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2920 Gorman Drive, Irving, TX 75062

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Dr. Mark Spencer, associate professor of philosophy at University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, will be giving a talk on Thursday, March 30 at 5 p.m. in Braniff 201. 



The Christian and classical philosophical tradition has long debated how to define human nature. One strand of this tradition defines us as rational animals; another strand defines us as incarnate spirits. Each definition builds upon and expresses a distinct set of fundamental experiences. Many current debates about human beings are generated between accounts that focus on one set of experiences or the other, including debates about the foundation of the natural law, the relation between nature and grace, and the personhood of the separated soul. Building on my book The Irreducibility of the Human Person: A Catholic Synthesis, I propose a method for moving beyond these debates, synthesizing the experiential and metaphysical claims of each side. On this method, aesthetics is taken to be the fundamental philosophical discipline: things, including human beings, are seen as fundamentally understandable in terms of beauty, and definitions and metaphysical claims are understood to be primarily perception-guiding. As a result of this method, a more holistic definition of human nature as a kind of beauty is proposed.

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