The Faculty Center featured Chaminade professor of Historical and Political Studies Lilia Castle, Ph.D. as its guest presenter for its Vita in Verbo – Life in the Word series. In her presentation on Monday, Feb. 27, Dr. Castle explored the importance of paideia or education in ancient Greek philosophy. She discussed the importance of education in relationship to the identity of the Greek polis by building on the writings of Plato and Aristotle. Polis, which literally means ‘city’ in Greek, can also mean a body of citizens.
“Paideia in ancient Greece referred to education (nurturing, training, cultivating, refinement). An idea of paideia covered the same semantic field today as the culture discerned as natural and cultural. Education was seen as the cultivation and development of the natural abilities of a man who will then participate in governing of his own state,” noted Dr. Castle. “Greeks saw education to be essential for those who prefer freedom and democracy. But if other states do not see the value of education for their citizens and do not invest in education, it simply means that such a state does not want to give it citizens either freedom or democracy.”
Dr. Castle argued that in the end “the divisions created by the city-states have become global, and it is our education in the divine that ultimately unifies humanity,” said Brian Richardson, Ph.D., Chaminade’s director of the Center for Teaching and Learning (a.k.a. the Faculty Center). “Education should focus on the spirit, establishing a local identification with the polis’ ancestors and a vertical identification the gods, and in this way it can promote political involvement and the cultivation of a rational soul.”
The presentation was thought-provoking. Free and open to faculty and staff, the Faculty Center regularly holds the Vita in Verbo — Life in the Word series as opportunities for collegiate sharing of scholarship between the disciplines.