2015 Fall Conference: "For Freedom Set Free"

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“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” —Goethe

The University of Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture is pleased to announce its sixteenth annual Fall Conference, "For Freedom Set Free," to be held November 19–21, 2015.

In our customary interdisciplinary fashion, this conference will take up a host of questions related to the nature, significance, and various dimensions of freedom, pursued in the context of philosophy, theology, political theory, law, history, economics, the social sciences, the biosciences, literature, and the arts. We welcome the submission of abstracts drawing on a wide range of moral and religious perspectives and academic specialties.  

Plenary lectures will be given by Rémi Brague (The Sorbonne), Alasdair MacIntyre (the Center's Senior Distinguished Research Fellow), Thomas Pink (King's College London), Rev. Martin Rhonheimer (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross), and Rev. Julián Carrón (Communion and Liberation).

Registration

Registration is now closed. Contact Laura Nash (lnash@nd.edu) with any questions.

Videos

Visit the Center for Ethics and Culture's YouTube channel to watch recordings of this year's invited lectures, including:

Schedule of Events

Download the complete conference program here.

Thursday, November 19

 
5:15 p.m. Opening Mass
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
6:15 p.m.-8:00 p.m. Registration Check-In
Conference Center Front Desk. Note: Check-in wil be available at the main desk throughout the weekend.
8:00 p.m. Josef Pieper Keynote Lecture: "Freedom and Creation"
Remi Brague (The Sorbonne)
Conference Center Auditorium
9:30 p.m. Opening Reception
Conference Center Atrium

Friday, November 20

 
8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
Conference Center Atrium
9:00-10:15 a.m. Colloquium Sessions
View the full list here. Chosen from among submissions in response to the Call for Papers.
Conference Center Meeting Rooms
10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

"Christians in the Middle East: What Future, What Hope? A Witness from the Holy Land"
Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa, O.F.M.
Conference Center Auditorium

Freedom, Reason, and the Soul
"Reason and the Non-Rational Part of the Soul: Some Insights from Plato, Aristotle, and Freud," Jonathan Lear (University of Chicago)
"Imagination and the Aristotelian Soul," Therese Cory (University of Notre Dame)
Conference Center Lower Level

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch
Morris Inn Ballroom
1:30-2:45 p.m. The Justification of Coercion and Constraint
Alasdair MacIntyre (Center for Ethics and Culture Senior Distinguished Research Fellow)
Conference Center Auditorium
3:15-4:30 p.m.

"Natural Givens and Historical Freedom: Forming Families Through Adoption"
Gilbert Meilaender (Valparaiso University)
Conference Center Auditorium

Freedom, Race, and the Sexual Revolution
"Freedom and Responsibility: Poverty, Children, and the Inner City," Shavar Jeffries (Democrats for Education Reform)
"Race, Poverty, and Disordered Freedom," Jacqueline Rivers (Seymour Institute)
Conference Center Lower Level

5:15 p.m. Mass with Bishop Kevin Rhoades (Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend)
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
6:30-7:45 p.m. Dinner
Morris Inn Ballroom
8:00 p.m. de Nicola Family Colloquy: "Vatican II’s Declaration on Religious Liberty: Revision, Reform, or Continuity?"
Thomas Pink (King's College London)
Rev. Martin Rhonheimer (Pontifical University of the Holy Cross)
Conference Center Auditorium
9:30 p.m. Friday Night Reception
Conference Center Atrium
10:00 p.m. Young Adult Reception
Rohr's, Morris Inn
Note: Please bring conference nametag for entry.

Saturday, November 21

 
8:00 a.m. Continental Breakfast
Conference Center Atrium
9:00-10:15 a.m. Colloquium Sessions 
View the full list here. Chosen from among submissions in response to the Call for Papers.
Conference Center Meeting Rooms
10:45 a.m.-12:00 p.m.

Freedom in the Arts
"Framing Freedom," Elizabeth Lev (Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas)
"Freedom and Constraint in Art and Imagination," John Haldane (Baylor University)
Conference Center Auditorium

Freedom, Locke, and Liberalism
"Locke, for Better and for Worse," Susan McWilliams (Pomona College)
"Locke's (Re-)Vision of the Will: Binding Freedom to Power," D. C. Schindler (Pontifical John Paul II Institute)
"Freedom and Modernity," Michael Zuckert (University of Notre Dame)
Conference Center Lower Level

12:15-1:15 p.m. Lunch
Morris Inn Ballroom
1:30-2:45 p.m.

Freedom and Biology
"The Drama of Evolution: A Progressive Scale of Freedom and Peril," William Hurlbut (Stanford University)
"Transgenderism: Another Battle about Truth in Nature," Paul McHugh (Johns Hopkins University)
Respondent: Aaron Kheriaty (UC Irvine)
Conference Center Auditorium

Liberty and Truth
"The Tyranny of the Omnipotent Victim: How Liberty Died While We Sang Songs of Freedom," John Waters (Irish Author)
"Freedom and the Fearful Symmetry: Theological Reflections on Freedom's Relationship to Truth," Rev. Michael Sherwin, O.P. (University of Fribourg)
Conference Center Lower Level

3:15-4:30 p.m.

The Theology of Freedom
"Freedom, Rebellion, Apocalypse," David Bentley Hart (University of Notre Dame)
"Modern, Postmodern, Christian: On the Analogy of Freedom," John Betz (University of Notre Dame)
Conference Center Auditorium

Religious Liberty: Theory and Freedom of the Church
"The Infrastructure of Religious Freedom," Richard Garnett (University of Notre Dame)
"When Is a Religious Institution a Religious Institution?" Michael Moreland (Villanova University)
"Religious Freedom and the Secular State: Natural Law and Natural Ends," Rev. Thomas Joseph White, O.P. (Dominican House of Studies)
Conference Center Lower Level

5:00 p.m. Closing Mass with Rev. Julián Carrón (Communion and Liberation)​
Basilica of the Sacred Heart
6:30-7:45 p.m. Dinner
Morris Inn Ballroom
8:00 p.m.

Closing Address: "The Truth Will Set You Free"
Rev. Julián Carrón (Fraternity of Communion and Liberation)
Conference Center Auditorium

9:30 p.m. Closing Reception
Conference Center Atrium

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Notre Dame Forum

This year’s Fall Conference is part of the 2015–16 Notre Dame Forum, “Faith, Freedom and the Modern World: 50 Years After Vatican II,” which commemorates the 50th anniversary of the publication of pivotal documents of the Second Vatican Council that have particular significance today. Established in 2005 by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the Notre Dame Forum has featured major talks by leading authorities on complex issues related to immigration, sustainability, global health, the global marketplace, K-12 education and the role of faith in a pluralistic society.


The Fall Conference is the most important academic forum for fruitful dialogue and exchange among the world’s leading Catholic thinkers and those from other traditions, drawing more than 600 participants annually. Past speakers include:

  • Nobel Laureate James Heckman
  • Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for the Catholic Church
  • Former Acting U.S. Attorney General Mark Filip
  • Alasdair MacIntyre
  • Charles Taylor
  • Michael Sandel
  • Jean Porter
  • Robert P. George
  • John Finnis
  • Jean Bethke Elshtain
  • Lorenza Violini
  • Hon. John T. Noonan
  • Sr. Helen Prejean
  • Ralph McInerny

Learn more about the conference.