Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Maritain: "Democracy of the person"

THE subject treated in this chapter is, truly speaking, the fundamental subject of all social and political philosophy. But, at the same time, I must admit that it is an extremely difficult subject, and one which, in the beginning at least, is unavoidably arid.

Whence this aridity? It is due to the fact that it is impossible to discuss such matters without first embarking upon rather abstract philosophical considerations concerning individuality and personality—two notions which are usually confused and whose distinction I consider to be highly important.

After attempting to explain how man is as a whole an individual and also as a whole a person, and how at the same time the focus of individuality is quite different from that of personality, I will consider the applications of this distinction, especially in social matters. Lastly, I shall conclude by saying, that 'humanism of the individual' and democracy of the individual, in which the nineteenth century had placed its hopes, must be replaced to-day—if we want to save civilization—by humanism of the person and by democracy of the person.

~Jacques Maritain: Scholasticism and Politics, Chap. III, 'The Human Person and Society.'

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