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The McKelvy House Scholars will host a dinner discussion Sunday evening on the concept of eternity. Dinner will begin 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; RSVP by Saturday to connerr or x4035. Led by Creighton Conner ’04 (Lewisburg, Pa.), a double major in English and American studies, the discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. and requires no reservations.

Connor doubts whether it’s possible to have a true conception of the infinite.

“I believe, for instance, that the fear of death is, for many people, a fear of the infinite,” he says. “What they fear is not the ending of life, per sé, but eternity, in whatever form. Do we need to understand something to fear it? Or is it our imperfect understanding of the idea that leads to such a fear?

“Are matter, time, love, infinitely divisible? If there is a basic fundamental constituent of the universe, is indivisibility a form of infinity? Or is the very divisible-ness of matter what makes up our conception of infinity?

“If the universe is without bound, can it exist for us? Or at all? Is a limitless existence recognizable as such by our ways of perceiving? How does a discreet infinity (i.e. a countable set, such as natural numbers) differ from a fluid infinity?

“The distance between zero and one is infinity. Is the same true of the distance between one and two? Two and three?”

“I’m not a number theorist, nor a mathematician, nor a philosopher, but I welcome these positions and viewpoints for this discussion, as well as those of a physicist, or an artist, or a writer, or a musician. Or some students. And maybe a professor.We can define it in any terms we want.”

Conner recommends the following websites for background:

Since 1962, the McKelvy House Scholars program has brought together Lafayette students with a wide range of majors and interests to reside in a historic off-campus house and share in intellectual and social activities. Weekly Sunday dinner discussions that engage the students in debate and exchange of ideas are the hallmark of the program. Most members also contribute to the annual McKelvy Papers, written on a topic of each person’s choice. McKelvy Scholars participate in activities together such as field trips to plays, concerts, and exhibits, and sponsor events for the campus as well.

Past McKelvy discussions in 2003-04:
Feb. 8 — Bisexuality
Dec. 7 — Anger and frustration toward computers and technology
Nov. 9 — “Unnecessary” crimes
Nov. 2 — Genetic alteration
Oct. 26 — Social construction of gender
Oct. 19 — Greed as an economic force
Sept. 28 — Value

Categorized in: Academic News