“The unifying factor was our love of great books” – Jon Taylor presents at ACTC conference in Texas


Graduate Jon Taylor recently presented at the Undergraduate Conference for the Association of Core Texts and Courses at Baylor University in Texas. The topic of this year’s conference was “Civil Discourse in Uncivil Times: Reading Texts That Recover Dialogue.”

Taylor’s paper, Rhetoric and Reading: Plato’s Socrates on the Viability of Written Instruction, explored Plato’s Phaedrus, and was originally written for his Philosophy and Art course at STU. Taylor’s paper has since been published in The Compass Rose, a journal for undergraduate papers.

“In the Phaedrus, Plato’s Socrates criticizes writing and its ability to educate or to convey truth,” said Taylor. “Socrates’s critiques seem especially pertinent today because of our willingness to put forward written representations of ourselves over social media.”

Taylor said the conference was an exciting opportunity to exchange ideas and learn from other students.

“I met presenters studying Political Science, English, Philosophy, History, Theology, Economics among others, but the unifying factor was our love of the great books,” said Taylor. “Despite our Great Books program’s track record of phenomenal and successful students, we are a small group, so it was great to be able to meet with so many students with similar interests.”

Taylor’s interest in Great Books was one of the reasons he chose to come to St. Thomas.

“I actually came to St. Thomas University specifically for the Great Books program.” He said. “The program was recommended to me by instructors and friends and it seemed like a perfect fit. Not many institutions in our part of the country offer such unique approaches to liberal arts education and I couldn’t be happier with my choice in coming here.”

“STU is very lucky to have the devoted team of professors which this department boasts. They are the most fantastic group of mentors a student could ask for.”

Taylor graduated with a Honours in Great Books and a major in Political Science. After taking a year off Taylor plans to pursue his doctorate in Political Theory.

“My hope is to eventually make my way back to a liberal arts university like St. Thomas to teach. My professors have all be so generous with their time over these past four years and I could not be more grateful to them. If I could someday do the same for someone like me, I would consider myself incredibly blessed.”