The Roots of Catholic Phenomenology

JPI 987

Phenomenology has been one of the main philosophical movements of the 20th and 21st Centuries, and has occupied the attention of Catholic thinkers from the beginning.  The purpose of this course is, on the one hand, to reflect on the project of phenomenology as it was formulated by its founder, Edmund Husserl, at the beginning of the last century, and as it was developed in its “realist” and ethical direction by Max Scheler.  On the other hand, the class will explore the reception of this approach to philosophy in its early and realist form by certain Catholic philosophers: Edith Stein, Dietrich von Hildebrand, and Karol Wojtyla.  The aim is to reflect on both what it is in phenomenology that has attracted Catholic thinkers and what has proved to be an obstacle to a full integration into a Catholic vision of the world.  One of the regular themes of the course will be a comparison between phenomenology and more traditional metaphysics as an approach to philosophical reflection on God, the world, and the meaning of man.

Course Texts for Spring 2015

  • Husserl. The Crisis of European Sciences and Transcendental Phenomenology: An Introduction to Phenomenological Philosophy (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1970).
  •  Husserl, Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy (New York: Torchbook, 1965).
  • Scheler. Formalism in Ethics and Non-Formal Ethics of Values: A New Attempt Toward the Foundation of an Ethical Personalism (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1973).
  • Stein, Knowledge and Faith (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2000). Compendium of readings (available through University Readers)
  • Course compendium, including essays from Karol Wojtyla and a text by Dietrich von Hildebrand.

3 credits

Associated Faculty

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