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Villanova University Inaugurates Civitas Dei Medal Recognizing Exemplary Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Inaugural recipient Alasdair MacIntyre, professor emeritus at the University of Notre Dame, known for his contribution to the history of philosophy, moral philosophy, political theory, and the philosophy of religion


VILLANOVA, Pa. – In his seminal work, City of God (De Civitate Dei), St. Augustine articulates a distinctive commitment to intellectual engagement between the Church and the world. He created communities focused on the search for truth in unity and love, while respecting differences and the complexities of Catholic intellectual thought. With the Civitas Dei Medal, Villanova University seeks to recognize Catholics who through their work have made exemplary contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition and have shown particular commitment to the pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness.

The inaugural Civitas Dei Medal will be awarded to Alasdair MacIntyre, professor emeritus, University of Notre Dame on Sept. 27 at 4:30 pm in the Villanova Room of The Connelly Center. The event is free and open to the public. A short panel presentation by Villanova faculty will be followed by a lecture from Professor MacIntyre entitled “Catholic Rather than What?”

“The scope of the Catholic intellectual tradition stretches over two millennia and extends beyond theological and philosophical traditions to include literary writings, art, design and scientific contributions,” said Barbara Wall, PhD, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Villanova University. “By inaugurating the Civitas Dei Medal, Villanova University honors this tradition and those who have made significant contributions to it, and seeks to inspire others to continue the enrichment of the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

“As an Augustinian Catholic University, we see the relevance of St. Augustine’s wisdom and direction to us in the world today and the Civitas Dei Medal retrieves his quest with a vision and faith in what this world can become,” added Wall. “Villanova is thrilled to honor Professor Alasdair MacIntyre for his significant contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition.”

Professor MacIntyre is the Rev. John A. O’Brien Senior Research Professor of Philosophy (emeritus) at the University of Notre Dame. In a career spanning six decades, he has published over 30 books and hundreds of articles and reviews – making significant contributions to the history of philosophy, moral philosophy, political theory, the philosophy of the social sciences, and the philosophy of religion. His early works include Marxism: An Interpretation (1953), The Unconscious: A Conceptual Analysis (1958), A Short History of Ethics (1966), and Against the Self-Images of the Age (1971). The influential sequence of books, After Virtue (1981), Whose Justice? Which Rationality? (1988), Three Rival Versions of Moral Enquiry (1990), and Dependent Rational Animals (1999) constitute the most important contemporary articulation of Aristotelianism and a sustained critique of modern moral philosophy. More recently, he has published an examination of the philosophical work of Edith Stein set against the background of twentieth century phenomenology, Edith Stein: A Philosophical Prologue, 1913-1922 (2005), two volumes of his collected papers, The Tasks of Philosophy and Ethics and Politics (2006), and God, Philosophy, Universities: A Selective History of the Catholic Philosophical Tradition (2009).

Professor MacIntyre received his BA from Queen Mary College, University of London and MA degrees from Manchester and Oxford. He has held academic appointments at Oxford, Princeton, Brandeis, Wellesley, Boston University, Yale, Vanderbilt, and Duke. Professor MacIntyre is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Member of the American Philosophical Society. In 2010, he was awarded the Aquinas Medal by the American Catholic Philosophical Association.

Panel Discussion:

Peter Wicks, St. Catherine of Siena Fellow, Ethics Program, Villanova University
“MacIntyre and Moral Philosophy”

John Doody, Robert M. Birmingham Chair in Humanities and Professor of Philosophy, Villanova University
“MacIntyre and Political Theory”

Thomas Smith, Anne Quinn Welsh Endowed Chair and Director of the University Honors Program and Associate Dean, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Villanova University
“MacIntyre and Catholic Higher Education”

Michael Moreland, Vice Dean and Professor of Law, Villanova University
“MacIntyre as Teacher”

Presentation of the Civitas Dei Medal:

Alasdair MacIntyre, Rev. John A. O’Brien Senior Research Professor of Philosophy (emeritus), University of Notre Dame
“Catholic Rather than What?”

About Villanova University: Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others.  There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University's five colleges – the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.