L. Joseph Hebert, Jr. Be Still and See Leisure, Labor, and Human Dignity in Josef Pieper and Blessed John Paul II In two classic essays, written in 1947 and published together in English translation under the title Leisure, the Basis of Culture,1 the German Roman Catholic philosopher Josef Pieper argues that the source of human dignity is found in leisure, a sphere of life free from work. He warns against recent philosophic and social tendencies that would reduce all human affairs to work, punctuated only with occasional necessary periods of rest or recreation. He claims that the very survival of Western civilization depends upon an explicit and public restoration of respect for a realm of human endeavor transcending the notion of utility. Grounding his argument in what he sees as a venerable and self-consistent tradition of philosophy and theology--epitomized in the works of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas, and undermined in key parts by modern philosophers such as René Descartes, Francis Bacon, and Immanuel Kant--Pieper understands his position to be harmonious with that of the Catholic Church's social magisterium, whose famous efforts to defend the dignity of labor he interprets as demanding not so much
Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture – Logos: Journal of Catholic Thought & Culture
Published: Mar 30, 2013
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