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The Philosophy of the Human Person

Taught by Jules van Schaijik, Spring 2008

At the center of today’s deepest and most divisive controversies lies the question about the nature and dignity of the human person: What does it mean to be a human person? How must we treat others and ourselves to respect our personhood? What must we do in order to thrive as persons? This course addresses these fundamental questions. It is in deliberate continuity with the perennial philosophy (i.e. thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Augustine, and Aquinas) but draws mainly from more recent thinkers (Newman, Pieper, Wojtyla, Hildebrand, Crosby) because they are better attuned to the particular concerns and questions of contemporary man.

When: Jan 14, Jan 28, Feb 11, Feb 25, Mar 10, Mar 24, Apr 7, Apr 21
Where: 519 N. High St., West Chester, PA

Topic for each class:

  • The Unique Selfhood and Inner Life of the Human Person
  • The Person's Capacity for Truth
  • The Challenge to be Good
  • Recovering the Heart
  • Body and Soul
  • Immortality
  • Person and Community
  • The Human Person in Relation to God

Tentative list of readings*:

  • Selections from John F. Crosby, The Selfhood of the Human Person
  • C.S Lewis, Abolition of Man
  • Josef Pieper, Leisure the Basis of Culture
  • Victor E. Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
  • Plato's dialogue on the question of immortality, Phaedo
  • Selection from Karol Wojtyla, Love and Responsibility
  • Two or three sermons of John Henry Newman
  • Selection from Romano Guardini, World and Person
  • Selection from Dietrich von Hildebrand, The Heart

* A definite list will be published well before the beginning of the course. Students can expect to be assigned no more than about two hours of reading between sessions (i.e. one hour per week).

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