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University of San Agustin

AY: 2014-2015: First Semester


Lecture 3: The Human Person as Actor
Karol Wojtylas Concept of the Person
A Summary


It is a paradox that even with the flood of new scientific data about human beings,
there is an increasing need for some philosophical, unifying and foundational
concept of the human being.
Our age is an age of violent controversy concerning man, the essential meaning of
his existence and consequently, the nature and value of his being.
Fragmentation of man in theory and practice into mutually separate functions and
dimensions some of which are then absolutized and others simply suppressed to the
reduction and reification of man.

The Man-Act Structure

Osoba (Polish) person, means, sovereign person or subject of an act

We only get to know the nature, depth, and structure of something through its
action, the way it manifests itself.
It is mainly through human acts that we are given access to the very dynamic
reality of the person because the act is the fullest manifestation of man-person in
the dynamism proper only to him.
Man-acts the only basis of genuine reflection on the nature of man; action (acting
connotes dynamism) reveals the person and we look at the person through his
Experience is the point of departure (experience of man): man has a subjective
experience of himself where he comes into cognitive relation to himself and man
has an experience of other men whose position relative to him as a subject of
experience is that of objects of experience; he who experiences is man and he
whom the subject of the experience experiences is also man.; he is both the subject
and the object.
Experience of man: man-acts (active moment) the human person experiences
himself as the active causal agent of his action and something-happens-in-man
(passive moment) the dynamic subject of what takes place in him without his
active causal participation.

The Moment of Efficacy (Marked by qualities giving the power to produce an intended


University of San Agustin

AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

Efficacy means, the experience of myself as an agent responsible for the

particular form of dynamization of myself as the subject.
The moment of efficacy allows man to experience himself as the cause of his action,
making his action both humanus and voluntaris, a human act as distinguished from
acts of man over which the person has no efficacious control conscious action
which proceeds from cognition and hence from the will and connotes moral

Man: A Personal Supposit

Man is the subject, the suppositum of all his actions and of those that happen in
him. As subject-supposit, man is a real, actually existing being, the man-being that
actually exists and hence also really acts.
Man as Supposit is given in experience. Man has an immediate experience of
himself as the concrete subject one who is, who exists and who acts, as subject of
his own existence and action; he is a lived experience of his being such.

Self-fulfilment of the Person

Fulfilment implies a movement from what is incomplete to a plenitude which is

proper to that being.
Self-fulfilment shows that in acting, man fulfils himself. This reveals the potentiality
inherent in the person. By performing an act man fulfils himself in it. Man is being
essentially becoming a human being. Action accompanies becoming.

Self Determination

I will the crucial moment of self-determination is based; an experience of an

intentional directing towards an object; I will, while acting, man does not just
determine his action but also himself.
The experience of I will clearly reveals to us that this experience never consists
merely in something that only happens in man; rather, it always occurs as an
instance of acting.
Man, through his consciousness (reflexive), is an active agent of his actions and
experiences (only if he knows that he possesses and governs himself.)
Self-possession is connected more with the will than with knowledge. Only the one
who possesses himself can determine himself.
Self-governance means that on every act, the person governs himself. In very
decision and choice, the person exhibits his power over himself; he becomes his
own master; incommunicable, No one else can want for me


University of San Agustin

AY: 2014-2015: First Semester

The Will

The faculty and agency of acting person.

It is to will, that the human person owes specifically human form of dynamism
self-determination and human action.
In the exercise of freedom, man is not bound to objects; he is bound to value the
object; I will is object oriented, I want something come towards the good.
The will is naturally and intrinsically attracted towards the good as its proper end.
Intentionality is object-oriented and self-determination is subject-oriented. The will
reveals and realizes every instance of self-determination, it is still subordinate in
relation to the person in that it is ultimately the person, through his will, who
determines and governs himself and not the will that determines and governs the
Self-fulfilment in and through action not only indicates the persons ontological
becoming and self-actualization but also involves a moral or axiological dimension.
It is not solely identified with the mere performance of the action; it depends on the
moral value of the act. When the striving of man for truth, goodness and beauty
met by a morally good action, there is authentic self-fulfilment.