The ideas of personalism are actively covered on the pages of peer-reviewed scientific and philosophical journals and religious press published on all five continents. The idealistic picture of the world is considered in the framework of TV shows, documentaries and videos shown on scientific and educational channels.
Is aт idealistic religious trend in modern philosophy that considers personality as the primary reality and the highest spiritual value, and the world as a manifestation of the creative activity of the supreme personality of God.
In the 30s of the 20th century, the French version of personalism was formed (E. Mounier, J. Lacroix).
We can talk about four world schools of personalism in detail – Russian, German, American and French. To a certain extent, philosophical anthropology has epistemological roots similar to personalism.
Personalism is closely related to theism. Central to personalism is the concept of personality, which is understood not as a real human personality, but as the “primary element” of being, a spiritual essence that is characterized by activity, will, self-consciousness. Nature, according to personalism, is a set of spiritual persons, which is crowned by the supreme personality of God.
All material personalists consider it as a consequence of the creative activity of the individual or as something that becomes important only when it is included in the experience of the individual. Although personalism is basically a kind of objective idealism, there are subjective-idealistic elements in it, especially manifested in the interpretation of the process of cognition, where the leading place belongs to individual consciousness, the evaluation ability of an individual. The personalists pay considerable attention to the problems of the relationship between the individual and society, spiritual and material culture, which they solve from the standpoint of liberal Christianity. Personalism develops ideas about the hostility of the individual and society, characteristic of existentialism.
Some representatives of personalism, such as Mounier, criticize capitalism, advocate social (economic and spiritual) renewal of society. However, they reduce this process to moral self-improvement, spiritual renewal of the personality.
The main social task, according to personalism, is to “awaken the individual”, not society.
According to personalism, if a person aspires to God, or, which is the same thing, to goodness and perfection, they are on the right path. Moral self-improvement, proper moral and religious education lead to a society of harmonious personalities. A person becomes a person in the process of communication, active dialogue with other people. Hence the importance of communication as involving people in the transformation of the world.
The philosophy of personalism focuses on religious and moral issues. In order not to harm the omnipotence, wisdom and goodness of God, the personalist declares the self-limitation of the will of God, which gives his creations freedom of choice as a gift that gives them the opportunity to be accomplices in doing good. Divine self-restraint is embodied in personalistic ethics in the restriction of the will of God through the freedom of people as a cardinal ethical principle.
In addition, self-restraint performs the function of “theodicy”, that is, God’s justification from the evil prevailing in the world, conditioned by the freedom of choice granted to man by God.
Biography of the creators
Borden Parker Bowne (1847-1910) was an American philosopher and methodist theologian, founder of American personalism, professor (1876-1910), dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and head of graduate studies at Boston University.
William Ernest Hocking (1873 – 1966) was an American philosopher and professor at Harvard University. The founder of American idealism.
Mounier Emmanuel (1905-1950), French philosopher, founder of personalism. He studied philosophy at the universities of Grenoble, then the Sorbonne. Studied with Ramon Aron. For several years he taught at private schools and a lyceum. He was acquainted with Gabriel Marcel and Nikolai Berdyaev. In 1932, he began publishing the magazine “Esprit”, having decided to give up his academic career. In 1935 he published a collection of his articles “The Personalist and Communitarian Revolution”. The essay “From capitalist property to human property” is devoted to the social program of personalism. During his military service, in 1939 he was captured by the Germans. After his release in 1941, he resumed publishing the magazine “Esprit”. In January 1942, Mounier was arrested on charges of organizing the underground movement “Combat”. After the trial, the philosopher lived under an assumed name until the end of the war. His main works were published after the end of the Second World War. One of them was called “Personalism” (1949). E. Mounier died on March 22, 1950 from a heart attack.
The main opponent of personalism is collectivism, where the personality is levelled and dissolved in the mass.
Year of creation
The concept of “personalism” has Latin roots: persona – personality.
It is believed that the term “personalism” was first used by F. Schleiermacher in “About religion. Speeches to the educated among their despisers” (1799).
However, the concept of “persona” was used in the ancient era to denote the social role of the individual. In the Middle Ages, Thomas Aquinas introduced the term “personalites” (“an individual of a reasonable nature”).
In Modern times, I. Kant interpreted this concept in his own way, he distinguished the concepts of “Person” (“person”), “Personalität” (“intellectual instance”, “consciousness”, “transcendental subject of thought”) and “Persönlichkeit” (“personality”), proving that “person” in in the course of “personalization”, it is able to become a “person”, freely performs a moral duty.
The immediate theoretical source of personalism is the monadology of G.W. Leibniz as the doctrine of spiritual substances possessing energy and existing in harmony with each other and God, as well as the views of R.G. Lotze and G. Teichmuller.
The personalists themselves appeal to their ideological predecessors to Socrates, the Stoics, Augustine, B. Pascal, J.G. Fichte, S. Kierkegaard, P.J. Proudhon, M. Scheler, A. Schopenhauer and other philosophers.
However, personalism itself emerged at the end of the XIX century in the USA. Its main representatives were B.P. Bowne, W.E. Hocking, E.S. Brightman and others.