Liberal Arts Reading Group

The Discarded Image

For the next few weeks, our Liberal Arts Reading group will be discussing C.S. Lewis' The Discarded Image: An Introduction to Medieval and Renaissance Literature. Here is a review from the back cover:

C. S. Lewis's The Discarded Image paints a lucid picture of the medieval world view, as historical and cultural background to the literature of the middle ages and the renaissance. It describes the 'image' discarded by later ages as 'the medieval synthesis itself, the whole organization of their theology, science and history into a single, complex, harmonious mental model of the universe'. This, Lewis's last book was hailed as 'the final memorial to the work of a great scholar and teacher and a wise and noble mind'.

As a supplementary reading, Paul Lehninger his kindly provided us with a copy of his 2004 Logia article titled Playing the Discarded Image. Also, here is an associated question sheet that Paul assigns to his honors students at the College.

A Guide for the Perplexed

This week at LARGe, let's finish our reading of E.F. Schumacher's A Guide for the Perplexed (1977). In discussing how we come to understand anything in the world—whether minerals, plants, animals or ourselves—Schumacher claims that

…we '"see" not simply with our eyes but with a great part of our mental equipment as well, and since this mental equipment varies greatly from person to person, there are inevitably many things which some people can "see" but which others cannot, or, to put it differently, for which some people are adequate while others are not.

Let's look at chapters three, four and five, in which Schumacher further develops this idea of adequatio—that "knowledge comes about insofar as the object known is within the knower," as Thomas Aquinas has said.