On Thursday, October 7th, the senior class gathered in the de Csepel Theater to hear six of their classmates’ speeches about absolute truth and authority as part of the philosophy unit in the English & Theology: Seminar in Literature & Thought course. This unique class challenges senior students to focus on deep thinking and ask big questions through reading and discussing works from a wide range of disciplines. This capstone class combines learnings across many disciplines and gives students a chance to apply their learnings in a philosophical way.
A panel of six students discussed their own understandings of absolute truth and authority by making connections to Plato’s The Allegory of the Cave, Flannery O’Connor’s “Everything That Rises Must Converge,” and the Declaration of Independence among other things.
Students brought thoughtful conversation to the table. Libby Kaseta made a point in her speech on the Declaration of Independence that, “Self-evident truth is displayed in each of our own daily interactions with others and understanding the actions and reactions of those who are around us.” She went on to explain how these self-evident truths are said truths that we personally hold to be valid and correct.
Dylan Drury noted how O’Conner’s short story demonstrates that, “Truth and society are hazed.” After reading the story, Dylan noticed that the characters display different perspectives of truth in reality and therefore there is not one way one can define truth. Throughout the discussion, students in the audience asked questions and encouraged each other to think deeply.
As a capstone course, Senior Seminar asks students to think critically about what they’ve learned during the course of their careers at Sacred Heart and how these learnings align with their own beliefs, ethics, and morals. Upper School English Teacher Dr. Willam Mottolese teaches Senior Seminar and moderated the discussion. “We want our Sacred Heart students to think very critically, multi-dimensionally, and directionally about their own sense of truths and where their ideas come from,” he explained.
One component of the Senior Seminar course involves using Twitter for students to join communities and networks related to their research interests, to learn about professional and productive social media use, and to think critically about the messages that come across social media. Dr. Mottolese shared his thoughts at @CSHSeniorSem, tweeting, “A highlight of October so far. The seniors did an amazing job on our student panel on truth and authority! Great questions and striking philosophical insights!”
Intellectual curiosity shone as they exchanged differing thoughts and opinions on absolute truth and authority while respecting each other's opinions. The welcoming and safe atmosphere for this event was very similar to what you would see in a typical Senior Seminar class. This type of environment also allowed for continued growth, exploration, and development within the senior class and the community, showing off Goal II and Goal V of our Goals & Criteria.