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The San Diego Great Books Council consists of two discussion groups, San Diego and Del Mar.  Both of these groups have been meeting for many years to discuss readings of classic works of Philosophy, Imaginative literature, Science, Political Economy and History.  We follow the University of Chicago Great Books Tradition of Shared Inquiry continued by Mortimer Adler and Robert Hutchins. To participate in our discussions you must have read the reading and be prepared to answer questions which the leader poses about the text. Visitors are welcome, of course. 


There is no lecture on the author or the reading.  We try to focus on the reading itself and not on outside sources. For more on how our meetings are run, please see the FAQs.

Our goals, in addition to having a harmonious discussion, are to better understand these texts and to clarify differences in interpretation, not necessarily to reach agreement. We believe these texts have meaning for today. If the Great Ideas interest you and the opportunity to learn through Shared Inquiry intrigues you, please join us.

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October 2017


Congratulations to those of you who read and discussed Moby Dick at both groups in September. 


From the Little, Brown, Book of Anecdotes:


On a visit one evening to Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife, Melville told them a story of a fight he had witnessed on an island in the South Seas, in which one of the Polynesian warriors had wreaked havoc among his foes with a heavy club.  Striding about the room, Melville demonstrated the feats of valor and the desperate drama of the battle.  After he had gone, Mrs. Hawthorne thought she remembered that he had left empty-handed, and wondered, “Where is that club with which Mr. Melville was layng about him so?” Mr. Hawthorne maintained that he must have taken it with him, and indeed a search of the room revealed nothing.  The next time they saw him they asked him what had happened to the club.  It turned out that there was no club; it had simply been a figment of their imagination, conjured up by the vividness of Melville’s narrative.