Aspen Leadership Seminar “Philosophy and Practice” 2024

(11-14 April, 2024)




  THURSDAY, 11 April


From 3:30 p.m.                Arrival of participants and registration


Venue: Gut Klostermühle, Mühlenstraße 11, 15518 Briesen (Mark), Alt Madlitz


In between                       Time for leisure 

Gut Klostermühle is located right on the rim of a small lake in the middle of the woods. You can use this time to discover the landscape or enjoy the hotel’s spa and fitness facilities. 


7:00 p.m.                         Welcome dinner (Klostermühle)




FRIDAY, 12 April 


  7:00 a.m.                        Morning stretch at the lake (optional)


From 7:30 a.m.               Breakfast (Finckenlounge)


9:00 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.    SESSION I: HUMAN NATURE


We begin with different ideas of what it means to be human and the effect of those ideas on society and government.


Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, Book I and X (selections)  

Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince, Chs.  8, 15, 17, 18          

                                          Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, Chs. 13-15, 17 (selection)

Immanuel Kant, Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals, Ch.2 (selections)

Judith Jarvis Thomson, The Trolley Problem (selection)


12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m.    Lunch (Klosterscheune)


1:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.      Walk around the lake          


  3:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.     SESSION II: INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIETY


Our assessment of human nature bears directly on the way in which we structure our personal lives and our communities.


                       Ursula Le Guin, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas  

How I Lead – Voicing My Values
         Small-group exercise      


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.     Free time – spa or other

8:00 p.m.                       Dinner (Klostermühle)



SATURDAY, 13 April


  7:00 a.m.                        Morning stretch at the lake (optional)


From 7:30 a.m.               Breakfast (Finckenlounge)


9:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.    SESSION III: POSSIBILITIES OF ORDER


Over the centuries, we have evoked various political and moral principles for creating order and the good society.


  Plato, The Republic, Book VII (selection)  
Nel Noddings, Starting at Home: Caring and Social Policy, Intro. 
Friedrich von Hayek, The Road to Serfdom, Chs. 3, 5, 8 (selections) Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital, Ch. 7 


12:30 p.m. - 1:45 p.m.   Lunch (Klosterscheune)


2:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.     SESSION IV: LIMITS OF RULE


Over two millennia, no work of art has captured more succinctly the ethics and limits of power than Sophocles´ play Antigone. 


Sophocles, Antigone   


6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.     Free time – spa or other

8:00 p.m.                        Dinner (Klostermühle)



                                         SUNDAY, 14 April


From 7:30 a.m.              Breakfast (Finckenlounge)


9:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.  SESSION V:  LEADERSHIP


                   We end with versions of leadership, combining seminal texts with personal reflection on our own challenges as leaders. 


Confucius, Analects, (selections)  
Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from Birmingham City Jai
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “The Danger of a Single Story” (video and transcript)


Seminar check-out

     12:45 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.  Farewell lunch (Klosterscheune)