Personalist Papers

Personalist Papers

John F. Crosby
Copyright Date: 2004
Pages: 285
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  • Book Info
    Personalist Papers
    Book Description:

    In Personalist Papers, John F. Crosby continues the discussion of Christian personalism begun in his highly acclaimed book, The Selfhood of the Human Person.

    eISBN: 978-0-8132-2039-0
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-x)

    • CHAPTER 1 A Neglected Source of the Dignity of Persons
      (pp. 3-32)

      Christians claim that persons have an incomparable worth, or dignity, because persons are created and redeemed by God. Paul Ramsey once forcefully asserted this theonomy of human persons by saying that our dignity as persons is extrinsic; it is rooted not in what we intrinsically are but rather in how God relates to us. He was making the point that Christians need not be too fastidious about the exact moment of the beginning of each new human person; since persons have their dignity not just from what they are in their own right but much more from what they are...

    • CHAPTER 2 The Empathetic Understanding of Other Persons
      (pp. 33-63)

      I propose to study some aspects of empathy in dialogue and debate with Max Scheler’s great book, Wesen und Formen der Sympathie.¹ In particular I want to show the role of our own experiencing in coming to understand another person empathetically. Even though I depart from Scheler in developing a position on the role of our own experiencing in empathy, this paper is hardly imaginable apart from my encounter with his seminal thought on empathy and sympathy. In the last part of this paper I move beyond Scheler to consider the solidarity that is presupposed for empathy. In doing this...

    • CHAPTER 3 The Personal Encounter with God in Moral Obligation
      (pp. 64-92)

      In the present paper I try to make a contribution towards a personalist philosophy of religion.

      With his “The Natural Law Doctrine of Suarez,” William May¹ continues a critique of Suarez which apparently originates in Germain Grisez and which has been recently developed by John Finnis.² I propose to take my point of departure from one particular point that is insisted upon by all three of these authors. They all reject the claim of Suarez that the binding force of moral obligation ultimately derives from a divine command. I think that they thereby fail to do justice to something that...

    • CHAPTER 4 Conscience and Superego
      (pp. 93-112)

      A personalist philosophy is bound to be particularly concerned with doing justice to conscience. It is widely understood that when some question affects us strongly in our conscience, we quicken as persons. We enter into the inner sanctuary of our personhood when we work through some question of conscience. We violate ourselves as persons when we compromise ourselves in some matter of conscience. We show respect for others as persons by abstaining from any coercion in all that concerns their own judgments of conscience. We need not waste many words on the special place that conscience has among the themes...

    • CHAPTER 5 The Estrangement of Persons from Their Bodies
      (pp. 113-127)

      “God does not care what we do with each other’s bodies; He only cares whether we treat each other as persons.” With this utterance an American feminist succeeded in giving succinct expression to a certain personalist sensibility: the supreme moral norm is to respect persons, and bodily actions derive all their meaning from the presence or absence of such respect. At first glance this may seem to be akin to the personalism so often expressed by John Paul II, and expressed quite memorably in 1980 when he said in an address (October 8), to the consternation of many, that the...

    • CHAPTER 6 Person and Consciousness
      (pp. 128-142)

      My antagonist in this paper is Locke, who reduced “person” to “personal consciousness,” holding that there can be no person in the absence of any conscious personal life, that is, of any willing, understanding, feeling, grieving, rejoicing, despairing, hoping. I will begin by speaking as a Catholic believer in objecting to Locke’s reductionist thesis. Then I will proceed to offer an argument for the irreducibility of person to consciousness that believer and non-believer alike can understand. A subplot in this paper is showing what follows from this irreducibility for the question whether the human embryo is a person. I begin...


    • CHAPTER 7 Max Scheler on Personal Individuality
      (pp. 145-173)

      In his deep and significant study of the thought of Max Scheler (1874–1928), Hans Urs von Balthasar writes that “the realm of the personal was Scheler’s innermost concern, more important to him than anything else, the sanctuary of his thought.”¹ This is why Scheler again and again aligned himself with personalism in philosophy, as we can see from the introduction to his major work, Formalism in Ethics:

      The most essential and important proposition that my present investigations would ground and communicate as perfectly as possible is the proposition that the final meaning and value of the whole universe is...

    • CHAPTER 8 Max Scheler on the Moral and Religious Solidarity of Persons
      (pp. 174-193)

      Richard John Neuhaus once said, “The great question, it seems to me, in the abortion debate—I’ve argued this for years—is not ‘When does life begin?’ When life begins is not a moral question. It is self-evident to all sane people on grounds of undeniable empirical scientific evidence. But the great question is who belongs to the community for which we accept common responsibility….”¹ This caught my attention, for it was very challenging to me; I had always opened in abortion discussions with the personhood of the embryo, and here was Neuhaus saying that the real center of gravity...

    • CHAPTER 9 Dietrich von Hildebrand on the Fundamental Freedom of Persons
      (pp. 194-220)

      How is it possible knowingly and deliberately to do wrong? With a view to answering this question I will turn to the German phenomenologist, Dietrich von Hildebrand (1889–1977) and will call attention to a highly original contribution of his and will try to retrieve it from the state of neglect in which it presently lies. I conclude by articulating the fundamental freedom of human persons that emerges from von Hildebrand’s account of deliberate wrongdoing.

      I take my point of departure from the undeniable fact that we human persons are entirely capable of doing some wrong in the full awareness...

    • CHAPTER 10 John Henry Newman on Personal Influence
      (pp. 221-242)

      In the course of explaining the origins of the Oxford Movement in his Apologia Pro Vita Sua (1864), John Henry Newman (1801–90) complains of his friend, Palmer, an ally in the Oxford Movement:

      … nor had he any insight into the force of personal influence and congeniality of thought in carrying out a religious theory… [For Palmer the] beau ideal in ecclesiastical action was a board of safe, sound, sensible men…. I, on the other hand, had out of my own head begun the Tracts; and these, as representing the antagonist principle of personality, were looked upon by Mr....

    • CHAPTER 11 Karol Wojtyla’s Personalist Understanding of Man and Woman
      (pp. 243-264)

      Karol Wojtyla had a special affinity for the love between man and woman from the very beginning of his priestly ministry. In his Crossing the Threshold of Hope, he writes: “As a young priest I learned to love human love [by which he means the love between man and woman]. This has been one of the fundamental themes of my priesthood. If one loves human love, there naturally arises the need to commit oneself completely to the service of ‘fair love,’ because love is fair, it is beautiful.”¹ And Wojtyla not only possessed this special affinity for the love between...

  6. Bibliography
    (pp. 265-270)
  7. Index
    (pp. 271-274)
  8. Back Matter
    (pp. 275-276)