The Personalist Project

Philosophy of the Human Person

Jules van Schaijik

Spring 2008


519 N. High St., West Chester, PA

Class sessions

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
Person and Community
The Human Person in Relation to God


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.

More about the class

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).