine two chapters of it in the October Quarterly Discussion. (Reach out to Alissa at as****@hm*.edu for more information). I was also thinking about how one might teach this work, how to bring it to life in the eyes of the students.

 » Read more about: The Prince and Pop Culture  »

July 14, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Following our discussion series “What the Greeks Can Teach Us About AI,” I have become increasingly interested in understanding the uses and reasons for using artificial intelligence (AI). Throughout the series, participants repeated the notion that AI was simply a tool. While I believe this is true, I keep returning to the question: what is AI a tool for?

 » Read more about: A Different Sort of Tool  »

February 10, 2023

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Before reading the ideas in this blog, I invite you to view a piece by artist M.C. Escher and listen to the “Endlessly Rising Canon” by Bach.

In his book, Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, Douglas Hofstadter paraphrases Kurt Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem as follows: “All consistent axiomatic formulations of number theory include undecidable propositions.” Although this is not where January’s Quarterly Discussion started,

 » Read more about: Aristotle and Hofstadter  »

September 2, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Years ago, under the pressures of student life, I read the full volume of Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans (often referred to as Parallel Lives). Honestly, I was dreading it because I harbored assumptions about some of these ancient texts. (And we all know what a mistake it is to assume anything.) At that time,

 » Read more about: Plutarch Is My Favorite  »

July 22, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Last week, we discussed C.S. Lewis’s “Meditation in a Toolshed” and the beginning of St. Anselm of Canterbury’s Proslogium. Though different in both tone and purpose, these pieces fit very well together in discussion. Proslogium begins with an explanation of its title, which translates to “A Discourse.” Since both pieces foreground the idea of meditation and discourse,

 » Read more about: Quarterly Discussion Questions  »

April 29, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Humans try to make sense of things. Is this a noble or foolhardy pursuit? In her book, In June the Labyrinth, poet Cynthia Hogue writes, “the labyrinth is not a maze but a singular way/ to strike ‘the profoundest chord’/ across aspire” (in “(‘to walk the labyrinth is amazing’)”). In other words, the journey of our lives is also,

 » Read more about: Labyrinth as Metaphor  »

January 7, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Did you know that Harrison Middleton University presents events that are open to the public as well as students, staff and friends of the University? If you have yet to join one of our conversation opportunities, 2022 is a great time to start. A little bit of information about our upcoming opportunities (and how you can join) follows.

First,

 » Read more about: What We Do  »

October 8, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

During the 90s, Seinfeld garnered a huge viewership. In an attempt to bring the classics to the present, our recent Quarterly Discussion drew connections between Seinfeld and Aristotle’s Poetics. We also tried to discover keys to the sitcom’s great appeal. Considering the characters’ petty, stubborn behavior, what exactly did viewers identify with?

 » Read more about: Classics in a Contemporary World  »

October 1, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Aristotle’s Poetics begins with a separation of art forms, such as literature, music, dance, and theater. He calls these imitative forms and says, “the imitation is produced by rhythm, language, or ‘harmony,’ either singly or combined.” The idea of harmony intrigues me, especially with regards to written or dramatic work. In what way(s) might a play attain harmony?

 » Read more about: Aristotle’s Poetics Meets Seinfeld  »

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