Christendom students are now learning how to achieve human greatness in their own daily lives, thanks to philosophy professor Dr. John Cuddeback’s course titled “Family and Household.” An upper-level philosophy class, “Family and Household” introduces students to a scholastic understanding of our most intimate relationships according to the thought of Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas — an understanding that is especially urgent today.
The question of what constitutes a “good” family or household is debated back and forth by modern philosophers and media pundits, with the great wisdom of Aristotle, St. Thomas, and others often being ignored in favor of more progressive ideas. Cuddeback’s course seeks to correct that for students, offering them an outlet for fruitful study, reflection, and discussion according to the greatest minds of Western Civilization.
“I have always loved where philosophy and daily life intersect — that is what moved me to write my first book on friendship. The wisdom of Aristotle, St. Thomas, and others can make a dramatic difference for our most intimate relationships, if we are willing to make the effort to study carefully, and then implement what we learn — the philosophy of family and household is no different,” says Cuddeback, who is also the chairman of the philosophy department at Christendom.
“Our great tradition has the insights that can transform our daily lives, our homes, and our society—if we are willing to do our part,” he says.
Over the course of a semester, students investigate how the human good is sought and achieved within the context of the household, with special emphases on the different personal relations that constitute a household, the great virtue of domestic prudence, and the “economic” practices of the family, including a philosophy of “work.”
They learn these truths through their readings, but also through class discussions — a luxury at Christendom, thanks to its size. Every student is encouraged to pose questions to the professor and their peers, considering the important points of “Family and Household” and how they might be practically implemented in their own lives.
“What does nature teach us about the differences between man and woman, and their complementarity? How should motherhood best be characterized? What is the end of marriage? How can we try to re-establish our homes as places of production and not just consumption? The conversations we have in the classroom are passionate and urgent; I will not forget them. I don’t think the students will either,” says Cuddeback.
“Family and Household” is one of many philosophy courses taught at Christendom, introducing students to wisdom and providing them with the ability to integrate the liberal arts by showing their relation to each other and to philosophy and theology in an organized view of reality.
Find out more about the philosophy courses offered at Christendom at christendom.edu.