Truth and Sandwiches

an interdisciplinary dialogue/diatribe group

Coming Attractions




Meeting Format


Previous Topics















Next Meeting: 

Tuesday, October 26, Happy Hour – Noon to 1:30

Place: Auerbach 422

What is the point of voting?

Is voting worth our time? Is democracy rational? Do elections make a difference?
Discussant: Christopher Anderson, A&S Politics and Government

 There are three very short recommended readings:

 Steven E. Landsburg, “Don't Vote! It makes more sense to play the lottery,” Slate (September 29, 2004).

 Jordan Ellenberg, “Vote! Why your ballot isn't as meaningless as you think,” Slate (October 11, 2004).

 Larry M. Bartels, “Is ‘Popular Rule’ Possible? Polls, political psychology, and democracy,” Brookings Review 21 (Summer 2003).

Copies of the reading will also be available in H 123 (the Politics and Government office) and at

  All are welcome, even if you haven't had time to finish the reading.

 Truths may (or may not) be on offer at the meeting. You will have to bring your own sandwich.



Coming attractions




 If you have any questions, please contact Christopher Anderson at or x4583.


Truth and Sandwiches is open to any member of the University of Hartford community.


The purpose of the group is to discuss all kinds of scholarship—new, old, or ancient—which members believe might include "usable truths" or otherwise help make sense of human life. Our aim is to take fuller advantage of the intellectual resources of this university and to facilitate fertilization of our thinking across disciplines. Any kind of material may be the subject of discussion: novels, criticism, philosophy, research, etc.

Meeting Format

The group will meet approximately once per month. One or two participants will be responsible for conducting the discussion. Before the meeting, the discussant(s) might (or might not) recommend that participants pay attention to a few issues. 


Participants are encouraged to bring their own lunch, but need not bring actual sandwiches.


Previous Topics

16 September 2004 What is a liberal education for?

An open discussion of the Primer on General Education compiled by Joseph Voelker and the College of Arts and Sciences Preliminary General Education Committee.

17 April 2003 Who's sovereign now? 

Discussant: Harald Sandström, A&S Politics and Government

How should we understand a people's right to self determination? Do human rights limit sovereignty?  

Suggested reading  

Zhen Chen, State Sovereignty and Self-determination of Peoples, from (Peking University Center for Legal Information). 

International Committee on Intervention and State Sovereignty, The Responsibility to Protect (Ottowa: International Development Research Centre, 2001). [Read Chapter 2, "A New Approach: The Responsibility to Protect."]

Stephen D. Krasner, "Sovereignty," Foreign Policy (February 2001).

6 March 2003 What ever happened to the good society? 

Discussant: Doug Eichar, A&S Sociology

How did America lose a sense of greater social purpose? Can we get it back? Should we? 

Suggested reading  

Lyndon Johnson, "The Great Society," May 22, 1964. 

Frank W. Abrams, "Management's Responsibilities in a Complex World," Harvard Business Review (May 1951). 


6 February 2003  Teaching Ethics, Teaching Facts, Teaching Propaganda  

Discussant: Sally Porterfield, A&S Drama

Arthur Miller is certainly our best-known playwright of the contemporary morality play. In Miller's "All My Sons," two men are exposed as war profiteers who have taken shortcuts in manufacturing aircraft parts, resulting in the death of American airmen. One of those deaths is the son of one of the partners. In teaching material like this, and, indeed, in much literature, dramatic or otherwise, a discussion of ethics is unavoidable, as it is in many of the humanities.

How do we handle the question of ethics across the disciplines? Do we have an obligation to urge our students toward a more examined and more conscious life? Do only some of us have that obligation? Is teaching facts enough? When does inquiry become propaganda? How does all of this play out across a wide spectrum of disciplines? 

Suggested reading  

Arthur Miller, Excerpt from "All My Sons" in Arthur Miller, Eight Plays. Garden City, New York: Nelson Doubleday, 1981. 

Max Weber, Excerpt from "Science as a Vocation" in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Trans. and ed. H. H. Gerth and C. Wright Mills. New York: Oxford University Press, 1946. 


5 December 2002  Why service learning?   

An open discussion of the service learning idea.  

Discussant: Jim Highland, A&S Philosophy

Suggested reading  

Edward Zlotkowski, "Pedagogy and Engagement." Reprinted from Colleges and Universities as Citizens. Ed. Robert Bringle et al. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 1999. 

Frequently Asked Questions about Service Learning, Bentley College Service Learning Center. 


7 November 2002 Does Race Exist?   

A discussion of the meaning of race.  

Discussant: Christopher Anderson, A&S Politics and Government

Suggested reading  

Stephen Jay Gould, "Racial Geometry," in The Mismeasure of Man, Revised ed. (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996).

C. Loring Branch and George W. Gill, "Does Race Exist?" Nova Online.


3 October 2002, Is Time Speeding Up?   

The Economic, Cultural and Psychological Implications of The Increasing Pace of our Society 

Discussant: Benyamin B. Lichtenstein; Assoc. Prof. of Entrepreneurship and Management

Suggested reading  

Jay Walljasper, "Speed of Life," Conscious Choice  (September 2000).

Gary Styx, "Real Time," Scientific American (September 2002). [Thanks to Larry Gould. The entire September issue of SA is devoted to time.]

Excerpt from Alan P. Lightman, Einstein's Dreams (Warner Books, 1993). [A novel.] 


7 May 2002, Truth, Beauty, and Self Image

Suggested reading

Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth : How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women (New York: Anchor Books, 1992), 9-19. 

Discussant: Mala Matacin, A&S Psychology


5 March 2002, Is beauty truth?

Recommended reading:

John Keats, "Ode on a Grecian Urn"

Plato, Symposium [excerpt]

Edmund Burke, On the Sublime and the Beautiful 

Book II, Section 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 & Book III, Section 1, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 27 

Iris Murdoch, "The Sovereignty of the Good Over Other Concepts" [excerpt]

Arthur C. Danto, "Art, Philosophy, and the Philosophy of Art" [excerpt]


Discussant: Christopher Anderson, A & S Politics and Government


5 February 2002: The State—Who Needs It? A discussion on the comparative merits of anarchy and the state.

Recommended reading:

Johann Fichte, Addresses to the German Nation (excerpts)

Emma Goldman, "Individual, Society and the State"


John Müller, A & S History


13 November 2001: Truth, Love, and Duty


Robert Bolt, A Man for All Seasons

[Not online: Copies available for purchase in the bookstore on the "Truth and Sandwiches" shelf. A limited number of photocopies of available in the History  Office, Hillyer 126.]

Plato, Apology, trans. Jowett. Two options: 1) nicely formatted for reading online -- includes Jowett's notes, or 2) on one page for easier printing).


Sushil Oswal, A&S Rhetoric, Language, and Culture

Howard Mayer, Hillyer English


23 October 2001: Just and Unjust War


Aquinas, Excerpt from Summa Theologica

Michael Walzer, Excerpt from Just and Unjust Wars

[This is a link to an online reserve pdf file.]

G. B. Shaw, Devil’s Disciple 

[The link above is to a Project Gutenberg text, not the nicest thing to read and not very portable.]


Christopher Anderson, A&S Politics and Government

Sally Porterfield, A&S Drama