2024 Veritas Conference

2024 Providence College Veritas Conference

Let Us Make for Ourselves a Name:

‘Progress’ and a Genuinely Human Future

Spring Conference | April 19-20, 2024 | Providence College

The Providence College Humanities Program is pleased to invite abstract submissions for its 3rd annual Veritas Conference. Keynote speakers include Mary Harrington (UnHerd), Larry Chapp (Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm), and Kimbell Kornu (Belmont University), Angela Franks (St. John’s Seminary), and David McPherson (University of Florida).

Conference Registration

About the Conference

Relative to earlier epochs in human history, we live in a time of material abundance. We enjoy a technological mastery over nature of which earlier generations could only dream. Civil and voting rights have been extended to more members of developed Western societies than ever before. And we appear to command a growing self-determination even over our own biological nature due to advances in gene and medical technologies. In other words, we enjoy the fruits of “progress.” But what actually counts as genuine “progress”? By what standards can we evaluate the phenomena of “progress”? How might advancing “progress” take on a life of its own that may prove antithetical to genuine human flourishing? What resources does the Christian tradition – especially, the Catholic and Dominican tradition – have for thinking about and guiding the pursuit of “progress”? These and similar questions will be discussed at this year’s Veritas Conference (2024).

Our Keynote Speakers

Mary Harrington

Mary Harrington – “Immanentizing the Eschaton: America and the Spirit of Technicity”

Ms. Harrington is a public intellectual and contributing editor at UnHerd. In her first book, Feminism Against Progress (Regnery, 2023), she asks, “Can you be a feminist if you don’t believe in progress?” She writes a Substack (Reactionary Feminist), and tweets as @moveincircles.

Larry Chapp

Dr. Larry Chapp – “Evangelization in an Age of Radical Unbelief”

Dr. Chapp is a retired professor of theology. After teaching for twenty years at DeSales University, he and his wife, began the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm in Harveys Lake, Pennsylvania. His most recent book, Confession of a Catholic Worker: Our Moment of Christian Witness, he explores the radical call of the gospel for modern men and women. His blog can be found at Gaudium et Spes 22.

Kimbell Kornu

Dr. Kimbell Kornu – “The Pilgrim’s Progress or Regress? The Case of Transhumanism”

Dr. Kornu is the inaugural Provost’s Professor of Bioethics, Theology, and Christian Formation at Belmont University and is a Palliative Care physician. He holds an MD from the University of Texas Southwestern and a PhD in Theology from the University of Nottingham (UK). He has published widely in the philosophy and theology of medicine. 

Angela Franks

Dr. Angela Franks
“A Name for Myself: Modern Identity”

Dr. Franks is a theologian, speaker, writer, and mother of six. She serves as Professor of Theology at St. John’s Seminary in Boston and as a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute in Cambridge. She is finishing a two-volume book manuscript entitled The Body and Identity. The first volume is subtitled Liquid Bodies and Empty Selves. The second volume is subtitled Theological and Philosophical Anthropology.

David McPherson

Dr. David McPherson – “The Virtues of Limits: Why Limits Matter for a Genuinely Human Future”

Dr. McPherson is a Professor of Philosophy in the Hamilton Center for Classical and Civic Education at the University of Florida. He works in the areas of ethics (esp. virtue ethics), political philosophy, meaning in life, and philosophy of religion. The central guiding question of his research is: “What is it to live well as human beings within the conditions in which we find ourselves?” His most recent book is entitled The Virtues of Limits (Oxford University Press, 2022).

Conference Overview

Plenary and Breakout Sessions will be held in the Ruane Center for the Humanities (Providence College Campus Map)

Friday, April 19

  • 3:30 – 5:00 p.m.
    Welcome and John F. Fay ’68 Plenary Address: Mary Harrington (Reactionary Feminist and Unherd), “Immanentizing the Eschaton: America and the Spirit of Technicity”
  • 5:00 – 6:00 p.m.
    Humanities Forum Reception

Saturday, April 20

  • 8:00 a.m.
    Mass at St. Pius V Church (240 Eaton St., Providence, RI – across the street from PC campus)
  • 8:15 – 9:15 a.m.
    Continental Breakfast in the Fiondella Great Room
  • 9:15 – 10:30 a.m.
    Second Plenary Address: David McPherson (University of Florida), “The Virtues of Limits: Why Limits Matter for a Genuinely Humane Future”
  • 10:45 – 12:00 p.m.
    Third Plenary Address: Kimbell Kornu (Belmont University), “The Pilgrim’s Progress or Regress? The Case of Transhumanism” 
  • 12:00 – 1:15 p.m.
    Lunch in Raymond Dining Hall
  • 1:30 – 3:15 p.m.
    Breakout Sessions (See roster below) 
  • 3:30 – 4:45 p.m.
    Fourth Plenary Address: Angela Franks (St. John’s Seminary), “Modern Identity: Is this Genuine Progress?”
  • 5:00 – 6:15 p.m.
    Concluding Plenary Address: Larry Chapp (Dorothy Day Catholic Worker Farm), “Evangelization in an Age of Radical Unbelief”
  • 6:30 – 8:00 p.m.
    Dinner in the Fiondella Great Room

Breakout Session Paper Titles (Saturday, April 20, 1:30 – 3:15 p.m.)

Concurrent Session 1 (Ruane LL05)

  • Holly Taylor Coolman, “Integral Human Development: Progress in Light of the Human Being”
  • Fr. Dominic Verner, O.P., “Right Reverence and Due Honor as Measure of Social Progress”
  • Kathleen Cavender-McCoy, “Existential Thomism: A Guide to Genuine Progress in Thinking the Sexed Body”

Concurrent Session 2 (Ruane 206)

  • Boyd Coolman, “Feeling Alright: The Role of Orthopathy in the Formation of Medieval Subjectivity”
  • Thomas Clemmons, “Roma Aeterna and Christiana tempora in Augustine”
  • Andrew Horne, “Aristotle on Suicide”

Concurrent Session 3 (Ruane 205)

  • Fr. Brendan Augustine Baran, O.P., “Thomas Aquinas and the Limitations of Progressive Educational Theory”
  • Leta Sundet, “‘How very wonderful the operations of time’: Improvement, Progress, and Change in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park
  • Joseph Leake, “‘This world is in haste’: Mutability, Transience, and the Wisdom of Anglo-Saxon Literature”

For free registration, please click the link below:

Conference Registration

Full schedule and additional information coming soon. Please send any questions to veritas.conference@providence.edu.

For information on our previous conferences, click on the links below.