Josef Pieper (German: ['pi:p?]; 4 May 1904 - 6 November 1997) was a GermanCatholicphilosopher and an important figure in the resurgence of interest in the thought of Thomas Aquinas in early-to-mid 20th-century philosophy. Among his most notable works are The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance; Leisure, the Basis of Culture; and Guide to Thomas Aquinas (published in England as Introduction to Thomas Aquinas).
Life and career
Pieper studied philosophy, law and sociology at the universities of Berlin and Münster. In Münster, in 1933, Pieper became - as Kurt Flasch has demonstrated - a "trailblazer of Nazism" ("Wegbereiter des Nationalsozialismus"). After working as a sociologist and freelance writer, he became ordinary professor of philosophical anthropology at the University of Münster, and taught there from 1950 to 1976. As professor emeritus he continued to provide lectures until 1996. With his wife Hildegard, he translated C.S. Lewis's The Problem of Pain into German (Über den Schmerz, 1954) with an afterword, "On Simplicity of Language in Philosophy". A symposium to celebrate his 90th birthday was held in Münster in May 1994, with the papers read there published as Aufklärung durch Tradition ("Enlightenment through Tradition") in 1995. In 2010, a symposium was held in Paderborn on "Josef Pieper's and C. S. Lewis's View of Man", with papers published in Wahrheit und Selbstüberschreitung ("Truth and Self-Transcendence").
His views are rooted primarily in the Scholasticism of Thomas Aquinas and in the teachings of Plato. In 60 years of creative work as a philosopher and writer, Pieper explicated the wisdom tradition of the West in clear language, and identified its enduring relevance.
In 1981 Pieper received the Balzan Prize in Philosophy; in 1987 he was awarded the State Prize of the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen. In 1990, he received the Ehrenring of the Görres-Gesellschaft.
Select publications in English
Leisure, the Basis of Culture. Translated by Alexander Dru. With an introduction by T. S. Eliot. London: Faber and Faber, 1952. (Originally Muße und Kult. München:Kösel-Verlag, 1948). New translation by Gerald Malsbary. South Bend: St. Augustine's Press, 1998. ISBN1-890318-35-3.
The Four Cardinal Virtues: Prudence, Justice, Fortitude, Temperance. Notre Dame, Ind., 1966. ISBN978-0-268-00103-2. Translations originally published separately, Fortitude and Temperance translated by Daniel F. Coogan (1954); Justice translated by Lawrence E. Lynch (1955); and Prudence translated by Richard and Clara Winston (1959).
Enthusiasm and Divine Madness. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1964. (Originally Begeisterung und Göttlicher Wahnsinn). Reissued South Bend: St. Augustine's Press, 2000. ISBN1-890318-23-X
In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1965. (Originally Zustimmung zur Welt). Reissued South Bend: St. Augustine's Press, 1999. ISBN1-890318-33-7
Death and Immortality. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Herder & Herder; London: Burns & Oates, 1969. (Originally Tod und Unsterblichkeit. Munich: Kösel-Verlag, 1968.). Reissued South Bend: St. Augustine's Press, 2000. ISBN1-890318-18-3
Hope and History. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Herder & Herder; London: Burns & Oates, 1969. ISBN0-223-97699-7.
On Hope. Translated by Mary Frances McCarthy. (Originally Über die Hoffnung). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986. ISBN0-89870-067-1.
No One Could Have Known: An Autobiography - the Early Years 1904-1945. Translated by Graham Harrison. (Originally Noch wusste es Niemand). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987. ISBN0-89870-131-7.
In Defense of Philosophy: Classical wisdom stands up to modern challenges. Translated by Lothar Krauth. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1992. ISBN0-89870-397-2 (Originally Verteidigungsrede für die Philosophie. Munich: Kösel-Verlag, 1966).