Manresa Scholars in The Lost Interlocutor Seminar spent the past semester investigating the themes of existence, knowledge, truth, morality, and beliefs. The course taught by Manresa Faculty Director and FCRH Freshman Dean, Dr. Robert Parmach, stresses critical spoken dialogue and writing. The skills and material the Scholars learn come together at interactive out-of-class events, such as the Interlocutor Fallacy Night.
Manresa Scholar Nick Swope reflects on his experience.
Coming from a public high school, I had never taken a philosophy course. My Manresa Seminar has opened my eyes to a whole new way of thinking. I now examine the world around me in a more thorough manner, asking the questions of why and how instead of who and what. Some of the main themes we discussed include avoiding sloppy thinking, Eloquentia Perfecta techniques, the meaning of relationships, the relationship between the physical and metaphysical world, and nature of the mind, among others.
One Manresa program I found particularly meaningful was the Interlocutor Fallacy Night.
As part of the program, we learned about different types of logical fallacies and picked some out of different video clips. This really opened my eyes to how often people misuse logic to make an argument, especially when they do not have a strong one. As a young adult, I find this most relevant during the recent presidential election, in which I was a first-time voter.
In an election focused more on the candidates’ character than the issues concerning our country, I believe it is important to critically examine each candidate’s argument to determine which, if either, is making a strong case as to why they should be our next Commander-in-Chief. After seeing so many logical fallacies in a short clip, I realized how important it is to critically examine people’s arguments to make sure they are cogent and truthful.
A concept that has been heavily emphasized in our Manresa Philosophy class, and I believe is valuable for all young adults to study at a Jesuit institution, is Eloquentia Perfecta. This skill is defined as developing critical reading, writing, and speaking skills to make cogent arguments and be able to defend them under intense scrutiny. This is practiced every class through discussions, as everyone contributing is expected to have adequate defense for his or her claims.
For one assignment, we teamed up with a partner to do an Eloquentia Perfecta presentation based on an assigned reading. Pairs presented over the course of the semester and after each presentation, Dean Parmach emailed the entire class as to what the presenters did well and what they need to improve on, so that everyone could learn from each other’s mistakes in a supportive environment. I had an enlightening experience in my Manresa course and am looking forward to continuing my involvement next semester.