Philosophy professor tells students to be ‘irrelevant amateurs’

Grace Murphy
Staff Writer

A Franciscan University of Steubenville philosophy professor encouraged a small group of students to be “irrelevant amateurs” in a lecture Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the Fireside Lounge.

Alex Plato, who has a doctorate in philosophy, gave a lecture entitled “Beauty, Culture and the Good Life,” hosted by the Veritas Society as an opening event for their upcoming music series.

Plato handed out two documents before the lecture began. One was chapter two of Saint Bonaventure’s “Journey of the Mind to God.” The second was a sheet with a series of quotes Plato said were relevant to the lecture including a quote by C.S. Lewis.

Plato began the lecture by talking about the definition of culture.

“Culture, human culture, makes the human soul, or the human spirit, thrive and expand,” said Plato.

Plato talked about irrelevance in education. He said Western education had traditionally focused on studying irrelevant subjects like Latin. Recently, he said, there has been a push to make all education relevant.

Next, Plato talked about amateurism, describing an amateur as “somebody who does something for the love of it.”

He said people need to work at something in order to learn how to love it. For instance, he said he learned to appreciate jazz music by listening to jazz music.

“I want to convince you all to be irrelevant amateurs,” said Plato.

Then Plato talked about beauty.

“Human beings are spiritual,” said Plato, “which means only we spirits can perceive beauty.”

Plato said students should attend the amateur art nights the Veritas society will be sponsoring on Tuesday nights in the near future. The Veritas Society provided donuts and coffee at the event.

Plato finished his lecture by saying, “I hope that you see here … that you should become irrelevant amateurs who produce culture, who make beautiful things, so that you have more reality to give everyone else and to give yourself.”

Plato answered student questions after the lecture concluded.

Sophomore Jacob Smith said, “It was refreshing to dive deeply into the beauty of God’s creation not only on an emotional level but more importantly on an intellectual level.”

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