Ongoing Reflections on the Human Person

    In my course, we are finishing Augustine, having looked at the will of the human person.  His analysis of what strengthens the will versus what weakens the will is, to my mind, extremely thought provoking.
    We are starting Thomas Aquinas, and looking at his argument for the subsistent soul.  I am curious whether that can be refashioned into a compelling argument for the 21st century.
    We’ll then do Descartes–the birth of the “self” and subjectivity, and the turn toward the ego.
    Then Hume: the self is just a “bundle” of perceptions, he says.  It’s not a lasting, persisting substance.  Really?  Yes, he says, if all of reality is only that which can be perceived.  Empiricism dissolves the enduring self.
    Then Kant: the Copernican Revolution–phenomena being the result of a conformity to our mode of apprehending reality, rather than our intellects conforming to reality as it really is.  The loss of the thing in itself, the self included.
    Then Nietzsche: The “I” is really a construct of morality.  Societies need to be able to punish and admonish people.  The “I” is simply a construct of the series of phenomena that we can deem “an entity,” “an enduring substance.”
    If it were an upper level class, I’d want to get into Heidegger and post-modernism.  I’ve been reading a bit on that recently.
    Then we treat modern natural science: we are a bundle of atoms, sub-atomic particles.  We are nothing but that which is physical and measurable.  Can that really be so?
     I present about five arguments against that position.  I would like to find about 10 more, and publish them altogether.
     Personalism: the inner self, the mystery and dignity of the human person.  The philosophical underpinning of human rights.  The Catholic intellectual tradition trying to spare us another holocaust.