In his 1940 publication, Scholasticism and Politics , Jacques Maritain asserts
that "the modern world has sought good things in bad ways; it has thus compromised the search for authentic human values, which men must save now by an intellectual grasp of a profounder truth, by a substantial recasting of humanism." In the essays that follow, Maritain explores the cultural and philosophical dimensions of this claim and sketches an outline for addressing what he famously calls the "crisis of modern times." The answer is a new humanism that appropriates the important insights of modern thought, but which is also grounded in the classical tradition that reaches its full philosophical development in the thought of Thomas Aquinas. It is a humanism that acknowledges the dignity of both man's body and his soul, and which does not close his soul off to the transcendent.
The authors of Human Nature, Contemplation, and the Political Order:
Essays Inspired by Jacques Maritain's Scholasticism and Politics carry
Maritain's philosophical and cultural insights into the twenty-first century. They do so by exploring Maritain's understanding of the human soul with particular emphasis upon Maritain's extremely thoughtful critique of Freud. Others investigate the moral and political dimension of Maritain's thought by bringing him into dialogue with modern figures as diverse as Niccolò Machiavelli, Elizabeth Anscombe, and Pope Benedict XVI. Still others develop the modern significance of and connection between Maritain's humanism and the Thomistic identification of human happiness with contemplation.