432 – Modernity: The Triumph of Human Reason or the Reign of Godlessness?

Term: April 3 – May 1
Class Time: Mondays, 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. ET
Credits: For-credit and Not-for-credit
Instructor: Thaddeus Kozinski

To some, modernity is just the way things are now–and we should be grateful–for Western man has finally progressed from the superstitious, irrational, freedom-suppressing and ruler-serving medieval age of scholasticism, priestcraft, and feudalism to the full human flourishing and equality of secular, technologically advanced liberal democracy. To others, modernity is to be lamented, for it is nothing but the corpse of a glorious Christendom where the truth and love of God once reigned. Severely wounded in the Enlightenment by the sword of dehellenization and the poison of nominalism, and strangled to death by atheism and secularization in the twentieth century, godless secularism now reigns supreme. But are such categorical evaluations adequate to the complex reality of modernity? Charles Taylor tells us: “We have undergone a change in our condition, involving both an alteration of the structures we live within, and our way of imaging these structures. This is something we all share, regardless of our differences in outlook.” No doubt, there has been a change in our condition in modernity, but what exactly is the nature of this change? In this seminar, we will try to answer this question together by studying selections from four of the most influential and profound philosophers of modernity: Charles Taylor, Alasdair MacIntyre, D.C. Schindler, and René Girard.