The American Proposition: An Ontological-Theological Inquiry

The American Proposition: An Ontological-Theological Inquiry

JPI 979
3 Credits

This course reflects on what may be termed America’s vision of reality, as expressed in its “way of life”: the “logic” of its institutions and patterns of thinking and acting. An abiding question is whether, or in what sense, we can rightly identify a unity of vision within America’s characteristic claim of pluralism. The reflection will be carried out in dialogue with the “classical” vision found especially in the metaphysics of Aquinas: regarding the intrinsic truth, goodness, and beauty of things (the “transcendentals”), in relation to the first and final cause/end of things (God). The course will ponder the meaning of America as set forth in the classic study of Weber, The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism; and as recently articulated and defended in political-philosophical terms in Reilly’s America on Trial: A Defense of the Founding. Readings from these books will be engaged against the backdrop of America’s founding documents and in light of the metaphysics of St. Thomas (Summa Theologiae, I, De veritate, and the collection of texts gathered by Anderson, An Introduction to the Metaphysics of St. Thomas Aquinas). We will also read D.C. Schindler’s Love and the Postmodern Predicament: Rediscovering the Real in Beauty, Goodness, and Truth. The purpose of the course is to understand America’s vision of reality vis-à-vis that of the classical-Catholic tradition.

Selected Texts


David L. Schindler portrait

David L. Schindler

Edouard Cardinal Gagnon Professor of Fundamental Theology
Dean Emeritus

Since 1982, Dr. Schindler has been editor-in-chief of the North American edition of Communio: International Catholic Review. He has published articles in the areas of metaphysics, philosophical issues in bioscience and technology, gender, and the relation between theology/philosophy and American culture. Professor Schindler was appointed by Pope John Paul II as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity from 2002 to 2007.

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