This week's letter addresses the topic of the Western Tradition, one of the central things that we deeply love as an Academy.
- The Virtues: Moral, Intellectual, and Athletic Excellence
- The Western Tradition
- Human Dignity and Freedom
- Philosophical Realism
- Conversation and Community
At North Phoenix Prep, we love the Western Tradition. One way to briefly summarize what we mean by the West is to consider three ancient cities: Athens, Jerusalem, and Rome. Athens is the fountainhead of philosophy, science, and democracy; Jerusalem, the source of Western monotheism and faith in a personal God; Rome gives us unique notions of law and statesmanship. Another way to understand the Western Tradition is through the Great Books. These works of literature, science, mathematics, philosophy, theology, and history form a conversation across the centuries. This conversation is one that we invite all our students to enter into.
It's important to realize that the Western Tradition is a conversation among people of varied ideas and beliefs. Plato and Aristotle disagreed about the philosophy of universal forms. The American Founders doubted whether the Athenian vision of a purely democratic regime would work in the vast new world. Pagan Greece and Rome was polytheistic; the Judeo-Christian heritage is monotheistic; and many Enlightenment thinkers were atheistic. In short, the Western Tradition is a coherent conversation, not a monolith. Particularly in the Humane Letters seminar, we encourage our students to engage in that conversation with genuine humility and curiosity. That engagement prepares them to become good citizens who possess a greater context for the ideas, beliefs, laws, and norms of our nation. Even more importantly, it prepares them to become good human beings who can enter authentically into dialogue with others.
As I continue this series on our Six Loves, please reach out with whatever questions you have. It's important that we engage together in coming to understand these vital aspects of our Academy culture.