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The Nature of Reason in Western and Jewish Perspectives

In our cultural moment, society’s disregard of qualitative reasoning in favor of quantitative analysis – what spiritual master Rene Guenon dubbed “The Reign of Quantity” – has left a gaping hole in issues relating to morality, spirituality, and meaning. We will ask: “What is reason in the 21st century?” To this end, we will ask essential questions like: Do the worlds of philosophical reasoning and empirical analysis speak different languages? Can these languages be meaningfully brought into conversation with one another? Where do they exhibit similarities and how do they differ?

This course will analyze the fundamental building blocks of these questions, and students will share reflections at the end of the course on how this study will impact the way they approach the world.



Sample readings:

  • Rabbi Dr. Isadore Twersky, Visions of Jewish Education
  • Rabbi Kalonymous Kalmish Shapira, The Students’ Obligation
  • René Descartes, Discourse on Method
  • Pope Benedict XVI, “Faith, Reason and the University”

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