Skip to main content

What it means to be a Human Person – Part 1 - Introduction

I would like to discuss some ethical issues, such as abortion, marriage, etc. However, I realize that unless I lay down a foundation for these discussions, I will be simply voicing my opinion. Frequently we discuss ethical issues without ever asking the more basic questions of what it means to be a human person. (Behind this question there are some questions that are even more basic, such as, what is a nature, what does it mean to exist, and is there a common nature that all humans share or is there some other way of understanding the similarities that we see between humans? Some of these questions may be answered along the way.) 
It seems that in order to decide whether it is right or wrong for a human person to act in a certain way, or to develop a certain character, we must first know what it means to be a human person. In light of this fact, we will spend some time, in the following posts, discussing what it means to be human. (Some of what I have to say comes directly from my Master's Thesis.) I would like to delve deep into these questions so that when we have finished we will have laid a foundation for objective moral values, and not just opinions. Once we have laid these foundations we will be able to discuss the moral issues that we are confront us on a daily basis.

Follow the links below to access each of the following parts of this blog series:
Part 2 - Where to Start
Part 3 - Important Terms
Part 4 - Thinking Empirically
Part 5 - Mans Place in the Spectrum of Living Things
Part 6 - The Philosophy of Human Nature
Part 7 - Is a Human Person One?
Part 8 - Human Characteristics
Part 9 - The Human Person and Change
Part 10 - Hylomorphism
Part 11 - Defining Matter
Part 12 - Naturalisms "Matter" is Void of Content
Part 13 - The Thomistic Definition of Matter

Popular posts from this blog

How Kant’s Synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism resulted in Agnosticism

Immanuel Kant, presented with the extreme empiricism of Hume and the extreme rationalism of Liebniz, which he discovered through the writings Wolff, sought to take a middle road between these two extreme philosophical positions. I would submit that Kant’s synthesis of these two views leads to an agnosticism about what Kant called “the thing-in-itself”, and ultimately to the philosophical positions known as Atheism, determinism, and nihilism.

Kant’s Sources
First of all, Kant was influenced by Hume’s empiricism and Newton’s physics. He saw that the physical sciences, in contrast to rationalistic metaphysics, were actually making advances. They were making discoveries, and building a system of knowledge that accurately described the world of our sense perceptions. Rationalistic metaphysics, on the other hand, was floundering amidst the combating systems that the philosophers were erecting. It did not provide new knowledge, and only led to unacceptable conclusions, such as the Absolute Mon…


Leisure: The Basis of Culture & the Philosophical Act. Josef Pieper. Translated by Alexander Dru. 1963. Reprint, Ignatius Press, 2009. 143 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58617-256-5.
            This book is composed of two articles written by the German philosopher Josef Pieper. Though the two articles are intimately connected, they form two distinct works; as such, this book review will begin by giving a brief introduction to the works in question, followed by and exposition of each of the works individually. The two articles that are included in this book, Leisure: the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act, were both published in 1947, and, as such, were written during the cultural crisis in Germany that followed the Second World War. Not only did Pieper have the cultural crisis in mind when he wrote these articles, but he was also writing in light of the works of the most well-known German philosopher of the time – Martin Heidegger. As such, any reader who is familiar with Heidegg…


I don’t propose to attempt any sort of reply to Martin Heidegger in this article. The purpose of this article is to explain Martin Heidegger’s thoughts, as they are found in the book, Identity and Difference. Martin Heidegger is a difficult thinker to understand, and requires a lot of work to fully appreciate his arguments. My primary goal in this article is to introduce the reader to two very important articles written by Heidegger, and, I hope, to properly explain Heidegger’s views on Being and beings.
            This book is composed of two articles written by Martin Heidegger and translated with an introduction by Joan Stambaugh. The first article, The Principle of Identity, is “the unchanged text of a lecture given on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the University of Freiburg im Breisgau, for the faculty day on June 27, 1957.”[1] The second article The Onto-theo-logical Constitution of Metaphysics, is “the explication that concluded a seminar during the wint…