Gonzaga University philosophy Associate Professor David Calhoun will discuss “Aristotle in Narnia: Virtue and Character in C. S. Lewis’ ‘Voyage of the Dawn Treader’” from 4-5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 5, in Room 203 of College Hall (formerly GU Administration Building). The event is free and open to the public.
Brian Clayton, Gonzaga associate professor of philosophy, will respond to the lecture immediately afterward. This is the last GU Socratic Club meeting of fall semester.
Several generations of readers have found Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia” to be stories rooted in a distinctively Christian worldview. Calhoun will argue that an important dimension of the Narnia stories is their articulation of a Christian conception of moral character. Drawing on the classic account of virtue ethics offered by Aristotle, Calhoun will sketch a basic account of a character approach to ethics and will explain how this approach is adapted by Christian thinkers.
Using “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” as an illustration, Calhoun will show how Lewis’ characters highlight virtues and demonstrate the nature of character formation. Calhoun, who earned his doctorate from Northwestern University, has taught philosophy at Gonzaga since 1989. He is the founder and coordinator of the GU Socratic Club. Clayton, who earned his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, is an expert on Lewis and teaches a course at Gonzaga on the author’s Christian philosophy.
The Gonzaga Socratic Club’s mission is to promote the open intellectual discussion of the Christian worldview. Like Socrates, the group hopes to “follow the argument wherever it leads,” concerning both Christian doctrine and practice. The club takes inspiration from the renowned Oxford Socratic Club, which was founded at Oxford University in 1941 and was presided over by Lewis until he left Oxford.
For more information, contact Calhoun at (509) 323-6743 or via e-mail at or visit the Socratic Club Web site.