Pontificia Accademia di San Tommaso – Società Internazionale Tommaso d’Aquino

Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism
Prof. Paul Richard Blum Loyola College in Maryland, Baltimore (USA)

In this paper I will examine the traditional concepts of humanism, starting from the neo-humanism of the 19th century. Thereby I will emphasize the internal contradiction of this concept that is due to the appeal to 'humanize the human'. Maritain in his 'Humanisme Intégral', as I want to prove, was the only one to fill the gap by pointing to the aspirations of the individual toward perfection trough the anthropologically given divine appeal. From there follow several incentives for an anthropological understanding of religion that leave contemporary secularism behind.

In the 1930s Jacques Maritain advocated a new form of Humanism, an integral humanism, as he termed it, on the basis of "integral realism" and "Christian humanism", which took its major inspiration from Thomist philosophy. The essence of his message can be summarized as follows: Any philosophy has to account for the r eality of human condition, which is marked by the coincidence of natural and supernatural features. This realism deserves the attribute of 'integral' in as much it integrates the obvious material, natural and intellectual features of the human being by its aspirations at the supernatural, transcendent realm. As this realm is within the reach of human intellect and will, to exclude it from the definition of man amounts to truncating and diminishing human potentials and thus telling only half of the story of man. This concept of humanism has been criticized on historical and on philosophical grounds. It has been said, that Maritain misrepresents the Middle Ages and that he is shifting the philosophical argument to the level of theology.1 "So, what?" Maritain might have replied, and so do I. But I think
See Gerry Lessard, O. P., The Critics of Integral Humanism : A Survey, in: Thomistic Papers 3 (1987) 117-140. It should be noted (even though this is not at stake in this paper) that Maritain made a difference between “Christian Humanism” and

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R. But from the very beginning the main thread “theocentric humanism”. who expressly had demanded that "the mere individual has to be purified and upgraded in all its capacities to become a human". in: Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society. Humanism. Freedom in the Modern World.P.s). 45. in: Ralph Häfner (ed. and maybe also some admirers of Maritain. as for instance to designate someone as a nice person or to discuss matters of civilisation or global politics. Paul Richard Blum. Macon. Beiträge zu Begriff und Problem frühneuzeitlicher ‚Philologie’. Niethammer adhered to a kind of classical training as advocated by Wilhelm von Humboldt.2 The pedagogue Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer coined the term in his book on "Philanthropinismus und Humanismus" published in 1808. and for the latter cf. Berlin: Reuther & Reichard 1928. who applaud his call for a Christian humanism. Tübingen: Niemeyer 2001. 12: "(. Philosopher and Friend . Der Streit des Philanthropinismus und Humanismus in der Theorie des Erziehungs-Unterrichts unserer Zeit.) 2 I am dealing only with philosophical accounts and leave aside any non thematic usage of the word. is an invention of the 19th century. 227-246.) das bloße Individuum soll in allen seinen Kräften zum Menschen emporgeläutert werden". On the one hand. simply miss the point. Pr. The former term designated for him that movement of Renaissance Humanism that ended up in a “Christian naturalism” as a forerunner of secular understandings of the human: see “On Humanism”. pp. "The Pragmatic Humanism of Bohr. 2002. 4 Quoted in Eduard Spranger. in: Deal W. Cf. according to Tzvetan Todorov. Philologie und Erkenntnis. 29 sq. Wilhelm von Humboldt und die Humanitätsidee. Princeton: Princeton Univ. "The Humanism of Jacques Maritain". 2 . BLUM. this should be said at the outset. in: Jacques Maritain. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism these criticisms. 1987. 3 Friedrich Immanuel Niethammer. Otto Bird. Imperfect Garden. (ed. (Further quotations from Integral Humanism will refer to this edition.o. Niethammer invented the label of "humanist" schools and claimed their ideal to be "humanism".. 132 (1988) pp. and A Letter on Independence. Integral Humanism. Ga.. 117-131. 2 nd ed. 268-275.). Was ist Renaissance-Humanismus? Zur Konstruktion eines kulturellen Modells. Robert E. pp.3 In this book the author polemicized against a new type of schools with polytechnic orientation. p. As an example for the former see: John Hellman. Both meanings of humanism are "affective" and basically "philanthropist". Marshak. Freedom in the Modern World. Jena: Frommann 1808 (Reprint: Weinheim: Beltz 1968). both in terms of history. Einstein and Sakharov". p. ed. in: Jacques Maritain. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press 1996.4 On the other hand Humboldt and Niethammer's technical means of education were modeled on the Renaissance "studia humanitatis". While these schools claimed to be "philanthropic". and in its philosophical importance. Pr. p. 'humanism' was to be detected in the Renaissance and – ever since – humanism is associated with this period of pre-reformation culture. As a side effect of this polemics.: Mercer Univ. Understanding Maritain. The Legacy of Humanism . Hudson a.

14: "die Erziehung des Menschen zu seiner wahren Form. Detecting values in history that means basically finding them somewhere else than here and now.8 it is an abstraction that is meant to be realized in some way in some future and under certain conditions. humanism was thus "the realization of the universally true and obligatory image of the kind". Prague: Academia 1968. Roger Garaudy takes humanism as constituted by two major exigencies: "celle d'une maîtrise rationnelle du monde et celle d'une initiative historique proprement humaine": "L'humanisme antique et moderne". 229. in Jaeger the paradox of making man to what he is by nature is convergent with finding patterns of culture in history. Maritain’s Conception of Integral Humanism . in: Archiv für Begriffsgeschichte 43 (2001) pp. a nd again demanded – on the model of Greece – that pedagogy should "educate man to his true form. pp. 3 . in fact. Mercier. Cf. Lothar Helbing..). Acta congressus internationalis habiti Brunae diebus 12-16 mensis Aprilis 1964 . in: Jan Burian and Ladislav Widman (eds. 6 and if there is any such thing like humanism it is a project. The Humanity of Man. pp. his intrinsic humanity.). American Humanism and the New Age. It was the philologist Werner Jaeger who reconnected the humanism of 19 century classicism with the ancient ideal of education. p. p. this ideal had not been formulated in ancient Greece itself but rather in the Roman Empire of Aulus Gellius and Cicero. This also entails that the ism of humanism. He therefore underscored that. „Europa .. Louis J. Antiquitas Graeco-Romana ac tempora nostra. in: Thought 19 (1944) 229-246. A. vol.7 If 'humanism' is "an ism about the human". indeed. which is necessarily distant and alien to present times. New York: Braziller. Der dritte Humanismus. 25-34. 8 Louis J. who had sought for ideals of civic education and appropriated Greek culture. p. Werner Jaeger. 5 p. Jaeger was fully aware of the paradox included in making humans humans. Berlin: Die Runde 1932. Mercier. A. Paideia .Congresso Tomista Internazionale of the discussion was the question about the usefulness of education and the values transmitted by it in and for society. Cf. "paideia". 226 sqq.” Todorov (note 2) calls humanism a "wager" (Epilogue. 27. 4: “It may be said. and doing this for the benefit of present day society is inherent in the concept of humanism as it was being advocated in the first half of the 20th century. dem eigentlichen Menschsein (. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 1973 (first ed. which at their time had already become history.). Milwaukee: Bruce 1948.5 Now. 1956. 1933). as Louis Mercier has cunningly stated. 7 Ralph Barton Perry. his 'being human'".ein Appellbegriff“. 1. 149-171. 73. that humanism is now little more than a blessed word which can be trusted to evoke applause from an audience and loosen purse strings. als allgemeingültiges und verpflichtendes Bild der Gattung". Consequently. th From this it becomes transparent that 'humanism' as a concept is nothing but an appeal. 6 On “concepts as appeals” in general see Paul Richard Blum.

From there the question arises whether it is a feature of every individual human being or only of humankind. namely some dignity. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism the project.e. the project feature of the concept of humanism prevailed and was transformed into the concept of social progress. 10 Ibid. To make a long story short. vol. Its Meaning for World Survival. The Howard Mumford Jones. However. His account of humanism draws vaguely upon Renaissance humanists and ends up in the postulate of “the first essential element in humanism: that it is nontheological”. that is utilitarian applications of the humanities. 9 In his hapless attempt at defending “the substance of humanism” (such the headline of his chapter 4) against “the fallacy of utility” (chapter 3).P. A typical product of this notion of humanism is the booklet on American Humanism. Eventually. Ever since Francis Bacon the "advancement of learning" was associated with the progress of the people.10 Jones’ account is a symptom of the appellative function of the term humanism for political purposes. pp. “[h]umanism implies an assumption about man”. The political advantage of this view was that one could prove the usefulness of "studia humanitatis" (i. as this neo-humanism in matters of study dealt with human culture and spiritual values (such as philosophy. 14). that is: the appeal must be inherent in human nature. religion. which then had to be brought about in the individuals as the subjects of education. spiritual. which allows to voice concern about cultural issues (justified or not) without addressing the philosophical meaning of being human. 9 p. the humanities) for the society. In the English speaking world the early 1930s had been the high time of such view. 4 . BLUM. arts and letters. he still defends humanism as a general task of education for the benefit of the American culture. the meaning of which Jones is not willing to explore in any anthropological depth. which always could claim much more usefulness. in 1933 the Humanist Manifesto was published. New York: Harper 1957 (World Perspectives. The neo-humanist approach of Humboldt and Jaeger tended to see the essence of the human as some feature of the kind. and historicist concept of humanism into the ideal of social progress was completed. 97 and 101 sqq. The disadvantage was evidently that in terms of curriculum of studies humanism had to compete with polytechnical education. This is why the polytechnic school of the early 19th century could claim to be "philanthropist" in helping the prosperity of the nation. and oftentimes with explicit preclusion of any religious or theological background of it. and letters) it always could claim to foster the inner qualities of any individual human being. American Humanism. arts. On the other hand. R. Its Meaning for World Survival by the learned Howard Mumford Jones. wherein the transformation of a cultural.

7 th ed.) has time on its side.. In order to achieve this view. p.. New York: Simon and Schuster 1933. a Unitarian minister before he founded the First Humanist Society in New York. No wonder. 16 Ibid. 14 Ibid. the Humanist will find all the thrills which formerly intrigued the seekers of celestial bliss in the thereafter.). Ibid. such as self-recognition. 13. The self-referring momentum of the concept of person insinuates an understanding of the individual. The Philosophy of Humanism. 13 Charles Francis Potter.”14 Eschatology and transcendence are being turned into horizontal teleology of the near future beyond the here and now. above and beyond the divisive particulars. Of course this manifesto and the publications that accompanied it never attempted at explaining how individual happiness might be secured by collective advancement. 20-33."12 Charles Francis Potter (1885-1962). and ritual customs of past religions or their mere negation. Humanism. even though in terms of fact the discourse dwells in the realm of scarcely warranted assumptions about human nature. 18. 11 12 Corliss Lamont. New York: Ungar 1993.16 The conceptual advantage of this procedure is that the author may continuously speak about humankind under the label of ‘personality’ and thus keep blurring over the difference between humankind and the individual. p. (…) In the challenge to make the world better here and now. Potter defines humanism “as faith in the supreme value and self-perfectibility of human personality”. 300. While the neohumanism of Humboldt and Jaeger saw the ideal of humanity (rightly or wrongly) in history. and it endows the reversal of the transcendent meaning of humanity with the appearance of individualistic concern. Humanism offers inspiration and a program. Humanism is an ethical process through which we all can move. this social humanism transposed the very ideal. 5 . self-consciousness etc. p. into the future: "Humanism (. the book concludes with a chapter on “The Social Program of Humanism” and a look into “the Religion of the Future”."11 I need not to discuss the origin and sources of this Manifesto. declared humanism to be “a new religion” by a strict anthropocentric turn in everything that Christian tradition had to offer. dogmatic creeds. 291.13 Already in his program the teleological impetus is transparent: “To men and women today. It stands as a paradigm of such humanism that tries to embed individual perfection in the progress of social welfare. pp. heroic personalities.Congresso Tomista Internazionale Manifesto declared the signers' "commitment to the positive belief in the possibilities of human progress (. p. A New Religion. which instigated the progress.15 Humanism is thus marked by a series of composites of “self-“... 15 Ibid. p.

even though Maritain doesn't speak about it. dated June 15. He did not make positive use of the intrinsic paradox of the concept as such. 1). that the optimism of social progress is nothing but the historicity of human values – as advocated in the traditional humanism – stripped of their past and therefore projected into future. pp. psychic activity. by nature of spiritual reality turns itself into something like second hand theology. Maritain – to the best of my knowledge – is the only philosopher who has not blurred over these inconsistencies of the concept of humanism. 973-978." (Maritain's emphasis. dated January 1940.) 20 Ibid. d'un dieu en devenire (…)". but rather employed them in order to determine the meaning of anthropology for human action and its implications in politics and morals. namely as: "doomed to turn into a kind of hylozoism in attributing to 'matter' all spontaneity. Zofingue18 . CDK 14/01.20 In this short remark Maritain reveals his understanding of atheism as an attempt at making spiritual features intrinsic to non-spiritual substances and conditions. etc. Notre Dame Indiana.19 What is striking is his description of that atheism. Maritain stated that: "all intellectuals. dated "8 juin 1932". freedom etc. the individual and the eschatology.P. other than Maritain did. Among the documents at the Maritain Center of the University of Notre Dame. R. 18 Centralblatt des Schweizerischen Zofingervereins. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism These two topics. p. and stripped of their fundamental human meaning and therefore projected into social welfare. in a letter to Feuille Centrale. 1938.06. as will be shown in the following paragraphs. la liberté. l'activité psychique. 17 p. he agrees with Maritain in criticizing the lack of transcendence in the current meaning of humanism. the author states: “l’émancipation humaniste de l’homme entraîne en même temps son assujettissment et la négation absolue de soi-même” (p. 974: "[athéisme] qui doit tourner en réalité. 6 . hope for an integral realism and a Christian humanism ". are decisive for qualifying any humanism. in: Oeuvres 5. 4). there are interesting notes by the philosopher Charles De Koninck on “Les paradoxes de l’univers purement humain” (document CDK 11/11). We may infer. and to stretch any transcendent meaning of life into an unknown future. p. of a god to come". 19 Letter. BLUM. comme l'actuelle 'ligne générale' de la philosophie soviétique semble l'indiquer. In these notes for a conference. as voiced in communism as well as in the so called Religious Humanism of the Manifesto. à une sorte d'hylozoïsme attribuant à la 'matière' la spontanéité. 17 As early as in June 1932. typescript copy in the same collection no. He observes that forced antitheism. 974: "Je pense comme vous que c'est à un réalisme intégral et à un humanisme chrétien qu'aspirent aujourd'hui tous les esprit qui n'ont pas opté pour un athéisme foncier (…).. who have not opted for a fundamental atheism. Basel 1868-1946. Even though De Koninck declared himself to be “no maritainist” (letter to Mortimer Adler. ‘Zofingia’ is an old Swiss student's fraternity.

: "Le sens de la vie humaine est de tender à la perfection de la charité (…).Congresso Tomista Internazionale Maritain puts together what makes up "integral realism": It consists (1) of "such a metaphysics that f ully values intelligence and rational knowledge". The agenda of realist philosophy is dictated by reality and not by reference to existing patterns of thought. then. considered to be non-blessed and selfsufficient". 7 .21 To be sure. 23 Ibid. combines the rational and emotional features as assessed for any realist thought.: "Je ne crois pas qu'un respect universel du réel (…) puisse être assuré dans une culture sinon sur la base d'une métaphysique reconnaissant la plein valeur de l'intelligence et du savoir rationnel. 22 When Maritain. which is at the same time its aim. Christian Humanism.24 As an historical aside it is interesting that Nicholas Cusanus. New York: Lang 1995. consists in taking reason and revelation. His antidote against atheism. had used the same pattern in taking Ibid. pp. As the author is well aware that Incarnation and Passion are concepts that are despised for being "contradictory in terms". Enfin le réalisme de la connaissance restera. I don't think that the author is simply purporting his philosophical prejudices. but an inner reality of the human. un tel humanisme est la destruction de l'homme. Dudley. describes his concept of "Christian Humanism" he seems to theologize in referring immediately to the Incarnation and Passion of Christ. de fait. intuition and intention into account of what there really is. bien fragile en nous. (3) and finally it has to be "realistic about love and will". It should be noted that Maritain in his claim combines ontological and spiritual matters as well as rational and emotional powers. he rather gives an agenda for any philosophy that claims to be realistic. International Perspectives. consequently. J. 187-199. Charity. and Jane E. Francis (eds. s'il n'est uni au réalisme de l'amour et de la volonté." 24 Ibid. based on Plato and Aristotle and without reference to Maritain. (2) of an ontology that encompasses "theological and mystical wisdom in their own rights". However." 22 A defense of this view. is given in: John A. "The Concept of Substance and Life Presupposed by Christianity". in: Richard P. definitely a Christian humanist of the Renaissance.). rather. he makes his observations culminate in the statement: "The meaning of human life is to strive for perfection of love [charité]. he understands the Cross as a natural feature of the human. ni qu'une restauration de la connaissance ontologique puisse elle-même être stable si la sagesse théologique et la sagesse mystique ne sont aussi rétablies dans leurs droits." 21 p."23 and I don't see anything exclusively Christian in this. because suffering and redemption is "not an outward blessing of humanity.: "(…) un humanisme soi-disant chrétien qui réduit la grâce du Christ a couronner et sanctionner du dehors le développement d'une nature tenue pour non blessé et se suffisant.

p. illi meruerunt. On the difference between heroism in war and as human condition see Jacques Maritain. The Twilight of Civilization.P. qui unum sunt cum ipso (. This letter of 1932 presents Maritain's Integral Humanism in a nutshell. 1988. 6. 152. 3. cap. BLUM."26 Heroism – as postulated by the Humanist Manifesto – is an antinomy. 26 Integral Humanism . lib. 757-762 (originally 1943). has nothing of utopia. If one is aware of the inclusion of charity. Nicolaus de Cusa. Enrichment in history undoes the truncation from intellectual history.25 Hence follows. Raymundus Klibansky. then he echoes deliberately the standard definitions of socialist and other humanisms. 153. Maritain observes against André Malraux's socialist humanism. Œuvres complètes. love and will in the realities that make for a human it comes without surprise that the great book Humanisme Intégrale of 1937 starts with considerations of the "heroic life": "There is nothing that man desires so much as a heroic life. vol. there is nothing less common to man than heroism. but he has changed the meaning and given it an anthropological turn. Enrichment in nature has its specific significance if one takes into account the tendency to reduce the human nature to exclusively spiritual values (as the neo-humanism had done): The nature of m an is natural. When Maritain in defining humanism uses the words: "humanism (…) tends essentially to render man more truly human. as the socialist humanism tended to do. Humanisme Intégral. too) its aim being to give access to interior freedom and spiritual life to everyone. indeed. 6. p. p. however. tertius. p. because it is Incarnation in which the divine and earthly nature of man is theologically expressed. De docta ignorantia . according to Maritain. 8 . 25 p.)". which. in: Oeuvres complètes. but such failure does not disclaim the naturalness of the strife nor the option for progress.. pp. New York: Sheed and Ward 1943. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism Christ and Incarnation as the model of his anthropology.. vol. 27 Integral Humanism . R. To render man more human means for him to undo the restriction to the mere natural conditions of an animal rationale. Hamburg: Meiner 1977. 7. Cf. Jacques Maritain. and keeps the door open to a future. which consists in plurality (again a consequence drawn by Cusanus. 298 : “rendre l’homme plus vraiment humain”. "Un humanisme héroïque". ed. in Jacques et Raïssa Maritain. We may state that the strife for a better life entails the possibility of failure. and to manifest his original greatness by having him participate in all that which c an enrich him in nature 27 and in history". Jacques Maritain. Fribourg: Éditions Universitaires / Paris: Éditions Saint-Paul 1984. p. § 219. 44: "quidquid Christus Iesus passione sua meruit. that Christian humanism has to deal with human reality.

not amputated or inanimate. p. 31 Integral Humanism . 29 28 One cannot be astonished. Unlike these and most of those who appeal for some humanism. where he claims not to write "literary history of ideas" (as Mercier did) but rather to "situate [Molina and others] and to bring out their significance in the philosophy of modern culture and history" (p."31 This is how Maritain combines the appeal to become human with the essence of being human. (…) I should act as Christian. which was published in 1937. 9 . Mercier (note 8) in Thought 19 (1944) 573575. then. (…) infusing into the world. as well as transcendence need no justification on dogmatic grounds but are evident from the phenomenology of human being itself. humanity. that this book closes with an appeal for practical engagement in politics. 28 p. Humanism and Theology (The Aquinas Lecture 1943). 41. 340. (…) a Christian sap. the completeness of his understanding of human nature requires secular activity: Therefore he describes three planes of activity of a Christian.30 What is important for his view of humanism. 30 Integral Humanism . saying that against “those whose ideal of education and culture is of a merely formalistic nature (…) Maritain pointed out (…) that if this be humanism.Congresso Tomista Internazionale If I am not mistaken. a man of his convictions must either abandon humanism entirely or redefine it. in which “the Christian acts and appears before men as a Christian as such”. He rather makes use of the structure of the concepts of human. he does not offer a positive set of assumptions and teachings that are presupposed and pursued by it. Therefore it would be mistaken to expect historical research from Maritain. and humanism in order to show that ‘enrichment’ or progress. is how he defines the worldly plane of action: "On the plane of the temporal [activity]. history or tradition. Therefore he prides himself to outdo socialist humanism: "that which I call integral humanism is capable of saving and of promoting (…) all the truths affirmed or In 1943 Jaeger gave a lukewarm recommendation of Maritains integral humanism. even though he repeatedly argued against the development of anthropology since Renaissance and Reformation and frequently referred to S. (…) engaging my whole self. 757-758) does not respond to this point. Whatever Maritain suggested at his time. namely the spiritual and the worldly plane. 29 See Maritain's reply to the article by L. both published in 1933. Milwaukee: Marquette University Press 1943. p. Mercier in his reply (ibid. which are linked together by a third plane. 574). p. My contention is that it s not a matter of convictions but of coherence of the concept. Maritain never quotes the neo-humanism of Werner Jaeger . however. 338-339. nor the Humanist Manifesto. but it is very unlikely that he did not take them into account while he was working on his Humanisme Intégrale. It is the nature of the (Christian) human that infuses humanity into the world. Thomas Aquinas.” Werner Jaeger.

and which is not Integral Humanism . 88: "Que l'homme désire naturellement des choses impossibles à sa nature. and future for transcendence. because "every will. p. the twofold nature of man. Maritain elaborates this proof in his Approches de Dieux. 34 Integral Humanism . 187. Robiglio. 1985. For this see Andrea A. 10 . nor does he postpone humanity into a distant future. p. makes the difference. even the most perverse. p. i. it is the eternal truths it will take for its pillow. pp. thus creating “The religion of Humanity”. (…) of incarnate spirituality"34 .e. to be a "unity of flesh and spirit. The paradox described here has been discussed in scholastic philosophy as "velleitas". il n'est rien de plus humain. even in philosophy: "Human weakness is always trying to go to sleep. chapter 5: "Le désir de voir Dieu". L'impossibile volere. in his La Philosophie morale. i tomisti e la volontà . Jacquest Maritain."37 Human desire as such is "a token of the possibility (…) to know God in a way that transcends reason. New York: Scribner’s 1964 [French ed. The main source of heroism in humanist action is the desire and will. Both statements taken together . He does not simply refer his contemporaries to super-historical values in history. chapter 12."36 This is a proof of the existence of God based on the volition in human nature. Maritain would blame August Comte for substituting humanity for God. Moral Philosophy. Will. BLUM.that is. the will of the impossible. p. and the intellectual temptations of skepticism and dogmatism ." Translations from this text are mine. 32 33 p. An historical and critical survey of the great systems. and of being prone to laziness.P. 154. Later. ou de spiritualité incarnée. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism glimpsed by socialist humanism (…). vol. du seul fait que le regime de la chrétienneté médiévale était un régime d’unité de la chair et de l’esprit. as a complement to intellect. Tommaso d'Aquino. Milan: Vita e Pensiero 2002. 208. 10. " 35 Integral Humanism . when he repeats the paradox of heroism in the formula: "Nothing is more human than that man naturally desires what is impossible by his own nature. Aproches de Dieu. 36 Integral Humanism . p. 1960]. being spirituality that lives in a bodily world. R."32 He is right in claiming this. 37 Jacques Maritain. if it is not the doubt of the old humanist Stoic. 190. 320-327.33 Maritain accepted the paradox of human being. desires God without knowing it. il enveloppait dans ses formes sacrales un humanisme virtuel et implicite (…)."35 Such an ironic remark should prevent any interpreter from confining Maritain to some stubborn dogmatism. because he understood the tension between individualism and teleology of human actions. Humanisme Intégral. p. in: Œuvres complètes.point to the original root of human activity as it is expressed in the heroic potential of humans. 301 : “D’une part.

X."38 Inclusion of divinity is therefore the fulfillment of Maritain's call for realism. He defines human nature as "immutable". Fribourg: Éditions Universitaires / Paris: Éditions Saint-Paul 1989. when talking about humanism's enrichment of man: "concentrating the world in man" and "dilating man to the world". 43 Ibid. 243-253. Mishawaka: American Maritain Association 1988. But he applies it in a style congenial to 20th century philosophy. 154: "Thomas d'Aquin est (…) le plus existentiel des philosophes. Knasas (ed.Congresso Tomista Internazionale yielded but rather aspired to by reason. 41 A few remarks on Maritain and existentialism can be found in: Laura Westra. and antitheism can seriously deny the reality and power of human will. that is: "precisely a nature which is in movement. "L'humanisme de Saint Thomas d'Aquin". Martin Heidegger termed it "Being-in-the-world". p. p.39 His biblical allusion serves to illustrate 20th century anthropology par excellence: nature in motion." 38 p. 90: "Ainsi le désir naturel (…) est il dans la raison la marque de la possibilité (…) d'une connaissance de Dieu supérieure à la raison. When Maritain observes the weakness and the strength of human capacity to shape ones own destiny he obviously applies scholastic terminology of freedom. 153. namely that man is defined in his relation to the world. 153-174 (originally 1941). the nature of a being of flesh made in the image of God". Existence and Existentialism". as on human will depends. p. in: John F. qui n'est pas due à la raison." 39 Integral Humanism. Jean-Paul Sartre will later call it eksistence.). (…) la vérité suit l'existence des choses (…). 42 Jacques Maritain. p. No naturalism.40 This is easily recognizable as the core thesis of existentialism. then at least every action. 156: "Veritas sequitur esse rerum . which is a paradox." 44 Ibid. The "humanist quality"42 of his teaching is granted by its existential approach. in: Oeuvres 8. 11 . intellect and will. 153: "la qualité humaniste d'une doctrine". Aquinas is "the most existential of all philosophers"43 because his metaphysics is based on the axiom: "The truth of things is an upshot of their existence. utopianism. mais à laquelle elle aspire. Therefore he referred to Max Scheler. Jacques Maritain: The Man and His Metaphysics. if not intellection. 40 Integral Humanism .41 Maritain agrees with his fellow philosophers in observing that transcendence is inherent to human nature. Translations from this text are mine. "Freedom. p."44 This truth – as Maritain read Aquinas – applies to man in all senses of the word. because it is the power that enables humans to act within nature and despite all alienation from it and from human Ibid. C'est parce qu'il est par excellence un philosophe de l'existence que saint Thomas est (…). a relation that endangers and constitutes human being. It is under the emblem of "existence" that Maritain names Thomas Aquinas thought a humanism. pp. 187.

12 . is the theory of the transcendent nature of the human. 171 on "aspirations". p. calling it "theocentric".45 'Existence' denotes the antinomy of human perfection and shortcoming.47 he gives the traditional humanism its full meaning. and he precludes any temptation at making man the object of social or scientific experiments.P. Jacques Maritain Against Modern Pseudo-Humanism nature itself. 162 sq. 46 By this interpretation. p. 47 Integral Humanism . Ibid. 158: "(…) la force et le courage de faire notre travail d'hommes au sein de l'étrange nature et de notre propre étrangeté. but the inherent power to enact the aspirations is expressed in charity and love – both being gifts of God's grace and superabundance. namely as the unity of presence and history in the individual and in the society. including human being. 169: “Theocentric and Anthropocentric Humanism”: “The first kind of humanism recognizes that God is the center of man (…). as an ism about man. Being. 159 on "surabondance de l'existence divine". p. p. and he overcomes the antinomy of the concept of humanism between anthropology and call for action.” 45 p. but repeats his basic insight that humanism." 46 Ibid. is realized in grades of perfection and never comes to an end. p. R. Maritain not simply enrolls the medieval scholastic in the movement of 'integral humanism'. on "amour de charité" and "perfection". In taking transcendence seriously as the dialectic of internalism and externalism of the Divine in human nature. BLUM.

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