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The McKelvy House Scholars invite the campus to join a dinner discussion Wednesday evening on envy and its implications in modern society.

Dinner will begin 6 p.m. at McKelvy House, 200 High Street; no reservations are required. A traditional Jewish dinner will be served in honor of Rosh Hashanah.

Led by Briana Niblick ’05 (Hatboro, Pa.), a double major in A.B. engineering and German, the discussion will start at 6:30 p.m. It will continue McKelvy House’s fall semester theme of the “seven deadly sins.”

“Envy is a common (if not innate) human quality; most people have felt envious of someone at some point in their lives,” says Niblick.

She notes that envy and jealousy are distinguished in Bryan A Garner’s Dictionary of American Usage (1998): “Jealousy is properly restricted to contexts involving affairs of the heart, envy is used more broadly of resentful contemplation of a more fortunate person.”

The discussion will consider the following questions:
Is envy necessarily bad?
If envy is bad, is it only in the religious sense or are there other reasons why someone should avoid envy?
Is envy a prerequisite for ambition and/or progress?
Is (and if so, how is) envy related to social inequality, both in terms of society as a whole, as well as the smaller group setting, such as within a particular profession?
Is envy part of human nature?
Could there ever exist a Utopia without envy?
If such a Utopia could exist, would we want to live in it?

To prepare for the discussion, Niblick recommends reading “The motivating role of envy: A forgotten factor in management theory” by Manfred F.R. Kets de Vries in Administration & Society, May 1992. She will provide the article upon request.

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 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.

Previous discussions:
Sept. 12 – Themes from A Clockwork Orange
Sept. 8 – Materialism, satisfaction, and poverty
Sept. 5 — Obesity in America

April 25 — Anti-foundationalist critique of philosophy
April 18 – Dark humor
April 11 — Cults
April 4 — Link between ethical behavior and intelligence

March 28 — Five Images of Man

March 7 — Idealized body forms

Feb. 22 — Countercultures

Feb. 15 — Eternity

Feb. 8 — Bisexuality

Dec. 7 — Anger 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