Author Archives: Kleiner

About Kleiner

Associate Vice Provost and Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Utah State University. I teach across the curriculum, but am most interested in continental philosophy, ancient and medieval philosophy as well as Catholic thought, all of which might be summed up as an interest in the ressourcement tradition (returning in order to make progress). I also enjoy spending time thinking about liberal education and its ends.

Congrats to some USU philosophy students!

I am pleased to note that three USU philosophy students made the Intercollegiate Studies Institute Leadership Class of 2017: Millie Tullis, Jonathon Toronto, and David Bradley Zynda.  To have 3 USU students in the class of 150 national student leaders is pretty impressive, especially when one sees the list of students and institutions (a great number of them are from Ivies, Stanford, U Chicago, and top flight private liberal arts colleges).

  For those unfamiliar with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (ISI):  Two years ago we founded an ISI  society here at USU (the CS Lewis Society).  ISI is an outfit committed to developing principled and intellectually serious leadership.  Its primary focus is engaging students in the great books tradition along with providing them leadership training.  It has a conservative bent, but is non-partisan.  There are many notable alumni in law, politics, journalism, academia, and business, including Justices Scalia, Alito, and Gorsuch, Peter Thiel (founder of paypal), Ross Douthat (NYTimes columnist), Harvey Mansfield (well known Harvard professor), etc etc etc.
  We get funding each year to support student book clubs.  For those who struggle at USU to find intellectual life, this is just the ticket – fun, social, but intellectually serious conversations over very good books and free food.  In addition, ISI students can apply to attend regional and national conferences, which are filled with reading, lectures, and great conversation (ISI pays for everything, from flight and hotel to food and expenses, and these are typically held at pretty tony establishments).  Aside from being interesting, these conferences give students a chance to network with academic, political, and business leaders from around the country.
  If you are interested in learning more about ISI, please contact Professor Kleiner at

Facticity Panel: “Truth is Complicated”

Another upcoming event of interest:

The USU Department Heads have organized a panel series called “Facticity” (the quality of being a fact).  The motivating question of the series, as I understand it, is something like ‘In an age of contested truths and alternate facts, how should we think about truth?’

The first panel is titled “Truth is Complicated” and will be held Tuesday, September 12 from 5:00-6:30pm in Eccles Conference Center Auditorium.  Panelists (all USU faculty) include our very own Charlie Huenemann, Aaron Brough, Phebe Jensen, and Courtney Flint.  Reception with some finger food after, followed by an optional discussion (moderated by our own Harrison Kleiner).

Free Speech on Campus panel

The USU Institute of Government and Politics and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences are hosting a panel discussion titled “Free Speech on Campus: Where’s the Line?”  This is part of the “pizza and politics” series – so there will be free pizza.

CHaSS Dean Joseph Ward will moderate.  Panelists include Michael Scott Peters (USUSA President), Marina Lowe (ACLU Utah), Rep. Justin Fawson (Utah Legislature), and Professor Kim Lott (USU TEAL).

Wednesday, September 13th at 5pm in the Huntsman Hall Perry Paviliion (4th floor).



Undergraduate Research Symposium

This Friday, April 21, from 3-6:30pm the Languages, Philosophy, and Communication Studies department will hold its annual Student Research Symposium.  There are two sessions focused on philosophy:

3:30-4:30pm, “Contradictions, Certainty, and Future Knowledge” in Main 115
– Catherina Aust, “Contradictions Present Possibilities”
– Logan Krebs, “Uncertainty is Imperative to Certainty”
– Emerson Isaac, “The Logic of Divination and Uncertainty”

4:45-5:45, “Philosophy and Literature” in Main 115
– Taylor Wyatt, “The Etymological Sub-creation in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings
– Chasen Robbins, “Arguments for Theism and Evaluations of Popular Atheistic Replies to them”

Please come support your fellow philosophers!

Upcoming talk of interest

USU’s Intercollegiate Studies Institute is sponsoring a lecture this week that should interest USU philosophers.  Thaddeus Kozinski, Dean of Wyoming Catholic College, will be presenting on “Real Conservatism: Guardini, Girard, and Apocalypse”.  Wednesday, April 19, 4pm in Huntsman Hall 130.

His most recent book might be of interest as well, The Political Problem of Religious Pluralism and Why Philosophers Can’t Solve It.

Intercollegiate Studies Institute

USU Philosophy was well represented at the “The Roots of American Constitutionalism” – Intercollegiate Studies Institute conference over the weekend.  We spent the weekend discussing federalism and anti-federalism, as well as what must lie behind constitutional order (virtue, liberal education, etc).

ISI is dedicated to a robust investigation of the core ideas and great books that are behind the American founding and western civilization more generally, the sort of thing one is unlikely to get at universities today.  It is intellectually conservative in bent, but is a big tent and encourages dissent (several times throughout the conference, faculty implored students to disagree with them).  ISI has chapters across the country, including our new ISI “CS Lewis Society” chapter.  We do book clubs and discussions locally (books and dinners provided by ISI), and then students can take advantage of all expense paid conferences and honors programs that focus on great ideas and leadership (networking, etc) — typically at really nice hotels with exceptional faculty (myself excluded).  Contact Dr Kleiner if you are interested.

Our esteemed group from this weekend, from left to right: Catherina Aust, Richard Sherlock, Gavin Mill, Jennifer Burris, Jonathan Toronto, Millie Tullis, Chase Robbins, Taylor Wyatt, Harrison Kleiner, Emma Wright


Philosophy Club Lecture

Thursday, Feb 16, 4:30pm in RWST 113

We will have a visiting scholar – R.J. Snell – on campus this Thursday.  He will be presenting on a 2oth century philosopher named Bernard Lonergan.  Though Lonergan is under-read these days, he was quite famous in his time (Time Magazine ran a feature on him in the 1970s, calling him the finest philosophical thinker of the 20th century).  Dr Snell will introduce us to Lonergan, what he had to say, and why he is significant.

His talk will be called, “Authentic Subjectivity is Genuine Objectivity: Self-Knowledge and the Hope of Philosophy.”

All are welcome!


Theology on Tap

A former USU philosophy student is part of a group who has organized a weekly “Theology on Tap”.  It is open to all denominations and indeed open to believers and non-believers alike.

This week the topic is, “Is There Evidence for God?”

Theology on Tap – Logan

Beehive Pub and Grill (255 S Main St, Logan)

Tuesdays, 6:30pm