Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association

Volume 92, 2018

Philosophy, Catholicism, and Public Life

John G. Brungardt
Pages 223-240

Is Personal Dignity Possible Only If We Live in a Cosmos?

The Catholic Church has increasingly invoked the principle of human dignity as a way to spread the message of the Gospel in the modern world. Catholic philosophers must therefore defend this principle in service to Catholic theology. One aspect of this defense is how the human person relates to the universe. Is human dignity of a piece with the material universe in which we find ourselves? Or is our dignity alien in kind to such a whole? Or does the truth lie somewhere in between? The metaphysics of creation properly locates the human being in the universe as a part, ordered to the universe’s common good of order and ultimately to God. Human dignity is possible only in a cosmos; that this is concordant with modern scientific cosmology is briefly defended in the conclusion.