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The summer programs bring together students and professors to explore the enduring ideas of Western civilization through the disciplines of political philosophy, philosophical anthropology, ethics, literature and Law.

JUNE 27-JULY 25, 2015


The Opening Seminar is designed to provide a proper introduction to the summer course as a whole. Students will meet their professors, classmates and coordinators; review the calendar of curricular and extra-curricular activities; learn all they need to know about life at Notre Dame; etc. The Seminar will take place in the morning of Sunday, June 28. Participation in the Opening Seminar is compulsory for all students.


Dr. William Carroll
Thomas Aquinas Fellow in Theology and Science
Oxford University, United Kingdom

Western Civilization traces its origins to ancient Greece and Rome as well as to Judaism and Christianity. This course will explore the Greco-Roman element of such combination through the works of two of its greatest representatives: Herodotusand Virgil. Herodotus, often called "the father of history," recounts the wars between the empire of Persia and the Greek city states. As he says, he seeks to set forth the causes of the conflict and to explain how the Greeks, overwhelming outnumbered, were able to prevail. The stories Herodotus tells offer striking insights into fundamental questions about freedom, necessity, and fate in human affairs. Virgil's Aeneid is one of the great epic poems of Western Civilization. It relates the story Imperial Rome told itself about its origins – a story that stretches back to the fall of Troy. The story discloses the values that ancient Rome celebrated and it contains insights about nature, human nature, and the divine (in this case, the Greek and Roman gods). The Aeneid is a crucial text, not only for understanding Rome, but also for the formative role it played in the thought of Augustine, Dante, Milton, and many other poets and philosophers. Learning how to read the Aeneid will serve as an introduction to learning how to read the other great epics that, with the Aeneid, constitute a kind of poetic backbone of Western Civilization.

Dr. William E Carroll. European intellectual historian and historian of science whose research and teaching concern, among other topics, the reception of Aristotelian science in mediaeval Islam, Judaism, and Christianity; the development of the doctrine of creation ex nihilo; the appropriation of mediaeval discussions of creation and the natural sciences to contemporary science; and Galileo's Inquisition trial. Works include Creation and Science; Galileo: Science and Faith; Aquinas on Creation (with Steven E. Baldner), book chapters and numerous publications in academic journals.

Dr. V. Bradley Lewis
Associate Professor, School of Philosophy
Catholic University of America, USA

The political writings of St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) are a great font of Christian political thought in the West. His notions about legitimate political authority, the natural law, just war and other topics remain very influential. We shall first examine Aquinas's views by studying his own work. Then we will examine Yves Simon's accounts of political legitimacy, the common good,democratic representation, and questions about work and culture. Simon's 1951 book, Philosophy ofDemocratic Government, is one of the most important theories (both critical and constructive) of liberal democracy inspired by Aquinas's ideas. By looking both at Aquinas's own thought and its application to some important modern questions, we can hope to attain a better perspective on some central questions of political philosophy as well as contemporary affairs.

Dr. Bradley Lewis. Ph.D., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. M.A., Government and International Studies, University of Notre Dame. B.A., Government and Politics, University of Maryland. Associate Professor at the School of Philosophy of The Catholic University of America. Associate Editor of The American Journal of Jurisprudence.

Dr. John O'Callaghan
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Director of the Jacques Maritain Center
University of Notre Dame, USA

To which extent is our life determined by our past and context? Is there a connection between honoring our past and finding happiness in the present? Is our freedom completely unbounded? In which sense can memory be an enemy of our freedom, and in which sense can it be one of its greatest allies? Beginning at least as early as the philosophy of Plato, the themes of forgetfulness (lethe) and memory (anamnesis) has proven important when thinking about human nature, knowledge, self understanding, and happiness. These concepts play significant roles in the thought of Augustine, Descartes, and Nietzsche, as well as in the poetry of John Milton in Paradise Lost, or in the recent film The Tree of Life, by Terrance Malick. On the other hand they do not feature so prominently in the thought of Aristotle and Aquinas. This course will examine the importance of these ideas in the thought of those for whom they have played an important philosophical role, and also investigate why they do not do so in others.

Dr. John O’Callaghan. Ph.D., University of Notre Dame. Areas of interest include Medieval Philosophy, Thomas Aquinas, and Thomistic Metaphysics. He is the author of Thomistic Realism and The Linguistic Turn: Toward a More Perfect Form of Existence, among others. Articles recently published include “Concepts, Mirrors, and John of St. Thomas: Reply to Deely" in American Catholic Philosophical Association; "St. Thomas Aquinas", Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy; “Actively Forgetting the Image of God: Nietzsche and Great Texts" in Finding a Common Thread: Reading Great Texts from Homer toO'Connor. Permanent member of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas.


1.- All students must choose two out of the courses offered;

2.- The Herodotus, Virgil, and the Origins of Western Civilization course is (a) opened to all participants, and (b) mandatory for all first year students;

3.- Enrollment per course is limited. Students are encouraged to complete their application to the Summer Seminar as soon as possible in order to guarantee their place in the courses of their preference.

Applications will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis.


The Gerhart Niemeyer Graduation Seminar is the academic activity through which Phoenix senior students (Third Year) complete the Institute’s Program in Advanced Social, Economic and Political Studies.

In 2015, the Seminar discussion sessions will be held between Thursday, June 25, and Saturday, June 27.

Third Year students are expected to arrive on Campus on Wednesday, June 24 (three days before the rest of the group).

The 2015 discussion sessions will be conducted by Dr. Gabriel Mora, Dr. John X. Evans and Prof. Aarón A. Castillo.

The Graduation Seminar will cost $70.00 USD.


The Seminar will be held in the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Indiana. The University is about two hours by car from Chicago’s O'Hare International Airport and about 90 minutes from Midway International Airport. Coach USA maintains a bus shuttle several times daily between campus and both Chicago O'Hare and Chicago Midway airports. The South Shore Line trains run directly from the Chicago Loop (corner of Michigan and Randolph) to South Bend Regional Airport in South Bend (about a two-hour trip). From the airport, the Notre Dame campus is approximately a 15-minute ride by car.


$2,975.00 USD (Tuition, double/triple-occupancy accommodation, 5-Meals per week Meal Plan, and the fees for the use all libraries and recreational facilities included).


Once accepted, students can obtain a $100.00 USD discount by securing their place on the program through the payment of their $300 USD non-refundable initial fee –applicable to their tuition– prior to the following dates: March 27th, 2015, for second and third year students; and May 15th, 2015, for first year students.


PAYMENTS AND BANKING INFORMATION All payments must be completed through the delivery of a valid check or a wire transfer to the the Phoenix Institute bank account in the US.

For details on the NEW Phoenix Institute bank account, please contact the Notre Dame Assessment Committee at notredame@thephoenixinstitute.org.

The full cost of the program’s tuition fee must be covered by June 19, preferably earlier. Admission to the campus will only be possible after full prior payment of the tuition fee. Cash payments will not be accepted.


Non-US Students who are selected to the program will receive the Form I-20 from Notre Dame University.

This form is necessary in order to obtain student visas for entry into the USA.


Because of the high cost of medical treatment in the United States, all students must purchase a medical insurance policy prior to arrival at the University of Notre Dame.

The Phoenix Institute cannot provide for any medical care or medical costs and insurance coverage.

Participants, who have not sent the Institute prior written proof of their medical insurance coverage, will not be admitted.



Registration to the Summer Seminars begins on February 28th
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