Man and the State

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CUA Press, 1998 - Philosophy - 219 pages
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"Of time-transcending value, this book is probably the most succinct and clearest statement of Thomistic political theory available to the English-language reader. Written during his exile from war-torn Europe, Man and the State is the fruit of Maritain's considerable learning as well as his reflections on his positive American experience and on the failure of regimes he closely encountered on the Continent."--Jude P. Dougherty, The Catholic University of America

"The lectures that were the basis for Man and the State were delivered at the University of Chicago at a time when Maritain was still in the first enthusiasm of his participation in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He devotes particular attention to the concept of rights, since, historically, rights theories were fashioned to supplant the natural law theory to which Maritain as a Thomist gives his allegiance. Maritain provides an ingenious and profound theory as to how natural law and natural rights can be complementary. For this reason alone it remains a fundamental contribution to political philosophy, but it is filled with other gems as well. Was Maritain too optimistic in his appraisal of modernity? Or have we unjustly lost the optimism that was his? Man and the State is an invitation to rethink the way we pose the basic questions of political philosophy."--Ralph McInerny, Jacques Maritain Center, University of Notre Dame




ABOUT THE AUTHOR



Jacques Maritain (1882-1973), distinguished French Catholic philosopher and writer, was the author of more than fifty books. A preeminent interpreter of the thought of Thomas Aquinas, Maritain was a professor of philosophy at the Institut Catholique de Paris, Columbia University, and Princeton University. He served as French Ambassador to the Vatican from 1945 to 1948.


CONTENTS


1. The People and the State


2. The Concept of Sovereignty


3. The Problem of Means


4. The Rights of Man


5. The Democratic Charter


6. Church and State


7. The Problem of World Government

 

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User Review  - keylawk - LibraryThing

Mauritain (1882-1973) is an important lettered French author of books on political science and Thomist theology, and these are lectures he gave in Chicago after WWII. The surprise is the amount of ... Read full review

Contents

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1
II
28
III
54
IV
76
V
108
VI
147
VII
188
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About the author (1998)

T. S. Eliot once called Jacques Maritain "the most conspicuous figure and probably the most powerful force in contemporary philosophy." His wife and devoted intellectual companion, Raissa Maritain, was of Jewish descent but joined the Catholic church with him in 1906. Maritain studied under Henri Bergson but was dissatisfied with his teacher's philosophy, eventually finding certainty in the system of St. Thomas Aquinas. He lectured widely in Europe and in North and South America, and lived and taught in New York during World War II. Appointed French ambassador to the Vatican in 1945, he resigned in 1948 to teach philosophy at Princeton University, where he remained until his retirement in 1953. He was prominent in the Catholic intellectual resurgence, with a keen perception of modern French literature. Although Maritain regarded metaphysics as central to civilization and metaphysically his position was Thomism, he took full measure of the intellectual currents of his time and articulated a resilient and vital Thomism, applying the principles of scholasticism to contemporary issues. In 1963, Maritain was honored by the French literary world with the national Grand Prize for letters. He learned of the award at his retreat in a small monastery near Toulouse where he had been living in ascetic retirement for some years. In 1967, the publication of "The Peasant of the Garonne" disturbed the French Roman Catholic world. In it, Maritain attacked the "neo-modernism" that he had seen developing in the church in recent decades, especially since the Second Vatican Council. According to Jaroslav Pelikan, writing in the Saturday Review of Literature, "He laments that in avant-garde Roman Catholic theology today he can 'read nothing about the redeeming sacrifice or the merits of the Passion.' In his interpretation, the whole of the Christian tradition has identified redemption with the sacrifice of the cross. But now, all of that is being discarded, along with the idea of hell, the doctrine of creation out of nothing, the infancy narratives of the Gospels, and belief in the immortality of the human soul." Maritain's wife, Raissa, also distinguished herself as a philosophical author and poet. The project of publishing Oeuvres Completes of Jacques and Raissa Maritain has been in progress since 1982, with seven volumes now in print.

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