This course will be a study in philosophical anthropology, focusing on Thomas Aquinas, on the one hand, and Hegel on the other. Aquinas represents a culmination of the classical Christian tradition, and Hegel is one of the few modern thinkers who sought, not to replace the classical tradition, but to embrace it and carry it forward in the light of new developments. One of the reasons Hegel is especially interesting is because of his efforts to integrate a specifically Trinitarian conception of spirit into our understanding of human nature, though, as we will see, he arguably does so at the cost of eliminating a radical difference between God and man. Our aim in this course will be, first, to come to an understanding of these two thinkers through a careful reading of their primary texts, and, second, to compare the positions they take on such themes as: the relationship between the soul and body, the nature of the powers of the soul (senses, intellect, and will), the relationship between the individual and the community, and the relationship between man and God. In the first half of the semester, we will begin with a reading of De Lubac’s seminal essay on the Tripartite Anthropology in patristic thought, and then turn our focus to Aquinas’s "Treatise on Man" from the Summa Theologiae. In the second half we will study Hegel’s Philosophy of Spirit, giving special attention to the social dimension of human existence ("objective spirit"), which Hegel elaborates in his Philosophy of Right.
Course Texts for Spring 2017
- Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, prima pars and prima secundae (any non-expurgated edition is fine. Recommended: ISBN 978-1602065536 and ISBN 978-1602065550)
- Hegel, Philosophy of Mind (Oxford, ISBN 1971), 0-19-875014-5
- Hegel, Elements of the Philosophy of Right (Cambridge, 1991), ISBN 0-521-34888-9