The ‘Acting Person’ As ‘Dependent Rational Animal’
For Aquinas, human beings are rational in an animal way, and animal in a rational way: how might this mesh with discoveries in neurophysiology and in animal and human psychology?
Human beings are by nature both transcendent and vulnerable. For Aquinas, that apparent paradox actually goes with our unique place in the cosmos. He sees the Fall as adding further dimensions to our natural dependence on God and each other. What might this imply for the theology of Original Sin and the philosophy of human nature and freedom?
Aquinas agrees with Augustine that we retain God’s image as a vocation to communion with God. Is it also a vocation towards responsible integrity and healing friendship?
To explore such issues and perspectives:
- The Aquinas Lecture in 2017 was on “The Intellectual Animal”, and the Seminar Series on “Agency in Human Beings and Other Animals.”
- A conference jointly sponsored with the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues in 2017 focused on “Healing Friendship: Human and Divine”.
- The Seminar Series in 2018 focused on “God and the Metaphysics of Human Action”.
- The Seminar Series in 2019 will focus on “The Good of Human Interdependence”.
- A joint conference will be held in 2020 with The Centre for the Thought of John Paul II on Marriage as an Image of the Holy Trinity.
- The Director of the Institute is working on a book How Far Did We Fall? Original Sin and Human Dignity.
- The Director proposes to work on a book on The Human Being as Image of the Holy Trinity.
- Dr Peter Hunter is working on a book of the history of the concept of free will.
- Professor Michael Sherwin is publishing On Love and Virtue: Theological Essays.
- Professor John Finley is working on a project “Male and Female He Created Them: What Science and Philosophy tell us about Gender”, funded by the John Templeton Foundation as part of their Science in Seminaries Program.