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Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person

Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO


Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
LESSON 1a
WHAT IS PHILOSOPHY?
Etymologically, Philosophy came from two (2) Greek words philo and sophia, meaning love of
wisdom. The love of wisdom is synonymous to the search for wisdom and the desire to acquire it. Hence, a
philosopher is a person who does not only love to know, but loves to know the truth and desires to live in it.
As per Western Philosophy tradition, the term Philosophy is said to be coined by Pythagoras a
Mathematician and Philosopher from Ionia (a city in Ancient Greece). According to Pythagoras, there are three
kinds of Man (1) a lover of pleasure, (2) a lover of success, and (3) a lover of wisdom (the highest of which is
lover of wisdom)
The Chinese, on the other hand, described Philosophy as zhe-xue, which means the study of wisdom. The
Chinese character zhe bears the emblem of mouth and hand, suggesting that words and actions should go
together and complement each other. Hence, among the Chinese, philosophy means doing what one is saying
(practically, practicing what you preach). For example, if a student knows he can be professional if he is
diligent in his studies, then he should be serious in his studies.
For the Hindus, philosophy is rendered as darshana, which means vision or view or a mode of seeing.
Seeing in this manner is not only through the sense of sight, but acting without bias. (or simply, objectivity).
Definition of Philosophy
Technically, we define Philosophy as the science of the knowledge of the essence of things. It is a science
that tries to investigate all things in their ultimate causes, reasons and principles, by means of human reason
alone. Hence, the core of philosophizing is wondering. But it has to be noted that this wondering, which will
eventually lead to questioning, is one that pursues the truth. For it is the truth of what one actually is which will
set one free be it palatable or not, conformable or not.
What is to wonder?
To wonder means to realize that there is something strange behind the things that we ordinarily perceive.
To wonder is to notice something extraordinary in the ordinary things we see.
Chris John-Terry, For the love of Wisdom
Things to consider in the definition
1. Philosophy is a science. It is a science because it is a unique realm for investigating things. Science
is characterized by a systematic investigation of things.
2. Philosophy is not an exclusive science. It practically encompasses all things. It goes deep into the
realm of religion, science, mathematics, physics, politics, education, and even health sciences. In these
areas, the philosopher asks questions and tries to find answers. But in the process, he/ she realizes
that philosophy is not about the answers, but about the questions themselves. Hence, the philosopher
ends his/her investigation with a question. Philosophy is a science of a never-ending questioning.
3. Philosophy investigates things inside and outside of the phenomena. Most of the time, it starts to
pour out gripping questions where science ends. If mathematics, physics and logic go through
phenomena. Philosophy starts with human experience, but stretches beyond and goes out to meet the
noumena (Gk. nous: mind or idea.) which are the world of ideas.
4. Philosophy uses the mind by necessity. The basic instrument of Philosophy is the human reason.
The mind is the ultimate factor, which the human race can use to recreate itself and the world around it.
However, the philosopher must go beyond mere representation because meaning does not reside
completely in words. Even the realm of faith is worth philosophizing on (of course with the aid of
natural reason (rationis lumen naturalis), as opposed to Theology which uses the aid of supernatural
reason (rationis lumen supernaturalis)

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
Why do we philosophize?
Philosophy is an activity rooted on lived experience.
Experience is the life of the self: dynamic inter-relation of self and the others:
be it things, human being, the environment, the world grasped not objectively, but from within.
Self is the I conscious of itself, present to itself.
Presence to itself entails also presence to other, the not I.
This relatedness of the self to the other is characterized by tension,
disequilibrium, disharmony, incoherence.
Tension calls for Inquiry, Questioning, Search.
When do we begin to philosophize?
Wonder: For Plato, the poet and the Philosopher are alike in that both begin from wonder.
Doubt can also impel man to ask Philosophical Questions. Descartes Philosophy started from
doubting the existence of everything. Adolescents also doubt their identity.
Limit Situations are inescapable realities which cannot be change but only acknowledged e.g. failure,
death of a beloved. We may not be able to control them but we can control our response to them
through reflection. They provide opportunities and challenges for us to make life meaningful.
(Existentialists)
Metaphysical Uneasiness or Inner Restlessness is to be unsure of ones center ( Gabriel Marcel)
equivalent to Soren Keirkegaards Angst. Metaphysical Uneasiness is contrasted with Curiosity. To be
curious is to start from a fixed external objects (outside of me) which I have a vague idea of.
Metaphysical Uneasiness is beyond the physical (external ) but more of internal.
Inquiry. That is, we try to make sense of things (sense of human life as totality, as a whole,
comprehensive reality). When we make sense of things, we bring about the value of things.
E.g. I have a terminal case of stomach cancer. I am given only three months to live. So I ask, What is
the meaning of my life? (Sens de la Vie)
BRIEF INTRO TO WESTERN PHILO
As per History of Ancient Philosophy, it is said that Philosophy started in Ionia (In Ancient Greece). But it is
more proper to say that Philosophy started with a question: What is that basic stuff that the world is made up
of? (German: Urstff). Many Ancient Philosophers have come up with answers based on their empirical
observation of the world.
THE EARLY GREEKS
During this time, Greece was a collection of thriving and squabbling city-states. What made them
philosophers was that they tried to explain the world scientifically. Before this, everything was put down to
myths, legends or the will of the gods. (Note: Explain briefly myth, mythology, philosophy)
Thales (WATER). Thales was the first person to be given the label wise. He came from Miletus a busy port
on the coast of Asia Minor (present-day Turkey). Traders passing through Miletus brought new ideas from all
over the civilized world. Thales was an astronomer and an expert on managing water. He could navigate ships
and re-route rivers. Knowing that water could be solid, liquid and vapour (gas), he wondered if this could
explain how reality changed. Thales, then decided that water must be the Urstff of the world (universe).
Anaximander (BOUNDLESS). Anaximander is also a philosopher from Miletus. He shared Thales view that
there was a basic stuff that glued the universe together. But for him, it was not water; boundless, rather.
This boundless is something that is beyond the physical universe, but the source of everything in it. He
thought that the world was shaped like a drum and surrounded by this boundless substance.
Anaximenes(AIR). He was Anaximanders pupil. He observed carefully the empirical world, and then
disagreed with his master. He believed that the Urstff was air. He thought that all things were either thick air
or thin air. As air gets thicker it becomes wind, then cloud, then water, then mud, then stones. Fire, according to
Anaximenes, was just thin air.
Anaximenes thought that the Earth was flat and rode on air. Moreover, he reasoned out that air was the source
of life, because people have to breathe air in order to live.
2

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
Pythagoras (NUMBERS). He thought that reality could be explained by Mathematics (numbers). He observed
and discovered a relationship between math and music, and came up with a theory about the harmony of the
universe.
Heraclitus (FIRE). Famous for his dictum, You cannot step in the same river twice, Heraclitus was interested
in change. As a matter of fact he posited that nothing is permanent, except change. Everything is in a constant
flux (influx). He searched for the Urstff to explain this change, and he said it was fire. Based on his empirical
observation, fire was a stable appearance, yet it changes everything it touches. He saw the world as being in a
constant state of creation and destruction. He also recognized a logic behind everything a kind of cosmic
balance. He understood that without winter, there could be no spring. If there is no evil (bad), we really cannot
measure up good.
Parmenides (NOUS or the MIND). Parmenides was convinced that what his senses tell him dont make any
sense at all. Although his eyes tell him that everything changes, his reason tells him that this is simply an
illusion. He asked, If everything changes, then where did the world come from in the first place? He decided
that the world must have always existed because nothing could not suddenly change into something. Thus, the
world would exist forever because something cannot change into nothing.
Parmenides is convinced that reality can only be understood by thought.
EMPEDOCLES (LOVE and STRIFE). He came from Sicily. His view on the world is different from the early
Greeks before him, because he disagreed that there was one basic ingredient to the universe. He said reality
boiled down to the simplest part of the four elements (i.e., fire, air, water, earth). The change that we
experience can be explained by the coming together and falling apart of these elements.
He said that there are two basic forces in nature that cause this Love and Strife. Love brings things together;
Strife tears them apart. This idea explained how things can change and how the world remains the same.
-0From the stress on philosophizing about the world through empirical observation (i.e., What is the Urstff that
makes up the world?), there has been a paradigm shift towards the self (i.e., What is the truth? Where can
truth be found?)
3 GREAT GREEK PHILOSOPHERS
Socrates. Socrates was a familiar figure in Athens shabbily dressed and always barefoot. He spent his days
discussing everything under the sun. He was soon regarded as the wisest man in Athens, even though the city
was full of philosophers who charged money for teaching (Sophists). Yet, the title wisest man in Athens did
not impress Socrates. He was coined to have said, The only thing I know is that I know nothing. He also said:
Ignorance is the only evil. Socrates believed that happiness came from leading a good life (An unexamined
life is not worth living; Know thyself).
Plato. Plato was student of Socrates, along with Aritophanes, and many others. Unlike his mentor, Plato was
born into the aristocracy of Athens. Because of his birth blood, he could have easily risen to power. Yet, he has
disgust on politics. Plato knew that a good government would never have murdered a good man like Socrates.
The tragic death of his friend and teacher spurred Plato to do something that would change things. He believed
that good leaders were not born, they had the right education. So he opened his own school the Academy.
From then on, his teachings focused on one big question: Is there a perfect world?
Socrates never wrote down his thoughts. Plato wanted to make sure that the great thinker was never forgotten.
Thus, he recorded Socrates ideas in form of dialogues (i.e., in the form of discussions between two people,
often making Socrates the main voice).
Socrates wanted to find unchanging truths about abstract things like goodness and justice. Plato went a step
further. He thought there were unchanging truths behind all things. For example, there are many breeds of
horses, but there is a definite horse-ness about them all. He argued that everything in this world (World of
Forms) is a mere replica, a world of fleeting shadows. There is another world (World of Ideas) where there is a
perfect and eternal model (template) for everything.

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
(Note: Read Platos Allegory of the Cave and write a 3-page reflection paper about it.)
Aristotle1. He studied with Plato for twenty (20) years. However, Aristotle thought that Platos World of Ideas
was a perfect nonsense. He is so much fascinated with the natural world that he was often seen down on all
fours, peering at plants, observing bugs, animals, and the like. He declared: There is something marvellous in
all natural things.2
After the death of Plato, he established the Lyceum his own school. Studying nature, he knew that all acorns
have the potency to become an acorn tree. He also knew that a ducks egg will never hatch into an eagle.
-0After the inquiry on the truth, Philosophy shifted toward and branched out into the question: What is Man?
What is Mans essence? (Rene Descartes, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, Edmund Husserl, etc.)
In a nutshell, we can compare the movement of Philosophy as somewhat similar to a ripple:

1 Trivia: Aristotle was the tutor of the young Alexander the Great (Macedonia)

2 That being said, Aristotle discovered that he could sort everything on Earth into animal,
vegetable and mineral. Moreover, he excelled at marine biology and identified 500 different
species of sea life.
4

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
VOCABULARIES TO PONDER:
1. Philosophy
2. empirical
3. Phenomena
4. Existentialism
5. Phenomenology
REFERENCE:
Dy, Manuel, Jr., B. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings). Makati City: Goodwill Trading Co., Inc. (2003).
Esposito, Linda (ed.). I Think, Therefore I Am.A Young Persons Guide to Philosophy. London: Dorling
Kendersley, Ltd. (1998).
Siringan, Hector S. Philosophy of the Human Person. Quezon City: C&E Publishing, Inc. (2011).
Personal Notes in Philosophy of Man
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LESSON 1b
5

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
ON PHILOSOPHY OF MAN
(Our treatment of the course, Philosophy of the Human Person, will be grounded on ExistentialPhenomenological Approach)
(assignment: What do we mean by person (e.g., human person), as opposed to being (e.g., human
being)?)
2-page reflection paper.
Philosophy of Man (or Philosophy of the Human Person) is an overview on the nature, activities and destiny of
man. It attempts to assess his place in and his relationship to the world. Through such an overview, an
understanding of what man is and who he is will emerge. In some respect, Philosophy of Man constitutes a
metaphysics of man, for it is a probe of the deepest causes and meaning of man.
Some Themes on Philosophy of Man
1. Man as Embodied Subjectivity
In the Aristotelian definition of Man as a rational animal or as a composite of body and soul, we can
find inadequacy. The trouble with these definitions is that it creates a dualism or dichotomy on ones
understanding of Man as Man: viewing Man as made up of two parts rationality and animality;
corporeality and spirituality.
Even if we lay stress on composite or unity, we could still face the dilemma of how two (2) different
realities can interact with each other. When we pressed further on which reality is more important, no
doubt we would say that rationality stands out as the unique characteristic of Man. Yet, our basis for
understanding human nature is his animality (and rationality is only a qualifier).
Implication: This dualistic notion of Man leads to the two-lives theory (moral education).
Phenomenologists, on the other hand, sees Man as an embodied subjectivity
(Simunongnagkatawangtao). Man is foremost a subjectivity a unique core, a center, a source, a
wellspring of initiative (pasimuno) and meaning. Note that subjectivity is not limited to rationality
(kaisipan), but also envelopes affective and emotional, as well.
(Take Note: Simuno; Pasimuno) (Predicate = Panaguri: N.B. Panaguri, Nag-uuri)
Moreover, this Man is not just pure subjectivity, it is in flesh a subject-body, already meaning-giving
existence (Isangpag-iralnanagbibigayhalaga [o pahalaga]).
2. Man as Being-in-the-world
As embodied subject, man is a being-in-the-world. The human body is the link of man with a world.
Phenomenologists speak of world or worlds for man, rather than environment. Environment refers to
animals. But the things around man are not simply objects. They form a network of meanings, in and on
and around which man organizes his life. Thus, we speak of the world of a student, world of a teacher,
world of a farmer, world of a politician, and so on.
It has to be noted, however, that when we refer to Man is in the world, it is not to be take in the same
sense as the carabao is in the field. Both Man and carabao may be in the field, but it is Man who gives
meaning to the field (explain).
Thus, to speak of Man is to speak of his world, and vice versa. Phenomenologists call this the
intentionality of consciousness: Consciousness is consciousness of something other than
consciousness.

3. Man as Being-with: the Interhuman and the Social

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
The world of Man is not just a world of things, but also a [the] world of fellowman. Here the
phenomenologists speak of two dimension: the interpersonal (neighbour) and the social (socius)
(Paul Ricoeur).
The I-Thou relationship (Martin Buber) is a relationship of dialogue, in contrast to monologue. Genuine
dialogues being when one passes beyond the world of seeming and enters into communication with the
other by becoming aware of his totality. Monologue happens when one stays in the world of seeming, in
the world of impression, and treats the other as an object as something that fills his need of the
moment. The influence that one has on the other in dialogue in one of unfolding; whereas in
monologue, an imposition.
Education (and health care, for that matter), if it is to be different from a propaganda, is such an
unfolding. Educare means to lead out/ to guide; Educere means to dig deep/ to bring out a certain
disposition of him to see for himself the true, good and beautiful; thus, forming the mind, the hands and
the heart. (Question: What does health care do?)
Man is not just a social being, but a cultural being belonging to a particular way of thinking, relating,
doing about the world in terms of natural and human resources, economics and politics, due to a
shared past, present and future. Man temporalizes in a given situation because the society is not static,
but dynamic. Man adapts and blends in (history). He carves meaning from his past in view of some
project in the future. Hence, the past, the present and the future is not his alone, but is shared with
fellow Man.
4. Man as Person: Love which presupposes Justice
(begin with prosopon and in character)
Person is a task, a task of becoming oneself. The individuality of Man is one that he has to become
freely and consciously in time, in the world.
If this is a task, what does this task consist of? It consists in integration, in becoming whole, in unifying
diverse activities of speaking, thinking, willing and feeling.
How can Man achieve this self-possession? By directing all these activities towards an objective value
of realm of objective values. Thus, we will understand the meaning of: Man gains himself by giving
himself to others (fundamental notion of love or self-giving) and the deeper the roots, the wider the
branches reach out.
This commitment of love, however, presupposes justice. It is the true foundation of any social order.
Love as enhancement of the others person (i.e., individuality) requires giving the other what is due to
him, to his basic dignity as a person. The demand of justice cannot be divorced from the existential
relationship of Man and fellowman.
To do justice is to live in the light of the truth. No genuine social order can last if it establishes itself in
deception and manipulation of the peoples minds.
(assignment: Relate the themes on Philosophy of Man to the discipline of health care. 3 page-reflection
paper). Guide Question: How does this holistic view of Man affect the way we provide health care?
VOCABULARIES TO PONDER:
1. propaganda
2. education

3.

person

REFERENCE:
Dy, Manuel, Jr., B. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings). Makati City: Goodwill Trading Co., Inc.
(2003).
Notes in Philosophy of Man by Mr. Joel C. Purras (Professor, Ateneo de Zamboanga University).
-0- lecture ends here -0LESSON 2
7

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
THE PHENOMENOLOGICAL METHOD
Traditionally, a formal study of Philosophy begins with Logic (the science of correct reasoning), then goes
through Metaphysics (the study of Being), followed by Cosmology (the study of the nature of the universe), and
ends up with Philosophy of Man (Philosophical Psychology/ Anthropology).
In traditional Scholastic Philosophy, man is defined as a rational animal or a composite of body and soul.
Now if we will scrutinize this definition, under the aspect of body, he is like any other animal a substance,
mortal, subject to the limits of time and space. Under the aspect of the soul, he is gifted with the power of
reason, free and immortal. From Mans behaviour, on the other hand, because he can think (reason) and
decide (freewill), it is concluded that he must be gifted with human soul (or rational soul, for that matter).
Now, in our phenomenological treatment of Man, we shall not begin with the definition (similar to traditional
approach). Rather, we shall begin with Man himself in his totality, describing Man from within, from what is
properly human, and not from a point of view of what is external.
A Bit of History
The man behind the phenomenological movement was a mathematician-turned-philosopher named Edmund
Husserl (1859-1938). He became dissatisfied with the sciences of his time, which, according to him, starts the
scientific inquiry with lots of presuppositions. Such attitude, according to Husserl, denies the inquirer of seeing
the things as they are.
In particular, Edmund Husserl was reacting against natural psychology of his time which treats of the mental
activity as causally conditioned by events of nature, in terms of stimulus-reaction relationship. This kind of
treatment would presuppose, therefore, that man is a mechanistic animal. As a result of such dissatisfaction,
Husserl turned to philosophy in order to make it the science of ultimate grounds.3
How does one arrive to this kind of philosophy? According to Edmund Husserl, one has to transcend the socalled natural attitude. Natural attitude was used by Husserl to refer to the scientific attitude of his time (i.e.,
pretty similar to our present Problem, Hypothesis, Observation, Theory, Conclusion kind of thing).
For Husserl, this attitude contains a number of assumptions:
1. It assumes that there is no need to ask how we know.
2. It assumes that the world (which is the object of inquiry) is out there, existing and explainable in
objective laws. Man, on the other hand is pure consciousness.
3. It takes for granted the world-totality.
To put in less technical terms, the natural attitude looks at reality as things. Its way of knowing things is
fragmented, partial, fixed, manipulative and the like. Hence, there is no room for mystery (i.e., for awe and
wonder) in the natural attitude. Yet, we cannot deny the fact that reality is as complex as Man himself. By
natural attitude, reality is condensed into a fact world.
Thus, Husserl saw that Philosophy needed a new starting point and method, different from that of the sciences.
He realized that the sciences were getting farther and farther away from the heart of things. And so, he cried
for a going back to things themselves! By back to things themselves, he meant the entire field of original
experience.He came to a point that the ultimate root of Philosophy and of all rational assertions is to be
foundin the whole field of our lived experience (not in concept, not in principle, not even in the Cogito [the
thinking Being]).

Some Characteristics of the Phenomenological Attitude

3 In other words, a rigorous science. By rigorous science, he meant, a science (philosophy)


containing the least number of primary presupposition, so basic and immediately evident that they need
not be clarified any further or reduced to any other presupposition.

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
1. The phenomenologist posits the unity first before analysing the parts or aspects of this unity. This is
being faithful to original experience, because in original experience we see no opposition between the
object and the subject. What I perceive in original experience is an integral, unified whole.
(e.g., sexy chick; language = not just body of words with grammatical and phonetic structure, but an
embodiment of thought)
2. The phenomenologist does not reason from induction or deduction. A phenomenologist describes, i.e.,
unfolds what is already there. Original experience can only be described, not deduced, neither
induced, because it is already there. Thus, the phenomenologist describes meticulously. Since reality is
rich and exhaustible, there is no conclusive end to his description. Whatever he describes will only be a
bite of reality.
3. The phenomenologist is essentially concerned about experience and about Man. His world is the world
lived by Man. What concerns him is Mans being-in-the-world-with-others. Part of Mans being-in-theworld-with-others include the problem he encounters in life like: death, love, etc.; his awareness now,
his memories of the past, and his anticipation of the future.
4. In a phenomenologists attempt to be faithful to experience, he uses epoche. This is a term used by
Edmund Husserl to refer to a suspension of judgment, a stepping from prejudice, a bracketing of the
natural attitude. Details of which will be discussed later.
Some Important Steps in the Phenomenological Method.
Below are some important steps in Edmund Husserls Phenomenological Method.
1. epoche.This is the first step in the phenomenological method. Epoche literally means bracketing. By
bracketing, he meant to suspend judgment, to hold in abeyance my natural attitude towards the
object I am investigating. Natural attitude consists of my prejudices, biases, fixations, unquestioned
and explicit knowledge of things. All of these I have to suspend for a while, not denying or affirming it.
(Give example)
2. eidetic reduction. The word eidetic is derived from the Greek eidos, which means essence.
Hence, eidetic reduction is a process wherein we strip off an experience of its essence. How is this
done?
Lets say I am describing the phenomenon of love. In the epoche, I bracket my biases and judgments
on love (like love hurts, or love is a many splendored thing, etc.)
Then, I reduce the phenomenon of love to its essence, removing all contingent factors (e.g., age, sex,
race, faith conviction, family background, social status). Then, I will be able to see that I can change all
these contingent factors without changing the relationship love.
On the other hand, what is it that I cannot change? Perhaps it is the activity of giving the disinterested
giving of ones self to the other. I find that if this is missing in a relationship, then the relationship cannot
be called love. This, therefore, becomes the essence of love.
3. transcendental reduction. Under this step, I reduce the object to the very activity itself of my
consciousness. Instead of paying attention only simply to loving, hearing, seeing, etc., I now pay
"attention to my loving,my seeing, myhearing, and so on. I now become conscious of the subject, the I
who must decide on the validity of the objects in experience. I now become aware of the subjective
aspect of the object. In other words, the object is seen in its relation to the subject; and the subject to
the object.

TRANSCENDENTAL-PHENOMENOLOGICAL REDUCTION:
FROM NON-REFLECTIVE TO REFLECTIVE THINKING
9

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
We have to understand the value of reduction in this process. In performing the reduction, the
phenomenologist establishes himself as disinterested spectator, and changes his practical aims. This
change of attitude results into a change in experience.It is called reduction because it leads us back (L.
reducere) to the source of the meaning and existence of the experienced world, in so far as it is experienced,
by uncovering intentionality.
Throughout his writings in the middle and late period, Husserl insisted that phenomenology is a reflective
enterprise. Hence, it seems reasonable therefore to interpret the transcendental-phenomenological reduction
as a phenomenological description of the transition from a non-reflective to a reflective attitude. We now ask a
more general question: What distinguishes reflection from a non-reflective thinking?
Traditionally, the distinction between thinking and reflecting rested on the distinction between what was inside
and what was outside of it (inside = reflecting; outside = thiking).
(see John Locke and David Hume).
Yet, this is not how the distinction goes in Husserls description of transcendental-phenomenological reduction.
a) The person who thinks is interested in the object of his thought; they attract him. (give example:
batangnapalo)
b) To be interested or be attracted by an object brings with it that the object which is attracting me is
accepted as it presents itself; it imposes itself on the observer.
c) In order to begin to reflect, one must perform the epoche. This involves cancelling or suspending (i.e.,
becoming disinterested) the earlier acceptance of experience, placing ones self above the prereflective world.
d) The epoche thus renders questionable qhat previously has been taken as certain and self-evident. This
does not mean that experience as a whole is rejected. To question something is not to deny it. The
child, in our example, does not suddenly say, Oh, I am not really angry. The certainty once possessed
by experience now becomes a mere claim. Here, we are beginning to take up a properly reflective
attitude one of detachment and questioning. Here the epoche ends and we enter into the phase
called reduction.
e) As the scope of awareness widens, the self as subject falls under notice. Reflection, thus, is always
expanding in two directions: The world is examined in relation to myself(object in relation to the
subject [object-for-the-subject; noema]) andthe subject is examined in relation to the world (subject
in relation to the object [subject-if-the-object; noesis])
VOCABULARY TO PONDER ON
1. phenomenon
SOURCE:
Dy, Manuel, Jr., B. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings). Makati City: Goodwill Trading Co., Inc.
(200).
Notes in Philosophy of Man by Mr. Joel C. Purras (Professor, Ateneo de Zamboanga University).
-0- lecture ends here -0-

LESSON 3
10

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
MAN AS EMBODIED SUBJECTIVITY4
Any philosophy of Man is a systematic and holistic attempt to answer the question of Who am I? In our day to
day life, we maybe so engrossed in our activities that we do not bother anymore to question what seems clear
and obvious to us. The question of Who am I? is such a case. It is surprising (and oftentimes, awkward) to
ask this to ourselves. At first glance, isnt this question so simple?
An important aspect in answering this question is the experience of my body. If I were asked about myself, my
answer/s inescapably have reference to my body. (Who am I? I am Julio Ramillo A. Mercurio, 26 years old, 58
tall, medium built, dark hair, brown eyes, etc.)
However, there are times, too, that I know I am not just my body. I am a Man also because I have an
understanding and mind of a Man, a spirit and will that is of a Man. When I say to my parents, I love you, it si
not just my body, corporeality, that says, I Love You. Rather, my entire person-hood. The one loving, the one
doing the act of loving is not just my physicality, but undoubtedly my entirety soul, body, spirit, and all.
On one hand, I recognize an intimate relation between myself and my body. Thus, I can say, I am my body.
Yet, on the other hand, I also know that I cannot reduce my whole humanity to my body alone. I am also a spirit
and will: my body is only something I possess I have my body. What is the meaning of this paradox?
Some answers on the History of Philosophy
Classical Views. Already in early times, the ancient philosophers of Greece tackled on the question of the
human body.
According to Plato, man is his soul.5This is the essence of his humanity and the source of all his activities. He
made use of this metaphor:
The soul is a charioteer of twowinged-horses. One is sensible and flies high to the heavens to
reach the light of truth and goodness. The other comes from a bad breed. Because of neglect
and sinfulness, it had lost its wings and fallen to earth to assume human form.
No wonder heavenly and earthly tendencies are in conflict in the spirit of Man. The taking of a human body is
an unfortunate accident and a cruel imprisonment of the free and pure soul. In Phaedo, Plato consequently
states that the true philosopher strives to evade his body because:
Surely the soul can best reflect when it is free of all distractions, such as: hearing, sight, pain,
pleasure, and the like that is, when it ignores the body and becomes as far as possible
independent, avoiding all physical contacts and associations as much as it can, in its search for
reality.
In death, the true man is freed from his imprisonment to see perfectly the pure light of absolute truth.
In the view of Aristotle, Man is the whole of his body and soul. The relation of body and soul is similar to the
relation of matter and form (hylemorphism [Gk. hyle = matter, morphe = form]) 6
The Christian Philosophers of the Middle Ages also dealt with the question of Mans body. In De Civitate Dei,
St. Augustine mentions that Man can be divided into body and soul, the soul being more real and important.
Yet, we cannot deny the fact that the body is to be filled with the soul because a charioteer cannot be called a
charioteer without the horse. Man is the unity of body and soul, and he can only exist as this unity.

4 When we talk about Man as Embodied Subjectivity , we cannot escape talking about Man and
Time, Man and History, Man and Labor (Work).
5 In Phaedrus, Plato mentioned that Man is a soul, imprisoned in a body. (Phaedrus, 246-47).
6 There is no matter that is not informed by form, and no form that is not a form of matter.
(concrete example: bangkay at multo).

11

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
St. Thomas Aquinas in Summa Theologiaementions that the soul is united to the human body because it is
the substantial form of the human body, and the principle of action and life in the body. The human soul
(rational soul) needs the human body to operate: like seeing, hearing, etc. However, the soul has a higher
function, which does not require the body: intellection and willing. These operations are not material. That is
why at death, the will and the intellect will remain in the soul because these operations are not material. The
human, also, will not die because it is immaterial; thus, free from destruction. When Man dies, he does not
really cease to exist. He merely transcends his mortal bodily life, his limitations and imperfections, beyond
space and time.
It is Rene Descartes who sets the kind of questioning regarding the human body in the present history of
philosophy. Considered as the Father of Modern Philosophy, this French philosopher-mathematician presents
his dualistic substance theory of Man. By substance, he meant, that which exists by itself.7 Man as a finite
substance is both a thinking substance (res cogitans) and an extended substance (res extensa).8
In his Meditations on First Philosophy, Descartes explains the profound and real difference between the body
and soul of Man. In the first meditation, he states the methodic doubt: We should doubt everything. We
should doubt everything that we know. Even our very own existence Why? Because, they come from our
senses which can be mistaken or deceive us.
In the second meditation, Descartes stressed that of we used the methodic doubt, there is one truth that I
cannot deny or doubt: my act of doubting. Because even if I doubt that I am doubting, it only proves that I exist.
Why? Because one cannot doubt if one does not exist (or think). Thus goes the infamous dictum: I think,
therefore I exist (Cogito, ergo sum).
This thinking being (res cogitans) is independent of the material world (res extensa), because thinking does not
have properties similar to that of res extensa.
It is also good to note that for Descartes, the soul is not the life-giving principle because the essence of the
soul is to think (and not to give life). Instead of giving Man life, the soul brings on man consciousness which
entails thinking.
The life-giving principle comes from without man (or outside of Man): the animal spirit.These animal spirits
are generated by blood and warmth. Its direction begins from the heart, to the brain, to the nerves, to the
muscles causing Man to move. Death, for Descartes, comes to Man only when the principal parts of the body
is broken or damaged (and not when he soul departs from the body). For him, Man dies if blood is drained, or
his heart or brain (which he considers as principal organs) is damaged because it is in the brain and the heart
that the animal spirits operate.
Gabriel Marcel. Although a Frechman himself, he disagrees with Descartes and criticized him concerning his
dualistic doctrine on Man by the use of the methodic doubt.
For Marcel, Mans embodiment (i.e., the awareness of ones experience of his own body), is the starting point
and the basis of any philosophical reflection. When the conscious I reflects on the concrete experience of my
body, he is part of the thing that he is investigating, and therefore, the discussion is subjective.
When the conscious self becomes conscious of the I, a relationship is formed between the conscious self and
the I. That relationship is called possession. (I am myself, I am my body).
Note: Continue discussion with the relationship between the conscious self and parents (= dependence); the
conscious self and siblings (= equality); the conscious self and others (=acceptance).
From this view point, we can say that the body of the conscious self is an intermediary, a crosspoint, a bridge
towards the experience of myself as a being-in-the-world. More so, it becomes clearer to the conscious self
that, because of my body, I experience the world as separate from me. I am a not world; the world, a not I.
7 However, Descartes draw a distinction between God as the Infinite Substance, and Man as the
finite substance.
8 Res extensa refers to the body of Man and its features like: color, weight, etc. He says that the
extension of the body is an essential property of the body. Res cogitans, on the other hand, refers to the
soul of Man, whose nature is to think.

12

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
MAN AND TIME.
Mans experience of the world, i.e., of the not I, is grounded on time (Note: History is also governed by time).
Filipinos as we are, the concept and the usage of Filipino time, runs synonymously with unpunctuality. But
being too early or being unpunctual in some instances shows that the Filipino has a different.
We have to accept the fact that the Philippines, as an archipelago, is situated in the Oriental region of the
world, so much so that Filipinos are rightly Orientals. That being said, Orientals have a different point-of-view
concerning the world and everything in it.
Westerners sees the world and time as linear (i.e., governed by numbers, by dates, etc.). Orientals, on the
other hand, sees the world as cyclic (i.e., modal. This is precisely the guide peg of karma, reincarnation,
ancestral worship, etc.).
Even in language, there is a great difference. Western thought is more focused on tenses; Eastern thought, on
modality (moods). Westerners remembers history by means of dates (e.g., July 4th, Cinco de Mayo, 9/11, etc).
Orientals remember history by means of event-association (e.g., during Martial law, when my sister got
married, the day my father got sick, etc.).
Now, let me ask you: What is the relationship of time (history) to Man as Embodied Subjectivity?
Answer: Time is the avenue, the platform of Mans conscious experiencing.
Next Question:How does Man humanize time the avenue, the platform of his conscious experiencing?
Answer: By means of work.
MAN AND WORK
In Physics, work is expressed in the formula: W=F*s, where F=force; s=displacement, meaning, the
transfer of energy that is produced by motion because of an applied force.
In Philosophy, however, work or labor is understood as Mans way to express and liberate himself. Hence,
there is dignity in labor. And when there is dignity, there is value.
Historical Evolution on the Value of Work.
It seems that the primitive man knows no specific value for work. Living in an undifferentiated world (where
everything is thought to be under the control of the hidden forces of nature or gods), primitive man hunts and
gathers food to keep himself alive. But more than mere security, the primitive man works in order to offer
sacrifice to the gods. For the primitive man, work is not to change or manipulate the world, but to appease the
gods by means of magic and ritual offerings.
It was believed that the Greeks were the ones who initiated the break from the primitive world of myth and
magic to the world of reason. More so, they consequently cut off work from the sacredness of work and made it
profane. They looked upon work as fitting only to slaves and animals. Citizenry in the polis is divided between
the free and the unfree. The free thinks, the unfree works.
The predominance of Christianity in the Middle Ages put an end to the devaluation of work by the Greeks. The
medieval man tends to look at work in the light of Gods creation. In the Book of Genesis, God created the
world in six days, and rested on the seventh. Man must do the same. Work, is an imitation of God, a
participation in His act of creation.
Yet, Genesis also tells us that after Adam and Eve fell, God put a curse on Adam: You will have to work hard
and sweat to make the soil produce anything, until you go back the soil from which you were formed. (Gen.
3:19). Work is also a toil, a consequence of sin.
This ambiguity of work can be seen in the kind of work prevalent in the Middle Ages. The polis of the Greeks
paved the way to the towns of medieval man. Towns were the centers of crafts and industry. Craftsmen
grouped themselves into guilds, according to their crafts, and called them fraternities. They work based on
mutual trust. Their work is a duty to maintain their position in the society, and not to extract profit. Merchants
during those times were looked down upon because, more often than not, they engage into business to make
profits, and not to provide the needs of the people. Those who do not work by their hands were the feudal lords
who owned properties and have all the time to study. Study is not considered work during those times. Thus,
13

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
work is limited to manual labor by the craftsmen for the purpose of preservation of the community/-ies, and not
to derive profit.
St. Thomas regard work as good for man because it cultivates the virtue of industriousness (pagigingmasipag).
Work controls mans passions and overcomes his idleness. By working, Man is also able to earn living and
give alms. Yet, having this in mind, it seems that work itself does not possess any intrinsic value, since it does
not require any intellectual talent.
The ambiguity of work is resolved in the motto of the monks: Ora et Labora. Work is noble as long as one is
Everyone must work.
At this point, let us focus our attention to the great philosopher of work, Karl Marx.
Marxs Philosophy of Work.
According to Karl Marx, it is labor that makes Man a Man. Work is an indispensable part of Mans nature.
Karl Marx differentiates human work from animal work. For him, animals produce. But they produce only what
is necessary for themselves and for their young to survive. In short, they produce under the compulsion of
direct physical need. Their products belong directly to their physical bodies.
On the other hand, when man works, he works universally (i.e., for himself, for others and for the future). Man
does not only produce because of dire physical need. He also produces when free from such need. For Karl
Mark, human work is a free activity at the disposal of the subject Man. For him, work cannot be simply
reduced to a means to live (survive). In fact, Man lives in order to work, for work is the way for man to
realize his true humanity a being for others. Work, then, is an opportunity of Man to reconnect with his past
and create a starting point for the future.
From the Marxian philosophy on work, we can deduce the following:
1. When one works, one develop skills innate in him (only dormant).
2. Human labor is productive only when Man uses tool
a. These tools are basically extension/s of the human body.
b. These tools create division of labor. Thus, making Man interdependent with his fellow man.
Work makes Man a fellowman. (i.e., a social being).
3. Now, this human co-existence in work also provides inter-connectedness in Mankinds history.
a. Thus, history become common history through work.
b. Work becomes an opportunity for Man to reconnect with his past and create a starting point for
the future.
Question: How can you relate Marxian insights on work with providing healthcare?
Answer:
Your work is a link to the web of interrelatedness in healthcare industry.
-0- lecture ends here -0-

LESSON 4
MAN AS KNOWING

14

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
As what we have said during our lecture on Introduction to Philosophy, Man wonders, asks questions, and gets
answers. These answers to sensible questions give knowledge to Man. It is but proper to say, therefore, that
Man is always in search of knowledge. But not simply knowledge per se (i.e., for the sake of knowledge)
rather, in search of the truth knowledge inclined towards the truth. Man is in search of the Truth, for the truth
is the object of reason (as good is to free will). Hence, Knowledge and Truth are indispensable.
Now, in the history of Western Philosophy, there were two schools of thought that tried to answer the question
concerning knowledge: How can we know?
EMPIRICISM. Empiricists believed that the true knowledge of the world is obtained through the senses. Thus
they coined the dictum, Nothing comes to the intellect without first passing through the senses. Such doctrine
was espoused by John Locke, David Hume, Immanuel Kant, and Karl Popper, to name a few. These
philosophers argue that we have ideas (mental picture/s of reality) because we have perception/s. We have
knowledge because of sense-experience.
John Locke. In his book, An Essay on Human Understanding, John Locke tried to demonstrate how people
acquire knowledge. The first issue Locke grappled with is whether people are born with ideas or whether these
are acquired through experience. He plumped for experience.
According to John Locke, the mind of a newborn baby is a blank slate (tabula rasa). From the time of birth the
mind is bombarded with a massive input from the senses. Locke called these first impressions about the world,
ideas of sensation. These might include experiencing the color yellow or the weight of an apple. They are
simple ideas which cannot be broken down any further. If someone does not understand yellow, it can only be
shown, not explained. Simple ideas are the building blocks of all knowledge.
In the first instance, these ideas are passively received by the mind. The mind then reflects on them. The mind
becomes active when it begins to combine them into complex ideas. A unicorn, for example, is an example of
a complex idea (i.e., an idea of a horn and an idea of a horse). Locke called this idea complex because it has
no basis in reality as perceived by the senses. (Note: In Logic and Epistemology, these kinds of ideas are
called ontological truths, i.e., truths which exists only in the mind, but not in reality).
Locke was then challenged by those who said his theory did nothing to explain whether reality is really real, or
just a set of ideas caused by the senses. Locke tried to answer this by making a distinction between an
objects primary and secondary qualities.
John Locke argued that all things in the sensible (sense perceivable) world have qualities that are innate (part
of the object itself) and cannot be separated from itself. For example, if we shut off all our senses over an
orange so that we cannot see it, hear it, taste it, smell it, and feel it, the orange will still have shape, weight and
density. Locke called the shape, weight and density of the orange, primary qualities. The oranges color,
taste, smell, etc., are all secondary qualities.
Furthermore, Locke said that the secondary qualities are produced in the mind in response to the stimulation of
our senses. In this way, Locke felt he had proved that there is a real external world, and that a things existence
did not depend on our perception (as opposed to the Parmenidean doctrine on the nous.)
RATIONALISM. Rationalists, on the other hand, consider that truths about reality can only be revealed through
reason, not by believing what the senses tells us about the world. Proponents of Rationalism were Baruch,
Spinoza, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz and Rene Descartes, to name a few.
Baruch Spinoza. Baruch Spinoza was a Dutch Jew of Spanish descent, whose parents had come to
Amsterdam to escape persecution from the Catholic Church.9 He was offered a professorial chair in a
university, but declined. He earned his living by grinding lenses and spectacles. Together with Descartes and
the rest of the rationalists, Spinoza believed that reason was the true source of all knowledge.
But unlike Descartes who said that there are two substances in the world mind (res cogitans) and matter (res
extensa), Spinoza upheld that there is only one substance God. (remember: Descartes defined substance as
that which does not depend on others to exist). The cornerstone of Spinozas system developed from this
supposition.
9 Jews in the 16th-century Spain were forced to become Catholics or flee the country. Many sought
refuge in Amsterdam.

15

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
Spinoza agreed with Descartes definition of substance. However, for him, Descartes should have stopped
once he identified God as infinite substance, because an infinite substance would also possess the properties
of the finite substances for where would have these properties come from if not from the infinite? So how
could a finite substance exist independent of the infinite substance?
In this manner, Spinoza was able to argue that God is not separate from the rest of the universe, as Descartes
(and many others) have thought of. Rather, for Spinoza, God and the universe and everything in it is one and
the same (pantheism). He insisted that mind and matter are just different forms in which God appears.
Moreover, he thought that there might be many other ways in which God appears, but the human senses are
too limited to perceive them. We might even be deceived by our senses, telling us that something is (which
in reality is not).
A PHENOMENOLOGISTS VIEW POINT ON MAN AS KNOWING.
Consciousness is consciousness of something apart from consciousness.
Knowledge is the object of our inquiry. We want to discover its true nature. To attain this goal, it is necessary,
however, to place between brackets all kinds of theories about knowledge. Hence, all rationalist and
empiricist theories are provisionally set aside, as well as all the implicit assumptions regarding knowledge
which are current among all specialists in the positive sciences.
How does knowledge come to be for a phenomenologist?
We always have to keep in mind that the starting point of knowledge for a phenomenologist is not reason,
neither the senses, but Mans lived experience.
How do we explain this lived experience?
Let us suppose, for example, that we are dealing with a knowledge of this table. What is this table?
By asking such question, our answers are inclined towards a familiarity with the table. This familiarity, although
knowledge, is rightly a perception. Yet, of course, there is more than just perception in this familiarity; there
may also be activities with respect to it, an affective relationship, perhaps, a tendency towards it, etc.
Now, how is it possible for me to discover what this nature is? Do I place myself above it, to judge it outside of
myself (i.e., judge it from without)? Or do I have to place myself precisely in perception and give expression to
it? The answer is to place myself in perception, i.e., I place myself in the presence of the perception to which
I am present and give expression to it.
From this point we will see that Consciousness does not talk only about itself, rather, consciousness perceives
(becomes familiar with objects outside of itself). The perceiving consciousness, therefore, is never consumed
by itself. Rather it is intentional it is directed to what consciousness itself is not. Consciousness, thus, is an
intercourse with reality. An encounter with reality. A discovery of reality.
Therefore, knowledge of things is not just about knowledge of the basics and dimensions of things. Knowledge
of an object, therefore, is being able to see the relation of the Conscious I to the object in question, and the
relation of the object in question to the Conscious I. Without that experience, that intentionality of
consciousness, Man cannot know.
ON TRUTHFULNESS
Truthfulness in common language is understood as the conformity of that which is in the mind to reality. As
soon as there is an implicit affirmation, a judgment, of that which is in the mind and that in reality, there is truth.

Phenomenology also accepts the traditional definition of the truth of the judgment. However, the truth of a
judgment rests not on is and is not, The truth of a judgment, for phenomenology, is preceded by event
the event in which the judged meaning becomes meaning-for-the-subject.; the event of truth-asunconcealedness. (Katotohanan bilang paglalambong). Truth is something that is gradually being unveiled.
16

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
Historicity of truth
The truth of a certain judgment is preceded by more original truths. The truth of the judgment presupposes that
what is expressed in judgment is already. If truth is an unconcealedness, it needs a certain light, an aletheia.
By that light, we mean, Mans own essence Mans own subjectivity a natural light (lumen natural), unaided
by faith.
One who understands that truth-as-unconcealedness is a reference to Mans subjectivity, already has
implicitly affirmed that truth must be historical. That consciousness of the acting doing, that subjectivity, makes
Man a being which exists for itself a being whose being is a being-in-conscious. And since Mans lived
experience is subject to time (which is the avenue of that same experiencing), truth is fundamentally historical.
Hence, an event.
There is also a second reason why truth is historical. It is historical because it is a never-finished event.Every
actual act of seeing intrinsically refers to a future of unconcealedness. Every past intrinsically refers to a
future, so that without the future, the past is not what is. The future co-constitutes the reality of the past. Hence
the history of truth can never be finished.
There is still a third sense in which truth must be called historical. Truth is possible in a particular phase of the
knowing subjects personal history and in a particular phase of the collective history of mankinds search for
truth in which every personal history is contained. A particular phase of the personal and the collective history
of knowledge plays the role of a particular attitude or standpoint in asking questions, and it is this attitude alone
which makes it possible to see.
For example, it is impossible and meaningless to discuss the truth of the ethical demand and support for
orphans and widows in a society which has not reached the phase of ethical history, in which the abolition of
the practice of burning widows together with their deceased husbands, is seen as an ethical demand. Such a
society does not have the attitude in which the truth of a more profound ethical demand can come to pass.
This truth is not there at that time.
Recap: Truth is said to be historical in three ways:
1. Truth is an event.
2. Truth is a never-finished event.
3. Truth is a particular event.
Reflection:
Becoming conscious of the objects other than I involves a reflection, a process. So, truth, too, involves a
process of unconcealedness. Although there are unchangeable truths about things, it takes time for Man, the
conscious I to process it. In order for Man to acquire such truth, there is a need for a constant encounter the
conscious I to the object, and the object to the conscious I.
SOURCES:
Dy, Manuel, Jr., B. Philosophy of Man (Selected Readings). Makati City: Goodwill Trading Co., Inc. (2003).
Esposito, Linda (ed.). I Think, Therefore I Am.A Young Persons Guide to Philosophy. London: Dorling
Kendersley, Ltd. (1998).
Siringan, Hector S. Philosophy of the Human Person. Quezon City: C&E Publishing, Inc. (2011).
Personal Notes in Philosophy of Man

LESSON 5
MAN AS LIBERTY
What is freedom?
17

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
In everyday language, freedom is always confused with (1) Mans capacity to do anything he want, or (2) his
capacity to say no to a request of have his last on things. Most people would allude to such examples if they
were pressed to give an explanation of what freedom is.
On the surface, these expressions seem to describe freedom perfectly. But on further reflection, these
expressions are as ambivalent as they can be. Lets take this as an example:
I do not want to go to class, and I decided not to go. Such an action can mean that (1) I did rudely and freely
choose not to go to class for a certain higher value I have opted for (e.g., to do a project in a major subject that
is due soon). Or (2) because I was so lazy and could not go beyond my laziness. Hence, (1) I yielded to my
base nature, or (2) I could not free myself from laziness. Thus, we ask the question: Where is freedom there?
Let us begin with a simple phenomenological exercise.
Suppose I want to buy a pair of shoes for myself and found myself in SM. When I went to the
shoe counter, got confronted with a whole array of types and recent styles of shoes. There are
locally manufactured shoes, as well as those imported from the US or Europe.
Let us just suppose that I become interested with a pair of Adidas because I am really involved
in obtaining a value comfort for my feet when I jog. As I go through the different sections of
the shoe counters Italian hand-stiched leathers, Bally shoes, Jarman there is always an
implicit value which propels me: I want to buy those. This value is not simply comfort for my
soles, but also value for the image I have of myself. I can cover my feet with burlap bag/s or
newspaper to keep my feet from getting sores (since I want comfort, right?). But I would not do
that, of course. That is quite embarrassing.
This self-image is somehow influence by how I want to appear before my peers, according to
the standards of dress and grooming which they follow. I may find that, for comfort, the best
shoes are military combat shoes. But I would not wear such in SLSU, or anywhere for that
matter. I would look stupid.
Why is that attitude so? Values are and cannot be looked in isolation from the total
paradigm which I have of myself. Even the value of comfort of my feet has to be part of the
ideal I want to pattern my life after. Hence, even the value of comfort must fit the ideal, i.e., the
style and dressing standards required of me by my peers.
So far, we have discussed two important elements in the experience of choice:
(1) choice is based on a value: a perfection for the self to be attained or exercised.
(2) a value is never to be taken in isolation. It must integrate itself within an ideal towards which the
total self aspires to become.
From a reflection of these two aspects of free choice, the two-fold level of free choice unfolds itself. There is:
(1) horizon of choices or possible choices.
Ex. Marikina shoes over Jarman shoes.
To watch a movie or take a nap.
To listen to the professors lecture or to text your special friend.
(2) dimension of vertical choices.
Suppose I settled on buying a Jarman shoes very classic, very elegant, simple yet stylistic,
comfortable, and made of genuine calf leather. But when I asked for the price, I had to take a
large swallow and dissimulate my shock it costs 3, 500/pair!
Noting my startled reaction to the exorbitant price, the sales lady directed me to a Badong-Liliw
shoes, with same leather qualities, styling, elegant simplicity, but only costs 500/ pair. After
gaining my composure, and seeing the pretty similar elegance and quality, I settled for Badong.
Why did I decide for a Badong? A Badong is outmatched to a Jarman. Because choices on the horizontal plane
is dependent on an antecedent choice on the vertical level.

18

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
I did not choose 3,500-shoes because I am hampered by my antecedent (choice), i.e., with a slim salary of
15,000/ month, I am committed to (1) pay my remaining standing balance in the seminary amounting to
40,000.00, (2) pay for my review, (3) shoulder my MA studies, etc.
Consequently, to purchase such an expensive pair of shoes would mean I have to re-budget my money. There
might even be a tendency for me to eat lugaw for a week just to make ends meet. I really need to cut costs.
This means that in order for me to decide and buy this expensive pair of shoes for myself, I need to revise a
prior decision, i.e., to choose a new priority scheme in my value system the value of my selfish satisfaction
over my education (which, in fact, has far more long-term effect than the shoes).
From such an elaborate example, we can end this lecture by saying that to talk of Mans Freedom is to talk of
Man having options, i.e., being able to exercise the power of choice. By this choice, there occurs a radical
change on the ideal of the self that I wish to be. We become free-er, when we go beyond valuing ourselves.
And when we give ourselves more to others, we come to know ourselves more.
At this point we can say that there are two kinds of freedom: (1) freedom of exercise, or the liberty to choose
or not to choose, to act or not to act, and the like. (2) freedom of specification, or the liberty to choose one
thing over the other.
Question:
1. Why is freedom important?
2. How is freedom possible?
3. How is Mans freedom differentiated from that of brutes?
SOURCES:
Notes in Philosophy of Man by Fr. Jose Calasanz, S.J. as found in Dy, Manuel, Jr., B. Philosophy of
Man (Selected Readings). Makati City: Goodwill Trading Co., Inc. (2003).

LESSON 6
MAN AND FELLOW MAN: A PHENOMENOLOGY OF LOVE
Question:
Next Question:

Bakit masarap magmahal ang nursing student?


Ano nga ba ang pagmamahal?
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Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
The question on love has been asked since the time of Plato, not only by philosophers and thinkers, but by
people from all walks of life. Even in slum books (slum notes), there will always be a part of it that asks, What
is Love? The very fact that this question of what love is is still being asked seems to show that love is part and
parcel of Mans life. And Philosophy of Man is incomplete without a Philosophy of Love of Man as Loving.
At this point, let us look at Love.
Many of us have the tendency to equate love with romance. The word love rings a sweet melody to the ears.
It brings to the imagination an image of two lovers whispering sweet nothings to each other, unmindful of the
rest of the world, as if only it is only them that matters and exists at all.
In another way, love is pictured many times as possession, or being possessed by the other. I love you has
come to mean, You are mine.
Most young people today consider love as synonymous to sex. To love another means to be passionately
attracted to her (or to him, as the case may be) and bring her (or him, as I have said) to bed with me (and often
than not, bed is no longer a requirement). This equation love=sex lead to the idea that friendship is not love,
that when two lovers break up, they may settle down to friendship, as if friendship is inferior to love.
Love is also considered as an attraction. That is why we say: Love is blind or lovers do not see. This has
come to mean the love is to be attracted with the good qualities of the other, and not simply his/ her physical
attributes. Love has been considered as an admiration.
Common notions of love today can be summarized into falling in love. People might have the misconception
that there is nothing to be learned about love that love hits like lightning. Ang pag-ibig pag tumama kanino
man, hahamakin ang lahat masunod ka lamang. Eric Fromm (The Art of Loving, 1956) attributes this popular
notion of love to three reasons:
a. the emphasis on the being-loved, rather on loving. This is evident in the many books written and
sold on how to win friends and influence people, how to be attractive, how to have sex appeal, etc.
b. the emphasis on the object loved, rather on the faculty of loving. People talk about the ideal girl,
the ideal man, the ideal boyfriend/ girlfriend, etc.
c. the confusion between the initial stage of falling in love (infatuation) and the permanent
standing-in love (love per se). Two people finding themselves strangers in a country and feeling
lonely easily fall in love into each other, mistaking infatuation as love. If they simply based their love on
this spur of emotions (such filling up of a vacuum inside), their love will not last.
If we want to view Love from the lens of phenomenology, we have to set aside all of these presuppositions
mentioned above and go back to the original experience of love.

Love and Loneliness


The experience of love begins with the experience of loneliness. The experience of loneliness is basically a
human experience. Because Man as Man is gifted with self-consciousness, there comes a point in the stage of
Mans life that he comes to an awareness of his unique self and the possibilities open to him. He becomes
aware that he is different from others, that he is not what others (like his parents) wanted him to be. Yet, such
difference is not something negative, rather a concrete proof that there is a tendency (a natural tendency) to
20

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
seek out for others. (Remind the class about the lecture on relationship of the conscious I with the self,
parents, siblings, etc.)
That being said, the answer to the problem of loneliness is the reaching out to the other as an other. Love is
the answer to the problem of loneliness because it is in love that I find being one with the oether and still
remain myself.
Love as an Encounter
The loving encounter is a meeting of persons. The meeting of persons is not simply bumping into each other,
nor is it a simple exchange of pleasing remarks. The deeper meaning of such a meeting or persons happens
when two persons or more, who are free to be themselves, choose to share themselves.
That loving encounter needs an appeal an appeal of the other. What does it mean?
The appeal of the other (or appeal towards the other) is not subject to the others physical attributes. For if that
would be so, then that is not an appeal; that would be the desire to be with others. Once that attractiveness
cease to exist, love will cease to exist, too. Appeal of the other (or appeal towards the other) must be more
than just liking the other because the other as a person (who has his own subjectivity) is more than his
qualities more than what I conceptualize of him.
What then is that appeal of the other?
The appeal of the other is the call to participate in the others subjectivity, to be with and for him. Remember
that Consciousness is consciousness apart from consciousness. The conscious I is intentional i.e.,
necessarily directed towards objects (with consciousness or not) with are outside of the self. Because of the
You which is another I the conscious self understands the meaninglessness of his egoism. Putting it in
this words: Perhaps, I am not meant to be alone. Perhaps I can only truly be myself with you.
As a subjectivity, the person is free to give meaning to his life. His appeal then means an invitation to will his
subjectivity: to consent, to support and to share his freedom. Love means willing the others free selfrealization. When I love the other, I am saying I want you to become what you want to be. I want you to
realize your happiness freely. That being said, Love is not just saying it. Love is doing it.
Reciprocity of Love
In a loving encounter, the response of the conscious I to the appeal of the other is that willing the others
self-realization. In other words, I offer myself to him by placing a limitless trust in the other. This opening of
myself to the other is a defenselessness (a vulnerability).

Hence, there is indeed an element of sacrifice in loving the other. Loving the other is conversely a loss of
myself. In love, I renounce the motive of promoting myself. C.S. Lewis is brilliant to point out that, True
humility is not talking less of yourself, rather talking about yourself less.
Yet, it has to be pointed out that loss of myself is not synonymous with loss of self. In loving the other, I
come to fulfil and love myself.
21

Notes in Philosophy of the Human Person


Mr. JULIO RAMILLO A. MERCURIO
Lecturer, SLSU (CAS-LLHD)
jayrmercurio@yahoo.com.ph
In loving the other, I have to be concerned with myself, if my love is to be authentic. Since in the loving
encounter I am offering myself to the other, the gift of myself must first of all be valuable to myself. Because if i
despise myself and give it to the other. It is not love. It is a throwing away. I have made the others a garbage
can of my despicable myself.
This love of myself takes the form of being-loved. I am first loved by my parents, teachers, friends, and the like.
Unless I genuinely experienced what it is to be loved, I cannot genuinely learn to give back that same love to
others. The joy I first experience in life is the joy of being loved. Loving the other is a paying forward of that first
experience of being loved.

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