A Canticle for Leibowitz with Christopher Frey

Episode 51


In this episode, I speak to my husband (and fellow philosopher) Chris Frey about Walter M. Miller’s sci-fi novel, A Canticle for Leibowitz.  We both agree that this is a novel about sin, and more specifically, how sin is connected to the myriad ways that our desire for knowledge becomes perverted and disordered.  Along the way, we also talk about memory, Promethean fear, impiety, hope, the Immaculate Conception, and of course, monks.  I think this episode pairs very well with episode 14, on Walker Percy, who loved this novel and was incredibly influenced by it (you can read his review here). I also think it pairs well with a book that made an enormous impression on me in college, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, by Jean LeClercq, as well as an essay by Cora Diamond called “The Problem of Impiety”, which I’ve probably recommended before because I am constantly recommending it to everyone.

I hope you enjoy our conversation.

Christopher Frey is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina.  He has published widely on Aristotle’s natural philosophy and metaphysics, as well as contemporary issues in metaphysics and mind. He is currently finishing his first book, The Principle of Life: Aristotelian Souls in an Inanimate World. A native of Los Angeles, he currently lives in Columbia, South Carolina, with his wife (the host of Sacred and Profane Love) and their six children. You can follow him on Twitter @FreyChristopher


Jennifer Frey is an associate professor of philosophy and Peter and Bonnie McCausland Faculty Fellow at the University of South Carolina. She is also a fellow of the Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and the Word on Fire Institute. Prior to joining the philosophy faculty at USC, she was a Collegiate Assistant Professor of Humanities at the University of Chicago, where she was a member of the Society of Fellows in the Liberal Arts and an affiliated faculty in the philosophy department.  She earned her Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, and her B.A. in Philosophy and Medieval Studies (with a Classics minor) at Indiana University, in Bloomington, Indiana. She has published widely on action, virtue, practical reason, and meta-ethics, and has recently co-edited an interdisciplinary volume, Self-Transcendence and Virtue: Perspectives from Philosophy, Theology, and PsychologyHer writing has also been featured in Breaking Ground, First ThingsFare ForwardImageLaw and LibertyThe Point, and USA Today. She lives in Columbia, SC, with her husband, six children, and chickens. You can follow her on Twitter @jennfrey.


Sacred and Profane Love is a podcast in which philosophers, theologians, and literary critics discuss some of their favorite works of literature, and how these works have shaped their own ideas about love, happiness, and meaning in human life. Host Jennifer A. Frey is an associate professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina. The podcast is generously supported by The Institute for Human Ecology at the Catholic University of America and produced by Catholics for Hire.


Audio Edited & Music Produced by Anthony Monson


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