Happiness, Life, Liberty (A Catholic View)
Keywords:Life, liberty, happiness, philosophy of revelation, phenomenology, history of ideas, catholicity
Happiness, life and liberty are central terms in the history of philosophy. At the same time, they belong to the core of Christianity. We find these key terms already in the New Testament and we also find that reflections on these terms have defined their meanings in new ways throughout the centuries. I show the way how the original meanings have gradually changed. In contemporary reflections, we find interesting attempts to reform the traditional meanings, in which the influence of the natural sciences and twentieth century philosophies (such as phenomenology, existentialism, Marxism and post-modernism) have proven to be decisive. Christianity-oriented philosophies in contemporary academia, such as those of Michel Henry or Jean-Luc Marion, offer versions of these thoughts. The main defect of the traditional understandings may be seen simply their isolationist approach, that is to say, their approach to consider these terms as unrelated to one another. My own solution finds the common structure in the reality of revelation and considers life, liberty, and happiness as moments only insufficiently grasped by traditional approaches.
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