Monday, April 22, 2013
On Friday, at Notre Dame Law School, I had the pleasure of participating in a really interesting interdisciplinary roundtable-conference, which was generously organized by Prof. David Opderbeck of Seton Hall (and, this semester, of Notre Dame). One of the presentations was by (and several of the discussion-sessions were about) Christian Smith, who presented the basic argument of his fascinating book, What is a Person? Rethinking Humanity, Social Life, and the Moral Good from the Person Up (Chicago 2010). How cool, to write -- and to pull off! -- a book with that title.
Not to give too much away, but . . . a person is "a conscious, reflexive, embodied, self-transcending center of subjective experience, durable identity, moral commitment, and social communication who -- as the efficient cause of his or her own responsible actions and interactions -- exercises complex capacities for agency and intersubjectivity in order to sustain his or her own incommunicable self in loving relationships with other personal selves and with the nonpersonal world." It's critical realism, personalist theory, antinaturalistic phenomenological epistemology, and Charles Taylor about social structures, human dignity, and the good. Wow!