The Common Good: An Ethics Colloquium for Faculty and Staff to Host First Fall Discussion Oct. 4

The Common Good: An Ethics Colloquium for Faculty and Staff will host its first fall-semester discussion from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Room 201, John R. Roach Center for the Liberal Arts. The discussion will focus on end-of-life decision making, stimulated by a short essay by Dr. Paul Wojda, Theology Department, College of Arts and Sciences, titled “Just Shoot Me:  Rules for the Discernment of Advance Directives.” For a copy of the essay, email Wojda.

Participation is open to all interested faculty and staff. Light refreshments will be served. RSVP to Dr. Steve Laumakis, Philosophy Department.

The colloquium got off to a successful start this past spring, with Tom Mengler, former Dean of the St. Thomas School of Law, leading a discussion on the vocational dimensions of a Catholic university education.

Central to the mission of the University of St. Thomas is the education of students to be “morally responsible leaders who think critically, act wisely and work skillfully to advance the common good.” The purpose of The Common Good Ethics Colloquium is to provide an ongoing forum for faculty and staff at the University of St. Thomas to discuss in greater depth, and with greater precision and clarity, the nature and meaning of the “common good” and how it might be advanced, and in so doing assist the university in fulfilling its mission.

The colloquium presupposes no single definition of “common good” other than the very general one often identified in Catholic social teaching and elsewhere (i.e., "the sum of those conditions of social life which allow social groups and their individual members relatively thorough and ready access to their own fulfillment.").

Given this broad definition, the colloquium is bound by three simple convictions.  First, that the common good does indeed exist; second, that meaningful discussion – and civil debate – about the common good is possible; and third, that the mutual discovery and articulation of the common good (or goods) is among the chief tasks of socially and politically responsible ethical inquiry.

The colloquium will meet regularly throughout the fall and spring terms, typically once a month. Individual sessions may be devoted to a wide variety of topics, and may be variously structured; however, the typical session will focus on the presentation of a paper or project (either completed or a “work-in-progress”) on an ethical topic or issue that in some way raises questions about the common good. Whenever possible, one member of the colloquium will offer a brief “response” to the paper or project. General discussion will follow.


Paul J. Wojda, Ph.D., Theology Department
Steve Laumakis, Ph.D., Philosophy Department