The Person in Society: Active and Relational
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This paper is a three-part examination in philosophical anthropology that reflects the curricular framework of my Program II major, "Markets, Society, and Personalism," which focuses on the consequences of a society's working account of the human person for its cultural, economic, and political structure and ethos. The first part is an exploration of the philosophical anthropology known as Thomistic personalism, which combines a metaphysical account of the human person grounded in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas and W. Norris Clarke, S.J. with the philosophy of personal action and community of St. Karol Wojtyla. The second part traces the roots of the utilitarian Enlightenment anthropologies of John Locke, Jeremy Bentham, and John Stuart Mill and aims to expose their shortcomings, especially as they concern the existential, relational, and moral dimensions of the human person. The third part turns to the economic arena and assesses the vastly different understandings of the nature and meaning of economic action that flow from the Thomistic personalist and utilitarian anthropologies. In Part Three, the thesis draws primarily from the thought of Adam Smith and the social teaching of Pope St. John Paul II for its analysis. Ultimately, the paper concludes that the Thomistic personalist anthropology provides a vastly superior account of the nature of the human person, the meaning of the moral life, and the means by which the person relates to others in community.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers