January 31, 2015

Peter Augustine Lawler's Lecture - Lost in the Cosmos: Self-Help We Can Finally Believe In

Walker Percy, Obl.S.B. (May 28, 1916 – May 10, 1990) was a Southern author from Covington, Louisiana, whose interests included philosophy and semiotics. Percy is known for his philosophical novels set in and around New Orleans, Louisiana, the first of which, The Moviegoer, won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction. He devoted his literary life to the exploration of "the dislocation of man in the modern age." His work displays a combination of existential questioning, Southern sensibility, and deep Catholic faith. 
After many years of writing and rewriting in collaboration with editor Stanley Kauffmann, Percy published his first novel, The Moviegoer, in 1961. Percy later wrote of the novel that it was the story of "a young man who had all the advantages of a cultivated old-line southern family: a feel for science and art, a liking for girls, sports cars, and the ordinary things of the culture, but who nevertheless feels himself quite alienated from both worlds, the old South and the new America."

Subsequent works included The Last Gentleman (1966), Love in the Ruins (1971), Lancelot (1977), The Second Coming (1980), and The Thanatos Syndrome in 1987. Percy also published a number of non-fiction works exploring his interests in semiotics and Existentialism, the most popular work being Lost in the Cosmos.
Peter Augustine Lawler (born 1951) is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College. He teaches courses in political philosophy and American politics. He was a 1973 graduate of DeSales University and holds a PhD from the University of Virginia.

Lawler writes broadly from a Catholic intellectual tradition that emphasizes the importance of limits on unfettered personal autonomy in shaping well-lived lives, as well as the centrality of the love of truth in making sense of the human experience and knowing "who we are and what we are supposed to do." Lawler argues that moral anthropology suggests the possibility of God's existence and love. His influences include both Catholics like Augustine, Pierre Manent, Thomas, Pascal, Flannery O'Connor, Tocqueville and Walker Percy, as well as non-Catholic thinkers (especially Leo Strauss). 
Title: Lost in the Cosmos: Self-Help We Can Finally Believe In. Source: Thomas International Center. Date Published: April 30, 2013. Description: 

PETER AUGUSTINE LAWLER is Dana Professor of Government at Berry College in Georgia. He is the author or editor of a dozen books, including "Modern and American Dignity," "Postmodernism Rightly Understood," "Stuck With Virtue," "Aliens in America," and "Homeless and at Home in America." He has also written over 200 articles and reviews for scholarly and popular publications. Lawler is executive editor of the acclaimed scholarly quarterly Perspectives on Political Science. He was the 2007 winner of the Richard M. Weaver Prize in Scholarly Letters.

"Percy says this Scientism versus Fundamentalism thing, this is one reason why our world is so screwed up. The dispute between Scientific popularizers like Sagan and the new Atheists and fundamentalists who believe that God created the world six thousand years ago, this dispute, Percy says, is enough to give both Science and Christianity a bad name." - Peter Augustine Lawler [22:39 - 23:00].