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THE PROBLEM OF THE CONSTITUTION OF CULTURE IN THE THOUGHT OF KAROL WOJTYLA JOHN PAUL II Aporia Revista 12 2017.pdf

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How did John Paul II / Karol Wojtyla consider the Problem of the Idea of Culture? In order to consider the constitution of culture this article works out in brief outline the problem of "experience" and the problem of the
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  THE PROBLEM OF THE CONSTITUTION OF CULTURE IN THE THOUGHT OF KAROL WOJTYŁA/JOHN PAUL II 1   Dr. John Corrigan    Immaculata University, PA, USA   Resumen:  Este artículo considera el problema de la idea de la cultura humana tal como se desarrolla en el  pensamiento de Karol Wojtyła. Procede a través de los problemas de la ‘experiencia’ y de lo ‘humanum’. Al considerar la constitución de nuestras ideas de una manera relevante para la constitución de la cultura en el mundo, Wojtyła se basa en las filosofías  de la conciencia y las filosofías del ser con el fin de situar estas dos formas de constitución, en su dependencia óntica y praxeológica, de la persona humana. Además, el artículo pretende servir como una introducción a los aspectos menos investigados de la filosofía de Karol Wojtyła y nos anima a considerar si el método wojtyliano de investigación y análisis podría dar lugar a una escuela de filosofía. Descriptores:  Constitución de la cultura · Cultura · Experiencia · Humanum · Óntico-causal · Persona · Parxelógico · Praxis · Principios · Transitivo · Intransitivo · Trascendencia Abstract:  This article considers the problem of the idea of human culture as it develops in the thought of Karol Wojtyła. It proceeds through the problems of “experience” and the “ humanum ”. In order to consider the constitution of our ideas in a manner relevant to the constitution of culture in the world, Wojtyła draws on the philosophies of consciousness and the philosophies of being to  place these two forms of constitution in their ontic and praxeological dependency on the human  person. In addition, the article seeks to serve as an introduction to less investigated aspects of the  philosophy of Karol Wojtyła and encourages us to consider whether the Wojtyłian method of investigation and analysis could give rise to a school of philosophy. KeyTerms:  Constitution of Culture · Culture · Experience ·  Humanum  · Ontic-causal · Person · Praxeological ·  Praxis  · Principles · Transitive · Intransitive · Transcendence 1.  KEY WORKS AND TERMS  The key article in which Wojtyla adresses the constitution of culture began as the opening lecture of a conference in Milan in March of 1977. Wojtyła (1977) p. 263.  It may  be viewed as a culmination of his philosophical themes prior to becoming pope 1   Appeared in Jan. 2017: “THE PROBLEM OF THE CONSTITUTION OF CULTURE   IN THE THOUGHT OF KAROL WOJTYŁA/JOHN PAUL II”,  Aporía. International Journal for Philosophical Investigations, 12 (2017), pp. 39-54.  (Butti glione, 1997, p. 293). Wojtyła  himself classifies it as a presentation of the main themes of his philosophy in abbreviated form. He asks his listeners to consider those remarks in the context of his overall  philosophy and to consider them in the context of two recent papers. The first was on the  personal structure of self-determination while the second was on the relationship between theory and “praxis”. (Wojtyła, 1974; Wojtyła, 1976, TaP). What does Wojtyła mean by “constitution of culture”? In “The Acting Person” and related articles, 2   he uses “constitution” to refer to the constitution of something in consciousness. He does this in keeping with its use in the philosophies of consciousness and phenomenology (Wojtyła, 1969 AP). We could say that in that se nse it has to do more with the subjective processes of the person. In another context we see: “The human being is constituted metaphysically as a being by the  suppositum ” (Wojtyła, 1976). The latter is clearly a different use of the word “constituted” tha n what is used when referring to the constitution of consciousness or constitution in consciousness. Constitution of the human  being by the  suppositum  is formal. It is metaphysical. Such constituting does not refer to dynamisms in consciousness except seco ndarily. In another context, “constitution” has a kind of reciprocal, dynamic nature related to objective and subjective dimensions of self- determination: “(…) on the basis of this  suppositum , the human self gradually both discloses itself and constitutes itself  –and it discloses itself also by constituting itself.” (Wojtyła, 1969 AP, p. 225). The question arises what does he refer to when he suggests “constituting human culture through human  praxis ”? Is he talking about the constitution of the idea of culture in an individual person as in the case of their own subjective processes or is he talking about the constitution of the thing itself  –   human culture? What do these have to do with the constitution of the self or the formal constitution of the human being by the  suppositum , the human person? I think we can say he is speaking of all of these in a way that exhibits an important interplay. That interplay is not accidental. It is not the result of the replacing of substantial claims with an elusive rhetoric. The interplay aims at unlocking the potential for some resolution to the enduring aporia  in contemporary philosophy and currents of thought 2   For example, Wojtyła (1978), pp. 107 -114.  with regards to the constitution of something as idea and thing. 3  I could consider constituting a city with  something, or through   something. Wojtyła chooses through . I can constitute a city with bricks or wood or marble or a combination of these. I can build a city with a number of products. I cannot constitute a city through  bricks or wood or marble. However, I can constitute a city through  a number of means. I can steal, I can conquest or I can employ human labor. Through human labor I can build a city. Similarly, Wojtyła’s use of through  indicates not the products in use but the means, persons and actions involved in constituting a culture. The constitution of the proper idea of culture takes place through the analysis of the human person in action. We see an existential relationship between the idea of culture and the constitution of culture on the basis of our ideas. This is the locus of the problem and its proposed resolution by Wojtyła namely, the  pr  oblem of the subject’s experience of culture and the proper constitution of culture as idea and thing. By virtue of the reconciliation of the objective meaning of human experience in the subject’s experience which he argues more extensively in several earl ier essays and his major work, such a proposal is conceivable. See Wojtyła (1969); (1974); (1969 AP).  For reasons particular to the article on the constitution of culture and as a means to  bring together various considerations on human action, Wojtyła has us consider human action under the term  praxis . What relationship does the word  praxis  have to the constitution of human culture?  Praxis  captures his philosophy of the analysis of human action which makes use of the dual traditions of the philosophy of potency and act and the  philosophies of consciousness; in the context of important current events.  Praxis  as a term is the means to arrive at our insights. It is the manner in which Wojtyła can consider both the subjective and objective aspects of the meaning of human experience. In  praxis  he combines the Aristotelian understanding of “act of man” with a more modern use of  praxis   as “work of man”, works of a specifically external nature. This permits him to unveil the simultaneous revelation of the objectivity and the subjectivity of the person in the unique category of experience found in the experience of self as acting agent. With this in mind 3  I do not intend to suggest a discussion regarding the debate on ideal and real things in this article though, knowledge of this debate and occasional referen ce to it can be found in Wojtyła. I mean instead to reference the struggle regarding the unity of interpretation of the meaning of human experience between the  philosophies of consciousness and the philosophies of being. This is the context in which Wojtył a places the  problem of the idea of human culture.  we should understand his reference to the “experience of man” as that which reveals man as  both the subject and object of action simultaneously. Just before his election as Pontiff, Wojtyła is an influential bishop in communist Poland and an internationally renowned scholar. He argues against atheistic, materialistic Marxism as the proper interpretation of  praxis  in relation to human society and culture. He  brings to our attention that the “forgetfulness of the  suppositum ” within the philosophies of consciousness with which he took issue in The Acting Person  is also present in the forgetfulness of the  subjectum  in the  praxis  of Marxism (Colletti, 1980). Arguably, this forgetfulness is also present in certain theories regarding capitalism which prefer the accumulation of capital and material goods at the expense of spiritual goods and often at the expense of the solidarity of the members of society. Richard John Neuhaus (2000) reminds us that as Pope his criticism of the “defective machinery” in capitalism which leaves some destitute while others have excess was not well received in some western countries. Both theories of  praxis  err in a similar priority of the material over the spiritual. Wojtyła argues that neither the collective organization of labor nor the accumulation of capital is the subject of an economic system. The subject of any economic system must always be man, the human person. Later, he will argue this in a series of encyclicals on work and the social order (John Paul II, 1981; 1987 SRS; 1991). In the case of both errant ideologies the analysis of human action involves replacing the metaphysical aspect of the humanum  with something which fails to adequately account for the transcendence of the  person in action. In the case of Marxism, the metaphysical is replaced with the social. In the case of capitalist materialism, the metaphysical is replaced with any number of transient ends or combination of transient ends. In consumerism, the metaphysical and transcendent are, for the most part, simply ignored as irrelevant. 4  Aside from the specific historical 4   Wojtyła (1977) p. 267, says: “we must radically reassess all formulations that speak of the transformation or modification of the world as the sole purpose of human praxis. More importantly, we must reassess all  programs that view the whole of activity between the poles of production and consumption. While not denying the fundamentality of these categories as poles of economic thought, and even their great usefulness given appropriate assumptions, we must be careful in this way of thinking and speaking not to allow the human being to become an epiphenomenon and, in a sense, a product. If culture is to be constituted through human praxis, we cannot agree to such an epiphenomenal, economistic, or productionistic view of the human  being and human action. We must ensure in this thought the priority of the human being both in the metaphysical and in the praxiological sense. Only with a strictly defined way of understanding human praxis can we speak of the consti tution of culture through it.”    circumstances we see broader philosophical implications unfolding the role of  praxis . For Wojtyła,  praxis   which is often used to refer to “work” as a species of human action still refers to actus humanus  as the genus category, by that I mean it is first and foremost a spiritual activity of a person and the spiritual activity of the person acts as a co-extensive experience of the spiritual nature of the person even if this experience is not so much demonstrable through abstract reasoning as it is inducible through that experience. Far from intending a circular demonstration of the spiritual soul of man, Wojtyła invites us to consider the universality of the experience of the person as spiritual and experienceable  in spiritual activity; a fact which if true is no more obvious by its co-extensive nature as an aspect of our essence than is knowledge of the inner workings or our organs and body prior to studying them. Any analysis of the processes of consciousness must always entail these  pre-considerations. It is through the analysis of the person in action that we may come to a more complete understanding of the subject the human person in both its objective and subjective dimensions. This implies an epistemolo gical stance on the part of Wojtyła which is relevant yet provocative to much of contemporary philosophy. That epistemological stance entails the conviction that human action, in its various manifestations and dimensions are interrelated and serves as a means by which to reconsider the topic of  praxis and culture. Human action possesses an intrinsic window to objectivity on the basis of the objectivity of the person acting (Wojtyła, 1977, p. 266).  Praxis must be understood axiologically as being rooted in the metaphysical subject, the  suppositum , the human person; and  praxeologically  must be taken as reducible to the human being as actor. It is through  praxis  that the human being realizes itself, creates itself, and fulfills itself. While it is true that the human person needs and makes use of material causes for human perfection and fulfillment, it is also true that such a condition is itself not the reason, meaning or purpose of human action. It is on the basis of this understanding of  praxis   that Wojtyła wishes us to consider culture as a connatural reality in relation to the human being. It is in this sense that he can speak of the person as the ontic-cause of human culture as well as the subject and object of human culture, that is the subject engaging in action and the object of the action in the self-fulfillment of the one (and collectively of those) acting (Wojtyła, 1977, pp. 265 -267). We can also speak of   praxis  as possessing a two-fold dimension as human action
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