2300 Highland Rd
Batesville, Independence County 72501
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Attention: Lyon community

September 30, 2019

Dr. Martha Beck of Lyon’s Religion and Philosophy Department is asking for submissions! She is currently writing a book about Ancient Greek Philosophy, specifically dealing with the political organization and culture of Athens. Her main interest is in interviewing and collecting dialogues surrounding how we live and how we contribute to our social and political community. This is inspired by the Greek philosopher Plato, who conducted similar dialogues in Athens. She will also be sending these dialogues to be published in the Batesville Daily Guard and The Highlander. 

 

As a part of her research, Dr. Beck wants to include various student perspectives. She asks interested students to consider the following statement:

 

“Lyon’s catalog includes five characteristics we would like our graduates to develop while they are at Lyon and to maintain throughout their lives: 1) intellectual honesty; 2) commitment to truth; 3) fairness to opposing points of view; 4) patience with complexity and ambiguity; and 5) tolerance of reasoned dissent.“

 

She wants Lyon students to write whether or not they agree with the aforementioned statement, how it coincides with their motivation to attend Lyon, etc. She will revise every response that she receives, and then send it back to its author to request their approval for submission to the Batesville Daily Guard, The Highlander, or to be used in her upcoming book. 

 

Students can email their submissions to martha.beck@lyon.edu or send them via snail mail at P.O. BOX 2317, Batesville, Arkansas 72503. If students prefer to talk through their ideas or need more clarification on the matter, they may also email Dr. Beck to set up a face-to-face interview. 

 

See Dr. Beck's original request below, or read it here.

 

To Lyon students and readers of The Highlander:
 

As a professional philosopher, my scholarship has focused on Ancient Greek Philosophy and culture, especially the culture and political organization of ancient Athens. America’s Founders were inspired by both the Greeks and the Enlightenment thinkers when they wrote up our political documents. Our Founders read Plato’s dialogues. Plato is describing what Athenian democracy was like. Plato’s main character, Socrates, is shown wandering around the city, asking powerful people questions. He asks politicians and lawyers, “What is justice?” He asks artists, “What is the source of your inspiration?” and “What is beauty?” He asks teachers, “What is education?” He asks doctors, “What is health? Is health just physical, or also emotional and spiritual?” He asks military leaders, “What is courage?” The list goes on and on. He asks each person he interviews to “give an account” of his life: what he is doing and why he chose that way of life as his way of contributing to the social and political community.
 

I am writing a book and sending columns to the Batesville Guard that contain my own version of this process. Since I have taught at Lyon College for 23 years, I wanted to ask people about Lyon’s mission, whether they think it is valuable in our nation at this time and why or why not. Lyon’s catalog includes five characteristics we would like our graduates to develop while they are at Lyon and to maintain throughout their lives: 1) intellectual honesty; 2) commitment to truth; 3) fairness to opposing points of view; 4) patience with complexity and ambiguity; and 5) tolerance of reasoned dissent (I would say, “respect for those with whom one agrees to disagree when each person has good reasons for their different conclusions.”).
 

I want to know from each of you: Do you agree with this aspect of Lyon’s mission? Do you think it is our common goal? Why did you choose to come to Lyon? How do you think you make a unique contribution to Lyon’s culture? America’s Founders and intellectuals throughout Western history have thought that liberal arts education, an education that cultivates these qualities of character, was necessary for developing and preserving a democratic society. Do you agree? Why or why not?
 

If you send me a written response, I will read it, edit it, and send it back for your approval to be sent to the Batesville Guard, The Highlander and/or for my book. You may send it via email: martha.beck@lyon.edu or snail mail: P. O. Box 2317, Batesville, Arkansas 72503, or you may email me to set up a face-to-face interview (my preference). I much prefer meaningful dialogues, like Socrates engaged in, but if you prefer print only, I will certainly accept it.
 

I hope to hear from you.

 

 

Sincerely,
Dr. Martha C. Beck, Professor of Philosophy, Lyon College

 

 

 

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