The Future of Liberalism: Relativism Confronts St. Augustine

Apr 19, 2018
Harper Memorial Library 130
1116 East 59th Street
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Stephen Fields, SJGeorgetown University

  • The Future of Liberalism: Relativism Confronts St. Augustine
  • Fr. Stephen Fields, SJ - Interview

Free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the Theology Club at the Divinity School.

The future of political liberalism is a topic much discussed in recent scholarly books and popular journals. This lecture will integrate the recent argument of Patrick Deneen in Why Liberalism Failed, beginning where the book leaves off by addressing the following question: If it is true, as many have argued, that liberalism has become morally corroded, then can reasonable people still make a case for our continued cooperation with it? Discussing thinkers like Richard Rorty and John Rawls, this lecture will critically examine efforts to ground contemporary liberalism in relativist views of goodness and truth. These views will be brought into dialogue with St Augustine's reflections on Rome. It will thereby develop a perspective on how Catholics should coexist with liberalism, which retains value as a political framework.

Professor Fields also led a master class seminar on "Karl Rahner's Distinctive Theology of the Symbol" on Saturday, April 21.

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Stephen Fields, S.J. is the Hackett Family Professor in Theology in Georgetown University, where he has taught since 1993. He holds the PhD from Yale in the philosophy of religion and the STL in fundamental theology from the Weston School of Theology (now the School of Theology and Ministry, Boston College). He has written Being as Symbol: On the Origins and Development of Karl Rahner’s Metaphysics (2001), and Analogies of Transcendence: An Essay on Nature, Grace and Modernity (2016), and edited a collection of essays on the thought of Benedict XVI for a special Festschrift edition of Nova et Vetera (English edition) (2017). His articles appear in a range of international journals, both philosophical and theological. His undergraduate students elected him as the twelfth recipient of the Dorothy M. Brown Award for excellence in teaching. He now directs the Lumen Christi Institute’s annual summer seminar for graduate students on John Henry Newman.