Dr. Catherine Deavel to speak at UST Law School event tomorrow
Dr. Catherine Deavel, assistant professor, Philosophy Department, will speak on “Work, Action and Vocation in the Thought of Hannah Arendt and Edith Stein” from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, March 28, in Room 235, School of Law Building, Minneapolis campus. Dessert will be provided.
This talk is sponsored by the University of St. Thomas School of Law Women ’s Law Student Association, in conjunction with the UST School of Law Worship Committee.
About Deavel’s talk
What is meaningful human activity? In considering this question, Hannah Arendt distinguishes among labor, work and action.
Labor is the set of activities, generally physical and repetitive, by which humans sustain their biological lives. In contrast, work changes the world around the human and aims at the production of a new and relatively lasting object, which is the proper end of the activity. Humans produce the world of artifice and culture through work.
Finally, action is the expression of human freedom, a person’s ability to make new beginnings and to distinguish themselves from others. In answer to the same question, Edith Stein turns to the idea of vocation. She argues that a person can consider the vocation of women, despite differences among individuals and commonality among humans. She claims that women (and men) tend to develop certain skills as well as certain virtues (and vices) more easily.
In comparing these two positions, Deavel will focus on the following question: Is it possible, as Stein’s claims seem to imply, that human beings can give meaning to their activities, even to repetitive activity aimed primarily at the necessities of biological life, if this activity is approached as vocational?