CLAFI is founded on the following principles:
- That an educated citizen in a democracy should have a sound understanding of the history of free institutions and their underlying principles.
- That a central purpose of a university is to assist and encourage students, faculty, and others to confront basic questions of the meaning of life, the nature of the cosmos and of human society, and the principles of right and wrong. Study and appreciation of history, literature and other arts, philosophy, religion, and social science are of value for their own sakes and are also integral to consideration of these basic questions.
- That the study of great works and achievements of western and other civilizations, not uncritically but with the presumption that we have much to learn from our greatest forerunners, is a valuable if not indispensable means of education directed toward the principles of free institutions and the fundamental questions we face as individuals.
In short, that higher education entails the pursuit of what is true, what is good, and what is beautiful.
Although UCLA has always contained innumerable faculty and students committed in varying degrees to these principles, the pressure for specialization in a great research university sometimes pushes educational and research activity in other directions. CLAFI exists to provide a home for faculty, students, alumni, and others in the surrounding community who share our principles and wish to give them greater emphasis in their own education and research.
CLAFI hopes to pursue these goals through various means, including sponsored courses for UCLA students and various public events. We hope that CLAFI will become an informal home for interested students, faculty, and members of the community that would like to participate in occasional activities, lectures, seminars, discussion groups, performances, and whatever else we and you can think of.