The videos for this course provide an introduction to the thought of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas on the topic of human nature. Once thought to be the centerpiece of philosophy, the study of human nature has fallen on hard times in the contemporary intellectual milieu. And yet everywhere in contemporary society we are presented with urgent practical questions--about rights and duties, about cloning, about gender and so-called multiculturalism, and about the very meaning and destiny of human life--that cry out for a return to the investigation of human nature. While this course will not attempt to address these practical questions, many of which are part of moral philosophy, it will seek to recover one of the most important and most satisfying accounts of human nature in the history of philosophy. In order to underscore the distinctive features of that account and to test its veracity, we will examine texts not only from Aristotle and Aquinas but also from rival philosophers like Descartes, Hobbes, and Kant.
Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Volume I, edited by Anton Pegis (Hackett Publishing: 1997).
Classics of Western Philosophy, 4th edition, edited by Steven Cahn (Hackett Publishing: 1995).
Veritatis Splendor, John Paul II (St. Paul Books and Media: 1997).
N.B.: All the selections from Aquinas can be found in Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and all the selections from other philosophers, including Aristotle, can be found in Classics of Western Philosophy.