Further information on Spring 2020 courses

Walt Stromseth: The Vice Squad–Pride (Vainglory), Anger (Wrath), Envy, Greed (Avarice), Lust, Gluttony, Sloth

Course text

The text for the course will be Rebecca deYoung’s Glittering Vices (2009 edition), which is available online (at bookfinder.com or amazon.com) for less than $12.

De Young’s chapters are short (18-20 pages) and are intended to provide a background for personal reflection and class discussion of the different vices. Feel free to supplement her chapters with relevant materials from your personal experience, from your reading of literature, or from current events and media items. Keep in mind that the primary focus of the course will be to use these vices as a framework for reflecting on ways in which our participation in American society can invite or encourage them in ways that distort and impoverish our desire for a happy, humanly fulfilling life.

De Young’s treatment of the vices is influenced by her interest in the Roman Catholic tradition, especially the thought of Thomas Aquinas, who synthesized the ethical thought of Aristotle and that of Augustine and the early Christian era. Though shaped by her Christian heritage, her discussion of the vices seeks to exhibit their general relevance for our human pursuit of happiness or well-being.

Schedule of classes (subject to modification)

March 24:        Introductory Comments and Discussion
(Read DeYoung’s Introduction and Chapter 1 in Glittering Vices)

March 31:        Pride (Vanity) and Vainglory
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 3—“Vainglory: Image is Everything”)

April 7:            Anger (Wrath)
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 6—“Anger: Holy Emotion or Hellish Passion”)

April 14:          Envy
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 2—“Envy: Feeling Bitter When Others Have It Better”)

April 21:          Greed (Avarice)
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 5—“Avarice: I Want It All”)

April 28:          Lust
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 8—“Lust: Smoke, Fire and Ashes”)

May 5:             Gluttony
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 7—“Gluttony: Feeding Your Face and Starving Your Heart”)

May 12:           Sloth
(Read DeYoung’s Chapter 4—“Sloth: Resistance To The Demands of Love”)