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Title: W poszukiwaniu dobrego życia : u filozoficznych podstaw głównych orientacji politycznego myślenia
Authors: Kaute, Wojciech
Keywords: filozoficzne idee w polityce; jednostka i społeczeństwo; historia idei
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Śląskiego
Abstract: human being gets organized in a nation, as Aristotle says, for “a good life”. However, according to him, one has to differentiate between “a good citizen” and “good man”. The history of philosophy has created various polis conceptions as a result of the fact that a human being, in its cognition, cannot situate itself in a position of the one who knows an “objective” good, “truth”. Each cognition is just a “vision” and interpretation of the world. Thus, one has to assume that a reflection on culture equals a reconstruction of these “visions”. This is a history of ideas. Such a reconstruction is also an interpretation. The situation gets complicated in the post-world. Traditional languages lose their significance in a global world of mass culture. And that means that the status of the history of ideas, this interpretation of interpretations, gets too unclear these days. Each vision of a collective life is based on a given philosophy. It was Socrates who introduced culture to metaphysics, the level of thinking Aristotle calls “the highest knowledge”. At the same time, this “archetypal image” of Europe, as L. Kołakowski claims, has given the foundations for a given vision of a nation. The basis of this vision is the assumption that there exist the “nature” of what comprises “human issues”, the nature of “the good”, a “good nation” and “just” law. In consequence, there is a thesis that there is someone who “knows” what this “nature” is like, and at the same time, “knows” that he/she “knows” that. And there is someone, an average individual, constituting human collectiveness, who “does not know” and “knows” that he/she “does not know” (although he/she is convinced that he/she “knows”). As a consequence, according to Socrates, as Xenofont claims, the one who “knows” “announces God’s instructions”. It is his/her law and obligation. However, it is “announcing”, not “putting forward”. A direction is “defined” by gods. This way of understanding has given rise to a Christian vision of man in a nation. A collective life should always be subordinate to the Good and Justice. And this reflects the idea of “a common good” (bonum commune) which constitutes a Catholic social school. As Thomas of Aquinas states and refers here to the category of “reason” and Aristotle’s phronesis, it is based on the virtue of “prudence” referring to “human issues”. This, on the other hand, leads to “prudence” which, in accordance with St Thomas of Aquinas, leads to God in an “absolute meaning”, and constitutes “a good life”. According to E. Gilson, this way of thinking can be called “a Christian Socratism”. The turn of modernity has shaped the way of thinking reflecting the “pride” of an individual at that time. It was revealed in Machiavelli’s work. Man, understood as an autonomous and independent individual, determines “goals” which, by definition, are “sacred”. That is why the “means” serving their fulfillment can be evaluated only in terms of their “efficiency”. Machiavelli’s thought reveals what contemporarily Pierre Manent defines as “a change in the status of the good”. Good, just is not what is objective, but what an individual, a nation and a prince treats so. Descartes is treated as the “father” of modernity. His novelty is expressed in his formula: ego cogito, ergo sum (I think therefore I am). This statement includes a thesis that a starting point for everything is always a given individual, I. This I, its thinking, defines a cognitive horizon of a human being. I is “a whole”; I is “everything”. And this is the way a new God is born; I. This way of thinking is taken on on the level of a political doctrine by Thomas Hobbes. Man is a human individual; I, whole, which is characterized by a “desire of power”. The thing is that this “desire” is typical of each individual, which means that non-I is for I just the subject of its desire and vice versa. An individual is a wolf to an individual “by nature”. This is a fundamental condition for living. Thus a collective life is bellum omnium contra omnes “by nature”. This is the way the nation develops, the Leviathan which, highlighting “desire” of each individual and for all at the same time, maintains the status quo of a collective life. It is done by means of a law. With Hobbes’ presentation, as P. Manent claims, “the place of the good was taken by law”. This idea constitutes the basis for a liberal conception of a nation created by John Locke. An autonomous and independent individual wants to live. This is a starting point. In order to live, an individual has to use the good of nature. He/she does it through his/her work. As a result, what is the subject of its “first gathering” of the nature goods is becoming its property. This state of affairs is considered to be a status quo established by a nation, law and “law of property”. This is a “civil society” and a “good life”. Good and just is not what is so objective, but what is evaluated well and fair in the exchange of the objects of the “law of property”. Man, an individual is an “animal-worker”; an “animal-owner”. Here, all places, as p. Manent comments, are taken by “a political economy”. A liberal conception of a collective life was criticised by Jean Jacques Rousseau. In his opinion, an individual in the society of “exchange” lives as it is defined in his The Social Contract, “in fetters”. His/her captivity consists in revealing only what is the subject of the law of property in the “world”. And at the same time another individual is interested in this individual because he/she is interested in the subject of the “law of property”. An individual in the world of market does not articulate what constitutes his/her “nature” of the good. It leads to the necessity of organizing such a collective life, a “civil contract” in which it is an individual’s “business” not “will” that will be expressed. A “common will” will articulate it. This is a “good life”. Rousseau’s intuition is a starting point for Immanuel Kant’s thought sharing a view that boiling down an individual’s life to the “world” of market is below his/her “dignity”. At the same time, he pays attention to a Socratic-Christian tradition, beyond the “world” of liberalism rejected by Rousseau and makes an attempt at synthesizing both thinking formations. From his perspective, it is possible to talk about the Good and Justice, though understood as the subject of “faith” and postulate of “reason”. His conception of the third path is the market subordinate to ethics constituting the basis of an old and contemporary socio-democracy. Another conception of “a good life” fundamental in modern times was created by Karl Marks. The basis for this conception is, on the one hand, an idea of “social man” by Johann G. Fitche and philosophy of spirit by Georg F.W. Hegel on the other. Marks moves Hegel “from his head to his legs, which means that he replaces spirit with the categories from political economy. According to Marks, the category of value, the surplus value is the most important category. As Marks claims, a worker creates it in modern times, and this is the main driving force of civilization. However, according to Marks, a thought does not exclusively mean the category from political economy, but more to it. This is a category from philosophy. Marks, deducing future from the past, outlines a perspective of society in which the production of means serving a satisfaction of one’s needs will become the “source of a truly human development”. This is communism. Marks, starting from Fitche’s individual, and following Hegel’s “ghost phenomenology” as well as Plato, creates a model of an ideal system in which Man finds Him/Herself. It is, according to Eric Voegelin, a “constant hypostasis of the eschaton”. The 19th century introduces the ideas which reverse a way of understanding I worked out by a modern “spirit”. This is M. Stirner’s and F. Nietzsche’s thought. M. Stirner, treating I as the Only one, contrasts I with all the culture and civilization, including liberalism. The world of this I is based “on Nothingness”. F. Nietzsche also builds everything on a natural individual. Juxtaposing it with the Socratic-Platonic-Christian world, he appreciates the advantages of democratic changes of the modern era. This is how the reflection of the posttime follows. According to R. Rorty, one of the most outstanding contemporary representatives of this way of thinking, there is no need to go deeper than “common sense” when considering man, society and nation. It is enough to “know that”, and “the entirety of justified beliefs expressed in opinions”. There is no reasons why this “knowing that” should be reduced to “knowing about”, understood as “possessing something in mind” which goes beyond a surface of human cognition. Today the notion of “substance” is useless. One designation of the notion: “a life worth of man”, “God is dead!”, The “world” of I is a “product of time and accident” does not exist. Self, each self is “accidental” by nature. As Jean-François Lyotard says, each I has its own “little story”, each becomes sent back to him/herself, and there is no “Selfit” without a bigger or smaller value. What is more, “Selfit” as such is not one. “A little story” can be told in different ways. In this sense, as Lyotard claims, one can speak of “Selfit decomposition”. This is a “contemporary personality” following “a traditional personality” and a “modern personality”. This personality is the world of a “metaphor”. A “metaphor” of someone “normal” and the world of a “pervert” does not exist. A “metaphor” is a “metaphor”. And this is the way the I reality of the post-era is presented, the world of “root” (G. Deleuze, F. Guattari). The very “world” is best expressed not by philosophy but literature, especially by poetry. In this context, as R. Rorty emphasizes, one can speak of the “accidentality of a liberal society”. This is the world of “language game”, and “conversation”. This is how the “conversation of the West” is expressed. The only criterion allowing for differentiating a metaphor to be accepted from the one to be rejected is, as Rotry has it, “cruelty”. This is how “solidarity” of the post-modern I is expressed, and how a collection of I “worlds” “roots”, and finally gives the world of “a root”. Thinking about it is also the world of “a root”. This is the basis for the organization of polis — the “world” of imagine in the post time, which means that there is a need to create the vision of “a good life” in the language which actually does not exist.
ISBN: 9788322620250
Appears in Collections:Książki/rozdziały (WNS)

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