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Philo 1: Applied Philosophy

INTRODUCTION
JERONE EDISON M. LORENTE

THE SOCIAL DIMENSIONS OF HUMAN EXISTENCE

I. Social Philosophy and Social Sciences


Although both philosophy and science spring from existence, from the inherent desire of the human
person to know reality, they differ in their approach and intent.
Philosophy seeks to understand reality in its totality and ultimate value, while science attempts to control
and manipulate it.
The philosophical approach is integrative of experience, whereas the scientific approach cannot be partial
in the sense that it isolates a certain aspect of reality.
Science makes reality into an object, sometimes apart from the inquirer or the scientist, because the
objectivity of science demands that the person of the scientist must not intrude into his inquiry.
The objectivity of philosophy, on the other hand, requires that it be subjective, not in the pejorative sense
of subjectivistic, but in the sense that the philosopher is part of the reality that he is investigating.
In this light, social philosophy and the social sciences, although inquiring into the same social reality, are
distinct from each other.

Social philosophy:
It penetrates into the social dimension of human existence with the immediacy of intuition, searching
its meaning and values, conceptualizing them for the sake of integrative meaningful living.
The structures that social philosophy seeks to understand are not taken in isolation from one another
but placed in a figure-horizon sort of way.
Example: The economic structure of society cannot be understood independently of the political
and vice versa.
Social philosophy attempts to understand his being-with-others-in-society in a total integrative way.

Social sciences:
It tries to examine a segment of social reality (a group of people, their culture, their economics or
politics) as a fact and to explain it.
A social scientist tries to find inter-objective connections between facts and formulates theories and
laws, sometimes using measurements and statistics.
He uses induction and deduction: induction, to arrive at theories and laws from social facts, deduction
to explain social facts y social theories and laws.
The methods used of course are limited to observable phenomenon, to social reality and object.

II. The Social and the Interpersonal


There are several of modes of being-with-others. Social philosophy and the social science deal with a way of
relation with others that is called the socius. The socius is different from the neighbor.

1. the Neighbor: it is the personal way I encounter another as a person, the interpersonal.
The interpersonal can take on varying degrees of intimacy, from an actual momentary
encounter with another in a dialogue to more permanent relationship of friendship. From a
concrete work of mercy to a living out of a commitment in familial relationships.
The neighbor, in other words, is my immediate direct relationship with another.

2. the Socius: it is the human relationship I have with an organized group or the person I encounter through his
social function.
The socius may be the administration I have to deal with as a teacher or student in the
university, the government official whose signature I badly need for my license or application
papers, the teller in the bank who handles my deposits or withdrawals.
The socius the mediate indirect relationship I have within the context of institutions and
structures.

The personal relationship of the neighbor overlaps the personal relationship of the socuis:
The personal relationship of the neighbor passes through the relationship of the socius in the sense
that my encounter with the other person takes place by way of an institution or a common condition.
Nowadays, it is difficult to develop a personal relationship of the neighbor that does not somehow
pass through the relationship of the socius.
The personal relationship of the neighbor at times works out in the fringes of the socius.
In a technological society where the division of labor is necessary and fuctionalization is unavoidable,
the person can only find time to relate with others a more personal and intimate way outside of his

Page 1 of 2
Philo 1: Applied Philosophy
INTRODUCTION
JERONE EDISON M. LORENTE

workplace. This is where the private is demarcated from the public, and leisure is distinguished from
work. I can only find time to talk to a friend when I am off to work.
What must be noted here however, is that the private life or the time for leisure is protected and
supported by the public and labor.
The harmony of the family life is assured by social order and peace.

Situations where the relationship of the neighbor rises against the relationship of the socius:
The evil of objectification over an organization where persons are reduced to faceless objects and
numbers, the injustice in the slow pace of service in bureaucratic agencies and the ensuing graft and
corruption to facilitate things, the domination of persons by those hungry for power in institutions, etc.,
are occasions for the relationship of the neighbor to rise up in protest.

In the socius and neighbor relationship, the monopoly of one over the other must be avoided:
The socius is not evil in itself; it becomes treacherous when it absorbs and exhausts the whole of our
relationships, for the ultimate meaning of institutions is the service which they render to persons.
Nor our relationship simply be that of the neighbor for this can easily lead to a false sense of charity
or a delusion.

III. Human Existence is Social


Our life is social in everything. We mean here everything that is subject to human responsibility, and all
aspect of human existence that human being can develop himself.
In the zone of self-project or self-actualization, the human being is socius a fellow, a comrade, a friend.
Even the things that you perform alone is still social. Causes, motives and purpose of the activity, though
performed alone is social.
The persons activities are social not only because he performs them with others but also because he
learns them from others, executes them according to accepted patterns and does them for his fellowmen.
Even wanting to be alone is social. The person may want to be alone because he is pressured by others,
or because he would like relate better to others later on, or because he wants to give an impression of
being independent and self-sufficient.

IV. Objections to the Socialty of the Human Being


The thesis that man is social in everything is not that simple to maintain. There seems to be human activities that
tend to show otherwise.

1. The autonomy of genuine knowledge. Genuine understanding is personal. When I understand


something, an issue for instance, I myself see it and judge it independently of others.
Nobody else can understand it for me.

2. The autonomy of aesthetic judgment. A genuine appreciation of a work of art rises above mere
repetition of what others have said about it. I speak, I judge and evaluate in terms of what I personally,
autonomously feel and see.

3. The autonomy of axiological judgment. A genuine personality is one who sees values for himself and
does not simply drift with the crowd. I make an important value judgment in my life independently.

4. The autonomy of personal creativity. My self-becoming, though prepared by society, ultimately


depends on me as a person. Personality itself is always something new, unrepeatable, and original.
In spite of social bonds, the task of becoming myself is a solitary task.

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