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“Human Flourishing & the Common Good: Aquinas on Justice”

Jan. 31, 2013
7 p.m. Lecture
Fort Howard Theater, Bemis International Center

Dr. Eleonore Stump
Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy
Saint Louis University

Eleonore Stump is ideally suited to address the theme for the 2012-13 Killeen Chair lecture series: “The Common Good.” 

Eleonore Stump is The Robert J. Henle Professor Philosophy at Saint Louis University, where she has taught since 1992. She has published extensively in medieval philosophy, philosophical theology and metaphysics. Among her books are Boethius’s De topicis differentiis (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1978; second printing, 1989); The Cambridge Companion to Aquinas, (with Norman Kretzmann) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Aquinas’s Moral Theory: Essays in Honor of Norman Kretzmann, (with Scott MacDonald),  (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999); Aquinas, (in the series The Arguments of the Philosophers) (London and New York: Routledge, 2003); and Wandering in Darkness: Narrative and the Problem of Suffering (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). She is past president of the Society of Christian Philosophers, the American Catholic Philosophical Association and the American Philosophical Association, Central Division. 

Many contemporary philosophers make a fairly sharp distinction between the moral good and human flourishing. Even if they are willing to argue for some particular conception of what is morally good or right, they tend to leave questions of the requirements for an individual’s flourishing to the subjective preferences of that individual, and they consider the values involved in human flourishing as disjoint from moral values. 

Aquinas, however, adopted an account of goodness that makes significant demands on individuals for the sake of the communal welfare, but that also ties moral goodness intimately to an individual’s flourishing. Dr. Stump will briefly present Aquinas’s theory of the metaphysical foundations of morality, in order to show the way in which, for Aquinas, moral goodness is a function of a much more broadly conceived goodness. It is an implication of this metaphysical grounding of morality, she argues, that the good of the community and individual human flourishing cannot come apart.

You may search the Mulva Library catalog for a selection of books available by Eleonore Stump. Books are also available to purchase after the lecture and at the St. Norbert College bookstore.