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Coming To Grips With Our Emerging Pacifism

Posted 09/06/2017
Submitted by Brian Skelly
Category: Campus Announcements

Join us at this week’s Philosophy Club meeting Thursday, September 7th from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall as Dr. Brian D. Skelly speaks on the topic: Coming to Grips With Our Emerging Pacifism. See attached document.

Agonizing over what constitutes a just war, or the morally appropriate use of harmful military force, has been a tradition in the West reportedly going back to the Ancient Egyptians. Ancient traditions exist in China and India as well. In Classical Greek literature, Homer’s Iliad arguably makes a case against the sensibility of war, while Comedic poet Aristophanes’ Lysistrata is even more explicit is condemning war as a ruinous sociological dysfunction stemming from gender separatism. In Classical Rome, Cicero and the jurist Gaius began an agent-impartial tradition of criticizing war that continued developing through the Middle Ages up through the Renaissance, at which point it was eclipsed in secular thought by a resurgence of Classical Republicanism guided by the agent-partial principle of state or national interest. This has left us for centuries now hobbled by a split vision of war depriving us of the intellectual integrity required to wend our way successfully through thorny matters that involve the use of military force, all despite the fact that we have been in possession all along of ample historical resources to do much better. Before having been eclipsed, Just War theory in the West had arrived essentially at a pacifist position, one which continues to be reflected as the consensus view in certain non-secular and internationalist circles. This underlying pacifism is something we are well aware of, seeing it reflected in United Nations documents, peace treaties and conventions, as well as common conceptions of police work. In order to bring these back more prominently to the table in our political processes we must first break the stalemate between Just War theory and Classical Republicanism that has stymied us since the Renaissance.

Dr. Skelly has been teaching Philosophy locally for 28 years Starting with a Bachelors' Degree. in Anthropology at Michigan State University, he moved on to study Philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome Italy, and later returned to earn his doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Dr. Skelly’s interests vary from religion, science, and music to world languages and culture. He teaches a wide range of courses, including Biomedical Ethics, Ethics in the Professions, Ethical Problems, History of Philosophy, Logic, Philosophy of Art, and Anthropology. He has two adult children and resides in Springfield with his wife, a Middle School teacher.

In 2008, Skelly received the Sustained Excellence in teaching Award for Part-Time Faculty.
In 2017, he won the Gordon Clark Ramsey Award for Creative Excellence for Adjunct and Part-time Faculty.

His publications include Introduction to Philosophy - Themes for Classroom and Reflection, Second Edition, Cognella, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-5165-1006-1 (Expanded to forty-one original essays) and Religious Liberty According to the Conciliar Declaration “Dignitatis Humanae” in the Teaching of John Paul II Through 1983, by Rev. Andrzej Pogorzelski. Translation from Italian by Brian D. Skelly. Elk-Hartford, 2017. ISBN: 978-83-60737-56-9.

The University of Hartford Philosophy Club meets every Thursday during Fall and Spring Semesters - with the exception of the first Thursday of each semester - from 12:15 to 1:45 in 421 Auerbach Hall on the campus of the University of Hartford. The Club has an informal, jovial atmosphere. It is a place where students, professors, and people from the community at large meet as peers Sometimes presentations are given, followed by discussion. Other times, topics are hashed out by the whole group.

Presenters may be students, professors, or people from the community. Anyone can offer to present a topic. The mode of presentation may be as formal or informal as the presenter chooses. Bring friends. Suggest topics and activities. Take over the club! It belongs to you! Food and drink are served. Come and go as you wish.
For more information, contact Brian Skelly at or 413-642-0334



Skelly - Coming to Grips With Our Emerging Pacifism
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