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(An Introduction)
Philosophy of the Human Person I Classroom Lecture Discussion Patrick Henry I. Balmaceda

Definition of Philosophy
Etymological Definition
philo or philien which means love sophia which means wisdom or knowledge Love of wisdom or knowledge It was Phythagoras, an Ancient Greek philosopher, who coined the word philosophia or philosophy

Traditional Definition
Defined as the science of all things or beings in their ultimate cause and principle known by human reason alone. Why a science? Because it is a body of knowledge derived from reasoned demonstration of causes and reduced into a system. Not based on mere opinions or hypotheses. The science of all things or beings because it studies all things or realities which can be reached by the human mind. It tries to understand the underlying reasons and causes of things. It tries to explain the fundamental essence or nature of reality.

It is a science of all things or beings in their ultimate causes and principles known by human reason alone because it based its knowledge solely on man s reasoning power and not on authority or faith.

Benefits from studying Philosophy

a. Philosophy enables us to systematize all important knowledge in the domain of reason. b. Philosophy guides us in distinguishing truth from error and in searching for the truth. c. Philosophy provides us with the ability to analyze and the intellectual eye to see things not only as they are, but also the underlying causes and meaning of things around us or happen around us. d. Philosophy gives us insights about our nature as human beings, it helps us understand better ourselves and help develop or improve ourselves.

Philosophy starts with wonder and by posing the question why.

Brief History of Western Philosophy

The History of Western Philosophy may be divided into major periods namely:





Ancient Philosophy
6th century B.C. to 592 A.D Started with the Ancient Greeks
Considered to be the first philosopher of the West The Ionians started to wonder about nature, about the world and asked a simple question: What is the basic element of the world? Thus started the philosophical enterprise

The Ancient Greek philosophy with its corresponding philosophers is divided into three sub periods :
Pre-Socratic Thales of Miletus Phythagoras Heraclitus Anaximenes Anaximander Anaxagoras Sophists Socratic Period Socrates Plato Aristotle Post-Socratic Period Epicurus (Epicureanism) Zeno of Citium (Stoicism) Pyrrho (Scepticism) Plotinus Porphyry Plotinus Neo Platonism

Philosopher Thales Anaximander Anaximenes Anaxagoras Heraclitus Parmenides Pythagoras Protagoras Empedocles Plotinus

Composition of the World Water Apeiron Air Mind (Nous) Fire (change) is of the World; Permanent Numbers; Man has dipartite Constituents Man is the measure of all things; the absolute possessor of truth Fire, air, water and earth One and the Many

Socratic Period
5th - 4th Century B.C. During this period, the Greek civilization flourished (known as the Golden Age of Hellenism) Every aspect of Greek civilization including philosophy reached its peak and full development

During this period three important figures in the History of Philosophy emerged:

Socrates Plato

Known as a moralist, a philosopher who advocated moral transformation among the citizens of Athens. know thyself For him, one can only transform one s self if he knows himself. The Socratic Dialogues written by his student Plato, contained his teachings and philosophy. The dialogue known also as the Socratic Method, was his unique method of teaching.

Human Nature
A. Man and Knowledge:
The origin of knowledge is the DIVINE CREATOR the teacher, the only wise being. Knowledge is innate or inborn. True knowledge application of this knowledge, not merely theoretical or speculative but should be practical.
The wise man, the superior man, the moral man leads and live a virtuous life.

Knowing-what-is-right-means-doing-what-is-right True knowledge means knowing one s self. know thyself ; knowledge is Virtue: Ignorance is Vice

Human Nature
A. Man and Knowledge:
Truth; Truth about the good life, for it is in knowing the good life that man can act correctly. Reflection and self-examination An unexamined life is not worth living ; a life not reflected upon is not worthy to be lived.

Human Nature
B. Man and the problem of Evil
Evil is the result of ignorance or the imperfection of man s knowledge. No one does evil voluntarily or volitionally. It is ignorance of the knowledge of the right and good life that enables man to do evil deeds.

Considered as an idealist, ideas are real. The material world that we see and experience is only a copy of the ideal world or the world of ideas. In the world of ideas, everything is perfect and good, and the soul preexisted in that world, and thus it already knows the ideas. For Plato then, knowledge is a matter of intuition.

Philosophy of Idealism
A philosophical theory which maintains that what is real is in the nature of thought or ideas.

Human Nature
A. Man and Knowledge:
Man is only an IMPERFECT COPY of his Real Original Self, the Perfect Man. Ideas are INNATE. Man before was pure mind, he knew all things by direct intuition. Man can be perfect again through constant Recollection and Imitation of his former Perfect Self by living a life of virtue in which true human perfection consists. Contemplation-communion of the minds to the Universal and Eternal Ideas.

Material Sensing and feeling (as passions and desires are affectations of the body) Composite Cannot live and move apart from the Soul Mutable and destructible Can blind the Soul

Immaterial Invisible

Non-composed (simple) A substance that can exist independently of the body. It existed prior to the body Immutable and Indestructible Seeking pure thought

Parts of the Soul Parts of the Body



Head, brain

Think, reflect and draw conclusions



Experience abomination or anger


Stomach, abdomen

Thirst, hunger and other physical wants

The greatest among the three, the philosopher par excellence. He was a realist, for him the world that we see and experience is the real world. We gain ideas about the world through experience. Knowledge for him starts from sense experience or perception, and its through abstraction that we are able to form ideas about things and the world.

Human Nature
Form of all reality APART from this World

Substantial form NOT APART from existing material thing

Ignores the world of the senses

Down to earth (experiential). It begins with sense perceptions of the things around us, combines observation with reflection and meditation KNOWLEDGE COMES FROM THE SENSES and can be true in itself.

KNOWLEDGE is not SENSE PERCEPTION, not what simply appears to me



Prime matter: absolute receptivity or Substantial form: absolute imposition determinability (Potency) or determination (Form or Act)

A material entity which has a potentiality for life

Act as the perfect or full realization of the body

Has no life, it can only posses life when it is united to the soul

Can exist even without the body

Grades of Being

Kinds of Soul


Man Animals/ Brutes

Rational Sensitive

Thinking, reasoning and willing Feelings Pain and Pleasure

Plants/Vegetation Vegetative Non-living things Feeds itself (nutrition), grows, reproduces

Medieval Philosophy
529 A.D. to 1450 A.D. Dominated by Christian thinkers, the more noted philosophers are:
a. St. Augustine of Hippo b. St. Albert the Great c. St. Thomas Aquinas

The period includes the Patristic and Medieval Philosophy

Patristic Philosophy (529 to 799 A.D.)

Forerunners of this period were St. Augustine and Boethius.
St. Augustine was a convert who became the bishop of Hippo. Followed the idealist tradition set by Plato and was influenced by the writings of the apostle Paul. His Philosophy is a combination of the Pauline theology and Platonic idealism Famous works: The Confessions and The City of God

St. Augustine of Hippo

The first great Christian Philosopher and the main authority in the medieval period. Born in the African city of Tagaste in 354 AD of a pagan father and Christian mother. He was involved in a religious sect called Manichaeism. He was enlightened and was inspired by St. Ambrose explanation of the cause of evil which is to be found in the mistake use of freedom.

Some of the Salient Points of Augustine s Philosophy

His Philosophy of Man reconciled and synthesized the wisdom of Greek Philosophy and the divine truths contained in the scriptures. Greek ethics has a eudaimonistic character and happiness is the end-all and be-all of human living. The ultimate end of human living is the Summum Bonum or the Absolute Good or the Highest Good which Greeks perceived imperfectly as God the absolute, immutable good. Happiness can be found in God alone. The idea of the Absolute Good can be seen in a personal God.

Augustine s Concept of Man

He calls man the great mystery Augustine asserts man as part of Creation. God created man in a mortal body with an immortal soul and gave man free will. God created man good, but the good in man ceases to be good when man turns himself away from God. Despite man s imperfection he is capable of reaching perfection because only man keeps himself good. Man can only be saved by God and not by himself. Augustine maintains that the Sacraments are evident sources of God s grace.

Augustine s Concept of God

For Augustine, God is love. It is in Love that we become like him. God is Absolute Spirit, Absolute Will, Absolute Intelligence, Absolute Freedom, Absolute Good, Absolute Power, Absolute Holiness, cannot will evil, no beginning (eternal) and transcendent. God is also the Creator; he created the world out of Love.

Objections to Hedonism and Stoicism

Earthly and bodily pleasure is the ultimate end of man. Perfect happiness can be found in the goods of the body as well as the goods of the world .

How about the goods of the soul, such as wisdom, virtue and all of their forms? Stoics view on the other hand, cast away with the passions and bodily desires. Man is reduced to pure reason. Augustine: Man is a rational animal, a creature endowed both with reason and passion inseparable linked together in his nature.

All things come from God and each has a specific purpose to fulfill in the all embracing plan of divine providence. Virtue means the constant harmonizing and ordering of all the activities of the human personality towards LOVE under the guiding inspiration of LOVE.

Medieval Philosophy (9th century to 1450)

Divided into three sub-periods:
I. The beginning of Scholasticism
a. b. c. a. a. 9th to the 12th Century Arab Philosophers Alfarabi, Avicenna and Avicerbon St. Anselm and Averroes 13th century 14th century and its revival in the 16th century

II. The Golden Age of Scholasticism III. The Decline of Scholasticism

The Golden Age of Scholasticism

(13th Century) Dominated by Aristotelian philosophy
Ecclectic Aristotelianism:
a. b. c. d. Roger Bacon St. Bonaventure Alexander Hales Henry of Ghent

Moderate Aristotelianism
a. St. Thomas Aquinas b. St. Albert the Great

St. Thomas Aquinas


A Dominican Priest, known as the Angelic Doctor because of his deep faith and religiosity and his great mind. Followed the tradition set by Aristotle. Said to have baptized the pagan philosophy of Aristotle and transformed it into a philosophy that is compatible to the Christian faith. Famous works: Summa Theologica and Summa Contra Gentiles

Salient Points of St. Thomas Aquinas Philosophy

Man is substantially body and soul The soul is united with the human body because it is the substantial form of the human body. The soul is the principle of action in the human body. The soul is the principle of life of the body. Body and soul before death are essentially united because the two exist in a correlative manner specifically in the context of perception. The soul however, requires the body as the material medium for its operation particularly perception. The soul has operative functions (higher powers) which do no need a material medium such as man s intellect and will.

Man though had possessed all the goods of this life such as money, fame, power, health, talents cannot make him perfectly happy. Man still longs for the infinite and eternal. Man is capable of transcending himself with the attainment of his supreme purpose and union with God; he is elevated to the rank of the divine, immortal and perfect. Aquinas said that neither man by his natural powers alone nor a higher being such as an angel can effectuate said elevation or transformation. Between the finite creature and the infinite creator an infinite gap can be bridged only by an infinite power.

He gains everlasting life with God, shares divine nature and life of the infinite and eternal God. Perfection and happiness can be found in God alone through TRANSCENDENCE. By constantly being good and doing good we become and eventually identify ourselves with the GOOD who is God himself. When we say that man becomes perfect, he becomes perfect by participation with the perfect. At death, the soul s intellection and will remain in the soul as it is immortal, simple and incorruptible. When he dies he does not really cease to exist he merely transcends his mortal bodily life, his limitations and imperfections in space and time.

Heterodox Aristotelianism
I. Siger of Brabant II. John Duns Scotus

The Decline of Scholasticism (1300 to 1450)

I. William of Ockham II. Nicholas of Cusa

The Revival of Scholasoticism (16th century)

I. Dominican
a. b. a. b. c. Cajetan John of St. Thomas Francisco Suarez Dominic Banez Luis de Molina

II. Jesuits

Modern Philosophy
1450 to 1799 Period of Renaissance Period of Enlightenment
I. Rationalist II. Empiricists

I. II. III. IV. V. Hugo Grotius Nicholas Copernicus John Kepler Galileo Galelei Nicolo Machiaveli

I. II. III. IV. Ren Descartes Nicholas Malebranche Benedict Spinoza Willhelm Gottfried Leibniz

I. II. III. IV. V. Francis Bacon Thomas Hobbes John Locke George Berkely David Hume

I. II. III. IV. V. Francis Voltaire Jean-Jacques Rousseau Samuel Clarke John Adam Christian Wolff

German Idealism
Immanuel Kant

Metaphysical Idealism
Johann Fichte Friedrich Schelling George Hegel

Contemporary Philosophy
19th century to 20th century A. Dialectical Materialism
a. Ludwig Feuerbach b. Karl Marx c. Friedrich Engels

Auguste Comte

Charles Darwin

Jeremy Bentham John Stuart Mill

Arthur Schopenhauer Friedrich Nietszche

B. Phenomenology
a. b. c. d. Edmund Husserl Max Scheler Paul Ricoer Carl Rogers
I. Existentialist i. Soren Kierkegaard ii. John Henry Newman iii. Jean-Paul Sartre iv. Martin Heidegger v. Karl Jaspers vi. Maurice Merleau-Ponty vii. Gabriel Marcel viii. Albert Camus ix. Martin Buber x. Paul Tillich

C. Analytic Philosophy or Logical Positivism

a. b. c. d. e. f. Bertrand Russell Ludwig Wittgentien Alfred Ayer Karl Popper Charles Morris T. Ramsey I. Pragmatism i. William James ii. John Dewey

II. Structuralism I. Claude Levi-Strauss III. Evolutionism I. Henri Bergson II. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin IV. Psychoanalysis I. Sigmund Freud II. Carl Jung III. Victor Frankl V. Neo-Thomism I. Etienne Gilson II. Jacques Maritain