The University News (Irving, Tex.), Vol. 35, No. 15, Ed. 1 Tuesday, February 9, 2010 Page: 3 of 16
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The University News
February 9, 2010 — 3
Spotlight on Philosophy Colloquium
Parens lectures on the disadvantages of natural law theory
On Friday, a large assembly
of undergraduates, graduate
students and faculty members
gathered in Braniff 201 to participate in
the latest installment of the Philosophy
Colloquium series, which featured
a presentation by Dr. Joshua Parens
entitled "Conventionalism, Natural
Right and Natural Law."
in the tradition of an ancient Greek
symposium, the group of more than 40
people attended the colloquium not
only to hear a philosophical discourse,
but also to contribute to it with their own
questions, comments or observations. "I
like the discussion that it sparks with
students after the colloquium," said
University of Dallas freshman Jessica
Deal. She went on to explain that she
liked being able to carry on the dialogue
with her fellow students outside.
Parens' presentation challenged the
traditional UD perspective that man
is subject to an inherent natural law.
Favoring the advantages of the natural
right theory, adopted by notable figures
such as Aristotle and John Locke, Parens
reminded those present that he was not
undermining the natural law theory but
was merely suggesting disadvantages
to it. "In claiming that laws are natural,
one seems to insinuate that they're
innate," said Parens. He added that by
claiming the existence of a natural law,
one is also insinuating the existence of a
The presentation, which referenced
Muslim, Jewish and Christian medieval
scholars, including Averroes and St.
Thomas Aquinas, also defined the
theory of conventionalism. "The
basic contrast that I'd like to draw is
that conventionalism boils down to
the rule of the strong," explained Dr.
Parens. He reminded the audience
of the Thrasymachus' conventionalist
argument in Book I of Plato's
After the presentation had drawn
to a close, the room opened up for
questions or comments, of which
there were many. The observations
of the students and faculty members
created an environment conducive to
intellectual dialogue and the exchange
of ideas. Terriil Legueri, a Braniff
graduate student new to colloquium,
Dr. Joshua Parens of the philosophy department challenges the assumption that
man is subject to inherent natural law in the weekly Philosophy Colloquium.
Photo by Zita Fletcher
found it a rewarding experience. "I liked
it," she said. "I thought it was a good
introduction to the major themes of the
problem of justice."
There are 10 remaining installments
in the Philosophy Colloquium series,
which takes place on Fridays from 3:30
to 4:30 p.m. in Braniff 201. It offers
students the distinct UD experience of
engaging in a philosophic discussion
with one's fellows as well as with great
thinkers across the centuries.
Dr. Malloy previews annual John Paul II lecture
On Thursday, the theology
John Paul II Lecture series.
According to Dr. Christopher Malloy,
chair of the theology department, the
lecture will address the following issue:
"How [does one] portray the supreme
relevance of grace and yet not lose
sight of the gratuity of grace?" I he guest
speaker, Fr. Guy Mansini, will address
this question in light of the French Jesuit
Henri de Lubac's work, "Surnaturel." De
Lubac (1861 -1991) tackled the problems
he saw in a "two-tiered" model of nature
Malloy said that model displays
"nature and grace [as] two separate
'floors' of a building; each floor is
perfect unto itself; therefore, nature, the
first floor, has no real need of grace." De
Lubac, he said, thought that such a view
led to the "secularization of the world,
[where] God is ultimately banished from
having anything important to do or say
in the world."
De Lubac, according to Malloy,
wanted to abandon the idea of a natural
end. De Lubac said that humans possess
"a natural hunger for the vision of God."
Proponents of the two-tiered school of
thought said that humans desire God
and heaven due to a gift of grace and
not due to nature. They criticized de
Lubac for not allowing grace to be free,
while de Lubac feared that they would
make grace irrelevant.
Mansini will discuss de Lubac's
solution to the two-tiered model and
whether or not his solution was viable.
The lecture will be held in Lynch at 7:30
p.m., with refreshments to follow.
Mansini, OSB, is a Cistercian monk
at St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana and
teaches as an associate professor of
systematic theology at Saint Meinrad
School of Theology. He is also the author
of the books "The Meaning and Truth
of Dogma in Edouarcl Le Roy and His
Scholastic Opponents" and "Promising
and the Good." He has also published
an article with Lawrence Welch called
"Lumen Gentium No. 8 and Subsistit in,
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Nelson, Heather. The University News (Irving, Tex.), Vol. 35, No. 15, Ed. 1 Tuesday, February 9, 2010, newspaper, February 9, 2010; Irving, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth201516/m1/3/: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Dallas.