By IHE Grad Fellow Gillian Richards
With the first semester of the Master’s in Human Rights program almost complete, one theme in particular has stuck with me: the absolute inviolability and dignity of the human person—a dignity derived, fundamentally, from the fact that we have rational souls—the reflection of the Divine in each man.
This idea of rationality and image-bearing of the Divine is a recurring theme in each of our classes. Every class—from Natural Law & Natural Rights to Bioethics—sheds light on this reality in its own unique way. Each professor has his own unique insights into the human person, yet each vision complements the other. In this way, the ideas we are learning in each class, far from conflicting or contradicting each other, coincide with one another in such a way that they create a unified picture.
One example of this is in our class “The Person and the Common Good,” in which Dr. David Walsh lays out a phenomenological view of personhood, inspired by thinkers ranging from John Paul II to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. The readings and discussions in this class have laid the philosophical foundations for broader questions of rights and duties. I’m grateful for the opportunity to learn from scholars and peers about such issues, which I believe are of both metaphysical and practical importance.