Maritain, Jacques (zhäk märētăNˈ) [key], 1882–1973, French Neo-Thomist philosopher. He was educated at the Sorbonne and the Univ. of Heidelberg and was much influenced by the philosophy of Henri Bergson. He was originally Protestant, but became a Roman Catholic through association with Léon Bloy and devoted himself to the study of Thomism and its application to all aspects of modern life. Maritain opposed what he regarded as the modern tendency to disown the proper function of reason; he valued philosophy highly and posed the "metaphysics of existence," the study of being, as the highest type of human intellectual activity. He urged Christian involvement in secular affairs, a view that greatly influenced members of the Second Vatican Council. Maritain was French ambassador to the Vatican (1945–48) and taught in France and the United States. His works include The Degrees of Knowledge (1932, tr. 1937); True Humanism (1936, tr. 1938); Art and Scholasticism (1920, tr. 1929); Man and the State (1951); On the Use of Philosophy (1961); and The Peasant of the Garonne (1966, tr. 1968).
See studies by J. W. Evans, ed. (1963) and J. W. Hanke (1973).
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