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Understanding the Person

Essays on the Personalism of Karol Wojtyła


Grzegorz Hołub

The book deals with the philosophy of the human person as worked out by Karol Wojtyła. It presents a number of fundamental issues necessary to understand Karol Wojtyła’s personalism. Thus, first it undertakes Wojtyła’s move from the philosophy of the human being to the philosophy of the human person; second, it presents Wojtyła’s epistemological approach to the person against the background of other philosophies concerned with the human person; third, it describes the metaphysical structure of the person; four, it analyses the person’s selected faculties (consciousness, emotions); five, it presents some aspects of the action of the person (a person’s causation, or their role in dialogue); and finally, it tries to sketch the problem of personal dignity.

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The personalistic philosophy is not a matter of the past. It has its stouch supporters and adherents, and – what is more important – it has its own role to play today in solving vital problems and dilemmas. That is why we need not only to deepen a personalistic thinking as to its inner coherence and theorethical soundness but also to consider how it can be applied to deal with a growing number of contemporary problems in personal and social spheres of life. There are many signs proving that personalism is adequately prepared for such challenges.1 Although personalism represents an open project, which can and should be further refined and developed, it already possesses a great potential to deal with many problems that arise in our communities and societies.2

On the account of what has been done in this book, we can claim that Wojtyła’s personalism is an interesting project of the person3 and has its own strong sides. Hence, it is important to bring them out and acknowledge their validity. Its main achievement is that it avoids extremes and takes ←177 | 178→ strong points both from the realist and idealist philosophical traditions. The philosopher knew how to draw on resources of both traditions and use them for the sake of better exploration of the personal reality. In this methodological strategy, Wojtyła is primarly focused on the person itself and borrows various ideas and concepts to bring out and clarify its complexity and richness. However, he should not...

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