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This course intends to familiarize the students with the debates and contributions of the main philosophical scholars and theories which have developed through history from the time of Greek Sophists through the XX century. Based on the Aristotelian assumption that man is a by nature a political animal, the course intends to give ultimate answers to questions such as how material goods should be distributed; on what basis people should possess property; what are the justified reasons why some people have more properties than others; why political power has to exist; what kinds of governments are acceptable; what does it determine the correct balance between authority and autonomy; what is the right balance between private and common good; what are the justified limits to my/your freedom.
There are many different definitions of Social Political Philosophy (SPP): the political can be defined as social decision making; philosophy is the most general form of inquiry that is the attempt to say what it is true and why. It is a normative discipline: SPP tries to establish norms, rules and ideal standards, how the social and political life should be. Different from Political science, which is the art of governing people, the discipline and the practice of assuring the “common good” of a certain society. Different from Social Sciences, which are descriptive disciplines which try to know the social facts and to find connections between them.
Part I: Historical contributions on social political thought
The Sophists: philosophy goes public; Plato’s Republic; Aristotle’s Politics; Cicero: Ius Gentium; Patristic era, St. Augustine: “De Civitate Dei”; St. Thomas on Natural law; Marsilio: “Defensor Pacis”; Machiavelli: The Prince; The Protestant reformation, Luther & Calvin political thought; Hobbes, Locke on Social Contract; Rousseau: Human nature and society; Montesquieu: Separation of powers; Tocqueville: Democracy in America; Adam Smith: The Wealth of nations; John Stuart Mill: On Liberty; Marx’s Critique of capitalism; Freud: Civilization and its discontents; Dostoyevsky’s Grand inquisitor; Hitler’s Nazism & Mussolini’s Fascism; Gandhi use of Power
Part II: Contemporary social political issues
Theories of Justice & distribution of property; Rights & Freedom; Natural law and social political philosophy; Justifications of the State, forms of Government ; Environment, Individualism, Multiculturalism, Feminism, Civil movements in a globalized world.
Leo Strauss, History of Political Philosophy, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1990
W.L. Mc Bride, Social and Political Philosophy, Paragon House, New York, 1994
Wolff, An Introduction to Political Philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996
Santoni, & J. Sommerville, Social and Political Philosophy, Anchor Books, NY, 1963
Globalization has also demonstrated the grave problems arising from human individualism, such as destruction of the rainforests and the concentration of wealth, food consumption and energy use in a few countries to the detriment of the rest. Francis and Bonaventure were interested in creation not as a matter of curiosity but as the basis of spirituality, as a ladder to God. Can we today find a ladder to God through the Franciscan approach to matter?
In this course we will examine their contribution (together with a reference to Maximus the Theologian) of how today’s challenge for Christians today is to look for the traces of God in the world revealed by modern science, and to see in this world a reflection of the dynamic Trinity held in unity by love instead of putting Christianity faith and science in an adversarial relationship.
Franciscan insights into a holistic view of the natural world has long been recognized and, indeed, is central to the intuitive vision of Francis of Assisi. The brother/sisterhood of creatures, intrinsic worth and goodness of the cosmic order, innate qualities of ‘beauty’ and harmonious juxtaposition characterized by relationship are all centred on the perception of a kind of radical image-likeness that extends, not only to humanity, but to the entire natural (and supernatural) order of being. In a way uncompromisingly true to the insight of the Founder, Bonaventure articulates a theology of Creation that encompasses the best that the newly positive ethos of his 12th/13th century milieu could offer within the very specific context of the Franciscan tradition.
This course will examine aspects of Bonaventure’s work pertaining to creation extending from the broad milieu encountered in his thirteenth-century context to specific, key, areas of his speculative thought. Always grounded in scripture, the Seraphic Doctor, nevertheless, employs an impressive array of intellectual and affective tools in order to articulate a theology/spirituality of creation that extends from an integrated metaphysics to careful consideration of the many particulars that comprise the natural world; centred on, and deriving, both existence and meaning from the truism that God is, indeed, Love.
The name which designates the book has not always been the same through the centuries. The name « Tobiah » in English or « Tobie » in French comes from the Latin Vulgate which gives the same Latin name, Tobias, to the father and the son. It has been used in the past decades but is generally no longer in use.
The Creed (divided in 12 parts) I. Introduction II. I believe – we believe III. In one God, the Father Almighty IV. The Maker of Heaven and Earth V. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ VI. By the power of the Holy Spirit he was incarnate… VII. For our sake He was crucified… VIII. He rose again on the third day… IX. He ascended into heaven… X. He will come again in glory to judge… XI. I believe in the Holy Spirit… XII. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church Conclusion
The principal aim of the course will be to furnish an appreciation of Johannine literature as Good News, with particular reference to the theological perspective of the author. The course will further aim at providing a basic familiarity with, and a critical assessment of, contemporary critical thinking on the Johannine writings, particularly the Gospel of John. To this end, the course will treat the main theological and Christological themes firstly of the Gospel. Particular attention will be given to the themes of Temple, Light, ans Life in the Book of Signs. The book of Glory will be similarly considered in the light of a comparative study with the Passion Narrative of the Synoptics.
This course is divided into six sections. The first section – What is Philosophy? – deals with the problems surrounding any definition of the discipline and looks at various ways of thinking about it. The second section – Why Study Philosophy? – distinguishes some general types of reasons, and then examines reasons for studying philosophy. Section three looks at the relationship of philosophy to theology. It distinguishes different ways in which they might relate, and gives a historical survey of that relationship. Section four – Main Areas of Philosophy – introduces the main branches of the subject and gives a preliminary account of them. Section five, Presocratic Philosophy, looks at the earliest Greek philosophers and at how philosophy developed from myth. It examines two key issues: the problem of ‘appearance and reality’ and the problem of ‘the one and the many’. The final section introduces the student to Socrates. It presents the life and death of this iconic figure and examines the political intrigue surrounding his death and his own account of his philosophical vocation.
More than fifty years have passed since the opening of the Second Vatican Council, a pastoral Council; which, according to Pope John XXIII, had the concern, “that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be guarded and taught more efficaciously.” The Council itself opened many doors and tried to present a renewed way of living the faith, it launched a call for holiness.
In its (dogmatic) constitutions, decrees and declarations, many important issues were treated;including the understanding of communion, collegiality, revelation, ecclesiology, Mariology, liturgy, the relation between the world and the Church, the role of the consecrated life, as well as the relation towards other religions. The joyful call voiced by the participants of the Council has not been easy to realize.
Soon after the end of the Council, a real struggle arose about the way to interpret the points proposed by the Council. The hermeneutic question became the key question for an authentic understanding. According to Pope Benedict XVI, the problems in its implementation arose from the fact that there were two contradictory hermeneutics which quarreled with each other. The hermeneutic of the so called “discontinuity and rupture”, has caused confusion, splitting the Church; the other “hermeneutic of reform” has brought many fruits. Therefore, the question of the right interpretation became one of the most important issues.
In its opening, this course offers an overview of the most important documents and goals of the Council. It throws light on the most essential topics, based on the letter of the documents themselves. The second part will be dedicated to the hermeneutic issue, the question of how to interpret and to value the different documents. Furthermore, it offers a perspective which can become the key for the new evangelization.