Journal for Christian reflections in the context of social sciences and humanities

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Natural Law and Integral Humanism by J. Maritain: Teaching Challenges
Svobodová Zuzana
The article examines (based on an analysis of texts of an important French thinker) the concept
of natural law and humanism in order to offer inspiration to today’s formation of man.
This is an analysis of Maritain’s work, especially in the field of political philosophy (Integral
Humanism and the Crisis of Modern Times, Christianity and Democracy, Man and the State, The
Peasant of the Garonne: An Old Layman Questions himself about the Present Time), philosophy
of education (Education at the Crossroads, Philosophy and Education, Education and the Humanities,
Moral and Spiritual Values in Education, The Crucial Problem of the Education of the Human
Being, Pour une philosophie de l’éducation), and religious philosophy (The Range of Reason, Religion
and Culture). A concrete example of the Human Rights Teaching Programme shows that
Maritain’s philosophy of education and his stimuli for education can be inspiring for current
teachers and other workers in the helping professions who aspire to cultivate humanity, and
not only for them. Jacques Maritain considered education to be an art, that is, an activity
that is not an animal’s training. The main goal of education, according to Maritain, is to bring
man towards freedom through knowledge and wisdom, good will and love. The author of
the paper questions the possible deeper theoretical foundations of integration in education,
the role of the Christian-educator in contemporary society, and the possibilities and limits of
human rights education. Based on the humanistic tradition (in the case of Maritain’s work,
it is inspired mainly by the work of Thomas Aquinas) and selected current educational documents,
the presented text offers concrete examples of good practice and suggestions for
social educators, educators, teachers, or parents, that is, for those who are involved in the
process of education.

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