"Truth, Deception and Lies" Abundant at 2002 Alumni Seminar in the Liberal Arts

The Bible says that the truth will set us free, but it also tells us about a Roman official who asks "What is truth?" and receives no answer.  Must we always tell the truth?  Is lying always wrong?  Are there legitimate degrees of falsehood?  Are human beings disposed to falsehood as well as the truth?  Is deception part, perhaps even a necessary part of human nature – and of nature itself?

These questions and others were considered from July 18-21, as the Hamilton College Office of Alumni Programs hosted the 2002 Hamilton College Alumni Seminar in the Liberal Arts.  This year's seminar was titled "Truth, Deception and Lies."  Nineteen alumni and friends of the college joined Edward North Professor of Classics and moderator Carl A. Rubino for the weekend activities.

The participants immersed themselves in an exploration of intellectual ideas as they discussed some of the more compelling issues of our time within the context of works by some of the world's greatest thinkers.  Passages from Homer, Augustine, Aquinas, Kant and Bonhoeffer  were analyzed, as well as several chapters from Jeremy Campbell's 2001 book The Liar's Tale: A History of Falsehood.  

Activities took place in the beautifully renovated Rogers Estate at the edge of campus.  On Saturday the group attended a performance of Haydn's Orlando Palodino at the Glimmerglass Opera House in Cooperstown.

Mary Bernadine Dias '98 joined Rubino as a moderator.  Dias is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University.  At the request of Rubino, Dias has been involved in the annual alumni seminar five of its six years.  Dias said, "This year's topic sparked a lot of interest, probably because it was a topic that everyone could talk about and relate."  She also said that one of the goals of the seminar is to "Try to make you think in a different way."  

Dias' goal was realized for trustee Stephen Anthony '59 who said, "It has been a delightful experience, it changed my thinking, so that makes it a very useful thing."

The morning discussions were titled "The World of Truth and Falsehood," "Truth and Deception in our Lives," and "Philosophers and the Truth."  In these discussions the group analyzed a plethora of "Open ended topics that could go off in any direction," said Barbara Anthony.

Stephen Busky '64 enjoyed coming back to the scenic Hamilton campus over the summer months "in a quasi-student role."  In general the group appreciated hearing from people with a variety of perspectives and to engage in readings and discussions on topics that they would not normally address.  

For more information on next year's Alumni Seminar in the Liberal Arts please contact Alumni Programs at 1-866-729-0313.


 Alumni and friends of the college debate Augustine, Aquinas, Bacon and Kant.

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