13th Annual Summer Seminar
June 26 – June 30, 2023
Gratitude is a specific response to God’s love manifested to us by His wonderful gifts.
Dietrich von Hildebrand
The 13th Annual Summer Seminar “Gratitude” was our attempt to answer a culture fraught by questions about gratitude, such as how to be gracious of tradition in spite of emergent evils, the cultivation of gratitude in a social media of envy, isolation, and self-assertion, and what gratitude means in the midst of suffering.
We seek to offer gratitude as an antidote to other challenges, such as feelings of loneliness, resentment, envy, and the self-hatred that oppresses so many today. We will show how gratitude guards against despair, and resists the nihilist attitude that fails to see the value of anything. Ultimately, we propose gratitude as an essential condition of human happiness and human flourishing.
Gratitude Summer Seminar – Videos
Gratitude, It's Obstacles and the Christian Remedy - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
The Role of Gratitude in Creativity, Art, and Science - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
Gratitude and Great Suffering - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
Grateful Acceptance of One's Own Being - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
Transhumanism, Euthanasia, and Self Creation - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
The Thomistic Approach to Accountability (Eleonore Stump) - 2023 Hildebrand Project Summer Seminar
2023 Seminar Faculty
Jonathan J. Sanford
Jonathan J. Sanford, Ph.D., is the 10th president of the University of Dallas. President Sanford, who previously served as provost and dean of UD’s undergraduate college, holds a doctorate in philosophy and is an accomplished scholar. Sanford has published widely on philosophical figures and topics, especially in foundational questions in moral philosophy, as evidenced in Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics (The Catholic University of America Press, 2015 (paperback, 2019)). As president, he is focused on leading the implementation of the university’s strategic plan by building on the university’s reputation for academic rigor, its commitment to classical Western tradition, and its faithful Catholic identity.
Sanford is a trustee of the Hildebrand Project, a member of the Dallas chapter of Legatus, a fellow of the Dallas Institute for Humanities and Culture, and and is active in several other professional and academic organizations.
University of Dallas
President & Professor of Philosophy
Ethics, Catholic Higher Education, Ancient and Medieval Philosophy, Metaphysics, Virtue Theory
Before Virtue: Assessing Contemporary Virtue Ethics (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 2015 (paperback, 2019).
The Philosophical Legacy of Jorge J. E. Gracia, co-edited with Robert Delfino and William Irwin (Lanham, Md: Rowman & Littlefield, 2022)
Categories: Historical and Systematic Essays, co-edited with Michael Gorman, (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 2004).
Neo-Platonism and Its Legacy, co-edited with Sarah Wear, Volume 2, Issues 1 & 2 of Quaestiones Disputatae, Spring-Fall 2011.
“Justice is Beautiful: Aristotle, Aquinas, and Justice as a Virtue,” in Beauty and the Good: Past Interpretations and Their Contemporary Relevance, edited by Alice Ramos (Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press), forthcoming 2020.
“Nature and the Common Good: Aristotle and Maritain on the Environment,” in On Earth as it is in Heaven: Cultivating a Contemporary Theology of Creation, edited by David Meconi, S.J., and Christopher Thompson (Grand Rapids,MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2016): 212-233.
“Newman and the Virtue of Philosophy,” Expositions 9 (2015): 41-55.
“Aristotle, Aquinas, and the Christian Elevation of Pagan Friendship,” in Love and Friendship, edited by Montague Brown (Washington, DC: The American Maritain Association Press, 2013).
“On Vice and Free Choice,” in The Problem of Evil: Enduring Themes and Pressing Questions, edited by James G. Hanink (Washington, DC: The American Maritain Association Press, 2013).
“Scheler vs. Scheler: The Case for a Better Ontology of the Person,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, vol. 79: 1 (2005): 145-161.
“Affective Insight: Scheler on Feeling and Values,” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Vol. 76, (2002).
“Personalism in Relation to Aristotle and Aquinas,” The Hildebrand Project’s Sixth Annual Summer Seminar: The Past and the Promise of Christian Personalism, Franciscan University of Steubenville, June 15, 2016.
Eleonore Stump is the Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy at Saint Louis University. She is also Honorary Professor at Wuhan University, the Logos Institute and School of Divinity at St. Andrews, and York University; and she is a Professorial Fellow at Australian Catholic University. She has published extensively in philosophy of religion, contemporary metaphysics, and medieval philosophy. Her books include Aquinas (2003), Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering (2010), Atonement (2018), and The Image of God: The Problem of Evil and the Problem of Mourning (2022). She has given the Gifford Lectures (Aberdeen, 2003), the Wilde lectures (Oxford, 2006), the Stewart lectures (Princeton, 2009), and the Stanton lectures (Cambridge, 2018). In 2021, she was given the award of Johanna Quandt Young Academy Distinguished Senior Scientist by the Goethe University (Frankfurt, Germany). She is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, Philosophers in Jesuit Education, the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division; and she is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
John F. Crosby
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy
Personalism, John Henry Newman, John Paul II, Dietrich von Hildebrand
Prof. Crosby was himself a student of Dietrich Hildebrand. Besides writing major studies on the thought of John Henry Newman, Max Scheler, and Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II, and making his own contributions to personalist philosophy, Prof. Crosby has devoted his long and distinguished academic career—first at the University of Dallas, then at the International Academy of Philosophy, and currently at Franciscan University of Steubenville—to introducing his students to the intellectual legacy of Hildebrand, and also to making Hildebrand better known in scholarly circles. Prof. Crosby was the translator of the English edition of Hildebrand’s philosophical masterpiece, The Nature of Love, and he also serves as the General Editor of all our present and future translations of Hildebrand’s works.
James Matthew Wilson
James Matthew Wilson is the Cullen Foundation Chair in English Literature and the founding director of the MFA program in Creative Writing at the University of Saint Thomas. The author of eleven books, his most recent collection of poems, The Strangeness of the Good (2020), won the poetry book of the year award from the Catholic Media Awards. The Dallas Institute of Humanities awarded him the Hiett Prize in 2017; Memoria College gave him the Parnassus Prize, in 2022; and the Conference on Christianity and Literature twice gave him the Lionel Basney Award. He serves as poet-in-residence of the Benedict XVI Institute, editor of Colosseum Books, and poetry editor of Modern Age magazine. His next book, Catholic Modernism and the Irish “Avant-Garde” will be published in 2023.
Mark K. Spencer
Dr. Mark Spencer Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. Spencer fell in love with philosophy in high school when he first encountered the writings of Albert Camus and St. Thomas Aquinas. He earned his Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, and his M.A. and B.A. from Franciscan University of Steubenville, where he first encountered the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand. He is the author of over 35 papers, mostly focusing on the nature of the human person, beauty, and God’s relations to us. In his research, he above all tries to synthesize many traditions’ approaches to these topics, drawing on the scholastic, phenomenological, analytic, and Greek Patristic traditions. Among the things he takes greatest delight in is introducing students to the insights of these traditions, so as to help them better perceive and contemplate reality, for which he finds the work of von Hildebrand an indispensable guide. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota, with his wife, Susanna, and their four children. Together, they especially enjoy hiking, camping, reading novels, watching films, gardening, and homeschooling.
University of St Thomas, MN
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Philosophical Anthropology, Aesthetics, Metaphysics, Philosophical Theology
“Created Persons are Subsistent Relations: A Scholastic-Phenomenological Synthesis.” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 89, Analyzing Catholic Philosophy (2015): 225-243.
“Aristotelian Substance and Personalistic Subjectivity.” International Philosophical Quarterly 55:2 (June 2015): 145-164.
“Divine Causality and Created Freedom: A Thomistic Personalist View.” Nova et Vetera 14:3 (Summer 2016): 375-419.
“The Many Powers of the Human Soul: Von Hildebrand’s Contribution to Scholastic Philosophical Anthropology,” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 91:4, Special Issue on Dietrich Von Hildebrand (Fall 2017): 719-735.
“Perceiving the Image of God in the Whole Human Person,” The Saint Anselm Journal 13:2 (Spring 2018): 1-18.
“Sense Perception and the Flourishing of the Human Person in von Hildebrand and the Aristotelian Traditions,” Tópicos, Revista de Filosofía 56 (2019): 95-118.
“Beauty and Being in von Hildebrand and the Aristotelian Tradition,” The Review of Metaphysics 73:2 (December 2019): 311-334.
“Covenantal Metaphysics and Cosmological Metaphysics: An Aesthetic Critique and an Aesthetic Synthesis”, The Saint Anselm Journal 15:2 (Spring 2020): forthcoming.
“Beauty and the Intellectual Virtues in Aristotle,” in Beauty and the Good: Past Interpretations and Their Contemporary Relevance ed. Alice Ramos, (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2020).
Dr. Patrick Lee is a professor of philosophy and holds the John N. and Jamie D. McAleer Chair in Bioethics. He is also the director of the Center for Bioethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville. In this capacity he defends and articulates the Church’s position on a wide range of human life issues through his writings, debates, and public speaking engagements.
He received a B.A. from the University of Dallas, an M.A. from Niagara University, and a Ph.D. from Marquette University. He taught for eleven years at the University of St. Thomas in Houston before coming to Franciscan University in 1992.
He is a member of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, and Society of Christian Philosophers. In 2005 Prof. Lee gave the annual John Heiser lecture at Niagara University entitled “Embryo-Killing and Stem Cell Research.” He is also the recipient of the Cardinal Wright Award for Excellence in Catholic Scholarship in Integrating Faith and Reason. He is the author of three books: Conjugal Union, What Marriage is and Why it Matters (co-authored with Robert P. George), Abortion and Unborn Human Life, and Body-Self Dualism and Contemporary Ethics and Politics (co-authored with Robert George).
Matthew is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He received his B.A. in philosophy from Boston College and his Ph.D. in philosophy from Saint Louis University. His dissertation was a defense of a relationship-centered account of human nature, human flourishing, and natural law-virtue ethics, inspired by the thought of St. Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas. Prior to joining the Philosophy Department at Franciscan, he was a postdoctoral fellow in clinical medical ethics at UCLA; a lecturer at UCLA’s schools of medicine, nursing, and public health; a faculty member at the Bioethics Institute at Loyola Marymount University; and an assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Scranton. Matthew specializes in moral philosophy and bioethics, and his current research focuses on value theory, natural law ethics, and the connections between theism and happiness/well-being.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
“Value Comparability in Natural Law Ethics: A Defense.” Journal of Value Inquiry (forthcoming).
“A Thomistic Solution to the Deep Problem for Perfectionism” (with James Kintz). Utilitas 34 (2022): 461–477.
“Principlism’s Balancing Act: Why the Principles of Biomedical Ethics Need a Theory of the Good.” Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 45:4-5 (2020): 441–470.
“The Quality of Life is Not Strained: Disability, Human Nature, Well-Being, and Relationships.” Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal 29:4 (2019): 333–366.
“Aquinas on God-Sanctioned Stealing.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92:2 (2018): 277–293.
“God, Evil, and Occasionalism” (with C.P. Ragland). Religious Studies 54 (2018): 265–283.
Franciscan University of Steubenville
Associate Professor of Philosophy
Brandon Dahm is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Franciscan University of Steubenville. He received his BA in philosophy from Iowa State University in 2005 and his MA in philosophy from Southern Evangelical Seminary in 2011. During his MA, he took a year off to read St. Thomas Aquinas’s Summa Theolgiae at the University of Cambridge. He then, finally, finished his degrees in 2016 with his PhD from Baylor University. Dr. Dahm wrote his dissertation under Thomas Hibbs on how we can have positive knowledge of a transcendent God. His research is primarily on Aquinas’s moral philosophy, philosophy of religion, and the nature of virtue and vice. Recently, he has been working on connections between psychology, virtue, and trauma. In addition to teaching and writing, Dr. Dahm directs the MA in Philosophy and co-hosts the podcast Published at Franciscan.
Dr. Dahm is married to his wife, Andrea, a graphic designer and illustrator, and has three daughters, Beatrice, Esther, and Lucy who don’t have jobs yet. In addition to doing philosophy, Dr. Dahm loves to cook, have friends over, watch movies, and is an unrepentant coffee snob. In 2013, Brandon and Andrea became Catholic (the long version is told in Evangelical Exodus) and are very happy to be a part of Franciscan University.
“A Thomistic Account of Virtue as Expertise” Studies in Christian Ethics (2023)
“Virtue and the Psychology of Habit” Co-authored with Matthew Breuninger, in American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2021)
“Correcting Acedia through Wonder and Gratitude” Religions (2021)
“The Virtue of Somnience” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2020)
“Thomas Aquinas on Separated Souls as Incomplete Human Persons” Co-authored with Daniel D. De Haan, The Thomist (2019)
“Distinguishing Desire and Parts of Happiness: A Response to Germain Grisez” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly (2015)
Rachel Bulman has been married for over 14 years, and her husband is a permanent deacon. They have six children from 12 years to 20 months old, and the youngest children are a set of twins. Rachel is a national speaker and author. She served as editor for Word on Fire’s With All Her Mind: A Call to the Intellectual Life, a collection of essays exploring the intellectual life for women, and she wrote Becoming Wife: Saying Yes to More Than the Dress (Our Sunday Visitor, June 2023), a theological and philosophical reflection on spousality. She has written and hosted a television series for Catholic TV about Eucharistic miracles, and she appears with her family in the show Meet the Bulmans currently airing on the Word on Fire Institute’s YouTube channel. She has appeared on numerous podcasts and radio shows. Rachel serves on the advisory board of The GIVEN Institute, and in her spare time, she enjoys reading a good book, lifting weights, and perfecting her Old Fashioned cocktail recipe.
James Beauregard PhD is a Lecturer in the Psy.D. and Ed.D. programs at Rivier University, Nashua, New Hampshire, USA where he teachers Biological Bases of Behavior, Neuropsychology, Educational Neuroscience and Aging. His research interests are in the fields of neuroethics and personalist philosophy, including the intersection of these two areas as they impact our understandings of personhood. He is a member of the International Neuroethics Society, where he serves as a neuroethics expert, the Spanish Personalist Association and the International Conference on Persons (where he serves on the board of directors). His recent publications include Philosophical Neuroethics: A Personalist Approach, Vol. 1, Foundations and the forthcoming Philosophical Neuroethics, Vol. 2: Practical Neuroethics. He is currently working on an educational project in conjunction with a Catholic high school to bring the ethical thought of Dietrich von Hildebrand, as well as other personalist philosophers, into the high school curriculum through writing of a high school Catholic Ethics text and instructional materials. He is also editor of the forthcoming Internet Encyclopedia of Personalism, an online, open access peer-reviewed resource on personalist thought to be launched in 2021. His interest in personalist thought was sparked early in his college days when he first read Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II’s The Acting Person and Redemptor Hominis.
Lecturer, Psy.D. and Ed.D. Programs
Contemporary European personalist thought, neuroethics, bioethics, personalist psychology, and the ethical vision of Dietrich von Hildebrand
Beauregard, James (in press). Philosophical Neuroethics: A Personalist Approach. Vol. 2: Practical Neuroethics. Wilmington DE: Vernon Press.
Beauregard, James. “Integral Personalism and Neuroethics: Informing the Foundation.” Quién, 12 (2020): 79-97.
Beauregard, James. “Forgetting and Remembering Ourselves: Techne, Metaphor and the Unity of Persons,” in J. Beauregard, G. Gallo and C. Stancati, eds., The Person at the Crossroads: A Philosophical Approach. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2020.
Beauregard, James. Philosophical Neuroethics: A Personalist Approach. Vol. 1: Foundations. Wilmington DE: Vernon Press, 2019.
Beauregard, James (2018). Advancing a Personalist Neuroethics. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly 18.2 (Summer 2018): 269-290.
Beauregard, James (2018). The Modern Ontological Personalism of Juan Manuel Burgos in the Public Square: Toward a Personalist Neuroethics. Quien 6: 7-31.
Beauregard, James. “Institutions Supported, Institutions Subverted: Thomas O. Buford on the Parables of Jesus” in James M. McLachlan, James Beauregard and Richard Prust, eds., Persons, Institutions and Trust: Essays in Honor of Thomas O. Buford. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2018.
Beauregard, James. “The Need for a Catholic Neuroethics” Ethics and Medics (National Catholics Bioethics Center), 42 (2017): 12-13.
Beauregard, James and Simon Smith eds. In the Sphere of the Personal: New Perspectives in the Philosophy of Persons. Wilmington, DE: Vernon Press, 2016.
Beauregard, James, M. Aftab, and A. Sajid. “Consciousness, Neuroimaging and Personhood: Current and Future Neuroethical Challenges.” Journal of Cognition and Neuroethics 4, no. 1 (2016): 1–11.
Beauregard, James. Sexuality, Dementia and Catholic Long-term Healthcare. National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, 15, no. 3 (Autumn 2015): 493-513.
Dr. Gregory Bottaro
Dr. Greg Bottaro is the director of the CatholicPsych Institute and the CatholicPsych Academy. He developed the Catholic Mindfulness online course. Before getting his doctorate, he spent four years living as a Franciscan friar, serving the poor in the tradition of St. Francis. He ultimately discerned a call to pursue family life. Six years after leaving NYC as a friar, Dr. Bottaro returned as a psychologist. His aim is fundamentally the same – to serve. Instead of serving those suffering material poverty, he now seeks to serve those with psychological needs.
The CatholicPsych mission is to integrate insights from psychology with the Catholic faith to provide the best possible treatment and resources to help people flourish.
Amanda Achtman studied liberal arts and political theory in her hometown of Calgary, Alberta. After creating a viral political parody video, she moved to Toronto to do a mix of journalism, crowdfunding, and advocacy addressing the most passionate and underserved issues in Canada. Living the alternation between action and contemplation, she then went to Poland to become a student of saints, heroes, and martyrs at the John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin. Passionate about foreign policy, human rights, religious freedom, and public bioethics, Amanda recently served as the senior advisor to a member of parliament working to prevent the expansion of euthanasia to persons living with a disability or mental illness. She is an alumna of programs of the Hildebrand Project, the Acton Institute, ADF International, the Tertio Millennio Seminar on the Free Society, and many others. Raised in a Jewish-Catholic family, Amanda has had a lifelong passion for humanizing the culture. Currently based in Rome, she is now pursuing a Licentiate in Judaic Studies and Jewish-Christian Relations at the Cardinal Bea Centre of the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Christopher T. Haley
“Only the brave return to the source.” — a favorite line from a Hölderlin poem. For Christopher, the source was beauty. Philosophy has always captured his interest, but it was beauty that was his first love, that first broke his heart (and a broken heart the Lord will not refuse, Ps. 51). After many years in school studying philosophy at St. Edward’s University (where he discovered Catholicism) ancient languages at the University of Texas (where he converted from atheism to Catholicism), and the University of Dallas (where he was introduced to Christian Personalism) Christopher misread Aristotle’s Rhetoric and decided that he needed to do something “practical;” so he began working in teaching, marketing, and politics, striking out in new areas with innovative ideas drawn from classical sources (he has a restive habit of starting new projects and companies).
But his restless soul brought him back to philosophy. He had heard of Dietrich von Hildebrand while studying St. Edith Stein at the University of Dallas, and was eagerly awaiting the publication of Hildebrand’s Aesthetics, when one day his mentor at UD suggested that he apply for a Summer Fellowship with the Hildebrand Project. So he dropped everything and applied. Now, Christopher has always had the strange practice of including his favorite poets and composers on his resume, and for once, it worked (he always knew it would!): at the Hildebrand Project, he finally found a place where a love for beauty mattered—and thus he returned to the source.
At the end of his Summer Fellowship, he was so excited about the potential of the Hildebrand Project that he refused to leave, finding clever ways to insert himself into vital operations and creating entire program areas with no one to manage them but himself. As a result, he now oversees the Hildebrand Project’s publishing enterprise, marketing, communications, and has helped pioneer a number of innovative and successful programs.
In his free time—when he gets free time—he likes to listen to classical music, write essays, ride two-wheeled vehicles, and build things. He also hosts a weekly theology symposium at a bar in his beloved state of Texas.
John Henry Crosby
John Henry Crosby is a translator, writer, critic, and cultural entrepreneur.
Late in 2003, searching for a life’s work that could integrate the quest for truth, the existential need for beauty, and the service of a great good, and beginning to despair of ever finding such a mission, he called Alice von Hildebrand to propose that he spend one year translating her late husband’s Aesthetics. Would she help, he asked.
She did, and her blessing transformed his one-year plan into lifelong mission that soon attracted the collaboration of others. Thus, the life’s work he had sought found him. Established in February 2004, the Hildebrand Project’s mission to renew culture has grown to encompass publications, events, fellowships, and online resources that draw on the continuing vitality of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s thought and witness.
Under his leadership, the Hildebrand Project has become the world’s leading organization dedicated to Dietrich von Hildebrand’s legacy. The Project has been supported by many leading foundations and donors, including the Bradley Foundation, Chiaroscuro Foundation, Earhart Foundation, Fieldstead & Company, Henry Luce Foundation, Luddy Charitable Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Our Sunday Visitor Institute, Papal Foundation, and the Raskob Foundation.
He was the editor of a new edition of Dietrich von Hildebrand’s The Heart (St. Augustine’s Press, 2007). He joined John F. Crosby as co-translator of Hildebrand’s major philosophical work, The Nature of Love (St. Augustine’s Press, 2009). He edited Selected Papers in the Philosophy of Dietrich von Hildebrand (2012), the first major volume of essays on von Hildebrand in two decades. Most recently he is the primary compiler, editor, and translator of Hildebrand’s anti-Nazi papers, My Battle Against Hitler (Random House, 2014).
His work has been featured in both popular (e.g., The Daily Beast) and scholarly publications (Logos Journal). His numerous radio appearances have taken him from PRI’s The Takeaway to the Hugh Hewitt Show. He was host of He Dared Speak the Truth, a 14-part television series on the life of Dietrich von Hildebrand, which aired on EWTN (2014).
Son of an Austrian mother and an American father, his mother tongue was German. Both his undergraduate studies in philosophy, history, and literature (2000) as well as his graduate studies in philosophy (2001) were pursued at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.
He was for many years a violinist. As a student of Daniel Heifetz, he was formed in the great violinistic traditions of Henryk Szeryng, David Oistrakh, and Ivan Galamian.
He serves as a trustee of The Personalist Project.
In 2010 he married Robin-Marie Bobak. Through their marriage—and all the more with the birth of their children Magdalene (2011), Robin (2013), John Henry, Jr. (2015), and Peter—he has found (or, again, been found by) an integration of the good, true, and beautiful far greater than any he has ever known.