THE END OF MAN IN JACQUES MARITAIN’S CHRISTIAN PHILOSOPHY
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This essay considers man’s perennial search for the meaning of life, specifically in its philosophical (Aristotelian) formulation namely as the pursuit of happiness, and how Christianity radically redefined the issue. Jacques Maritain began his philosophical analysis on the basis of Aristotle’s analysis because he regards Aristotle’s position as the finest fruit of reason even though it fails. Maritain’s analysis supplements Aristotle’s with man’s experience of the Incarnation and the Christian’s experience of faith, hope, and charity. Jesus promised the good thief “Today thou shalt be with me in paradise” (Luke 23:43) and thereby identified God as man’s objective end. Jacques Maritain’s reflection employs rational concepts drawn from reason and theological concepts taken from theology, adequately considered the issue, and constitutes a Christian philosophical treatment of the end of man.
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