This Philosophy course will be taught by Davenant Teaching Fellow Colin Redemer, and will run from April 11th through June 17th 2022. The syllabus is available here.
In a transhuman age, questions about what “humanity” is have taken on a fresh urgency. What does it mean to be a human subject? How do we account for the ways in which we process the world around us? What does real human “well-being” look like?
This course will address such questions via the philosophy of Aristotle, exploring what modern philosophers call “phenomenology” and “psychology.” Although he is a pagan philosopher, Aristotle’s influence upon St. Thomas Aquinas, has made him uniquely influential in the thinking of the Church, and a proven aid to Christian thought.
Aristotle has shaped the disciplines of psychology and phenomenology profoundly, but had no single work on the subjects. Instead he talks about “the soul” or “sensation”. Students on this course will learn Aristotle like a new language: acquiring the “grammar” of his method, but also speaking it as we make philosophical inquiries. This language is uniquely well suited to inquire into questions of ethics, metaphysics, and phenomenology; and Aristotle himself will help us to know what these subjects are and how we might talk about them.
Ethics, to Aristotle, has to do with character, virtue, and their relation to human well-being. To speak of human well-being, however, we must first understand humans: what in us is merely cultural and what is natural? Such questions lead inevitably to political questions and the question of justice: what is justice? What is it to be just? Is there a difference between “social justice” and justice per se? Put differently, ethics inquires into the nature of the good, both the particular good of individuals and the common good we share between us.
Psychology and phenomenology are studies first and foremost of what we are as inquirers. Philosophy is never fully abstracted from the philosopher and philosophical inquiry is never fully divorced from the all-too-human quest for self knowledge.
The class will be part lecture, part discussion seminar, depending on the particular subject matter and the disposition of the class and instructor. It is part of an ongoing Davenant Hall seminar cycle on the full works of Aristotle; however, students do not need to have taken previous seminar installments to join this class.
Colin Redemer is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Saint Mary’s College of California and Vice-President of the Davenant Institute. He loves teaching on the intersection between History, Philosophy, Literature, and Christianity. His writing has appeared in the Englewood Review of Books, Evansville Review, Sojourners Magazine, The Federalist, and the Tampa Review.
Online only, runs 10 weeks, meeting 2 hr./wk. via Zoom. Students will also have the option to participate in class discussion on the Davenant Common Room Discord server. Register to reserve your spot and schedule will be set after a poll of participating students; if the class time does not fit your schedule, you will be eligible for a full refund.
This is a graduate-level course. Although a BA is not a necessary pre-requisite for this course, students should come prepared to do graduate-level work.