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The Myth of Autonomy

May 12 2016 4:30—6pm
Swift Hall, Common Room
1025 E 58th St,
Chicago, IL 60637
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Douglas Farrow

McGill University

Modernity and post-modernity share an evolving notion of autonomy, conceived along nominalist lines,
that runs counter to earlier concepts of human freedom developed by the likes of Irenaeus and Anselm.
Persona creatus is today displacing homo gratus, both culturally and politically. What is at stake in
this evolution? Fundamental theology, obviously, and anthropology too. Perception of the body as well,
together with the legislation or policies by which we try to reinforce our sense of autonomy and our
claims to ‘dignity’ in the sphere of the body. So what if this sense is mistaken? What if we have autonomy
wrong? Professor Farrow’s public lecture will ask us to think again about autonomy.

Douglas Farrow is Professor of Christian Thought and current holder of the Kennedy Smith Chair in Catholic Studies at McGill University in Montreal. He taught formerly at King's College London. Among his recent books are Ascension Theology (T&T Clark 2011) and Desiring a Better Country: Forays in Political Theology (McGill-Queens 2015).