Perspectives III, Horizon of the New Social Sciences

Six credits philosophy
Six credits social sciences

Perspectives III aims to show how secular man of modern times has attempted through the social sciences to work out concretely the new political, intellectual and institutional structures that will provide meaning and stability for a this-worldly existence as other-worldly goals have progressively provided less and less illumination and determination for modern living. No longer looking to God or an institutional church for ultimate values and goals, Western man has found it increasingly necessary to devise and develop those new disciplines that would provide a new understanding of governance, law and other social and economic relationship to replace the understanding and guidelines that in past centuries were supplied by the Torah and the church.

Civil order having been thus established on a secular basis, a new material prosperity; the new science of law, which owes little or nothing to medieval conceptions; and, finally, the new science of sociology that proposes to understand social life in all its varied manifestations.

One of the issues the students encounter is the great church-state debate of the late medieval and early modern period. This often fills a gap in the students' education, since they are typically unaware that there is a religious, indeed an ecclesial, subtext to the great political debates and movements of the modern world. In the course of reading authors such as Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Marx, we not only stress the importance of the church-state issue, but the way Christian conceptions of freedom and dignity of the individual inform modern self understanding.

Reading List