Saint Socrates Society – Information and Application

Program Director:

Dr. Harrison Kleiner

Description and Mission Statement:

The Saint Socrates Society is a reading group for Utah State University students.  Students have the opportunity to discuss on a weekly basis selected texts concerned with human questions as considered in the western intellectual tradition.  In particular, the group is dedicated to a broad discussion of issues related to human flourishing, the common good, civic virtue and the public square.  The Saint Socrates Society is dedicated to approaches that exercise the fullness of reason, which we understand to be hostile to reductionism of various kinds but friendly to the resources of faith.  In this, the Saint Socrates Society mission takes its cue from a lament articulated by John Paul II in his encyclical Fides et Ratio:

“Yet the positive results achieved [by modern thought] must not obscure the fact that reason, in its one-sided concern to investigate human subjectivity, seems to have forgotten that men and women are always called to direct their steps towards a truth which transcends them. Sundered from that truth, individuals are at the mercy of caprice, and their state as person ends up being judged by pragmatic criteria based essentially upon experimental data, in the mistaken belief that technology must dominate all. It has happened therefore that reason, rather than voicing the human orientation towards truth, has wilted under the weight of so much knowledge and little by little has lost the capacity to lift its gaze to the heights, not daring to rise to the truth of being. Abandoning the investigation of being, modern philosophical research has concentrated instead upon human knowing. Rather than make use of the human capacity to know the truth, modern philosophy has preferred to accentuate the ways in which this capacity is limited and conditioned.”


Thanks to the generous support of the USU Honors Program, students will receive their program books for free.   

Activities and expectations of students:

Students are expected to:
- Carefully read each assigned reading prior to the meeting in which it is covered.
- Submit on the main blog page an approximately 300 word reflection on the weekly reading.  These are due by 10pm the day before the meeting.
- Attend and participate in the weekly Saint Socrates Society meetings.

Application Process for Fall 2012

Students of sufficient intellectual maturity who are eager to read, think, and discuss a challenging set of texts concerned with human questions can apply.

Applications should be submitted via email to  Include as attachments to the email:
- A resume.  Your resume must include the following items: your contact information (phone, email, address); academic year; major; GPA; academic achievements; extra-curricular activities; the name and email address of a USU faculty member who can be contacted for a reference.
- Submit a list of at least 3 books that have helped to shape your self-understanding.

Finalists will be interviewed by a team composed of Dr. Harrison Kleiner and at least one other USU faculty member.

The priority deadline for applications has passed.  Until funding is exhausted, the application process will be a rolling one (apply as soon as you can).

Note: Though the reading group does not earn participants USU course credits, students may get Honors credit through an Honors Contract.  This shall be done no later than the second group meeting.

About the “Saint Socrates” name:

The Saint Socrates Society name is not original.  There was a group at Boston College that went by this name when I was a graduate student there in the late 1990s.  The name is rooted, if not for others then at least for me, in the view among several Church Fathers that Socrates was a pagan Christian since he was a ‘bearer of the logos’ (for example: Justin Martyr, 100-165AD, remarks that Christ was “partially known by Socrates”).  Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) gives a modern nod to this tradition in his Enchiridion.

One Response to Saint Socrates Society – Information and Application

  1. Pingback: Saint Socrates Society applications | Saint Socrates Society

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