by Mieczysław Albert Krąpiec

This book was originally published in Polish under the title “O rozumienie filozofii”, Lublin 1991, Redakcja Wydawnictw Katolickiego Uniwersytetu Lubelskiego” [Editorial board of the Publishing Houses of the Catholic University of Lublin]. Fr. Professor Krąpiec has given the copyright of the translation of this work to me, Hugh McDonald. To the best of my recollection, much of the translation was done by Maria Szymańska, with some portions done by myself, and I also did some editing. This work may be further edited for clarity and errors from the version you find here. The reader will find much to improve in the editing and the translation, but in the interest of propagating the work, I am making it available as it is. There is a proverb, "The better is the enemy of the good", which means, the desire to make improvements can stand in the way of a good work. The final chapter of the original book has been moved to the introduction, and chapter eight is a manuscript added at Fr. Krąpiec’s request. As holder of the copyright, I am placing this work in the public domain under a Creative Commons License.

Hugh McDonald, April 2nd, 2007

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.



Human culture grew up together with philosophy. Philosophy alone is capable of showing the foundations for understanding culture and its essential meaning. However, philosophy was transformed (or perverted) into radically divergent lines of thought, so that it is difficult to call philosophy, without serious reservations, a “cognition” of reality. Even the terms “cognition” and “reality” have become ambiguous in how they are understood.

Although philosophy seemed to be condemned to obliteration from the field of rational cognition, it still fascinates people and refuses to die. It even claims to pass judgment on science, art, morality, and religion. Its “claims” are are consequences of the human need to make a synthesis of all knowledge, even if the synthesis is only a semblance of reality. It also reaches to the very roots of the rationality of human action in the world, and it reaches to the necessity of an evaluation of everything that makes up man’s culture.

Both matters are expressed in the set of real problems that have engaged philosophy for ages. Today also, although there are often calls to minimalize the role of philosophy, for example that philosophy should restrict itself to an analysis of language, these calls are a consequence of a position that is maximalistic because it is metaphysical, and at the same time a priori, a position that arbitrarily sets the object of philosophical inquiries. However, philosophical problems—those that are resolved and those that are not—are present in human life. We experience those problems in a meaningful way, or sometimes without meaning. These problems, as they are a content of such a life, are at the same time the content of philosophical meditation.

Above all, these problems—as the renowned “aporiai” of Aristotle’s Metaphysics—form the very core of philosophical inquiries (“diaporesis”) for all the great systems that are known to human culture. These are questions concerning how reality or being are understood as the object of philosophical inquiries and explanations, the role of human cognition, and above all, man’s understanding of himself and the meaning of his life.

The monograph presented here is a thematically arranged collection of meditations on the issues that for long ages have formed the “spine“ of philosophy and have not lost their timeliness and relevance to this day. Each person, whether he wills it or not, has experience of these problems, although not everyone considers the matter fully and to its conclusion. For this reason, if someone becomes familiar with the problems presented here and thinks them through by himself, this may lead him to study philosophy at greater depth, or it may serve as a culmination of philosophical studies by reminding the student and making him more acutely aware of the essentially philosophical cognitive problematic.

Lublin, December 8, 1987

The chapter that follows was the final chapter in the original work, but at the request of the author it is the introduction


What is Philosophy for?

Culture and philosophy, as a special base for culture, have their origins in human knowledge. The role of knowledge, however, is understood differently today than it was in the past. Today to know something mean to know how to use a thing—“know-how”. This is connected with the contemporary development of science. For a century, under the influence of a tendency to imitate mathematics, science has been directed to the production and development of the tools of human activity. In the past, in antiquity and the middle ages, the purpose of science was knowledge for the sake of knowledge—scire propter ipsum scire. The prevailing view was that man is actualized as man when he actualized his highest human potentialities. If the maximal actualization of man's potentialities—optimum potentiae—was synonymous with human virtue and perfection, then the actualization of man's highest faculties, the rational and cognitive faculty, that which is specific to the human being, is the crowning achievement of human potentialities for activity. It was rightly observed that each thing exists for the sake of an activity (esse propter agere), whereas in the case of man, he is “to be for the sake of himself, as for one who acts” (esse propter seipsum ut agentem). The highest moment of cognition is the achievement of accord with the known reality-being, i.e. the attainment of truth. To know reality and to be in accord with it in the act of veridical cognition should be the essential moment wherein man is fulfilled as a contingent being, knowing his own contingency and seeking an understanding of being. The veridical cognition of reality is to put man in accord with reality, lead him into harmony with reality, especially by showing the ultimate sense of what it is to be.

In the middle ages, St. Bonaventure criticized this ideal of knowledge, perhaps somewhat unfairly, writing: scire propter ipsum scire superbia est (knowledge for the sake of knowledge is pride”). He proposed another ideal of knowledge: scire propter amare (“knowledge for the sake of love”). If knowledge for the sake of knowledge was pride, then knowledge for the sake of love was supposed to give worth to science. This was the beginning of the instrumentalization of knowledge. One had to be a saint, in order to join the truth with the love of the highest Good, with God conceived as the end of all human activity. When they began to subordinate science to values other than knowledge alone, they began to instrumentalize knowledge. This has its good and its bad aspects. Good aspects, because science was esteemed by society, especially by those in power. The bad side of the new situation was that science was subordinated to other values beyond knowledge. These tendencies, though, were not always a menace, in so far as they originated “from outside” in relation to science, e.g. from those in positions of authority.

A new situation arose in the context of the post-Cartesian distinction between the world of the spirit—res cogitans—and the world of matter—res extensa. Science concentrated on the world of matter, on measurable “extension”, which could and should be used for human needs by applying mathematics. We are witnesses to the development of the strict sciences, and to the simultaneous defeat of the Platonic-Aristotelian conception of science, as it does not lend itself to the domination of the world of matter. The nineteenth century, with the real development of the natural sciences, also brought new conceptions and theories of science in the conception of Immanuel Kant and Auguste Comte.

According to the conceptions of Plato and Aristotle, scientific knowledge was directed by the general scientific question: dia ti—“on account of what”;—“;why” is there something? . Accordingly, the first thing was to establish the facts beyond doubt, and then one would attempt to explain them by showing a factor “thanks to which” the facts had come to be and are such as they are given to us in our spontaneous and reflective cognition.

The scientific climate in which we find ourselves is the heritage of the great philosophical systems of Immanuel Kant and Auguste Comte and of the natural sciences, especially physics and technology. The natural sciences have been enriched by their great and successful practices. We have come a long way from the ancient ideal of knowledge: scire propter ipsum scire— “knowledge for the sake of knowledge”. The byword in science is now a practical one: scire propter uti—“knowledge for the sake of utility”. In the storehouse of today's concept of science there are two notable conceptions of scientific knoweldge, each joined with a philosophical system. For Kant, the scientific question was: “what are the a priori subjective conditions of valid cognition?” Man himself with his cognitive apparatus is only one such a priori condition; another is the act of cognitive measurement through a temporal-spatial "meter”. For Auguste Comte, scientific knowledge (after the rejection of theology and metaphysics) was directed by the scientific question “how” do facts run their course with regularity? To the question of “how” one could provide answers through descriptions, classifications, operational definitions, measurement and finally - great extrapolations from the measurements. Hence we have the contemporary ideal of efficacious knowledge as knowing how to use the act of cognition—"know how”. In the use or instrumentalization of the object of knowledge, mathematical functions play an important role; these express quantitative relations which provide the basis for the construction of tools or for employing the object of knowledge as a tool for the intended operations, which is the technicalization of the results of cognition. The hypothetical deductive method would appear to provide a suitable and effective way to this goal. It consists in choosing the correct mathematical functions to direct experiments and to obtain the intended practical results. The hypothetical deductive method was recognized not only on account of the results it attained, but it gained a powerful theoretical underpinning by being joined with neo-Kantianism and its specific apriorism, which provided a justification for the hypothetical nature of the theoretical assumptions in the cognitive process.

Carl Popper tried to extend scientific positivism by negating dogmatic empiricism, by rejecting the method of verification in science in favour of the method falsification, by weakening induction in favour of deduction. At the same time he put an even greater accent on the hypothetical method, which he would no longer restrict to theory, but would also apply to expirience. Hence knowledge lost a stable point of reference, becoming instead a compact mass of cognition, a “ship at sea”. In his "ontology" Popper presented the idea of the so-called “third world", as the world of science and culture living by their own laws.

Subsequently there was a very intense development of science in which the artifacts and tools which already existed in culture were improved, and new tools and inventions were discovered which revolutionized human life. The development of tools became a synonym for the “scientific nature" of science, for men began to treat the most various domains of human knowledge as instruments or sets of instruments to make human life possible or comfortable. The economic, medical and agricultural sciences, the sciences of geology and astronomy came to be treated as the development of “tools” in the concrete technological domination of their respective areas in the material world. “Know-how”—a domain of knowledge if properly cultivated can be used for human needs: this is a concrete verification of the success of scientific knowledge. In this sense science itself become a basic and powerful instrument for the social and economic development of the state, which organizes science and carries out an effective science policy. In such a situation the so-called philosophical sciences cannot take glory in any temporary success, and so they must depart to the margins of society's scientific interest.

It was even worse when within philosophy itself, men looked for a theory which would restrict valid human cognition to an object and research methods in keeping with radical empiricism, recognizing the validity of this empiricism to the exclusion of all else. As a result, vast regions of rational cognition remained outside the narrow understanding of science. It would be of no help to construct some new “mythology” to “swallow” the domains of knowledge which are not science as understood by radical empiricism. The methods of this concept of science cast a long shadow in the humanistic and social sciences in how they conduct the process of rational cognition, and also in ideological attitudes, where ideology has taken the place of faith and rationally conducted philosophy.

The cognitive attitude of the natural-technical science was verified in the domination of matter and in the production of constantly improved tools for man's use; this attitude, however, began to present a menacing face in the form of the destruction of the natural environment and in the explicit tendency to treat man as an instrument, both in the field of science and in the social- political arena. Here we may call to mind the ever more daring experiments in genetic engineering upon man himself. In the social-political sciences, noble slogans notwithstanding, various groups of people are treated in a clearly instrumental manner, for example when social hatred is generated toward some group, or when we see manipulation of political parties and of the mass media for purposes often very far from man's real good. In all this man himself, like the tools he has fabricated, is used for end other than his own personal good.

The universally felt menace to man—especially after the last wars—is a consequence of historical attitudes toward knowledge and the development of contemporary culture that is based on these attitudes. We must thoroughly rethink what philosophy's function should be in the construction of the conception of rational cognition, and also in the conception of science in its various branches. There are too many a priori approaches, both in the conception of scientific knowledge and in the widely held outlook on the world and man's place in the world of nature and culture, particularily in the contemporary state and in international society.

There are many difficulties involved in returning to philosophy as the foundation for man's cultural conduct in the modern world. To what type of philosophy should we return? What sort of philosophy might we have to build from the foundations? There have been so many various philosophical systems, but no single system has become the exclusive method for understanding reality. Although the contemporary crisis of culture and man is the consequence of certain philosophical and ideological views, this is not readily apparent to all. One cannot see any "ideal" philosophical system which would ultimately explain how to understand the world and man, or would indicate the rational human way of existence and activity. Yet this state of affairs does not excuse us from having to think, from forming propositions which possess their own rational justification.

The return to philosophy cannot be the work of some “it-seems-to-me” of the directors of social groups or politicians, of such men who always have their own ends in view, sometimes very distant from the veridical ends of cognition. Unless the purpose is the truth, then it is in vain, and may even at time be criminal, to organize “scientific” institutions. This can be seen in practices aimed at the attainment of “absolute” human happiness. Fundamentally, the return to philosophy may be the work fundamentally of philosophers and those who are interested in and esteem the role of philosophy in culture as a whole.

Here it is clearly a question of philosophy, not of ideology. At the close of the eighteenth and during the nineteenth centuries, ideology was supposed to replace metaphysics and become the general basis for all science, for at that time it was conceived as a theory of human impressions, perceptions and ideas. After Condillac and British empiricism all this was to serve as the basis, or even as the object, of human cognition. Yet in the nineteenth century, after Marx, ideology became an outlook on the world and a program of action for the working class, especially for its leaders in the party, who declared that their ideology was the “scientific world-view”. A very ironical examination of the history of philosophy reveals a series of philosophical systems which are basically ideologies. They are ideologies for two reasons: (a) because they originate in a theory of knowledge, as in a “first philosophy", and so they hold, at least implicitly, that the first object of our cognition consists in impressions, perceptions, conceptions—that is, in "ideas" taken in a very broad sense; (b) in philosophical investigations they try to apply terms and methods drawn from the “leading" sciences. Some directions of philosophy directly state that they are scientific because they basically "generalize" the results of the specific sciences (especially the natural sciences), as if a non-verifiable generalization could by itself be anything more than wishful thinking proceeding according to pre-established aims.

From the beginning of its existence and today, philosophy is something different. It is the cognitive effort to attain an ultimate understanding of reality. The first matter is to consider the question: "What is real?" In various sciences and arts we find various understandings of “reality”, or at least different types of reality. These must presuppose a primary understanding of reality. If there is a mathemical “reality”, a physical one, a theatrical, cinematic, literary or economic “reality”, then what is reality as reality? Thanks to what kind of factor is it “reality”? Here at once we have the problems of being and the understanding of being, for reality, as it is philosophically understood, is “being”. But “thanks to what” is it a being? This is the first and most important issue that shall decide on the character of philosophical knowledge and the role of philosophy in culture, if the understanding of the world and man lie at the foundations of culture. If we do not acknowledge that which really and concretely exists as reality, as being qua being, but we think that it is that which has been grasped in our knowledge (aspectively and abstractly) as the supposedly most important “content” or “thread” of the existing world, then right at the beginning we are already falling away from reality. In such a case, it is in principle no longer important for understanding reality what we think about a “reality” which is grasped in this manner. It may be interesting as part of the history of thought, but it is of no avail when we are trying to understand the world and to establish man's place in the world. In such a case, philosophical thought perforce has then become an “a priori net” which we cast upon reality. In the light of our “a priori” we can then understand the world of things, people and events that appears under the net of our theory, all in accordance with our a priori theory. Ultimately, reality may be understood in two ways: monistically or pluralistically. These two understandings of the world have been competing from the beginning of the history of philosophy. Of course, the monistic understanding of reality seems to be simple and superficially quite clear. The problem is that it involves internal contradictions which are either suppositions right at the beginning of the formation of the system (Hegel is a case in point), or they are conclusions resulting from a confrontation between facts and suppositions. The pluralistic understanding of reality leads from necessity (under the threat of falling into absurdity) to a recogntion of the Absolute, to the existence of God as the source of being, the source of pluralist contingent reality, which at times is not “comfortable”.

These two options for the ultimate understanding of the world entail all the rest. They entail our understanding of man, the meaning of his life, our understanding of the meaning of rational knowledge, the meaning of science, of morality, art and religion. There is no way to escape these issues, since the root of our understanding of the world, of man and of culture is philosophy. One may not think about philosophy, one may not know philosophy, not take into account, but without it one cannot ultimately understand anything. This does not mean that he who studies philosophy and is dedicated to it is all-seeing. Quite the opposite, he encounters more mysteries than does one who has nothing to do with philosophy. He does, however, avoid one thing: he does not suffer cognitive shipwreck against the absurd. The avoidance of the absurd, which is formulated in the form of a contradiction which identifies being and non-being, is the single victory of cognitive thought that does not kill cognition itself in embryo.

If some one asks what philosophy is for, then the ultimate answer is that philosophy is for the purpose of attempting to understand ultimately reality. Such an understanding is the basis of the entire rational order and of the culture which is built on it. Of course, it is a question here of philosophy, as the explanation of the existing world, not of some type of ideology which pretends to the name of philosophy, but is not. Such ideologies change cognition into thought, and thereby they are set not on the road to truth, but to wishes and a mirage of the good, unfortunately one which is often illusory.


The Object of Philosophical Investigations

There may be small numbers of specialists in various domains, but it seems that most people are philosophers and physicians, since almost every man has something to say in these domains. He knows how to preserve his health, what to eat, how to treat himself for various ailments; he is even better acquainted, even absolutely knowledgeable, in those matters which make up the domain of philosophy. He knows what is good and what is evil, what is beautiful and what is ugly, what is real and what is illusory. He knows whether God exists or not, whether or not human life has any ultimate meaning. It is not strange that man is by nature a philosopher, just as every man is by his nature a man of letters, a writer of prose, as he daily uses prose, as the teacher of philosophy tells Jourdain in Moliére's play «Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme» - «I give you my word that I have been speaking prose now for the last forty years without even knowing it! Yes sir, everything which is not prose is verse, and whatever is not verse is prose». Thus it is with every man who cultivates philosophy using his natural language, a language which contains a great philosophical cargo.

§ 1. The common-sense(1) cognitive base

In the tempestuous development of contemporary existential philosophy it is said that consciously to be a man is to be a philosopher. There is a great deal of truth in this, since the most philosophical questions are those posed by children when they begin to use their reason. They deluge their parents and those around them with questions that truly touch the core of human knowledge - «what is that?»; «what is that for?»; «who made this?» - in a word «why?». Man's reason stands vis-à-vis reality. On the one hand, reality is obvious; on the other hand, it is both complicated and obscure, since it imposes itself in cognition as a fact, but at the same time it appears to be so complicated and composite that we find it difficult to grasp what is and is not important in it; what is primitive and fundamental, and what is secondary and adventitious. The answers people give to children are banal and satisfy their hunger for knowledge only for a moment. The very fact that they pose essential questions is noteworthy and attests to the fact that man's intellect is ordered to understanding being-reality, and in its essential aspects. Philosophy is occupied with providing the ultimate answer to the child's questions, who is still unaware of the gravity of these questions, questions that permeate all the cognitive acts of the adult as well. Although later in life the child will gather a store of information necessary for the preservation and development of his life and will commonly leave off the reflection on the content and range of the primitive questions, satisfied with understanding the way in which the objects of his knowledge are to be used, yet everywhere, in every act of cognition, he may find, explicitly or implicitly, as the leading thread of his being a man, the fundamental questions: «why?-being). Although man is absorbed in the matters of daily life, and the general information drawn from daily life experience is sufficient for him to direct his lot in a rational manner, as this information forms a natural store of knowledge and the way in which this knowledge may be put to advantage in human activity, yet in the totality of knowledge obtained in experience these essential questions which appear in childhood, and especially the leading question «why?», function as the very core of knowability(2). These questions, as the sources of the human drive for knowledge(3), are the reason behind the constant growth of the pre-scientific, extra-scientific and scientific store of knowledge, both in the life of each man in particular, and of the many human generations. The store of pre-scientific cognition and its ceaseless growth is of particular importance. Thanks to it, man may become more rational in this judgements, more deliberative in his conduct, since the reservoir of extra-scientific (pre-scientific - spontaneous) knowledge which grows up from the life experience of the individual and of human generations grows deeper and deeper by its nature. This cognitive reservoir is strictly joined with human life. It guarantees the continuance and development of human life and finds a special corroboration in the success of any human activity. For this reason pre-scientific and extra-scientific cognition, based as it is on human experience, was called common-sense cognition, or simply common sense.

Common sense cognition and thought, just like anything else, has those who are for it and against it. The latter are recruited usually from scientific circles, those who see the only basis for man's rational conduct in their narrow conception of science. Yet the resistance to «common sense» results from a fundamental failure to distinguish the fact of man's natural and spontaneous knowledge from the mode of justification based on common-sense knowledge. Man's spontaneous cognition of the world and the natural, social acquisition of information constitute the reservoir called «common sense». Common sense is a result of completely natural cognition, not yet refined through the art of reasoning and justification. The application of the «art» of reasoning may fortify natural cognition, but it may also enfeeble and paralyse it, depending on whether the methods we apply are proper or improper for a given type of cognition. In common-sense cognition one does not apply any methods of justification. It presents itself as a basic store of (generally) rational cognition (this store concerns the world of nature and culture), this cognition being the base and the niche of human life. It does not provide a rational justification for its affirmation, since they are usually evident; justification itself, however, is already connected with reflection rather than with the spontaneity of acts of cognition. This does not mean that «common sense» was only a mass of naive pieces of information, that it was completely defenceless. Common-sense cognition simply does not take into account opinions which stand at variance with itself, just as in real life one does not concern oneself with extravagant and «original» views. Even among those people who fight against the value of «common sense» in the name of some ideology or exotic understanding of science, common-sense cognition goes its way without considering «strange» ideological and philosophical currents. For example, people who theoretically deny the value of the principle of non-contradiction confirm this principle most strongly by their action in daily life; they distinguish some objects from others, friends from enemies, their own children from others', etc. The same may be said of those who reject the principle of causality - they live by its value and binding power, since they collect pay for their work, they bear the consequences for their own deeds. Common-sense cognition and thought constitute the basis for human rationality. In common sense, the problematic of the chief questions and chief judgements-principles is still to be clarified. This problematic remains for philosophy to unravel, clarify and rationally justify in a particular way at a later stage. All the branches and currents of science also flow from common-sense cognition. Through their own proper methods of investigation, the various forms of science each bring precision to their selective regions of common-sense cognition, while other regions are either left «untouched» or relegated to philosophy. The operations whereby precision is introduced both in the sciences and in philosophy specialize human cognition through a selection of a defined point of view of the object, and the selection of defined cognitive activities verifiable and accessible to others interested in the particular domain of science and knowledge in question. In the area of common-sense cognition there are not yet any precisions. This is because this cognition has many aspects and has not yet been ordered. This is understandable, since common-sense cognition is spontaneous and natural and does not have as its end any kind of justification or explanation. This is not to say that such cognition is irrational; on the contrary, the common-sense contents are like a reservoir of rationality, a reservoir containing within itself the complex problematic of the chief questions, the first principles such as identity, non-contradiction, the reason of being, etc., despite the vagueness and occasional errors which occur in this cognition. On the other hand, «common sense» is not a «condensation» of philosophy, since common sense and the life based upon it are principally connected with human behaviour vis-à-vis nature and the other man.

Man's relation to the other man is basically encompassed by the order of moral conduct, while his relation to nature as we find it (and as it is altered by culture) is expressed in a secondary manner in various kinds of production. Both the order of moral conduct and of production, together with creative activity, call for a natural (common-sense, to be precise) understanding of reality, an understanding whereby real being is distinguished from non-being or illusory being, truth from falsehood, good from evil, honesty from dishonesty, the end from the means, the whole from its parts, etc. Human life, both in the context of nature, which we make use of for our needs (Heidegger called this besorgen), and for our life together with other men (mit-sein), is abundant in personal «encounters». While human life is basically co-extensive with common-sense cognition, it leaves as if on a deeper plan and in shadow the problematic of the essential questions and fundamental rational resolutions co-extensive with the content of the first principle of being and cognition. In the normal course of things, common-sense cognition develops in the direction of the various sciences and technical elaborations of the world of nature. This takes place through the univocalization of cognition (rendering cognition scientifically precise); this enables man to make use of nature for his needs. The more univocal our approach to the system of the contents of the things surrounding us, the more we can «employ» these things for our needs and ends. It should be noted that we know things predominantly into order to be able to «use» them in some way, to make them into instruments and employ them for our own ends. We see this in the simplest acts of cognition and behaviour of the child and in the highly specialized cognitive processes of the scientist. The child also cognizes the objects of the world surrounding him by using them, which is sometimes even painful, as when he scalds himself with water or fire. The world of children's games and toys not only forms the «pure» imagination, but also the imagination as it is ordered to making the child present in the human world, since life is possible thanks to the use of the objets of the real world. Contemporary science, especially in the post-Cartesian period, is particularly joined with the production and refinement of the tools which support human life. Both the theoretical sciences, such as mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, economy, psychology, and the technical sciences, are ordered to perfecting the various «tools» needed for sustaining and facilitating man's life. Scientific cognition, especially the natural-technical kind, aims at grasping the necessary relations in things which make it possible to use a given thing (to make it into a tool) for human needs. After all, human houses, settlements, cities, clothing, victuals, the means of communications and factories are all tools produced by man for sustaining his life.

Common sense forms the basis for the development not only of science, but also of philosophy. The problematic of the chief questions and the content of the first and chief principles of being and cognition find their place in common-sense cognition. Thus, in common-sense cognition, natural language deals in universals, the basis for scientific cognition, and in the transcendentals, which are rendered more and more precise and clear in philosophical cognition. The whole problematic of the understanding and analysis of the chief questions and the content and articulation of the first principles of being and knowledge, and finally the structure of that transcendentalizing language specific to philosophical cognition, is developed, clarified and rationally justified by philosophy, which also rises from common-sense cognition.

Yet the development of philosophy is not easy to present or understand. This is on account of the series of confusions which are the constant companion of philosophical cognition, because some philosophers have tried to imitate the methods of the particular sciences. The incontestable development and prestige of the latter gave rise to the desire to imitate them on the terrain of philosophy. The result is that a great achievement in the sciences could become on the terrain of philosophy a serious deviation. For example, there were occasions when philosophy became dependent upon the structure and findings of the sciences which in a given period were predominant. Each science has its own distinct method of research and investigation, and the findings of a given science are internally connected with the character of the researches. If philosophers had constructed the principles of their philosophical system on the basis of the results of the particular sciences, then by the nature of things these principles (being as they are a generalization of the sciences) had to be astigmatic, since they were dependent upon the selection of chosen propositions of the particular sciences and finally would have to be unverifiable, as a generalization and extrapolation from the achievements of certain sciences. Given such a state of affairs, philosophy must became ideology, ad usum delphini(4) in the service of various systems.

Fortunately, this was not how philosophy developed historically; it developed naturally from common-sense cognition as the fundamental rational basis of human activities. This fundamental rational order, expressing itself in the contents of the first principles: identity, non-contradiction, the reason of being, the excluded middle, constituted the internal and essential tissue of common-sense cognition, albeit a tissue hidden as in the depths; common-sense cognition was the starting point for all cognitive operations of importance in life, but only in exceptional cases is it concentrated upon understanding, penetrating and rationally justifying all that constitutes the essential content of «common sense». This is precisely what philosophy has done and is doing, that philosophy which took shape in ancient Greece and persists to this day in its fundamental current: the philosophy of really existing being.

At the beginning of philosophical reflection, just as a child in the dawning of his life, thinkers posed the fundamental question in its maximalistic formulations—δια τι—on account of what? When for the first time in our culture there appeared the possibility of «scientific» cognition (in the democratic systems of the Ionian cities of Miletus and Ephesus), cognition which is verifiable through reference to factors «from this world», then a new sense was given to the ancient mythological question of the beginning - ' of the world of persons and things. The question of the beginning was already a particularization of the general question «on what account?», which functioned in the theogenic and cosmogenic myths. Answers were put forth, however, in a purely mythological manner. These myths referred to a an exuberant fantasy in which the beginnings of the gods and of the earth was presented in the forms of the cosmic proto-gods, Chaos, Heaven and Earth. These divinities, whether parthenogenetic, or male and female, were supposed to have given birth the world of gods and men. This answer was unverifiable, mythical. It was Thales of Miletus, and after him Anaximander and Anaximenes who dared to search for an answer which was verifiable not by way of reference to the tribal mythical gods, which W. Jaeger called θεσει θεοιi, but by way of verifiable factors of nature, a sufficient reason «from this earth» -φυσει θεο&iota. Thales' proposal was such a response: it is WATER which constitutes the beginning and essence of the living world. Wherever there is water at the same time there is a god. For Anaximenes, AIR - the cosmic breath or ψυχη- was supposed to be the analogical essential content; for Heraclitus of Ephesus, FIRE symbolized the all-embracing and rational divinity λογος. In pointing to such verifiable («from this world») factors as water, air, fire, etc., as the beginning or core, the ἀρχη of all things, the pre-Socratics made the first general attempt to give an answer to the fundamental question «why» in the form of the question on the beginning-core - the ' - of everything which constitutes the world of man. Just as the answers we give to children are at times very much lacking in precision, so the answers of the first Greek thinkers were naive and simplistic, and thereby untrue. What was important was that they had posed these questions and in applying various methods of cognition had pointed to accessible and verifiable factors which were to explain the complicated fact of human reality. The question about the beginning—the ἀρχη—was a manifestation of the question δια τι—«on what account» is something and is such as it is?

In our culture, man has clearly had the character of a questioner(5) in the face of facts which are important and at the same time either unintelligible or completely intelligible. The attitude of the man who investigates the structure of things and searches for answers to questions henceforth would be the «soul» of valid cognition, both scientific and philosophical, cognition which with the application of various «roads of cognition»—μετα-ὁδος can attempt to give rational explanations for important problems. The fact that the Greeks posed questions and applied corresponding «cognitive roads», i.e. methods of cognition, underlay our scientific culture, the «child» of the ancient Greeks. Even if they put forth mistaken or imprecise answers, the very fact that they posed such fundamental questions and put forth answers on the foundation of a verifiable reasoning was decisive for the existence of valid cognition - science. At the beginning, science was co-extensive with philosophy. It became independent slowly with the course of time as it became more and more aggressive, to such a degree that it began to negate the very sense of the cultivation of philosophy; fortunately this was unsuccessful.

From the beginning of its existence to this day, philosophy has been inseparably joined with the chief question δια τι—«on what account?»; philosophy has been an endeavour to give an ultimate answer to this question, a question which may sometimes take a more particular form, such as the question on the «beginning - » of things. The search for the real reason (some concrete factor) to explain some fact we do not understand is an essential manifestation of man's rationality, and at the same time a recognition of the existence of a rational order in things. This means that that which is real is free of contradiction in itself; everything which is changing, unstable and composite in things has its «real reason» (real factor) which divides it from non-being (a decontradictifying reason).

Thus the rational order manifests itself not as some «a priori», as a kind of purely human prejudgment (something without a reason), a postulate which is an extrapolation or condition of our thought, but it constitutes the very structure of the thing-being, a structure which forces our cognition to recognize itself. It is our cognitive apparatus which, in being totally directed toward the thing, draws from the thing its own cognitive content, its laws, with the chief law expressing itself in the form of a real (relative) identity and non-contradiction. Thus the structure of being forces us in our cognition to pose the question «on what account?». Such a question and the very possibility of giving an answer to it is conditioned by the structure of being which is the object of our cognition, a structure free of contradiction. Of course, the chief question «on what account?» takes on various forms and formulations, and is «reflected» and particularized into the more particular question which function in philosophy, and those which function in the sciences. All these question, however, spring from the fundamental «root» of all question «on what account» for in every question, formulated thus or otherwise, it is always a question of perceiving the proportional and proper «reason» (some factor) which will show «something, thanks to which» a given fact is precisely such as it, has manifested itself to us and has forced us to raise a question. An answer which demonstrates «that, without which a given fact (a given being) would not have been that which it is» already explains the structure of a being, a structure we previously did not understand; such an answer leads us on to the terrain of the fundamental rationality of being and cognition. The particular sciences and in a particular way philosophy seek a «reason» which shall explain hitherto not understood states and structures and in various ways order them to man - whether disinterestedly and ultimately on the terrain of philosophy, or «in practical terms» and in the context of the laws discovered on the terrain of the other sciences (especially the strict and technical sciences). However, both philosophy and the science show the rationality of the real world from various angles and in diverse ways, even though they do not succeed in seeing everything rationally as a result of the resistance put up by the cognized object and man's cognitive debility as he slowly brings his own cognitive process to realization.

In the history of human thought, the development of human cognition began from the base of common sense and passed through a stage in which elements of philosophy were intermixed in a peculiar fashion with elements of the particular sciences. At the beginning there was not yet any awareness of the difference between their methods, their ends and the objects of cognition which would be singled out for various specializations. Everything was still science and philosophy at the same time. But in the great cognitive process there took shape various «roads of cognition» which seemed to be the only generally important methods of valid human cognition. Yet with the course of time, when there appeared new possibilities for the organization of cognition, the previously discovered and applied methods were henceforth linked with some one thing - whether a style of philosophizing, or a particular domain of cognition, a separate branch of science.

When we take even a brief look at some of the ways in which the particular methods and paths of valid cognition arose and function and at their cognitive results, we will be able to observe that they are to a great extent joined with the common-sense cognition from which they first arose, and with the rational order of being and thought. They appeared on the terrain of philosophical investigations (for at that time scientific cognition, valid cognition, was still exclusively philosophy), but they became valid investigative methods for other sciences beyond philosophy, although they still function on the terrain of certain philosophical directions.

§ 2. The cognitive roads of valid thought

The simplest spontaneous and natural road of human cognition is formed by what is called empiricism (6); this designates a process of cognition which primitively runs its course in our senses, in sight, touch, smell, taste etc, and passes into the phase of understanding that which is seen, heard, touched, felt, tasted. This is the most perceptible and specifically human kind of cognition, both pre-scientific (and thus common-sense) and later specialized scientific cognition. Although beasts (just as man) see, hear, feel (sometimes much more perfectly than does man), only man understands the contents he perceives with the senses. The beasts in their sense perceptions grasp only that which specifically concerns their biological (individual and species) reactions. When man with his senses «inspects» a thing, then he understands that thing in a determined aspect; he knows how to use that thing for extra-biological ends; he knows how it is constructed, and thus knows what a thing is in itself, and not only in its concrete relation to the biological aspect of the individual. It is true that the cognition which understands is general and universal, and the penetration of primitively grasped contents may continue through man's whole life, and sometimes through many human generations; yet it is a cognition which understands the thing in itself, a cognition of the thing's nature, in as much as this nature is the source of a determinate necessary activity, just as the structure of the thing is necessary. This naturally human kind of cognition, called empiricism, served the thinkers of the Ionian school in the sixth century before Christ in the formation of their philosophical statements which were intended to provide an ultimate explanation of what the world of people and things surrounding man is. As they saw that this reality is subject to constant changes and spontaneously came to the conviction that all things in this world are interdependent and (each in its won way) alive, they perceived in this totality of phenomena, water (or air, or fire) as the factor which penetrates all things and guarantees the continuance of life. Their method was extremely simple: an attentive look at the world and an indication of that factor which in the visible world would ultimately explain complicated reality. The indication of such an element as important and essential was the perception in the totality of the phenomena that can be cognized in the senses (ἐμπειριαι) of the factor which is the basis of all understanding.

They had performed an immensely important act of philosophical cognition by singling out the factor, το δια τι, «that on account of which» the reality which is under inspection is such as it appears in spontaneous cognition. For the philosophical vision which in visible reality embraces «that on account of which», is ultimately such a vision that sees reality as real. The philosopher looks at the same world as do other people living together with him: he distinguishes and differentiates some objects from others. In this he is no different in his philosophical cognition than other people, but he is different in that he endeavours to uncover and understand «that on account of which» the world is such as it is. The perception, however, of «that without which» a given being would not be the being which it is crowns the philosophical vision of reality.

Among the ancient Greek philosophers this was in fact a naive cognitive operation, calling to mind even magic rituals in which, by giving some object a particular name, the object was supposed to become that which the name constituted. If the whole of reality (the world together with man) was supposed to be in its essence water or air, as was held as a result of one or the other cognition, there had taken place a very daring and, at the same time, naive generalization of empirical cognition, where some one factor explaining a determinate quantity of phenomena was supposed to explain all that which appeared as reality. To say that everything is water because water appears wherever life is to be seen is an inadmissible and naive generalization not yet vested in the form of scientific induction. For this reason, the they obtained erroneous results. Nonetheless, however, there began to take shape a method of empirical induction which would be later taken upon by the empirical sciences, a method which would obtain better and more justified cognitive results and would perfect them.

Empiricism(7), which found application in the in the (natural) sciences, took shape and assumed the form of induction - whether spontaneous, heuristic, moving from a content perceived in one of a few instances to the extension and formulation of an extensional general concept; or of reflected upon induction, «Socratic induction» which took shape in the works of Aristotle, Francis Bacon and John Stuart Mill. The latter induction runs from extension to content, and thus employs the canons of logical induction. Empirical inductive thought is covered well in the literature of the natural sciences, and it is not our topic of interest here. It is important only that the road of empirical cognition, which runs through the terrain of all the natural sciences, takes its historical origin on the terrain of philosophy. While that empiricism was there mistaken, it was in itself not without value.

It is noteworthy, however, that these empirical methods linger on in certain currents of philosophical thought joined essentially or merely in appearance with the natural sciences and the general theoretical results of their investigations. On the terrain of such philosophical currents the theoretical propositions of the sciences are subject to yet further generalization (this generalization may be justified in varying degrees) whereby either the general concepts of the sciences are extended or extrapolation is made upon research findings. This extrapolation is presented in the form of general propositions - the laws of science. The generalization of the findings of empirical researches is, on the one hand, interesting and even of great importance, but unfortunately it cannot be verified and thus does not have truth value; furthermore it is a sign of «wishful thinking».

Another interesting «path of cognition» which arose upon the canvas of philosophical investigations in ancient Greece was pure rationalism, aprioristic in relation to the data of sense cognition. Rationalism was manifest in the views of Parmenides and the «Eleatic school» as a concern to attain valuable and incontrovertible knowledge. In the eyes of Parmenides, sense cognition (empiricism) informs us only of the changing and manifold world, where everything is passing and nothing stable. The results of sense cognition are also changing and unstable, and so without value. Yet there are some elements of value in our cognition, elements which could not have originated from sense cognition, sense cognition being the «way of fools», but must have come from another source beyond the senses. This source is the reason. The reason alone informs us in a valuable, necessary and unchanging manner of the object of its cognition. Only that which is unchanging, necessary and eternal, that which results from the contents of a cognition which is a priori and independent of the sense, which appears in the formulation of the first general judgments which are tautology and non-contradiction, can be and is the object of such cognition. Only a rational cognition which is completely independent of sensory information can be the foundation for certitude and valuable cognition. We find such a judgment in the answer to the question: «what is it?» - «it is that which it is», «it is what is». Everything is being. There is no non-being. Being is one, for everything is being and there is no non-being. Being is unchanging, for everything receives the same essence-oriented(8) definition. Parmenides, as a result of his radical departure from empiricism and his distrust of all cognition that was not rational, pure and a priori, stressed the value of the principle of identity and non-contradiction, but in the a priori and intuitional application of this cognition to reality, he conceived reality as «monistic», and thus as one, unchanging, incomposite. Information about plurality, composite natures and change in reality originates from the sources of sense-cognition, but this cognition is erroneous and is the road of untruth. While it is true that in the «lower cognition» human life draws from the information of sense-cognition, nonetheless the sage who travels the «road of truth» knows well that everything is one and the same, while plurality is illusory.

Parmenides' procedure is indeed remarkable. He himself experienced his philosophy with great intensity, for he regarded his discovery as revelation from the gods, a revelation which completely changed his way of looking at the world. The formulation of Parmenides was in its own way a great one, although it was heavily encumbered by error on account of its a priori and absolute character, and because it did not take proper account of our abstract human mode of conceptual cognition. He did not know of abstraction, however, for this was yet to be discovered by Aristotle. The doctrine of abstractive cognition teaches that we known in one manner (abstractly) and the thing exists in another manner (individually). Parmenides' discovery marks the beginning of the scientific culture of Europe, a culture based on the value of the principles of identity and non-contradiction as the basis for logic. Parmenides fear of erroneous sense information led him to monism, for nothing fully exists in the same manner as it is known by the human reason, in an a priori manner and in acts of conceptual cognition. Parmenides, however, wanted an absolute adequation of being and thought. He regarded that cognitive act (νοειν) and the object of cognition (νοημα) as one and the same. This is obviously a gross error, for we know objects only in part and in certain aspects. The content contained in acts of cognition is only in certain aspects identical to the object of our cognition. In the thing known there is more content that we grasp in our cognition.

Parmenides, however, did discover the principles of identity and non-contradiction and thus lay the groundwork for intersubjective scientific-cognitive investigations. He discovered a new path for human cognition. Though false and inadequate, this path would remain in the history of human thought as an interesting cognitive road which, though inapplicable to the real and changing world of individuals, did apply to the world of intentional objects, to the domain of logic and mathematics. Purely intellectual cognitive operations are applicable in these domains and achieve impressive results. Of course, this does answer the question of whether pure rationalism is an absolutely a priori cognition, or whether in man it is the result of the primitive empirical apprehensions that led to the stirring of thought, to particular concepts which one may still employ effectively without having to verify them empirically. It is rather the case that genetic empiricism(9) underlies all human knowledge. Though a man may concentrate on the rational processes of cognition, these are ultimately based on sensory empirical cognition.

The dispute between empiricism and rationalism was resolved in yet another manner by Heraclitus. His idea was later applied by Aristotle in the domain of moral cognition. For Heraclitus, the whole world appeared as radically changing; everything was in constant flux—παντα ῥει. There was nothing which could remain without changing. Yet in this ceaseless motion, is in a war of all with all (πολεμος πατηρ των παντων) ), the order which reigns is higher than that which reigns among the vibrating elements of the world, just as the melody of a vibrating string on a lyre is of a higher order. It is necessary only to intellectually «look into» (φρονεν) the changing world, in order to see and apprehend another higher meaning or law, the &lamdba;ογος that penetrates all the changing elements of reality. In ancient Greek literature, this φρονειν was a cognitive experience, at times painful, by which one directed the choice of one or another activity.ii Man also saw constant and changing psychological tensions in his soul; he knew how to read these out in the perspective of his own activity. All the same, in relation to changing external reality, one must know how to «gaze» in concentration in order to see the deeper hidden meaning of the change observed by the senses. This meaning was also higher than and provided direction to reality.

The thought of Heraclitus was always obscure, as Socrates objected, but his thought was at the same time deep. It is difficult to give it a definitive interpretation. One thing is certain: Heraclitus joined the cognition of the radically changing world with a higher type of knowledge φρονειν, the type of knowledge which could perceive, as it were, the new melody of the world. This melody was the λογος that penetrates changing reality and directs it as a self-conscious God. The λογος is present in all of reality as the soul in the human body, but cannot be seen by normal empirical cogition. The λογος can be seen upon a deeper look, just as a man can see his own soul in his phronetic knowledge.

The phronetic mode of knowledge proposed by Heraclitus for investigating the enigma of the world was also applied by other thinkers. St. Augustine was one of these. Platonic intuition together with the Heraclitean φρονειν led him to confess: «I desire to know God and the soul! Nothing more, nothing more!».iii According to Aristotle, human moral conduct is one of the domains in which this type of cognition is applied. It directs human conduct, human acts of decision. The phronetic type of knowledge, also called practical cognition, is of particular importance in the life of each and every man. Not every man is a scientist or theoretician; not every man has a talent for creative cognition, that which is realized in the domains of art and technology, but every man does act as a man. Everyone is, as it were, condemned to make decisions which will direct his human, free, and thereby moral, activity. Through such activity, man realizes all his human potentialities and talents, and he becomes a man in that which is essentially human. This is one reason why the weight of phronetic cognition is of such immeasurable importance. Hence those who have ennobled their moral activity, who have based their activity on practical (prudential) cognition, are called wise. Practical wisdom has always been most highly prized, since it make perfects human life in that which is essentially human and thereby gives ultimate meaning to human life.

The way of phronetic cognition revealed in Heraclitean philosophy did not become a theoretical method either in philosophy or in any one of the particular sciences, yet, as it turns out, it is the decisive form of cognition in the domain of human conduct, in man's perfection as man in the essentially human, i.e. in the use of freedom and will. Practical (phronetic) cognition enters into human acts of decision and becomes an object of particular interest in ethics and the theory of morality. In directing human conduct it also becomes the foundation of that most highly prized «practical wisdom», life-related wisdom, which also is of immeasurable assistance in making judgments in the theoretical field, in the strictly philosophical way of seeing the world.

The beginning of Greek philosophy and its blossoming in Plato provided human culture with still other "ways of cognition", which would henceforth remain present and of value in philosophy and the other domains of science. Plato also differentiated the valuable ways of cognition: intellectual intuition or νοεισις , rational discourse or διανοια, and the cognition of changing object in a changing world, doxal cognition—δοξα. While clearly connected with the image Plato held of the world, these distinctions were to become important and of lasting value in the analysis of «the ways of cognition». While Plato's image of the world and his understanding of reality was a large measure his own personal affair, this is not to say that these distinctions were not to exert a powerful influence upon the history of human culture.

Plato was trying to find a middle way in the controversy between the radical rationalism of Parmenides and the ancient empiricism which acknowledged in principle only the value of sense knowledge. Consequently, he differentiated several orders of being, applying to each a different way of cognition. He held the world of unchanging, necessary and general ideas as the most important and valuable order. The ideas, he thought, constitute true reality and a world rational of itself. They are known by «intuition», and intellectual inspection or contemplation of that which the ideas present. This type of cognition, a perfect and effortless intuition, is decisive in the life of the soul or intellect. For Plato, the ideas were not a merely parts of the changing world, but were in themselves a world of the «fullness of being».

Of course, Plato made a fundamental mistake, whether intentionally or not we do not know, when he objectivized the mode of our intellectual and conceptual cognition. It is true that we have conceptual cognition of changing and individual things in a general, necessary and stable manner. Plato changed our mode of cognition into an object, thereby obtaining the world of ideas, which in reality are the senses or meanings of our general expressions which we construct in the act of conceptual cognition. When I say «man», I have in mind a particular image or meaning of man. In the light of this meaning I look at concrete men, at John or Mary, and I understand them in the measure permitted by these meaning-images which I have created, the concepts of individual and changing things. Of course, I can add depth to my understanding of man by study and life experience. Yet it is always the concept of man, that created in the beginning, that allows me a cognitive and understanding contact with the concrete, individual and changing man. Plato objectivized the senses of natural language and thereby created the domain of «ontology». As Plato understood it, ontology is the µ, the perfect mode by which essences remain.

Beside intellectual intuition, which Plato joined with the world of ideas, he also recognized a less perfect mode of intellectual cognition, διανοια, the kind of reasoning which involves mathematical being, the world of numbers and geometrical figures. This reasoning process, , brought the world of ideas closer to the changing, material and sublunary world, for it helped in the understanding of how the world of changing individuals participates in the world of ideas. With the help of mathematics, one can understand how one general idea can be multiplied in the world of matter where there is a multitude of exemplata of the same species, of the same idea.

Plato did not despise the world of matter, the world of shadows and the reflection of ideas which are intelligible in themselves, buthe did think that we know the world of matter not by indubitable cognition, but by way of "opinions", the doxal mode of cognition. The world of changing things is not a valuable reality, a necessary and general reality, but is a place of ceaseless changes. The cognition of the changing world cannot be valuable or necessary, for in such a case it would fail to account for the character of the object. One may merely hold an «opinion»—δοξα—concerning such a world. This opinion would be loaded with sense cognition. Such a world lends itself to the creation of myths and fable. and these are of help in the upbringing (παιδειν) of people to a better and more rational life. The Platonic «δοξα» had a truly cognitive character, though limited by the character of the changing object. This cognition may be generally trusted (πιστις), and this sort of cognition may also serve as the basis for making conjectures (ἐικασια) about future matters and events. Thus doxal cognition becomes an important element of upbringing and the social order.

The road of «noetic» intuitive cognition was of particular importance. For philosophy, only noetic cognition was cognition in the proper sense. Man was essentially a spirit or intellectual soul and was engaged in the contemplation of the ideas in themselves before he fell and was encased in a body that is more hindrance than help. After his birth in a body, man recalls the eternal and true ideas. He sees the shadows of the ideas, individual and changing material things. Only the intelligible ideas are an object for truly valuable cognition. Once having seen them, we remember them forever. Hence the intuition of objective ideas that exist in themselves is most important for the soul; it gives life to the soul. The whole of man's cognition in matter strives toward an ever better recollection of the contents of the ideas. The contemplation or intuition of ideas guarantees us the absolute truth. In Plato's great philosophical system, everything is ordered to the contemplation of the objective ideas, for doxal cognition draws its value from the «remains» of the ideal content contained in the participative and changing being. Dianoetic cognition has a the role of an intermediary as our intellect makes its way to understanding the ideas. The philosopher is one who concentrates on the ever more clear intuitive cognition of eternal truths or eternal ideas.iv

The position of Plato weighed very heavily in philosophy in neo-Platonism and in the philosophy of the subject from Descartes to our times. Man's task and mission was to arrive at a contemplative and non-discursive cognition of the ideas. According to Plotinus, the highest mode of the cognition of the ideas is in ecstasy, where the mind passes beyond images and discourse to be absorbed in the intuition of the truth given to it in the form of ideas.

We see a dramatic turn in the direction of subjectivism in Descartes in the seventeenth century. Descartes took the subjective idea as the subject of valuable human cognition. The subjective idea is my unique concept of the thing. By «concept» Descartes understood not only the intellectual, spiritual image of a thing, but even the individual mental image. Up to the time of Descartes, it was thought that in the act of cognition we are dealing with the «objective concept» and the «subjective concept». The objective concept was, according to Scholastic philosophy (and Descartes has studies this philosophy in the Jesuit college in La Flèche) all that we cognize in the thing; thus, in principle, it was the «thing as known» and in such measure as it is known. We do not know everything in the thing known. Many elements of the content of thing remain ungrasped by our act of cognition. Thus the objective concept is the content which is known in the thing. It is the «subjective concept» which decides what this content is. This is our unique concept, which we construct in ourselves and which is the «value» or «meaning» of our general impressions. Of course, there is an adequation between our subjective concepts and the objective concepts. This is to say that we know as much in the thing as our subjective concept, which rose as a result of a cognitive process, allow us.

Descartes reasoned that if there exists a perfect adequation between the objective concept and the subjective concept, and we are not able to grasp more content in the thing than is permitted us by our subjective concept, then there is no need to double the subjective concept into the subjective and the objective. It is not at all necessary to cognize the «objective concept», since the entire content fits in the subjective concept. Thus the object of our valuable cognition is our subjective concept, this conceived as a clear and distinct idea. Thanks to the fact that the object of our valuable and infallible cognition is our subjective clear and distinct idea, we obtain, as it were, an «Archimedian point of support» whereby we may move the earth from its foundations. The whole process of cognition takes place in the spirit and at the same level; the act, object cognition and result of cognition are absolutely contiguous to one another. All errors are caused by a difference in the level of the act of cognition and its object. In the case put forth by Descartes, the «resolution» of cognition becomes simple and immaculate, since there is a proportion of adequacy between the clear content of cognition, the act and the object. Even a powerful demon cannot insinuate himself here, since everything is clear and evident, and is completed on the same plane of the soul.

If, then, in the act of cognition what we know are not «objective concepts», which somewhat recall the Platonic idea incarnated in the changing thing, but rather our subjective clear and distinct idea, then there arises the problem of the truth of our cognition. What ultimately guarantees that in knowing our subjective concept, we thereby know the changing thing? After all, there is an enormous distance between the material changing thing and my clear and distinct idea (a subjective idea as it is in my subject) of the thing. Descartes thought that the veracity of our cognition is generally guaranteed by God, who so created us and who cannot permit the activity of our nature to lead us into error. Furthermore, we can reach a conviction on the truth of things through the principle of causality. The material thing in some way «causes» our act and the content of cognition. Thus there also exists a natural verifiability of the value of cognition. The only problem with this is that the principle of causality is itself given to us as an idea which is to some degree a priori. How then can we verify the idea of causality.

Nonetheless, with Descartes there began the new period of the philosophy of the subject which is still with us. Plato's path was modified only in the respect that the objective idealism of the ideas was changed into the subjective idealism of our cognition. The Platonic-Cartesian heritage appeared in the object of cognition, the object being ideas, just as it appeared in the mode of valuable cognition, the latter being an inspection of «evident», i.e. immediately accessible, cognitive contents. This heritage remained in French rationalism, English empiricism, in the conception of Kant and the great German transcendentalists, especially Hegel, the neo-Kantians and the phenomenologists. Every significant school in the history of modern philosophy to this day assumes in greater or lesser degree the epistemological position of Plato and the subjectivized epistemological idealism of Descartes. Among all these thinkers, the object of cognition is the content contained in a subjective idea, however this idea may be understood. This content may be general and necessary or concrete. We shall have to return often to these matters when discussing the object, mode and value of our cognition. Here it is important for us to realize that both the objective and the subjective epistemological idealism has posed a constant threat to the common-sense position in philosophy's very point of departure, and in the original stated solutions of the great thinkers. That their propositions were original and aroused admiration because of their incomprehensibility does not give us grounds for thinking they were correct.

The subjectivization of human cognition initiated so strongly by Descartes went through various stages. Among the English empiricists, Locke and Hume, contact with the real world was suspended. For them sense impressions and the idea which was cut out from the former constituted the object of cognition. Although they proclaimed empiricism, this empiricism still did not reach the thing itself, but only the sense impressions which man forms for himself when he sees, hear, or feels. Immanuel Kant also was unable to reach the real world. For him, the object of cognition was Empfindung, the content of the individual impression, which to be understood needed to be located in the a priori framework of subjective sensory and rational categories. These categories would make possible the intersubjective «legibility» of the individual impression which supplies a content fairly accessible to man. It was impossible to arrive at being, at the real world, since the object of cognition was not being, but the subjective Empfindung, as the only content accessible to valuable cognition.

The subjectivity of cognition was further radicalized in the thought of the German transcendentalists, especially Hegel. For Hegel, both the object of cognition and the absolute point of departure for cognition was the fundamental «rational situation» in the form of the idea. The analysis of this idea in Hegel was to show that the idea did not have a polar (bipolar, non-contradictory) structure, but was characterized by three phases of dialectic: thesis, antithesis and synthesis, since the «idea» is in constant becoming. Both neo-Kantianism and the phenomenological movement in its attempts to overcome it would never go beyond the «idea», although the latter would try to call the content of the idea the «thing in itself», to which they thought one could return in an immediate inspection which was fortified by the epoche, i.e. one would leave to the side real existence, history and theory.

So we see that from the moment when Plato through his conception of valuable cognition joined philosophy with the general, necessary and stable contents contained in an immediately intuited idea, there was the completely unjustified conviction that the philosophical world, ontology, was contained in the idea, whether this be conceived objectively, or subjectively, since the idea is the object of the intentional acts of our cognitive apparatus. The fundamental error of Plato, the objectification and reification of the mode of intellectual and conceptual cognition, persists in many «important» philosophical systems. Meanwhile, the object of our spontaneous and natural cognition is always the really existing world with its individual objects. This is not to say that we have no cognition of our concepts of the world. These concepts make it possible for us to have contact with the world. We can reflect upon them and objectify them, and thereby make them into the object of our reflective cognition. This, however, is a cognitive operation completely different from our normal, spontaneous cognition of reality and the philosophical understanding of which this cognition is the basis. Philosophy cannot confine itself to the reflective cognition of our concepts, which concepts could also be called «ideas». After all, ideas have been variously understood, depending on the epistemological context.

In the course of the centuries we see yet another «road of cognition», the abstractionism of Aristotle. In his controversy with Plato, he perceived that a thing exists in one manner and is known in its content in another. The thing exists concretely, individually, in change, yet we know it in a valuable, intellectual, general and necessary manner, as we grasp in it necessary and stable elements. As a result, our concepts enable us to maintain cognitive contact with the concrete object in a manner which is of value not only for the individual who cognizes, but for others as well. His theory of abstraction allowed Aristotle to avoid Plato's doctrine that ideas have objective existence somewhere in the «world of the plenitude». He could join man's valuable cognition (philosophy or science) with the changing material world. All the knowledge contents we obtain from the cognition of the material changing world, we grasp in a complex cognitive process, at first sensory, then an intellectual process which integrates simple apprehensions of abstract concepts, judgments and reasoning directed by the laws of logic. The basic act, however, of «information» concerning the real world, is the contact we make through the concepts we create in the process of the simple conceptual cognition of reality.

Aristotle was correct in differentiating the spontaneous process of forming concepts in the sensory cognitive contact, in vision, hearing, feeling etc., from the methodical process. It is then, by virtue of our nature, that we understand that which we see, hear, smell, taste... In the data of sensory cognition we «read», as it were, we «see» the general, necessary and stable profile of the concretely apprehended contents of things. This is the spontaneous process of abstraction, later called «total abstraction», or «extensional abstraction». This process allows us to apprehend cognitive contents to the degree that we are able to distinguish things one from another and use them for our immediate life needs. No one has to learn this process of cognition. By virtue of the fact that he is a man, man, having received sense impressions, understand the contents presented through them, whether this understanding be good or defective. Thus he carries out a spontaneous process of abstraction, he separates necessary and schematized contents, general contents, from changing individual images. This spontaneous extentional abstraction, sometimes called total abstraction, still does not lead us to a deeper understanding of the contents presented. We need a special cognitive operation called «formal abstraction», «induction» ἐπαγογη, in order to obtain contents which will be of service in a given empirical science, contents which are more deeply understood and useful for scientific ends.

Aristotle noted that there are three stages of formal abstraction whereby we elaborate the concepts which characterize the three kinds of cognition that are valuable in the various domains of science. These three stages would bear the names of physical abstraction, mathematical abstraction and metaphysical abstraction. We see that the theory of abstractive cognition in these three domains of science is connected with a certain understanding of the structure of the object. For Aristotle, individual objects which exist as independent subjects of activity were characterized by the «structure» of substance and accidents, a hylemorphic structure. This is to say that every independent subject which acts in the world of nature, especially a living subject (whether by vegetative life as the plants, or rational life like men) possesses its own component and constitutive parts which create the substance, the existing subject, and accidental parts which are unnecessary, constantly changing, which always exist in the substance as in their subject. Substance itself is composed of form and matter, of factors which, on the one hand, are the real reason for the dynamism of the being and its changes (this factor is matter), and, on the other hand, are the real reason for its determination, identity and stability (this factor is form). Aristotle had in view just such a state of affairs in the world of material being and he wanted to make human conceptual knowledge valuable, and to give it a justification. He was thereby compelled to connect them first and foremost with the substantiality of being, with that which is not accidental but necessary, capable of autonomous existence and activity. In the order of substance, which is the fundamental kind of being, he looked for the factor of form as the real ground for the value of being and cognition. For this reason he connected the conception of abstraction as the cognitive process whereby the essential structure of reality is discovered with the revelation of form as the factor which determines and constitutes the fact that a thing is.

Thus the first degree of abstraction (natural-physical abstraction) consists in leaving aside the change and individuality of the thing, this being associated with concrete matter. This allowed him to attain generality, necessity and stability in the ontic structures characteristic of various domains and natural kinds. Abstraction of the first degree (physical abstraction) is distinguished from pre-scientific and extensional (total) abstraction, because the accent is placed on the understanding of content rather than on the extension of the concepts obtained. This contain is more methodically worked out on the basis of reflective induction, ἐπαγογη.

The second degree of mathematical abstraction, which, according to Aristotle, constitutes mathematical being, consists in the exclusive consideration of the element which organizes matter and makes it intellectually intelligible. This factor is quantity in as much as quantity is necessarily involved with quantitative relations. Quantity is the organization of matter in the sense that it makes matter extensive by the arrangement of parts «apart from one another» (as Aristotle said) according to the struture and the needs of the form which is constitute of the being. The parts are divided one from the other and arranged in accordance with the structure of being. They make the material being legible, measurable. For this reason, Aristotle saw the possibility of abstracting, in the process of cognition, from all other factors, and of concentrating on the relation of quantity which organizes matter through a relative arrangement of parts. The apprehension of this moment of reality created mathematical being. This allowed him to understand matter, to render it measurable and to order it to technical ends, to instrumentalize the cognized material construction.

The third and 'metaphysical' degree of abstraction reached in being to that which is the moment constitutive of being-substance, to the form, thanks to which a given being is just that which it is. Thus, according to Aristotle, there was a state of cognitive abstraction from all change and individuality, from all matter, if matter was synonymous with potentiality. According to Aristotle, by leaving aside in the act of cognition both individual matter and even the «general» matter which is present in physical abstraction, one may reach the substantial form as the factor «thanks to which» being is ultimately determined in itself, identical with itself, undivided, and one. This form, grasped in the most general kind of abstractive cognition, for this cognition transcended all the limits found in normal conceptual cognition, was acknowledged as the ultimately fundamental factor 'thanks to which' something is truly real. The cognition organized on the basis of this abstraction was the highest and ultimate type of cognition. It was «first philosophy», metaphysics.v

Aristotelian abstraction had entered philosophy and scientific cognition to remain. In the domain of philosophy, this abstraction even had a second career, for not only would it be a «way of knowledge», however understood, but it would also become the foundation for the general classification of scientific cognition in the various philosophical movements which would refer to Aristotle.

The conception of abstractive cognition, especially at the level of metaphysics, would be interpreted in various ways, depending upon how the structure of being was understood, and upon the general understanding of knowledge, the ontology of knowledge. These factors are, of course, interdependent. We find one understanding of the conception of metaphysical abstraction in Duns Scotus, and another in the post-Suarezian current of Thomism. In Duns Scotus, metaphysical abstraction was reduced to a single act of intellectual intuition which leaves to the side all the stratifications of being and reaches to the «deepest» level of being. Among the post-Suarezian Thomists metaphysical abstraction was understood as a complex cognitive act involving a reflection which brought out the process by which we apprehend some elements of being in a thing and leave aside others. In the domain of metaphysics, the function of abstractive apprehensions was also involved with a methodological penetration of the cultivated discipline and with the perception of the complexity of philosophical cognition.

Generally speaking, however, abstractionism, which was the chief path of cognition and the explication of the concept of «being», encounters an insurmountable difficulty when philosophy is conceived as the realistic cognition of really existing being. All forms of abstractionism by their nature abstract from the real being certain of its elements in order to better grasp the remaining elements, those regarded as constitutive. Yet every element thus passed over belongs to the real world. It is also a real being or a real part of a real being. Thus when in abstraction we pass over such elements, to the same degree we lose contact with reality. When we lose the connection of cognition with the real elements of being, we lose contact with reality itself. Henceforth we are no longer occupied with the cognition of real being, but with the cognition of an abstractly apprehended «content». Here we pass over to an «idealistic» position, since the idea itself is a content selectively apprehended in our cognition. Concepts always grasp the contents of a thing, not the whole thing as it is really given to us to cognize. Concepts, even if real, never grasp, for they are incapable thereof, the very fact of the existence of things. The contents given to us as the content of our concepts may be both real contents and unreal ones. We cannot verify whether the contents of our concepts are real by way of any abstraction, formation of or operation upon concepts. Existence (the realism of the contents) must be affirmed by way of judgement, by another extra-conceptual act of cognition. Although concepts have their place in normal (predicative) judgments, the cognitive act which we obtain in judgmental cognition is more perfect than the cognitive act given to us in conceptual cognition. While it is true that some have held that all the results of cognition are expressed in concepts, constantly more perfect and general concepts, the act of judgmental cognition, as we will discuss further on, is in full an act of human cognition, and this cognition bears the mark of truth.

We do not obtain the existence of things, or the existence of real contents by way of mere conceptualization, (nor do we obtain the deeper content(10) of the contents of cognition only by way of conceptualization) and by way of the deeper contents of any cognitive contents in the concept, but the real existence of these contents calls for a special affirmation of their existence in an act of judgmental cognition. We see that the whole process of abstractive cognition not only does not put us in contact with the whole reality of the concrete (for it leaves to the side its really existing features and elements), but furthermore it does not reach that which in the domain of reality is most important, the real existence of things. Thus it is hard to say that the way of abstractive conceptual cognition (at whatever level of abstraction) is the right way, a way which can ultimately lead us in cognition to be joined with reality. Although the way of abstractive cognition has entered the theory of scientific cognition to stay, and in the various types of science is of great importance, in philosophy it does not lead to a real grasp of being.

Although the cultivation of philosophy stood at the foundations of the scientific culture of Europe and has always formed the underpinning and culmination of this culture, it was only slowly that men became aware of the methods whereby philosophy is cultivated. The growth of this awareness was not without slips. The most usual slip was the absolutization of some seemingly simple way of cognition. Meanwhile, the philosophical cognition which concerns the really existing world and our very selves is a difficult and complex process. It first presupposes the affirmation of the existence of the world, the existence of real being. This is a very important process, since in the normal course of things the existence of the world is implicitly accepted and presupposed in cognitive acts. It is because this is implicit that the foundations of reality are blurred. The formation of various conceptions of reality are also obscured. Consequently, the problematic of real being not infrequently evaporates from philosophy and attention is shifted to the analysis of concepts (ideas), or language. We carry out the formal affirmation of the existence of a thing, as of a singular subject, in what is called an existential judgment, a judgment concerning the existence of a thing. This is a specific judgment differing from normal predicative judgments (some S is P), since in its structure we possess no predicate (this A exists), and consequently we determine not what it is, but that it is, i.e., that it exists actually, here and now. Thus there comes about a conscious cognitive contact with the existing subject, with the concrete being, through the affirmation of the existence of this being.

The next act, after we have affirmed the existence of various subjects (eg. the existence of John, Mary, this horse, this oak, etc.), is our perception of their heteogeneity, their non-identity. We perceive the primordial pluralism of being. In a subsequent act, we perceive that reality («to be a being») is joined more with «that something is» more that with «what the being is». «To be» means «to exist» more than it means to be Mary, John, the horse or oak, etc. In order to be something real, in order to be a being, it is not necessary to «be Mary», or «to be John», or «to be this oak». To be real means «to be anything whatsoever as actually existing». Thus any concrete content whatsoever, a content determined in itself, a content of being, an actually existing content, is a being, is a reality in the prime and fundamental sense.

In the cognitive process which leads to the cognitive apprehension of 'being', there is thus the affirmation, by way of existential judgments, of the actual existence of some object, some thing, and then a reflection is made through the formulation of negative judgments (that any one given thing is not another); one perceives the fact of existence as the reason for being, for reality. One sees in a relative judgement concerning the identity of real existence that «that which is concretely determined in itself as a content exists; it is a real being». This complicated cognitive process was called «separation», since after affirming the act of existence of various contents, we see that these beings are not identical to those, that the content of being (what something is) is not of necessity joined with its existence (that it is). This cognitive process leads to the singling out of the «concept» of reality, of that which in philosophy was called «being as being». Philosophical reasoning runs its course in the process of the clarification and explication of «being as being», the elucidation of important ontological facts. This consists in indicating such a reason or factor without which a given ontological fact would not be that which it is, and thus would not be differentiated from its non-being (nothingness). This matter will have to explained in greater detail further on in this presentation when we shall speak of the specifics of the philosophical method of cognition.

This is a mere sketch of the various roads of cognition that have appeared on the canvas of philosophical thought and have modified the very way in which philosophy is understood, roads of cognition which are not joined with philosophical cognition alone. These became the common good of the knowledge process in various types of science. On this account, there was an effort to reduce philosophy to a science or to some one method of scientific cognition. Meanwhile, while philosophy is the foundation of the sciences, it is in itself the independent and ultimate domain of the elucidation of reality.

§ 3. What is reality?

At first glance, the question «what is reality?» seems to be banal. After all, the answer comes to one's lips almost spontaneously: «It is the world in which we live». Yet one may live in different ways and in various contexts. We live biologically in the material world, in some locality. We take our food at home or in some restaurant, etc. Yet we also live by our thoughts in the world of our heritage from the past. We live in the «world of literary fictions» when we read a literary work. We live in the world of history when we study history. We live in the world of mathematics, in the world of finance, in the world of religion.

For this reason such terms as «literary reality», «mathematical reality», «historical reality», «religious reality» «earthly reality» etc. have the rights of citizenship in our language and are understood. The meaningfulness of such qualified expressions shows that there is some meaningfulness, at least a supposed meaningfulness, in the use of the unqualified expression «reality». Thus there is some fundamental understanding of reality as reality. This understanding is to be supplied by philosophy, because reality is the field and object of philosophical investigations.

From the very beginning of the existence of philosophical thought, a fundamental understanding of «reality» has been established. Reality is, quite simply, what we call all that which has being - being. Parmenides explicitly formulated the question - «what is being as being?». He was not concerned with understanding being as man, being as earth or heaven, being as water or fire, but with the fundamental understanding of being precisely as being. His predecessors, however, the thinkers of the school of Miletus or Ephesus, were concerned with the same question. When they asked about the «beginning-essence» (ἀρχη) of everything, they were asking, after all, about that «thanks to which» everything is precisely this «everything» by which we live and which surrounds us. Thales, the first philosopher, Anaximander, Anaximenes, Heraclitus, Anaxagoras and others, were basically asking: «What is reality?» when they tried to find the sought after ἀρχη which would ultimately let them see from what fundamental «element» everything is fabricated, i.e. «thanks to what» or «for what reason» everything is precisely real, everything is being. Thus this was a question about being as being?

The answers they gave almost three thousand years ago are still alive. We still encounter them in contemporary philosophical directions, or at least among certain physicists and biologists who philosophize.

If we take a look at some typical explanations of the essential content of reality, being, we see that they would usually look for this element or factor exclusively in the content of things. They conceived of reality or being as a specific «sum» of components or features among which they could see that factor «thanks to which» being is being. Each applying his own methods of cognition, they all pointed to what they thought to be the fundamental factor constitutive of «reality». Thus, for example, according to Thales, this factor was water, the factor from which everything comes and to which everything returns. Other philosophers thought it to be air, as this symbolizes life-giving breath, or the primeval limitless, or fire, as that which was to determine that being is truly being. Reality was to be truly reality when it was conceived of as water, air, fire etc. It was thanks to these factors that, they thought, one may ultimate understand the world, being.

These answers may seem to us to be naive and not worthy of consideration, yet they were of great importance in the vision of the world of their times. One may compare them to the mental efforts of today's physicists and cosmologists who are very close that ancient way of thinking. It shall suffice here to recall the eminent philosophizing physicist Werner Heisenberg who confessed that Heraclitus' conception of fire as the prime stuff of reality is almost contemporary, if we only call the Heraclitean fire by the name of «energy», which is endlessly being transformed and endlessly being articulated in the most various concentration of matter.

If we keep in view this kind of formulation, if we generalize it, we may say that for many thinkers, both ancient and modern, the true reality is constituted by being as radical potency. All that comes to be and passes away in the world is in constant motion. Although there exist relatively stable concentrations of material reality, these come to be and vanish, whether constantly or cyclically. The problem with this is that radical potentiality is realized in the same way; it goes through changes, from that which was not to that which is, and it possesses its own rights as a being and rights to its own cognizability. What then stands behind this potentiality to constantly actualize it? Potentiality as potentiality is «not-yet-being», as Aristotle pointed out long ago. To explain being or reality by potentiality alone is tantamount to explaining being by non-being. This is common nonsense, an absurdity.

This had been seen by ancient Parmenides. He called this way of cognition the way of fools, since being does not arise from non-being, for then non-being would be a being and being would be a non-being. Thus he was first to formulate the expression «being as being», and conceived reality according to a radical identity. He thought that the only valuable cognition was rational cognition radically separated from sensory information about the world. The senses constantly give rise to deception. In important matters one may trust only in the reason. Now, the reason, if separated from all sensory information, may only pronounce tautologies. The chief tautology which expresses absolute identity was formulated by Parmenides: «being is being». In giving the grounds for this formulation he noted that every thing in the material world holds the same definition, for every thing «is that, which it is», i.e. «it is a being». Since everything has the same definition expressive of identity, then everything is identical, everything is being. So it is that «reality» = «being is being». There is only being. There is no non-being. Being is identity. This is obvious from thought and the object of thought, which was identified by Parmenides with the act of thinking. These he held to be one and the same: νοειν τε και νοημα τ&alphaυτον.

The discovery of identity so enchanted Parmenides that he thought of it as a revelation which could free us from error. The thought of Parmenides, as it was freed from the oppression of sensory cognition, seemed to be free and unhindered, even divine. It seemed ultimately to penetrate all of reality. Reality could be understood from the point of view of that which ultimately binds it together, from the point of view of identity as the essential law of reality. There was truly something great hidden in this: the discovery of the foundations of the rational order, the principle of identity and non-contradiction, although still with an admixture of error. The error was that he failed to account for real material reality. Be that as it may, here are the underpinnings of the rational cognition of the world. This cognition is based on the first principles and the logic which is built upon them. Aristotle was later to fill this out. He made the principle of non-contradiction more precise and joined the understanding of this principle with real being as it is given to us in sense experience. He also constructed logic as the art of correct reasoning. Yet it was Parmenides' discovery of the foundations of the rational order which joined the history of scientific culture with ancient Greek philosophy. Science is still living and developing upon the rational foundations of identity and non-contradiction. Parmenides had pointed to the importance of precisely these principles.

Parmenides discovery of the principle of the identity of being, his concurrent blunder in putting «heno»-logy(11) before ontology and the resultant vision of a monistic reality are still present, and in great measure underlie a misunderstanding in philosophy in general, and in metaphysics in particular. It is immensely difficult for man to move cognitively through a completely undetermined field of being. The understanding of being is the foundation of the life of thought, but the way in which this understanding is formulated and articulated presents difficulties, because man is rational and thus when he seeks to give the grounds for something he employs reasoning more than the intuition of understanding. When we ask:«what does <<being>> mean?», we answer that being is «that which is». This is just what Parmenides did. Right away, there appear the two members of this expression to be explained: «that which» and b/ «is». The member a - «that which» is connected with an object, with a «content» which has been given to me that I might know it, It is connected with that which, in some way, has being, and thus it constitutes in itself an ensemble of elements or features, that which after Heidegger has come to be called Seiende - «having being». Fine, but what is the «is» which is joined with the «that which»? Normally, a simple answer comes to us: this «is» denotes the factual existence of «that which», that which decides that this «that which» is not simply an ensemble of possible features but real ones, for they concretely and actually exist. Only such an answer would seem to be rational. This is how it really is, but such a position at once starts an avalanche of problems.

For Parmenides, in the context of the Greek culture of his time, it was not possible to conceive of the «is» in an existential manner. Nowhere among any of the Greek philosophers can we find a trace of such a conception, Parmenides' line of reasoning also excludes conceiving of «is», the fact of real, actual existence, in an existential manner. Parmenides arrives at monism from his definition of being. Since everything is «that which is», then «everything is a being; everything is one and the same». Thus the way in which Parmenides understood «is» is typical of the ancient Greeks; he focusses on identity, which affirms the non-division of being and non-being, and so in the final analysis his understanding is henological. It is henology which underlies ontology; something is real because it «is identical with itself», because in itself it is undivided into being and non-being. There is no non-being, there is only the possible absolute identity of everything which is real.

After all, the question of the world's «existence» never arose for the ancient Greeks. In its structure the world was necessary. Existence constitutes the necessary and constitutive domain of being. The problem of existence did not make an appearance in a necessary and eternal world. The only problem was how to understand «what is this everything which is by necessity?». When Parmenides fell upon the answer that it is being, and being is identity, then everything was already clear for thought, and the matter of how to ultimately explain reality was finished. It remained only to «explain» why the world appears to us as many things. The answer was also simple. The plural world could be relativized to the proportion of sense perception, to a special and lower type of cognition which helps us to use things but not to gain an ultimate understanding of them. The road of ultimate understanding, the road of wise men, does not run through the phantoms of the senses. Reality abides in the sovereign kingdom of thought.

Parmenides' adventure did not end with his death. It continues wherever the problem of monism and pluralism is alive, where Identität und Differnz fuse together in the synthesis of thesis and antithesis in the dialectic of ideas or matter. The unity of the synthesis takes away the multiplicity of thesis and antithesis: monism reigns.

Another great teacher, Plato, presented his own way of understanding reality. For him, the drama of sensory and intellectual cognition was resolved by a compromise. The way he understood reality was thereby closer to our normal vision of the world. Parmenides' doctrine of the identity of being as the foundation of reality could not be controverted, but was stuffed into the barrel of language the use of the reason. Following Socrates, Plato accorded value to the weight of the natural language that people use to express and transmit from one to the other the contents of their cognition, to communicate their intellectual life. In natural language, we constantly employ general expressions or terms: man, beast, tree, horse, house, ship. This language, in conjunction with intellectual cognition, gives expression to general, necessary and stable contents outside into the sensory and material world. (I refer here to langauge as a system of signs and things that are signed, natural signs, and conventional signs.) Language is compelled to employ general terms or expressions in accordance with the experience of the intellect or reason. (I refer here to langauge as a system of conventional signs.) Thus, the human world manifested in natural language is the world of general, necessary and stable contents, whereof language itself provides evidence. There is a multitude of contents in our intellectual or rational life, a multitude of «that which is», but every such content is something necessary, identical in itself, undivided, stable and general, not something individual and changing. The object of thought is joined with the identity-oriented, necessary and general contents or ideas that manifest themselves in the sensible and material world in the form of general expressions or terms. Plato enclosed the Parmenidean world of identity within the confines of linguistic classes. It is by reason of the general contents or ideas which we cognize with our reason that in our language we select an ensemble of general expressions. This is why we have as many general expressions or terms as we cognize contents or ideas and transmit them on the exterior. Thus the ideas are the true reality, ; the sensory, individual and changing world is only a reflection, a participation of the true reality of the ideas, a reality accessible only to the intellect. The intellect is a spirit, and having once lived in the truly intelligible world, in the world of ideas (before sinking for a time in the world of matter, the body, through an intellectual fall) it knows the unchanging and necessary truth that gives truly divine joy, for the life by truth is a divine life.

We explicitly encounter elements of identity in Plato's understanding of being. He joined the identity of being with the pluralistic world of ideas. This world was revealed in human language in the form of general terms. The world of ideas is the the only rational world. The world of the senses, the individual, material and changing world, is completely dependent upon the world of ideas; it is a participation in it, merely a partial imitation of that which is truly being. For Plato reality is the world of necessary contents, the contents cultivated in human intellectual cognition, not in sensory cognition, the latter being connected with the individual and changing world of matter, a world which is a mere «shadow» of the world of ideas as the «real reality».

Yet this world of shadows, the object of doxal cognition, has a certain educative role through the state. The state teaches reason to the fallen soul immersed in matter. Rational conduct in the world of «shadows» saves man and allows him to return to his primitive divine and purely spiritual state in which unhindered he may contemplate the ideas and «live by the truth».

The Platonic «reality» of ideas was, as mentioned above, a peculiar lapse of cognition. It is true that man, in his daily natural language, uses general terms or expressions that are also signs of general necessary thought. This thought is an aspective and conceptual apprehension of the contents of things. Our conceptual cognition of the contents of things is always general, because we are unable to create concepts of individuals. The generality of conceptual cognition is a specifically human mode of cognition; it is in fact a weak form of cognition in view of the weakness of our intellect, as the mediaeval thinkers would say when comparing the human intellect with the intellect of pure spirits, the angels, and with the divine intellect. Plato objectivized this mode of human cognition. This was an enormous and constantly repeated error. If the object of our cognition is not the world of really existing things, but only the signs of these things, only the concepts which we form for ourselves about things in the act of cognition, which we subsequently reify by deliberately or unconsciously making them into objects - then we are closed within the circle of «consciousness». We cognize the contents that are given to us in our consciousness. At the same time we can make an act of «faith» that these contents objectively exist in the ideal world of truth in the πληρομα, or we may believe that they are a manifestation of God himself in a manner accessible to man, or perhaps that they are our concepts or symbols which belong to the sphere of «being a man», the sphere of the symbol from which there is no exit, or again that they are representations of things, and that God guarantees the faithfulness of their representation in various ways, etc.

We see all these solutions in the history of philosophy. They are still in currency. Plato's solution was accepted more or less consistently by the mainstream of philosophical thought throughout history. He saw the object of strictly philosophical cognition in the necessary, general and stable «concepts-ideas». Practically the whole «metaphysical order» was connected by philosophers with the acceptance of the range of cognition which Plato called the ideas.

Meanwhile, the fact that we cognize the contents of real things in a general, schematic and necessary way has a justification in man's ontological structure, and in the nature of material, individual and changing beings, which are identical in themselves. We must consider this more closely, however, in our analysis of human knowledge.

Plato's error was to bear particularly important fruit in modern and contemporary philosophy. The one who gave a new direction to philosophical thought was René Descartes. Having received his philosophical education in the Jesuit college of La Flèche, he understood the Scholastic distinction between the «objective concept», i.e. a cognitively apprehended content of the thing, and the «subjective concept», i.e. a transparent sign, a representation of the content of a thing, a representation constructed by our mind. He knew that according to the Scholastics nothing more could be known in the thing itself than that which the «subjective concept» permitted. (Nothing is richer in content than the «objective concept».) Descartes thought that thus to describe things was unnecessarily to duplicate reality as we know it. He held that only the subjective concept is required in the act of cognition, for we know its content. For this reason, the «clear and distinct idea» is for Descartes the subjective idea, which is the object of our indubitable cognition. All «vague» ideas must be rejected, and our cognition should be concentrated on clear and distinct ideas. Only such ideas are evident, they alone make cognition possible to the soul. The soul, as it is a spirit, finds in ideas an object proportional to its cognition and a contiguousness between the spiritual content of the idea and that of the soul itself. Thus the act, object and result of cognition are on the same plane. The understanding of cognition is simple and evidently beyond question.

By this apparently simple procedure, Descartes brought about a revolution in philosophy. He subjectivized the whole of philosophy. If the fundamental act of cognition concerns our subjective idea, not the real world except in a non-immediate manner, then we are locked within our own subject. Since that time, philosophy has remained condemned to subjectivity. Furthermore, if we cognize our ideas as the object of cognition, then we are consigned to remain exclusively in the world of signs or symbols. Then every cognition of the object, an idea or sign, takes place through another sign. We can already see the foundations of contemporary hermeneutics and the philosophy of Charles Pierce, of Cassirer's vision of man as the «animal symbolicum». Edmund Husserl, with his phenomenology, also looked to Descartes; Descartes' position was the first one to which Husserl refers when in the Wesenschau, the phenomenological intuition of essence, he endeavours by the application of a transcendental reduction to describe the necessary contents of ideas and cognition as they manifest themselves.

Descartes' position looked back to the conception of Plato, who for the object of cognition has taken «ideas». The only difference is that for Plato these ideas were the «real reality», whereas for Descartes they were only a subjective idea, the realism of which is guaranteed by God and the principle of causality, this principle being given to us as one of the a priori ideas. Descartes' point of departure for valid knowledge was taken over by the British empiricists. For them, the object of cognition was once again not the real world, but sense perception - the sense impression or the concretely abstracted idea. Kant also, and after him the German transcendental idealists, later the neo-Kantians and the phenomenologists, saw the first object of cognition and the starting point in the cultivation of all philosophy in the subjective «impression» or «idea».

So it was that Plato's error of hypostasizing and objectifying the mode of the conceptual cognition of the contents of the world grew to become a fundamental error, part of the common heritage of European philosophy. Philosophy lapsed into a kind of surrealism, to an illusory precision in thought. It became entangled in a whole series of pseudo-problems, the necessary consequences of the fundamental error of objectifying our mode of cognition of the contents of things. We see a flight to a world of precise possibilities.

Plato's disciple Aristotle made a very close approach to the realistic understanding of the object of philosophy. This object is the world of real things, especially the world of objects which abide and have being in themselves as in a subject. He spoke of substance, οὐsigma;ια , that is, of beings which exist independently in themselves as in a subject. All that which is a being is either a substance or the generation or corruption of a substance, or the accidents or a substance, or finally the relation of thought to substance. Thus the whole of reality consists of the independently existing things of the world, things which exist each as in a subject. We ourselves live as substances in the world. For Plato, this world was only a shadow of the truly existing world of ideas. For Aristotle, the world of ideas was only a relation of a thought to a substance which has being in itself as in a subject.

Of course, a concrete substance such as Socrates is accessible to thought only in a selective manner when it is grasped by the intellect by way of concepts. A substance can be grasped and expressed in a concept only in this way. The features or qualities we grasp are primarily those which are necessary, stable and schematized. All this takes place in a process of abstract cognition. The result is the concept of substance, that which is called «second substance», and its object is an ensemble of necessary and stable relations which are schematically, and thereby generally, grasped. As Aristotle stated, the concrete substance, Socrates for example, is called το τι ἠν εἰναι, that is, a substance as definable. Here Aristotle met Plato. Plato looked on the world of things from above, as it were. Aristotle went by way of sense data and came to practically the same idea as Plato. Thus one could say that Platonism was not overcome in Aristotle. Aristotle grasped from things in abstractive cognition the same thing that Plato contemplated in eidetic cognition. The content known by the intellect was almost the same, although the course taken by cognition was different in each case. According to Plato, the source of intellectual cognition is the ideas, which the soul, before being sent down into the body, sees in the world of full cognition, the µ. For Aristotle, on the other hand, the source of cognition is the senses which absorb sensible qualities in impressions, qualities which constitute a content which can be understood and read by the intellect expressed in a concept or idea.

Thus, both of these ancient thinkers impoverished man's intellectual or cognitive life. Really existing reality is accessible to the intellect in different ways. It cannot be exhausted in the cognitive apprehension of general, necessary and stable features of content, in any concept, since the existence of the world of things is primarily accessible to us. Furthermore, the cognition which takes place in acts of judgment puts us in touch with reality in a richer manner, in a verifiable manner. Besides the theoretical cognition, which gravitates toward abstract constructions, we possess «practical» intellectual cognition. The latter is connected with the individual instance of human activity, in which perforce we cognize a concrete good-being, at least in the range in which the good influences the subject who selects it in acts of decision. To put it in a few words, the reality of the world is more accessible to us, both in breadth and depth, than is allowed by the abstractive apprehension of the content of the thing given to us in an eidetic intuition, even of the Aristotelian type (genetic empiricism).

What especially strikes us is that in cognition and in all of human behaviour qua human, we are planted in really existing being. A man radically cognizes a really existing being before he cognizes that he cognizes anything at all. Without an object there is no activity. Without a being there is no cognition. When one has primitively cognized a really existing being, one may then particularize this cognition, reflect upon it, then analyze cognition itself and certain selected sections of cognition, its modes and moments. One may even create epistemological problems, by virtue of the division in reflection of the various modes and sections of cognition. Such problems become all the more important, if we artificially isolate the cognition of cognition from the natural object of the spontaneous act of cognition, really existing being.

The really existing being strikes us first and foremost with the «blade of its existence», indeed, it strikes us so strongly that we feel no need to demonstrate the existence of a being when it is known. At once we know and understand that the being which we know really exists. We distinguish between an existent lunch on a plate and one that we are merely thinking about, between real money and imaginary. We spontaneously acknowledge that the cognition of existing things and their division from imaginary contents is the introductory condition for cognition. The cognition of the existence of a thing is truly immediate, so immediate that it excludes any mediation by a sign, such as we possess when apprehending a thing's contents. Our concepts of the thing are just such signs. These concepts, as spontaneous signs, are almost unnoticeable in spontaneous cognition, for they are not the object of cognition. While these signs merely mediate, they make this cognition possible. They bring us into contact with an aspectively grasped ensemble of the thing's characteristics. In knowing the real existence of a thing, we possess no «sign» of existence; it is not possible to construct a «concept» of existence, as the act of existence is simple. The act of existence is «featureless», or rather «beyond features». It is not because the existence of a thing is contained in our grasp of its contents that we know of its existence; on the contrary, only those contents whose existence first «hits» me are real. Real contents are created «under» real existence. Existence is not the consequence of some selection of contents (qualities), as certain phenomenologists may dream. It is not until a man exists that he may be formed and transformed, that in one way or another his content-qualities may be changed; it is never the other way around.

One may present the radically primitive grasp of a real thing's existence in the form of an existential judgment: «this exists». We really and consciously apprehend existence in acts of this judgment, since when I turn my attention toward the existential aspect of reality, I can say that «John exists»; «Eve exists»; «This oak tree exists»; «it is lunch», etc. Independent, however, of our formal consciousness of the affirmation of the act of existence of things in the existential judgment we incessantly have intellectual cognition of the contents of the real and existing being; we set it apart from the contents of illusions, of abstractions or mere mental constructions.

Thus reality as it is grasped in acts of conceptual, abstractive cognition was not the really existing being in Aristotle, although this reality was given to him in 'µ (sense data), for this reality was abstracted from existence, from the concrete and rich ensemble of content-features. This reality was focussed in the apprehension of general, necessary and stable features. Although this was and is the human mode of conceptual contact with the thing, the extraction of certain contents of being cannot be called the cognition of being as being. Something is not a being because it possesses necessary and general contents, but rather because it concretely and actually exists, and as existing it really possesses in itself an ensemble of features, a content, which we may schematize in our acts of conceptual cognition, and in our judgments analyze and order to certain transformations.

It is astounding to see how difficult it is on the theoretical plane for us to come to an awareness of such simple matters, matters which form the foundation of human life, to find theoretical grounds for them. The source of this difficulty lies in the fact that they concern that which is the object of our human cognition in general - being. Being is the object of cognition, it cannot be set apart from this cognition. Cognition cannot be «emancipated» by depriving it of an object, since without an object cognition does not exist; everything which is an object of cognition is a being. Hence it is so hard to understand the object (that which is being), since it is perforce contained in every act of cognition, even in that in which we analyse the act itself of cognition. Man knows being before he knows that he knows - for the object «is the reason for being» of the act; there are no acts without objects. On this account, the reason for the existence, and consequently, the reasoning for our understanding of the act of an activity is always the object of this activity. Thus if being constitutes the object of human cognition, then being cannot be explained through cognition, but the reverse: it is by showing the character of being that human cognition must be expressed.

In the history of human thought, as a result of the fatal error of Plato and the neo-Platonists who held that cognition is prior to being (because they treated the mode of conceptual cognition as the object itself) - the so-called «epistemological» tendency was dominant, the tendency which started from the fact of cognition in philosophical analyses, or, what is worse, from consciousness, as what gave the appearance of being the «primary data» with which we have to deal in the understanding of the world. It even went to the point that, in an ultimate perversion (in Jean Paul Sartre), «non-being», that is, pure consciousness, was placed before «being», before the «topics» of this consciousness; as if a pure and topicless consciousness could exist, as if human consciousness could be «roused» without an object. Of course, here we feel the weight of various tracks of human thought, especially phenomenology and Hegelianism, but the latter position was patently absurd, living only by the consequence of logic without looking at the facts. Thereof Hegel once said «so much the worse for the facts» when they were not in keeping with his dialectic of thought.

Both in antiquity, with Plato and the neo-Platonists, and in the mediaeval period, with nominalism, and finally at the threshold of modern times with René Descartes and the «philosophy of the subject» that was born from him, together with British empiricism, Kant, Hegel, neo-Kantianism and contemporary phenomenology, philosophy was connected with cognition rather than with being and the understanding of reality. Philosophy was slowing turning into the theory of knowledge, and then the theory of scientific knowledge, there to drift upon the ocean of the logic of the sciences and become, if this is indeed coming to pass, a narrowly understood methodology of the sciences, or even the discipline of the correct use of natural and scientific language. When thus cultivated, «philosophy» must abandon its own specificity of knowledge, abandon the language of analogy and shift to an apparently strict language, the language of univocity (in philosophy?), a kind of language that is fundamentally inadequate to the object of philosophical explanations and analyses, to being itself as it exists analogically. After all, a philosophy which is occupied principally with the problematic of valuable cognition and which locates the object of its cognition in consciousness (in cognition itself) is no longer philosophy in the proper sense (such as is classical philosophy); it no longer explains reality, but is a theory locked within the elucidation of cognition. It is, however, impossible to elucidate cognition without accepting at least an implicit object of cognition which is no longer an object understood as a really existing being. When we look at particular philosophers in the stream of the «philosophy of the subject», we see a different object of cognition, an object which is understood subjectively. For René Descartes, the fundamental object is the subjective, clear and distinct idea. Therein all objective and valuable contents are supposed to be contained. These contents must be accepted as evident, for the justification of their value is to be found in God himself, the creator of nature, who is unerring in his natural activity. For the British empiricists, especially for David Hume (whose position was the most consistent and influential in the nineteenth century) the object of human cognition is made up of the impressions which are given to us in our sensory perception of the world. It is impressions and their rearrangement into ideas (as a result of the application of concrete abstraction) that supply the general configuration of cognitive material. Thus the analysis of the contents which are given in our acts of cognition is by itself sufficient for the cultivation of philosophy, for the object of knowledge is made up of impressions and ideas. Influenced by Hume, Immanuel Kant held that being is inaccessible to cognition, since we only know that which is given in sense experience: Empfindung. Yet the data of this experience must still be «rationalized», that they may be read and understood. The subjective categories, a priori in relation to the Empfindung, both sensory, such as the categories of time and space, and rational, such as generality, causality, substantiality and the like, must be imposed on to the data of sensory experience. The ordering of the data of sense experience lets us understand them and render them intersubjectively meaningful. The rational and fundamental situation of cognition in Hegel was quite simply called «idea» - concept - Begriff. The idea concerned the a priori understood phases of the dialectical change from thesis through antithesis to synthesis which are imposed on it. This allowed Hegel to crowd into the pigeonholes of his system every phenomenon of life and history, both the history of nature and of culture, for that which is a constant process of changes can be divided by the phases of dialectic delusions.

Perhaps the most intellectually honest standpoint is that of phenomenology when it takes intentional being as the object of human thought. Indeed, ultimately everything becomes accessible to men in cognition when it becomes an object of his intentional cognitive acts, by which acts man grasp the «essence» of a thing as it appears to him. Only that which in intuition stands before us as a «logos» giving life to cognition is important. The rallying cry of phenomenology, «back to the thing in itself!», is a call for a return to that which makes its appearance in an act of cognition as the «content» of this act, whether an individual, hyletic(12) content, or necessary content, expressed in ideas. From the time of Descartes, in modern and contemporary philosophy, we are no longer dealing the cognition of the really existing world and the ultimate explanation of this reality (of existing being), but with the cognition of the «content of ideas», the content, that is, of a subjective concept, the content of an impression, sensory experience, the idea-concept in a dialectic development - even the «concept of being». Each different mode or stage of cognition was treated as an object or thing in itself, becoming «that which we know» instead of a «how we know».

With the radicalization of the attitude of the subjectivistic current of philosophy, wherein the object of philosophical analyses was seen in cognition, we have the linguistic current of philosophy. If, for the epistemological current, the object was given in a system of transparent signs, signs which are meanings or general expressions, then in the current of linguistic philosophy it was the signs of language, signs which are conventional and instrumental, which became the chief object of interest. This was, after all, a natural development of the subjectivistic position in philosophy. An analysis of thought must in some way be verifiable, and thought itself must find its external expression in language. Condillac had noted that language, especially mathematical language, is an analysis and verification of thought. The analysis or break-down of thought, according to him, is given to us in speech. This analysis will be more or less accurate, according to the perfection of the language in question, and according to the intellectual precision of those who speak the language. «This is what makes me think of languages as so many methods of analysis», wrote Condillac.(13)

The problematic of language as the specific object of philosophical analyses was taken up at the beginning of the twentieth century by the British analytic school. The lectures and works of Wittgenstein mark an important period of the development of this school. Independently of Wittgenstein, many other thinkers were induced by the furious development of linguistics to concentrate on language, its structure and functions. One may speak of a new period of philosophy in which the object of interest was language, not the reality of the existing world, or even cognition, viz. thought. In the course of analyses of language, it turned out that many philosophical problems are the result of the improper use of language, that the proper understanding and use of language has a therapeutic function whereby it can purify our cognition.

Although by so doing philosophy was to be restored to health and freed of pseudo-problems, philosophers were misled in making language the basic object of philosophical analyses. This is on account of the very character of language as a system of signs which of their nature are two-sided. The sign is something in itself, but its whole meaning is located in a many-sided relation or ordination to the thing of which it is a sign, to the person who employs the sign, and to the bigger system of signs among which language appears. Thus one may not take up language exlcusively on the syntactic plane, for there are also semantic and pragmatic relations. The former concerns meaning, a relation between the thing and the sign, and the latter is a relation involving the user and the use he makes of the sign, for language is used in many ways. The reality of language turned out to be so complex and many-sided that in the end it was necessary to appeal to the thing itself in order to understand the linguistic sign of the thing.

Furthermore, the objectivization of language led to the beginnings of an awareness than the sign is found on three levels in human cognition. 1/ We possess a system of the signs of language, a more or less conventional system which is like a tool in the process of cognition. I must know a language, be a competent user of a language, if I am to be able to think in that language. 2/ The second plane of language is made up of its «senses», the whole system of concepts, judgments and reasoning which are the senses of our utterances. When I say «man» or «dog», I understand that which I am saying. In my mind I hold some «sense» of the utterance. These senses are the system of natural, transparent signs, which are complected directed to the thing known in spontaneous cognition. Finally, we possess the plane of the things themselves designated by the signs. 3/ The whole system of linguistic signs is ordered to things themselves. In spontaneous cognition, signs concerns things themselves in as mech as they are the objects of our cognition and activity. When I say «dog», then I and the addressee of my utterance turn to the thing, to the real dog, not to the sense of the expression «dog» (to the concept «dog»), nor even less to the linguistic expression «dog».

These three systems of signs are integrated in our cognition. The fundamental plane is the thing itself which has a sign in the concept and the linguistic expression. The thing is known and valuable to me to the extent that it is grasped in cognition, that it is «signed» by my cognitive acts. A thing which is not signed by my intellectual acts, not grasped in cognition, is «meaningless» to me. The system of natural and transparent signs, our concepts about things, is completely ordered to the realm of things themselves, in as much as we discover things in acts of cognition and thereby "sign" them. In spontaneous natural cognition, concepts are not the object of cognition, but only the mode and the path which is directed to the thing. After all, conventional and instrumental signs, and of such is language made, draw their value from the fact that they are signs of our concepts and through concepts they point to the things themselves.

In natural spontaneous language, man also spontaneously turns to the thing which is signed through senses or meanings and language. So also philosophy, as it is classically understood, was joined with being, with reality, which it strove to ultimately explain. Yet in elucidating and analyzing things and their components, it could not help but to use reflection. Due, however, to a steady diet of too much reflection, the modes by which we have intellectual cognition of things were objectivized, and then philosophy went all the way to the realm of language, and this was also objectivized and taken to be the only valuable and important object for philosophical consideration. All this transformed philosophy, which explained reality, into so many analyses which explain senses and cognitive apprehensions, and finally philosophy with joined with linguistic «expression» alone. Philosophy was now taken to be mere speech.

Meanwhile, the explanatory value of philosophy flows from the things themselves that are grasped in concepts; the value of language is also dependent upon natural signs, the signs of senses (senses or meanings are concepts). Concepts normally depend upon the things they represent as formal signs. The basis for language and philosophy is the really existing thing. Reality is primarily the really existing thing, and only in a secondary manner, in dependence as to their genesis upon existing things, do our concepts and our language take on value. They may be reflected upon and also become an object of explanation, but this is fundamentally in ultimate connection with the thing represented by the sign.

Thus the world of really and actually existing things is the object of philosophical cognition. Our cognition and analysis of them allows us realistically inquire about the cognition of things and cognitive communication in language. The separation of the realm of language from that of things and senses leads to a pseudo-problematic, just as when one restricts oneself exclusively to an analysis of transparent signs, that is, ideas - and an idea is always the idea of a thing. The history of philosophy, of which we shall speak later, has shown what the consequences are when philosophy becomes closed within the confines of the cognizing subject, when philosophical investigations are limited to the contents of things represented in concepts, or, what is even more sterile, when these are limited to the contents of the signs of language. By their nature neither transparent signs (concepts) nor conventional instrumental signs (language) can be separated from their essential and constitutive semantic (meaning-related) function which is ordered to the thing represented by the sign. It is true that we do not have a cognition of the entire wealth of the existing thing, that we are limited to the cognition merely of that which has been grasped by us in acts of cognition and thereby given a sign, but it is also true that the existing thing is constantly «open» and can be cognized again and again without end. What is most important is our necessary connection with existing being; we are so connected with real being that being is the object of our human cognition: everything that we cognize, we cognize precisely as a being, as a «something which exists». Being strikes us primitively with the blade of its existence and thereby sets off the process of the cognition of its contents or essence, which we grasp as always ordered to existence. In every act of cognition, existence is immediately accessible to us; we do not create any concept of existence for ourselves. The existence of being is affirmed without any sign, since we «know» that something is when we see that «something», when we experience it in and through an act of cognition. The connection of human cognition with being as with the cognized object is so tight that the apprehension of being is the deepest content of the act of cognition. Even when we make a reflection upon the act of cognition itself with the desire of cognizing the act of cognition, we cognize it precisely as a being, as an existing something, possessing some or other features which create a content that can be grasped.

Thus it is artificial for the sake of an alleged precision to fail to consider being in philosophical investigations. Being, as the object of human cognition, is inseparable from cognition and always constitutes the core structure of every kind of cognition, whether spontaneous or reflective.

Thus we must make the effort in philosophy to understand being as the object of human cognition, and thereby the object of every human activity, as man's every activity follows upon his cognition. The effort to cognize being is important. In it one runs the risk of many errors, as the history of philosophy will testify, for being is plural and internally composite. How then can the pluralistic Pleiades of being composite in themselves be grasped by the common cognitive concept of BEING? This is possible through acts of a cognition that is in itself analogical and is the natural mode of our cognition of the real world.


1. "common-sense"= "zdrowarozsądkowa": "Zdrowy rozsądek" is conventionally translated as "common sense". Literally translated it would be "healthy general judgment". Thus the controversy among philosophers about the origin and appropriateness of the term "common sense" (cf. Etienne Gilson, Réalisme thomiste et critique de la connaissance, 1983, Paris, in English translation as Thomist Realism, Ignatius Press, San Francisco, 1986) is avoided in Polish. Unless otherwise indicated this Polish term will be thus rendered.[trans.]

2. "knowability" = "poznawalność [trans]

3. "drive for knowledge" = "poznawczość"; this term, somewhat of a neologism, would literally be rendered as "cognitivity", i.e. the fact that man constantly seeks knowledge. [trans]

4. for the use of the Dauphin; an argument for the sake of show against a position that is not really taken seriously [translator's note]

5. "man's character as a questioner" = "pytajność człowieka". "Pytajno&347;ć" is something of a neologism, and would be literally rendered perhaps as "question-ness". [trans.]

6. from the Greek "empeiria".[author]. The term "empiricism" here is a translation of the Polish empiryzm. This is not the same as ideological empiricism (for which sometimes the term empiricyzm is used for greater precision) which is the a priori stand that knowledge is restricted to sense experience. [trans.]

7. "empiricism" = "empiryzm" [trans.]

8. "essence-oriented" = "istotnociowy" [trans.]

9. genetic empiricism, or psychological empiricism: the position according to which cognition originates in whole or in part, immediately or mediately, from external experience or internal experience (introspection), from the Mały Słownik Terminów i Pojęć Filozoficznych (The Small Dictionary of Philosophical Terms and Concepts), Warsaw, 1983. It is to be distinguished from epistemological or aposterioric empiricism, and from methodological empiricism. [translator's note]

10. "deeper content": "zawartoì". [translator's note]

11. "henos" - Greek for one, hence "henology" is the study of the one, of unity. [translator's note]

12. Husserl uses the Greek term hyle - matter - to indicate the concrete nature of sensile experience, and morphe - form - to indicate intentional experience. cf. Husserl, Edmund Ideas, trans. W.R Gibson, New York 1962, especially # 85, pg. 227-230 [translator's note]

13. Condillac, Grammaire (at the beginning of the Work), in Oeuvres, Paris 1951, cited in Gilson, Etienne Linguistics and Philosophy, trans. John Lyon, Notre Dame, Indiana, 1988. cf. also Krąpiec, M.A. Język i świat realny (Language and the Real World), Lublin 1985 [translator's note]

i. Cf. W. Jaeger, Paideia, translated into Polish by M. Plezia, Warsaw, vol. 1, 1962, vol. 2, 1964.

ii. Cf. e.g., Sophocles, Antygona [Antigone], translated into Polish by K. Morawski, Wrocław 1984.

iii. St. Augustine, Soliloquia, 1.2 (Wyznania [Declarations], trans. Z. Kubiak, Warsaw 1978).

iv. Cf. the writings of Plato, which are of permanent value and always have something to learn for the “seeker of truth”.

v. Aristotle wrote much on the topic so someone who was really interested could look at his writings. Cf. Aristotle, Opera, Lipsiae 1868.



It is customary to approach the history of philosophy by dividing it into periods: the periods of Greek, Roman and Christian antiquity; the mediaeval period; modern times; and finally, contemporary times. This sort of arrangement by periods makes it easier to place authors in their proper sequence, to correlate them with the history of their times, to focus in upon the appearance of the movements characteristic of a given period, but at the same time it makes it somewhat more difficult to see how the fundamental problems have persisted and the common bonds that exist in the approach to the resolution of the same problems in periods of philosophy distant from one another.

Thus, while holding to the generally accepted schemata of the temporal period of the development of philosophical thought, we must turn a more attentive eye to their continuity, the problematics common to various periods, and try to see the different approaches taken to the solution of the same problems. The first matter to arise when one comes into contact with philosophy, particularly with the history of philosophy, is the extraordinary divergence of standpoints both in problematics themselves, and in the way problems are posed and resolved. The history of philosophy presents itself at first glance as an enormous cemetery with curious headstones, the paths between the graves of buried philosophical thinkers and positions sometimes overgrown. All this seems to attest to the futility of an endeavour, now buried and turned to dust, while the air may still be poisoned with socially harmful views. Yet, it would appear, long buried thoughts and views constantly reappear in the history of philosophy and the solutions they propose continue to fascinate men. Upon closer examination one can see that, properly speaking, none of the solutions known to us from history has irrevocably disappeared, but each endures to take on new expression in the changing contexts of the history of thought.

Philosophy appeared as the first formulation of scientific thought out of mythology and epistemological esotericism. Formerly knowledge had been accessible to the handful of men associated with the ruling power and at its service. The first philosophy set for itself a purely cognitive aim and began to purify itself of the mythological views presented in various cosmogenies and theogenies. These had served to satisfy the hunger for knowledge woken by a reality that was ultimately "strange and unintelligible". Having sprung up from particular mythological "solutions", (philosophical thought, to put it simply, had replaced the mythology which it had in some way to address) nolens volens philosophy became a specific kind of critical thought. This characteristic of critical thought was and perhaps is the most important and dominant feature common to all the various philosophical systems. The critical nature of philosophical thought, although it seems to be philosophy's mark of nobility, possesses also its less perfect aspects. The first of these is the constant and real danger that philosophy may divorce itself from reality, from the understanding of reality in favour of "thinking", sometimes "fantasizing" on topics of reality. Why? Simply because instead of taking truly spontaneous and completely "objectivized" knowledge connected with real facts as their primary foundation, philosophical systems were based on the "cognition of reality", on the objectivized cognitive field concerning reality. From the very beginning of philosophy's existence up to this day we have been constantly balancing upon the cognitive "axis" of subject-object instead of "making contact" with reality and becoming conscious of this reality in order to be able to elucidate it. This subtle distinction seems to be unimportant at the beginning, yet it is the deciding factor in the rise of so many approaches which confuse being-reality itself with the concept of being. It plays strongly in the fact that many philosophers have found it impossible to go beyond epistemic idealism despite their "strong" realistic-materialistic declarations to the contrary, in the fact that in the "axis" of subject-object the subjective side of the epistemic "axis" has taken on more and more weight, with the result that it was not so much the really existing world which was explained as the ways in which the world was thought about; and there may be infinitely many such ways of thinking about the world.

The history of philosophy reveals three phases in the shifting of the center of gravity of philosophical interests in the "axis" of subject-object. In the first phase, classical philosophy, the accent was and is placed upon the objective, ontological aspect of the "axis". It is reality-being which awakens human cognition, which brings to the surface the fundamental questions, which "demands" explanation. In classical and Christian antiquity and also in the middle ages, philosophical problematics were focused on the knowledge of reality-being, upon investigating "on what account" being is real, upon attempting to philosophically elucidate the thus understood reality of being. With the application of various methods and paths of knowledge, reality was conceived in diverse manners (equivocally) and there were divergent elucidations, even though they were concentrated upon "being" as known.

In the second culturally (and not only philosophically) significant current of philosophical thought the weight of investigation was shifted to the subjective side of the subject-object "axis". This occurred most explicitly together with the philosophy of René Descartes and persists to this day in the current of the philosophy of the subject. It is no longer being but the "concept", however this may be conceived, which is the object and the "point of departure" in philosophical analysis. The greatest philosophical "systems" of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries constitute a more or less cohesive thought construction which does not so much elucidate the reality of the existing world as it elucidates some a priori network of concepts imposed in human cognition. Cognition in itself is objectivized in the real world. As a result, such an a priori net of systemic concepts, which more or less fits the facts, interprets (but does NOT elucidate or explain) the facts in accordance with its system. Of course, such a conceptual network may shed some real light on facts, and even make them clearer, but it cannot serve as a sound foundation for the proper elucidation or explanation of facts.

In the third current of philosophical thought investigations were shifted in the subjective side of the epistemic "axis" of "subject-object" from thought itself to its external expression in language. Condillac had already taken the first steps in this direction, but the real revolution took place at the beginning of the twentieth century in British analytic philosophy, wherein language became the object of philosophical study, since it is language which is the vehicle of all formulations of cognition. This position is briefly as follows. The linguistic formulations of philosophical thought are often defective and they give rise to a series of philosophical pseudo-problems. The philosopher must first first attend to language, learn its structure, in order to purify it of the imprecisions and defects which have grown up over the centuries, and then see the cognitive functions of both natural language and of the languages of the various sciences. Thus linguistic studies contribute to an understanding of the functioning of language and the proper understanding of the language of various philosophical systems. In large measure the very employment of language is already a cultivation of philosophy. Language is the vehicle of meanings; language is the only tool for interpreting meaning, and perhaps even for "creating" meanings. Thus a process of philosophizing which does not first focus upon language, the "first object" which we encounter in our cognition and though which we communicate with others, seems to be superfluous and sterile.

Thus a general review of the history of philosophy reveals three explicit currents of philosophical interests. Each of these currents involves a particular understanding of philosophy itself, of the starting points and the aims of philosophical investigation. Such a wide variation in the object of philosophical investigation implies a difference in methods of cognition and investigation, a difference in the general configurations of "systems" and in ends. The wide variation in what is seen as the object of philosophy does not preclude a certain overlapping in philosophical questions. The object of our spontaneous cognition is always reality, which is expressed in the form of our organized cognition, in the system of natural signs made up of our concepts and judgements; these can be explicitly presented only when they are formulated in a language. Thus when we deliberately investigate "ideas" themselves, we are in fact (by virtue of the natural attitude of our reason) making appeal to "the thing in itself" as really existing; at the same time, when we make our language more precise we are doing this "rationally" through our concepts and judgements which are the signs of real beings. One does not totally get away from reality in either the philosophy of the subject or in the language-oriented school of analytic philosophy. One does not escape reality, but reality is distorted or modified according the selection of an inappropriate object, whether it be the ideas or language.


Ancient philosophical thought took form in various centres of the culture of ancient Greece and Rome. The first such centre was the Ionian colonies on the east shore of the Aegean sea in Miletus and Ephesus. When the growing Persian empire, however, began to make territorial gains, some of the Ionians, fled to Great Greece, that is, Southern Italy, where they created an interesting philosophical and intellectual movement together with Xenophanes, Parmenides and the Eleatics, not to mention the Sicilian Pythagoreans. The most important center, however, in the formation of the great systems of classical philosophy was to be Athens. Athenian culture was to exert a great influence upon other lesser centres of philosophy.

In Asia Minor, in the trading centres of Miletus and Ephesus, we find the first philosophical questions concerning the understanding of reality, which is the whole world, plants, animals and men. This question would take the form of an inquiry into the "beginning-arche" which would make it possible to explain what this reality which reveals itself so variously to our eyes ultimately is. That which is the beginning of everything in some way "persists" in all that is "begun". But how is it to be known? Probably in the beginning to know means to "make contact" by way of sense empiriai with things and to observe what is truly lasting in changing reality and to recognize this as reality's "warp and woof". Thus some would suppose this "beginning" to be water, or air as a synonym for life, or the apeiron - the limitless undetermined in itself, or all-consuming and all-penetrating fire.

The data of sense experience, however, as it was still naive could not satisfy the intellect, all the less that the conclusion following from it were naive, although the specifically led to monistic solutions. Thus Parmenides from Great Greece rejected the data of the senses as the "way of fools" and held pure reasoning, radically separated from sense information, as the only source of certain knowledge. Rational knowledge if cut off from sense information can supply only pure tautologies. Parmenides took these tautologies for the most primary information about reality, and even for reality itself. For "being is being", since each and every thing is a being, which means "that which is" (itself). Since I accept everything, the very term "everything" is the same being. If "being is being", then "being is not non-being" (not itself), and there is no non-being. Everything is the same, one, unchanging; such was his fundamental understanding of reality. Again we see monism presented as the ultimate understanding of the world, this time founded upon a law of pure reason, the law of radical, tautological identity. The discovery of the law of identity and the identification of being with this thought (for Parmenides held that to think and what is thought is the same) was a fact of extraordinary importance, a fact which underlies the scientific culture elaborated by Aristotle's logic. But the meditation of Parmenides which reduced everything to identity was in clear conflict with the fact of change in the world, even though the cognition and acknowledgment of change was called "the way of fools".

The Sicilian Pythagoreans and Plato, who had contact with them, arrived at identity in a limited range, to numerical identity, or to the specific identity (unity) given by "ideas". Plato's speculation was an important one: unable to acknowledge any "true reality" in individual changing things, he found it in the "ideas", of which one can learn by examining the meaning of our general expressions in natural language. For if I say "dog" or "man" I understand the expression. The understanding of the expression is universal, necessary and stable, and thus it concerns a "truly real thing". The trouble is that Plato made a fatal epistemological slip, for the meanings of general expressions do not constitute the object of our knowledge, but merely the mode of our intellectual knowledge of the material, individual and changing thing. When we understand a thing, e.g. a concrete dog or man, we apprehend only certain features of the thing known, as features which are necessary and stable under this aspect, and we form for ourselves concepts of the thing. Plato objectivized the mode of conceptual knowledge and "reified" it in the form of the "ideas" which were to constitute "reality in itself", a necessary "intelligible world". Plato's mistake proved to be remarkably fecund in the history of philosophical thought, for Plato's fundamental error, according to whom "ideas" are to constitute the foundation of "ontology", and according to some, even of metaphysics, was repeated in the Augustinian, Scotist and Cartesian currents, and especially in phenomenology. Plato, the initiator of all idealism, was nevertheless "sober" enough to accept, besides the metaphysical and epistemic strata, the third stratum of "myths" and of doxal cognition concerning the individual, changing world, especially the world of people who must be educated in organized states by "paideia" which makes people good and beautiful.

Aristotle, Plato's ingenious disciple, could not bring himself to agree with his teacher. For Aristotle ideas, which he conceived as abstracts of concrete beings, could not be the real world. The fundamental mode of being is to be found in concrete beings which have their being as autonomous "subjects" or "substances". All that is real is either a substance or is one of the properties or pertains to a substance, whether as an accident of substance, the coming-into-being or the corruption of substance, or finally, a a relation involving thought and substance. There is an hierarchy in the world of substances, ranging from inorganic substances, through organic substances, man, the pure intelligences, to God. Everything is held together by the one motion which is ultimately evoked though the love which "Heaven" has towards God. According to Aristotle, God is only the culminating element of the world; he did not create the world and does not know of the world, since he is immersed in the contemplation of himself as "pure act". Substances are substances thanks to their "form", and this form is the factor of identity for the autonomously existing subject. Form is known philosophically in the process of abstract cognition. It is thanks to abstract cognition that we can intellectual get a hold upon the world of material substances. While they exist concretely, material substances are known generally and by necessity in our definition-based cognition (in the understanding of Aristotle "scientific" cognition). Man is a particular object of philosophical interest; Aristotle dedicated much attention to man's ontological structure and his various modes of activity. Man is conceived as a "rational animal" capable of logical thought (Aristotle himself extensively built up the foundations of logic), capable of both individual and social moral conduct (of which he treated in his extensive work on ethics and politics), and of various forms of artistic creativity. Hence the true, the good and the beautiful constitute the full end of human activity. His extensive theory of reality, in particular of man, would henceforth in the centuries to come constitute a very important reference point for philosophical analyses.


Aristotle's pupil, Alexander the Great, extended Hellenic culture in the countries he gained for his empire throughout vast regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. At that time there appeared two philosophical schools of particular importance: Epicurianism and Stoicism. Epicurus of Samos, having founded his own school apart from the Academy in 306 BC, received the general atomistic theory of reality from Democritus, and he focused mainly upon the problem of man and his happiness. Happiness and pleasure are possible for man if he directs himself by reason, which can protect him from various kinds of pain and unhappiness, both real and illusory, such as death and the gods.

Another school which arose in this period (cc. 300 BC) was the stoic philosophical school founded by Zeno of Citium in Cyprus in the portico (the collonade where the STOA taught). According to the stoics the universe is "one whole" which is pantheistic and material in principle. Man, in particular his soul, is a "part" of universal nature, and it is possible for man to attain happiness only by conforming in a rational manner to nature by excluding emotions and passions. Hence stoic ethics was severe and purely "rational". Stoicism influenced European culture though its ethics and through writers such as Epictetus, Macrobius, Marcus Aurelius, and especially Cicero, although the Cicero does not fit neatly into the stoic current as he mainly related the doctrines of the many schools with which he was acquainted (perhaps not always profoundly) and propagated.

Alexandria became the last great center for philosophical thought in ancient culture. It was the focal point for almost all the currents of ancient religion, including those of Asia, and for a variety of philosophical schools, but especially Aristotelianism and Platonism. It was in Alexandria that neo-Platonism arose and developed. Neo-Platonism was to exercise an profound influence upon the culture of Europe through the course of many centuries, including the Christian face of this culture. It was in Alexandria that Philo the Jew wrote in the time of Christ, and later Ammonius Saccus with his disciples Plotinus and Origen. Plotinus, along with his disciple and the editor of his works, Porphyrius, is deserving of the careful attention of historians of European culture. Philo the Jew had attempted to reconcile the biblical thought of Divine Wisdom with Plato's views on the ideas. He conceived the Platonic "pleroma" as being close to the Divine Wisdom which existed within God himself. Plotinus seemed to have another way of reconciling Plato's intelligible and manifold world of ideas with the concept of the Absolute, as he understood God. Plato had already had to face the difficulty inherent in the existence of a multiplicity of ideas simultaneous to the existence of a chief idea such as the idea of the GOOD-ONE, which alone is absolutely simple and identical to itself, and thus necessary. All other ideas contain the moment of identity, of internal unity, and still something more which specifies the idea in question. Where does all this come from? Plotinus resolved this problem by drawing out a gigantic system of monistic and emanation-based gradualism. For him the absolute apex of reality is the ONE which, as it is the Absolute, is absolutely simple in itself and transcends both being and knowledge. The Absolute, the primeval ONE, emanates from itself INTELLECT, the nous-logos, which already contains within itself the duality of knowledge and that which is known, ideas. From the logos the soul of the world, the pneuma, emanates and from this matter and constantly more complex, constantly less perfect material beings, since matter itself is an imperfection and almost a synonym for evil. The Syrian Iamblichus who taught in Alexandria (cc. 330 AD) was famous for his expansion of gradualism through his speculative construction of many intermediary hypostases between the ONE and matter, and for the introduction of a magical cult to the "hypostases" which he had created.

This conception that everything has originated from the ONE, through the logos to the pneuma or world-soul seemed for many of the men of that time to be similar to the Christian belief in the Triune God. This was the reason for many controversies within early Christianity and a few centuries would be needed in order to overcome neo-Platonism within the Church. Neo-Platonism was constantly reappearing through its conception of ascesis. It recommended that one should detach himself from all sense knowledge and all sensual experiences so that, in purifying oneself, one might be able to make contact with being and final "be dissolved" by ecstasy in the One. Contempt for matter, the flesh and the senses sometimes weighed very heavily in the practices of Christian life, especially monastic life.

Even a brief review of the philosophical conceptions of antiquity clearly shows that these conceptions concern the understanding of reality, and, what is included in this, man's place in the world. Yet that which is under analysis here is not reality-being itself, but precisely a thus or otherwise conceived intellectual vision of this reality. Reality or the world is given to be explained as that which is accordingly "seen" by man, not as that which "awakes" this vision. This is not a result of our spontaneous cognition of the world, of the "world" or "reality" as it is manifest in our various acts of cognition, but it is the cognition of the "world" which these philosophers principally analyze and explain. This holds true even though philosophers sought knowledge by different methods, for the naive sense experience of the Ionian philosophers, the radical anti-empirical rationalism of Parmenides and the Eleatics, the phronesis-based insights of Heraclitus, the intellectual intuition of the senses of natural language in Plato, the abstractionism of Aristotle, Epicurean and stoic eclecticism, not to mention Plotinus' almost aprioristic conceptions together constitute one proper "field" of philosophical interpretations. Reality is truly the object of all these explanations, but reality is to a great extent "given" to us and, as it were, "accessible" to us in the corresponding acts of cognition. Thus the ultimate results of interpretation were suspended from previously "given" or "selected" specific acts of cognition in which this "reality" had appeared. These acts of cognition, however selected (whether consciously or unconsciously), already "supplied" a correspondingly indicated object as it was apprehended by the acts of cognition. Thus no wonder there were so many sometimes eccentric solutions. They must be placed in relation to the prior acts and methods whereby the object was known. The assertions of the philosophers that the world is "water", "air" or "fire" can be understood only when one considers the acts of cognition (whether naive empiricism or phronesis) which the philosophers in question applied to in their explanation of the world. The statement that reality is principally an idea presupposes an embryonic error in the approach to the world, in the application of the cognitive method together with aprioristic conceptions; the assertion that substance is the object of explanation presupposes corresponding acts of total abstraction (of spontaneous, heuristic induction) by which substance is "discovered". When, on the other hand, it is a question of the neo-Platonic speculations, these constitute a cleverly wrought aprioristic system which is not an explanation of reality as it exists, but rather a particular kind of "a priori", like a giant web thrown upon reality through which one then tries to understand this reality. The aprioristic net of concepts must itself be taken "on faith", so that it may be later used in a pseudo-understanding of the world. Plotinus' speculations more concern the method in which concepts of reality are constructed than reality itself. A few centuries later Hegel would also construct an aprioristic, panlogical(1) system which would weigh upon mankind's culture just as Plotinus' system had done.

Christian antiquity

No clear distinction was drawn between philosophy and theology in Christian antiquity or the early middle ages. Albert the Great, under the influence of Arabian philosophy, was the first to perceive that the theological disciplines should be distinguished from the philosophical ones as each possesses its own methods, ends and objects. At the beginning of Christian antiquity, especially in the Alexandrian school, a "philosophy" was understood as a whole way of life. This way could be in connection with the Gospel, as we can see from a reading of St. Justin Martyr. Thus this early period of "Christian philosophy" is marked by a syncretic mixture of philosophy and theology. There are also more theological arguments than philosophical ones; arguments "from revelation" play a very important role, whether in the formulation of problems or in final explanation. In speaking of this period one may speak of Christian thinkers (inspired by Revelation) rather than philosophers in the strict sense of the term. We are not dealing with an effort to arrive at an ultimate explanation of reality on the basis of a philosophical analysis of this reality, but we are rather presented with an understanding of reality drawn from both the Bible and the great philosophical systems of the time. It is thus an ultimate understanding of the world in the light of a faith "justified" by speculative arguments taken from neo-Platonism, Aristotelianism, Ciceronian eclecticism, and so forth.

The first and most important center of early Christianity was the catechetical school in Alexandria with the Stoic convert to Christianity, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen, who were the first to apply Platonic philosophical explanation (and the then rising neo-Platonic speculation) to the Bible and Christian doctrine, thus continuing in their own way what had been started by the first apologists of Christianity.

It is interesting to see how neo-Platonic speculation (e.g. Origen's theory that the soul existed from eternity) was used as a tool in the allegorical interpretation of the Bible. After the promulgation of the Edict of Toleration (313 AD.) there appeared several notable thinkers (the Cappadocian Fathers), St. Basil, his brother St. Gregory of Nyssa, as well as their friend Gregory Nazianzen, who were adhered to Platonic conceptions (Origenism) in their metaphysics, despite being acquainted with the theories of Aristotle from whom they chiefly drew in the domains of logic and dialectic. A movement towards the reconciliation of Plato and Aristotle was already rising at that time through the reception of Platonic metaphysics and Aristotelian logic (Porphyrius, the Cappadocian Fathers, and later, Boethius). From the beginning of the fourth century Christian literature became strongly saturated with neo-Platonic speculations. Around the year 500 AD, in Syria there appeared the writings of the neo-Platonist who was known as Dionysius the Areopagite (the real Dionysius was converted in Athens by St. Paul), who would later be known as Pseudo-Dionysius, in which writings writing God, Christ, the angels and the Church are treated in the spirit of neo-Platonic speculations. These speculations were to later exert an important influence upon the scholastic thinkers. In the eastern reaches of the Roman Empire, Aristotelianism was already making inroads in the writings of Maximus the Confessor and later, in the eighth century, in the writings of St. John Damascene, who largely under the influence of Aristotle systematized his own theological thoughts. The invasion of the Arabs more or less put an end to the activity of Alexandria and Antioch. In their stead centers of thought took shape in two caliphates - in the east in Baghdad, and in the west in Cordoba, but this belongs to mediaeval history.

Without doubt the greatest Christian thinker in the west was St. Augustine Aurelius, bishop of Hippo in Africa (345-430). From among his numerous writings of particular importance are his De Trinitate, De Civitate Dei and the Confessiones, as in these works he formulated his important positions. It should be noted that for Augustine philosophy does not exist independently from Revelation. Man has been created not only in the natural order, but in the supernatural order as well and his ultimate end is a supernatural end. Thus it is not possible to know the truth about man without revelation and divine illumination. Augustine knows that the truth sets man free, but the truth in question has its origin in a vision illuminated by God's divine light: "it was the true light, which enlightens every man who comes into the world" wrote John in the prologue of his Gospel. Augustine regarded this as the fundamental source of true knowledge. What was the objects of Augustine's interests? He confessed: "Deum et animam scire cupio. Nihilne plus? Nihil omnino" - "I desire to know God and the soul. Nothing more? Nothing at all." Everything has its place in the axis "God and the soul", for man is a synthesis and, as it were, a microcosm of the whole of creation, as he is matter and spirit. Augustine's favorite field of reflection is the knowledge of the soul, the knowledge of man "from within". Man discovers within himself the "image and likeness of God". Man, as he is a creature capable of constantly perfecting himself, attain his fullness in an intuitive vision of God, with whom he is joined be the act of love as a gift of grace. Augustine ceaselessly underlines the place of God in our understanding of man and the world. God is the self-existent Truth, in Him are contained all the ideas and the eternal wisdom which governs creation, as the eternal law, a participation in which is the natural law. God is the ultimate reason for the intelligibility of the world and even for the veracity of human cognition. In a word, God is both the creator of all things, their ultimate end and, at the same time, their exemplar cause, the reason for the intelligibility of the world. If the world is related to God by the joint activity of God's efficient, final and exemplar causality, then the Platonic conception of participation in the writings of Augustine brings to light a new dimension which shall become for theology the basis for understanding the bond of the world with God and the presence of God in the world created by Him. These arguments shall be later accented in scholastic theology (especially in St. Thomas) as the ultimate victory over pantheism and the eastern panentheism which originated in India.

There is one more important moment accented by St. Augustine: the theology (philosophy) of history as the history of "the city of God", a city which finds its highest expression in the Church of Christ, which Church is opposed to the "earthly city" manifest in the form of paganism. In his work he also sets forth a fundamental resolution of what shall later be called "social science" and, to some degree, "political science", for the office of a state is to arrange everything in the order proper to each thing (being) - "pax omnium rerum tranquillitas ordinis".

The end of St. Augustine's life coincided with the invasion of the Vandals. The Ostrogoths began their reign in Italy and the Visigoths in Spain; the Roman Empire went into decline. Only the Eastern Empire continued in Constantinople, still possessing a military force under Justinian the Great. The same Justinian closed the Academy in Athens, and in Italy the last Roman consul, Severinus Boethius, was sentenced to death. While still in prison he wrote De consolatione philosophiae, and in his philosophical writing he endeavored, under the influence of Porphyrius, to "reconcile" Plato's metaphysics with Aristotle's logic. Boethius' writings were to exert an enormous influence in the mediaeval period and would become the object of various commentaries.

As a result of the Gothic wars and the migration of various peoples Europe lost its cities and became desolate. Only the newly risen Benedictine order in its cloisters gathered the classical writings, and old Cassiodorus - he had been a Roman senator and a minister under Theodoric - rescued the ancient culture from destruction and become the founder of the universal curriculum in the "Trivium" and "Quadrivium", which would remain in force up to the times of the enlightenment. In these schools the foundations of the intellectual culture of classical antiquity was able to continue in the teaching of the "liberal arts". Not until the reign of Charlemagne would there be any deeper interest in culture, but then the center of culture moved north from the Alps, chiefly to what is today France: Paris, Chartres, Lyons... Although the radical Platonist John Scot Eriugena, who knew the Greek language very well, flourished in this period, not until the twelfth century would the Golden era of the middle ages begin with the writings of Peter Lombard - the Libri quattuor sententiarum which came to be regarded as the standard theological textbook. Theology was also enriched by Abelard's "dialectic".

II. Mediaeval Scholasticism

There were three decisive factors in the development of mediaeval scholasticism: the rise of universities in Europe, the discovery of such new philosophical inspirations as Aristotelianism and Arab philosophy, and the formation of new orders from which there emerged new thinkers, such as Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas in the Dominicans, Alexander of Hales, Bonaventure and Duns Scotus in the Franciscans, etc. Among the various universities which were founded in the thirteenth century the University of Paris was to play a special role, endowed as it was with special privileges by the Pope and various kings; in England, Oxford University was particularly influential in the field of the so-called strict sciences, and the universities of Bologne and Padua were famous for their juridical studies. Besides the universities there were the houses of the studies of the religious orders, which would be associated with a university if one was to be found in the same city.

The discovery of non-Christian philosophy, especially Arab and Jewish philosophy and the ancient Greek thinkers, chiefly Aristotle, was a new factor which dynamized mediaeval thought. In Spanish Toledo at the beginning of the twelfth century the works of Moslem thinkers were translated into Latin and propagated, in particular those of Avicenna (d. 1037) [the Caliphate of Baghdad], and then Avicenna (d. 1198) [the Caliphate of Cordoba]. The discovery of Aristotle's thought took place as well via Arab thinkers (esp. Averroes) and the Greek centers (the conquest of Constantinople in 1204, and the thinkers in the Greek colonies of Sicily). The perception of various forms of philosophical thought gradually led to the awareness (St. Albert the Great) of a difference between philosophy and theology which had hitherto passed unperceived within the circle of Christian thought.

The twelfth and thirteenth centuries are an especially important period in the history of philosophical thought, for it was during those years that the chief rational tendencies crystallized that were to fundamentally influence the further history of philosophy. The twelfth and thirteenth century saw a great move forward in the domain of rational cognition and in the domain of art and the social, urban development of culture, and thus all that which - as a good - developed within Christian humanism in the later centuries, although the humanism of the Renaissance no longer possessed the profound dimension which could be observed in the twelfth century and which bore fruit in the thirteenth century.

In the domain of thought we see a great confidence in the human reason and its cognitive abilities, sometimes even to the point of exaggeration. From among the philosophical thinkers of this period the doctrinal position of Peter Abelard (d. 1142) is of particular importance; with his confidence in the power of the human reason and in dialectic he sometimes moved too far into the terrain of theology and faith in the supernatural, attempting as he did to resolve the mysteries of faith with the help of dialectical reasoning. The position of the so-called "Father of Scholasticism", St. Anselm (d. 1109) was also of import; his ontologism would weigh heavily upon the thought of Descartes, Kant and the ontologists of the nineteenth century. In his desire to demonstrate the existence of God, Anselm would make the fatal and oft to be repeated mistake, of passing from the order of knowledge to the real order. As we know, there is "no passage" from a thought expressing a possible aspect of content to a thing, unless a demonstration is made by way of real states. Mental-cogitational states concern only certain perceived features of the things, and it is not possible for a thing to exist in the same manner in which one thinks of it - "de posse ad esse non valet illatio" - "an inference from possible states to real states is invalid" by virtue of thought, since this would imply the absurdity of the existence of abstractions. Anselm of Canterbury failed to see this in his formulation of the "ontological proof" for the existence of God. God is something "greater than which nothing can be thought". If some "fool" denies the existence of God, as Psalm XIII says - "the fool has said in his heart that there is no God" - he at least understands the meaning of the proposition: "something than which nothing greater can be thought", then this same thought forces him to affirm the existence "of this something" in reality as well. If something is so great that one can not think of anything greater than it, then it cannot be in the mind alone, since to exist in reality is greater than to exist in the mind. Thus one cannot think of something such that one cannot think of anything greater than it. This something exists, if one understands the expression "something such that one cannot think of anything greater than it". To put it simply, God cannot be thought of as non-existent. We can think of something which can not be thought of as non-existent. This something is obviously greater than that which can be thought of as non-existent. Hence by virtue of God's very structure God exists by necessity and his non-existence would be a contradiction. Anselm completes his proof "sic ergo vere est aliquid quo maius cogitari non potest, ut nec cogitari possit non esse: et hoc est Tu Domine, Deus meus. Sic ergo vere es, Domine, Deus meus, ut nec cogitari possis non esse" (Proslogion, 3): so therefore there truly is something greater then which nothing can be thought, at it cannot be thought of as not existing, and this is You Lord, my God. So therefore you truly are, Lord, my God, and you cannot be thought of as not existing.

Even during Anselm's lifetime, the "ontological proof" had a formidable critic in the person of the monk Gaunilon, yet it was to return in various forms among various outstanding thinkers over the history of philosophy. Why? This was due to the problematic of being: being was most often conceived as some "deep structure" of individually existing things; being was conceived as a fundamental stratum which excluded contradiction. For this reason the coincidence of noncontradictory features was a decisive argument for ontic realism.(2) Meanwhile being-reality is always a concrete of the two dimension of content and existence. In contingent beings real content is formed "under" actual existence. Something must first exist in order to be transformed. One cannot validly infer from the "content" of a being to its existence. For this reason it is not possible to construct reality through some selection of features, since existence is not a feature belonging to the content of things. In the history of philosophical thought, in essentialistic conceptions of being, there has always been a tendency to "arrive at existence-reality" by way of some correspondent collection of the features which supposedly realize the various states of reality. Thomas Aquinas was right in accepting the conception of contingent being composed of essence and existence, and rejected the way of Anselm and the ontologists, calling attention to the fact that one may not argue about the existence of something except from a fact of existence. Hence one may argue about the existence of God only from the fact of the existence of contingent beings, but not from an analysis alone of a thought thinking about reality and its necessary features.

We have deliberately lingered somewhat longer over Anselm's argument, since similar positions have constantly recurred in various systems and periods and the ultimate reason for such an error is a fundamentally defective (essentialistic) conception of real being. According to essentialist philosophers, this is the only conception of being which can give the basis for the difference between really existing being and being as the object of metaphysics.

The twelfth century presents us with two more important schools of thought, the school of Chartres and that of St. Victor in the vicinity of Paris. Both these schools were marked by a profound humanism and a sapiential mode of thought, and we see the application of post-Abelardian logic and the beginnings of methodology. The Chartres school (Gilbertus Porretanus, Theodoricus of Chartres, John of Salisbury) specially cultivated the natural sciences, and a unique humanism in which Platonic thought was connected with certain logical tendencies (conceptualism, nominalism). The conception of the world and matter and the pantheistic tendencies which may be observed among certain of these authors (in the context of a unique understanding of matter and the psyche) can be explained as an attempt to understand the new currents of philosophy, mathematics and medicine transmitted through the Arabs, and the rediscovery of Greek thought.

The monks of the abbey of St. Victor, especially Hugh of St. Victor, cultivated humanistic philosophy, with the accent upon the understanding of man in his being ordered to God. Attempts at creating a methodology of the sciences appear in the tendencies to introduce greater precision into that human organized knowledge broadly conceived as "philosophia", which branches into the theoretical sciences (theology, then mathesis with astronomy, geometry, arithmetic and music, and finally physics), the practical sciences (ethics, economy, politics), the mechanical sciences such as agriculture, navigation, hunting, strategy and the theatrical sciences) and finally logic, with its divisions of grammar, rhetoric and dialectic.

The thirteenth century must be regarded as the apex in the development of philosophical thought; the thinkers of the thirteenth century were to exert an enormous influence upon the further history of human culture. We should mention the Franciscan School with Alexander of Hales, Saint Bonaventure, Roger Bacon, and especially John Duns Scotus, and the great thinkers of the Dominican School, with the Parisian Masters such as Albert the Great and St. Thomas Aquinas. The teachings of the masters of the thirteenth century aroused a desire for knowledge, passionate discussions and various philosophical formulations among various philosophical (philosophizing) epigones, especially in the fourteenth century. The Franciscan School, in conformity with the style of thinking then in force, developed the Platonic-Augustinian direction and was also interested in the natural sciences, mathematics, optics (Roger Bacon in Oxford). The Dominican masters, on the other hand, were associated with the new rationalistic currents drawing from Aristotle's thought, either translated directly from the Greek or in the interpretation received from the Arab philosophers.

For those first Franciscan masters (Alexander of Hales, d. 1245, and St. Bonaventure, d. 1274) who, under the influence of Albert the Great were beginning to draw a distinction between philosophy and theology, it appeared necessary to connect philosophy with Revelation, and thus with theology, in view of man's actual state, who makes his way to eternity with great difficulty on account of sin that weakens the human intellect and makes it difficult for man to act rightly. Thus Christian philosophy is the only possible philosophy which guarantees true resolutions. The Franciscan masters felt at home in the thought of St. Augustine and Platonism (in a broad sense) with their tendency to accent the primacy of the experience of faith and to accent the conception of God which is given to us in Revelation. They drew a strong connection between the intelligibility of being and exemplarism, and so searched for degrees of similarity of the creature to the Creator. In their conceptions of God and of man, they accented the primacy of the will and of love over knowledge, which is, as it were, "at the service" of love and freedom. The Augustinian-Platonic climate was in keeping with the tradition and the then accepted style of teaching; this offered certain advantages in in that certain "apriorisms" were acknowledged (such as illuminism, the recognition of the authority of the masters in theology, including Peter Lombard and Anselm). This way of teaching also favored the introduction of mathematics as a strict and spiritual knowledge. In this whole philosophical-theological context spiritual knowledge was the first knowledge, though the knowledge which originates in sense experience could also be of value. This allowed Roger Bacon to develop his thinking in the areas of mathematics, optics and the empirical sciences.

The teachings of Albert the Great (d. 1280) and of Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274), however, were to constitute a revolution. This revolution was evident in a new style of teaching, in the consideration of the new impulses joined with Aristotle and the reception of his thought into Christianity, but above all in a new conception of being and man, of the factors which constitute the very core of philosophy.

During the middle ages men were convinced that the knowledge of the truth is the opus of a common search in various times and places. Hence one should take the "common conviction" into account and subordinate oneself to it rather than expose oneself to peculiar and "original" thoughts which are, on account of their being the thought of individuals, untrustworthy. For this reason the mediaeval masters had a very high regard for the doctrina communis, the common conviction of humanity and of the specialists in a given field, and they endeavored to conform to the "common doctrine" in force, especially when this doctrine had behind it recognized intellectual authorities, such as the Fathers of the Church and other great thinkers. It was very risky for them to break with the recognized tradition. Yet Albert and Thomas, while conforming to recognized authorities and the doctrine which was universally in force, were able to revolutionize the thought of their time. This did not, after all, escape the notice of the students and professors who saw the novelty of Thomas' doctrines. He somehow had to make his own original thoughts, perceptions and formulations "agree" with the recognized authorities in force. This concordance was obtained by an interpretation of the authorities in keeping with the new thoughts and formulations. Thus those reading the texts of Thomas may be amazed by how he sought corroboration in the works of Aristotle, Cicero, Boethius, and St. Augustine for his new conceptions, although these thinkers knew nothing and could not know anything of such things as the composition of contingent being from essence and existence.

St. Albert was born around the year 1206 in Lauingen, Schwabia, of an aristocratic family in the service of the Hohenstauf court; he was possessed of an extraordinary mind and had very broad scientific interests. In his own lifetime he received the title of "Great". Just as in antiquity Aristotle was regarded as the one man who knew all the branches of knowledge of his time, so also Albert the great was regarded as a man of universal knowledge in the middle ages (hence his title doctor universalis). His was rather an encyclopaedic mentality; he gathered information and wrote on all topics. He gathered in his library a selection of Christian, Arab and Jewish scientific thought and made available to his ingenious pupil, St. Thomas Aquinas, a wealth of collected material of which the latter also availed himself in his writings. Albert had a special interest in the philosophical conception of man, enriched with the heritage of the Arab philosophers, especially Avicenna. In the domain of philosophy Albert was at first an adherent of the traditional doctrine, but later adopted the doctrine of St. Thomas which he defended against its many antagonists. Perhaps his most creative work was in the domain of the natural sciences, botany in particular. During his life and after his death he was regarded as a very great authority, to whom his disciples, the "Albertists", would appeal. His disciples had great influence in the universities of Europe, including the university of Kraków in Poland.

St. Albert's discovery of the genius of and his patronage of St. Thomas Aquinas is a great credit to him. Thomas was principally a theologian, as were all the masters of the mediaeval period. As a theologian he was chiefly interested in two key problems: how man can know God as the source and end of all existence, and how one should understand man, as the one to whom Divine Revelation is addressed and, at the same time, as the one who is engaged in meaningful human life. We cannot understand God except upon the background of being itself. St. Thomas Aquinas revolutionized our understanding of being (and, upon this background, the understanding of God), and our understanding of man, both in his ontic structure and in his essentially human activity. The understanding of being as being, and of being as man, properly speaking, constitutes the fundamental framework of philosophical cognition. Both these original (and rationally justified) visions of St. Thomas constitute an unique culmination in philosophical cognition, but unfortunately his own contemporaries looked at this culmination with suspicion, failed to see it, or misunderstood it (several theses of St. Thomas were condemned twice, in Paris and in Oxford), as did his philosophical descendants, since in the history of philosophy even that which has been known as "Thomism" was more the construct of commentators than a reading of St. Thomas's thought. This bore as a result sometimes astigmatic conceptions permeated with traditional neoplatonism and Augustinianism. What, then, was the conception of being according to Thomas?

St. Thomas referred to Aristotelian philosophy and the chief formulations of Aristotle. If for Aristotle reality-being was understood basically as a "substance being in itself as in a subject", Thomas was in agreement, but he interpreted the "being" of substance in another way. First of all, neither Aristotle nor any of the ancient philosophers had perceived the role of existence in being. The world had seemed to Greek philosophers to have existed by necessity forever in its change and cyclicity. In this necessarily existing world one must explain the reasons for the various changes which we observe in our "sublunary", terrestrial milieu. Thus the problematic of existence did not arise. The problematic of existence was first seen in the reception of the Bible via the Koran and the interpretation of the Koran by the Arab mystics and thinkers, one of whom was Avicenna, who for the first time, in a manner which would be important for society, posed the problem of existence in being. The Bible in its first verse: "at the beginning God created heaven and earth", already draws attention to the fact that the world is not in itself necessary; it has not existed "always", i.e. from itself, but the existence of the world is derived from God, who defined himself as "YAHWEH", which in the translation of the Septuagint into the Greek language was expressed as "personal being" - "HE WHO IS", and not merely as a being "as a thing", which was known in the Greek tradition as "that which is". The problematic of existence raised by Avicenna was expressed in the philosophical language of Aristotle. Avicenna answered the question of what existence is in being by saying that existence is a special accident of the very nature of things; for existence does not add any content to nature, but only "makes it real". When Avicenna's thought made its way to Europe, it was taken up by William of Auvergne, a Parisian master and later the bishop of Paris, then by Albert the Great through whom it reached the youthful Thomas, who in his first opuscule "De essentia et esse" undertook a thorough analysis of the understanding of being as being, recapitulating the whole philosophical heritage in this area known at the time. In this small work, after an analysis of various definitions of being, he proposed a new, revolutionary understanding of being as being - in the sense: being as the existent. No longer can the question: "On account of what" is something a real being? be answered by giving the traditional response - "on account of form", that is, on account of the element which is constitutive of the identity and the internal non-division of reality (the Greek tradition!), but the only correct answer can be that something is a real being "thanks to its existence". At once the question arises - what is existence and what role does it fill in being?

St. Thomas saw that the act of the existence of something is that "thanks to which" something is real. Thus existence is not some addition in relation to being, but the factor which actualizes being, the factor which is the reason why a given being is truly real. Existence thus understood is a "co-factor" of being, which is "composed" of a concrete content - the essence - and the act of existence proportional to it. In a being, "to be" existence and "to be" essence are not the same thing, since they are two non-identical components of being; their non-identity in being is real. This is to say that one cannot understand real being if one overlooks any of the "com-ponents" of which one in no way is the other. The reduction of existence to essence in being gives rise to a series not only of difficulties, but even absurdities. If the existence of some one being could be reduced and identified with its content-essence, then existence would be a "feature" of the being in question. Meanwhile, this is not the case, since whatever essence I may conceive, no matter how well I may conceive it, I still cannot find in it any "feature" which would have to be existence. Furthermore, we constantly conceive various abstract, and even unreal "essences", such as the "phoenix", but none of these essences "exist". If existence were to belong to an essence as a feature of it, then this essence could not be conceived without existence. For then abstractions would have to exist, which is an absurdity, for after all abstractions possess some determinate "essence". Given such a supposition, an abstraction such as "horse qua horse", "man qua man", would exist, which is a pure absurdity. If one were to attempt to reduce essence to existence, then there would have to appear yet greater absurdities, in the form of absolute monism, since of itself existence is not a determinate content. Existence is differentiated only through realized content, content constituted through various collections of factors or components. Were every content to be reduced to existence, every difference between being would disappear and everything would be existence alone. This is tantamount to radical monism.

The conception of the contingent being composed of essence and existence as from non-identical elements of being underlies the understanding of the fact of the existence of God, who appears in such an understanding of reality as the unique First Being - Pure Existence, as the being whose essence is existence and who may best be named after the biblical "WHO IS". At the same time the composition from essence and existence in contingent being as from really non-identical elements serves as the ground for the understanding of efficient, exemplar and final causality, and thereby for the dynamism of being; it serves as the ground for the ultimate rational justification of ontic pluralism, together with the understanding of all the transcendental properties of being: RES, UNUM, ALIQUID, VERUM, BONUM, PULCHRUM and the whole rational order of reality, which order flows from the understanding of the transcendentals.

Unfortunately St. Thomas's conception of the composition of contingent being from essence and existence was not clearly understood by his immediate disciples. This misunderstanding was basically twofold: (a) existence and essence were conceived as two different "things", while they are non-identical components of one and the same thing, as the two sides of a sheet of paper, or the two poles of one and the same electric field; (b) they were conceived as two different "things" and would have to be known though separate "concepts". Meanwhile it turns out that one cannot construct a concept of existence, since existence is an incomposite (simple) act and is not "conceivable". It may be affirmed in an existential judgement, since we cognitively affirm an actually existing being and we say that "«Alpha» exists". The fact of existence is a "superveridical" fact, a fact "above truth", and is the reason for the knowability of the content of being, just as it is the reason for the real content of being.

This understanding of contingent being as composed from non-identical factors is without parallel in the history of philosophy, it puts the whole of metaphysics in a completely new perspective in relation to all systems which accent entity or onticity(3) as the simplest structure, a structure which excludes contradiction, or, as in Hegel, implies contradiction. Only in such an understanding of contingent being does there appear the necessity for the existence of God as the First Being, who exists through himself, and thus the being whose "essence is existence". Moreover, Thomas's understanding of being is alone among the pleiades of various conceptions of being to lay down a sharp dividing line between real being and intentional being, being in thought.

The other great and revolutionary conception introduced by Thomas was the understanding of the human being. Thomas did not uncritically take up either the Platonic nor the Aristotelian conception of man, but took up what he perceived to be valid in each: man is neither pure spirit alone nor mere animal, but within himself he possesses both an animal aspect and a spiritual aspect. At the same time Thomas reaches to the internal experience of "being a man" in man's living experience of his performance of human activities of both a physiological and spiritual nature. Whenever I eat, breath, suffer pain, see, cognize intellectually in understanding anything whatsoever, whenever I love or create, I always register that it is "I" as the same subject, as the same source, who from myself as from a subject emanate "MY" activities, in which I am always "present", "immanent" (for it is I who breathes, who understands). At the same time, I transcend all these activities (for none of these activities equals the "I", nor do they as an ensemble exhaust the "I"). He thus could not accept Plato's conception, which does not recognize any immanence of the "I" in physiological acts, since according to this conception man uses the body as an instrument which nevertheless limits him. Neither is Aristotle's conception true, for man experiences the transcendence of his "I" in relation to all acts, and at the same time, according to Aristotle the human soul (as the foundation of the "I") is only a form which emerges from evolving and organized matter. Although this soul has a capacity for thought, this is by virtue of the "alien power" of the "active intellect". The experience of both the immanence and the transcendence of one's own self or "I" is possible if and only if the foundation of the self, the soul, conceived as a form, does not arise as an evolute or consequence of the organization of being, but is in itself a being; in other words, if in itself as in a subject it possesses existence. The forces of nature cannot account for the existence of the soul, physical nature merely provides the context; an intervention on the part of God is necessary, whose creative activity alone can render the coming-into-being of the soul free from contradiction. The soul is that which, existing in itself as in a subject, immediately organizes matter to be a human body. Matter is necessary as the context for the coming-into-existence of the soul, but is not a sufficient reason for its coming-into-existence. The human body is constantly being organized (and, by the same token, de-organized) by the human soul, but the soul, as it exists in itself, transcends the human body's mode of existence, although the soul is present in the body as its form. Hence the ultimate de-organization of the body does not negate the fact of the soul's existence, and the soul must pass into another state in relation to matter. In immediate cognition (the experience of oneself) of the self which emanates from itself as from a subject "my" various acts or activities, the living experience of the self is given to me from the existential aspect. This is to say that I know that the "I" exists as a subject which "subjectifies" my acts, but I do not know who I am. In order to know who I am I must analyze my act which emanate from my "I" and thus construct a theory of human nature (anthropology). This is what Thomas did in an ingenious way on the basis of Aristotle and the whole tradition of philosophy. At the same time he accented and devoted as much attention as he could to human conduct and the theory of morality.

In analyzing the understanding of contingent being and of the human being in particular, Thomas sketched out a number of philosophical resolutions, entering into discussion with the most various schools and attempts at resolving the philosophical and theological questions which were then the object of intense discussion. One may say without exaggeration that the understanding of being-reality, and therein of man, and of his various activities (particularly in the domain of cognition, conduct-morality and creativity) were delineated by Thomas in a masterly manner, from all possible angles, for he considered all the views up to his own time, such that to this day one cannot rationally cultivate these fields of philosophy without a thorough acquaintance with the work of St. Thomas.

Another great thinker and master of the middle ages was John Duns Scotus, born in Scotland around the year 1266, and who died in Cologne in 1308 in his 42nd year. As a theologian and philosopher he had both a direct and indirect influence on the formations of philosophical thought, especially on the understanding of being qua being in Suarez, Descartes, Wolff, and even indirectly Hegel (through Wolff). He was an advocate of the joining of philosophy with theology and faith, and in keeping with the spirit of the Franciscan School he held that a "Christian philosophy" was necessary. He sharply criticized the thought of St. Thomas, especially Thomas's conception of being, and in this respect it was Scotus's conception of being that found acceptance in the writings of Suarez and the other above mentioned thinkers, all of which after all was the result of a wrong understanding of the thought of St. Thomas. The source of Scotus's conception of being was Avicenna's conception of the "three natures".

Avicenna who lived in Caliphate of Baghdad, in Buchar, interpreted the Aristotelian conception of substance. If for Aristotle the object of metaphysics is being conceived as substance, the question then is how this substance should be understood. Should we understand it as a concrete, or as a universal, or as the mysterious "essence" which Aristotle termed to ti en einai? Avicenna proposed some well known distinctions in the understanding of substance-nature. First of all, first nature should be distinguished from second nature. First nature is the concrete substance existing apart from the mind in nature, as Socrates or Plato. Second nature, on the other hand, is the concept about the first nature: this concept exists only the mind of the knower. We must still distinguish "third nature" , which exists neither in nature nor in the mind, but which is the necessary group of the constitutive features of a thing. It does not exist, but it "is" in itself identical with itself. Nothing more can be said of this third nature than to list its constitutive features. Thus "man" as a third nature exists neither in the mind nor in the thing; "man" is only man as the group of his constitutive features: "animal" and "rational". Such a third nature is "pure possibility" in itself necessary, but existing neither in nature nor in the human intellect. Pure possibilities, in themselves non-necessary(4) possibile esse are opposed to the necesse esse, the necessity of existence, which is God. Thus the necesse esse and the possibile esse are always situated "across from one another". Of the latter there is an immense number, since they constitute the necessary contents of being. They are in a sense ontologically a priori to first natures, that is, to really existing concretes, for the creation of first natures as well consist in the "infusion" of existence by God, who is NECESSE ESSE, into third natures, which are possibile esse. Thus the existence obtained from natures is a special accident, for it does not belong to the features which constitute a nature, but it is something more than the categorical accidents.

Now John Duns Scotus tried to order the Avicennean conception of "third natures", and to create from them a stratified structure of being. This structure may be presented as a pyramid whose apex is the realization of a nature concretely existing in nature, eg. John, and whose lower layers hierarchically arranged one after the other constitutes such manifestations of nature as "man", then "animality", subsequently "vegetative life", then "body", "substance" all the way to the foundation of everything, which is "being". Being thus understood is common both to God and all creatures. It may be reached by a single act of our intellect, for before we say anything about a thing, we already have grasped it as "being". But what is this being? Being as the first object of our cognition and, at the same time, the reason for all cognition, is in itself a structure which is undetermined in itself and different than all concrete determinations. The only understanding of being is that it excludes contradiction from itself. Being thus understood is univocal, since it concerns each thing, determining its essence but not its attributes.

Here in Duns Scotus, just as in many scholastics, we see a confusio linguarum - objective language is confused with meta-language(5), since in speaking of the "ratio entis" he understands it as a "real concept", which is predicated not of concepts but of things, and, as a real and absolute concept, is univocal. In his "Opus oxoniense"(6) he writes "intellectus … cognoscit aliquid sub ratione entis in communi alioquin Metaphysica nulla esset scientia intellectui nostro". "The intellect cognizes something as the content of being in general, otherwise metaphysics would not be a science (accessible) to our intellect" If being, in the understanding of John Duns Scotus, is a univocal structure which excludes contradiction from itself, then properly speaking we possess no criterion for distinguishing a truly real being, a really existing being from a being of thought, for our every thought is also a non-contradictory structure. One may say that the reality of being is constituted by its individuality of nature, through the so-called haecceitas (this individual nature here and now: eg. "John") - but our every thought, expressing a general nature is an individual thought. Thereby is the general nature expressed by thought a real being? One could say that it is real as a thought, but not as a nature; but it possesses the same ontological structure in the form of internal non-contradiction! If being ultimately were to be simple and incomposite in its structure, then we would possess no factor "on account of which" we could distinguish one being from another or differentiate a real being from the being of thought, for everything is the same ontic content. The effects of such a conception of being would turn out, after Christian Wolff, to be fatal in the case of Hegel.

Duns Scot passed over all these difficulties by joining his metaphysics with theology and faith (hence his conviction on the existence of a Christian philosophy). Theology provided the "object" that metaphysics would analyze by the use of reason, but theology has already shown that these objects are real. Thus, even though in itself Duns Scotus' concept of being was inclined toward monistic positions, nevertheless monism was precluded by reason of a theological "a priori" - the affirmation that God and creatures exist. In his understanding Duns Scotus endeavored to grasp the individual being as a truly real being, and thus this haecceitas which designates the individual nature played so important a role. At the same time, however, Duns Scotus saw that in cognitively grasping the "individual nature" we are understanding it as a being, and as a locus for the concretization of various natures which, when arranged hierarchically, create a stratified structure of being. Being as being, however, is in itself univocal and transcends all determinations. A more exact cognition of being may be accomplished by the help of the Scotistic "disjunctive transcendentals" (passiones entis disjunctae) such as "finite-infinite", "relative-absolute", "dependent-independent", "simple-composite", "substantial-insubstantial". Furthermore, according to him, being is knowable through the so-called "metaphysical perfections" which can be "pure perfections", i.e. their concepts contain nothing imperfect; and the "mixed perfections". All this served the purpose of proving the existence of God. However, since this was basically a "game of concepts" more than an analysis of concretely existing being, it constant reminds one of the basis of thought of St. Anselm and his ontological proof, to which after all Duns Scotus consciously refers, as he regards that proof as true but not evident. Duns Scotus attempts to give a detailed proof using the concepts of efficient causality, final causality and nobility. Yet all these operations are subtle analyses of concepts and not of existing being. It is difficult to arrive from these analyses at an affirmation of existence, although in Duns Scotus existence is only a "way" a "modus" of essence, and thereby somehow "contained in the structure of the nature and its concept, for which it is yet more difficult to provide a rational justification.

In anthropology, Scotus accepts in man the existence of at least two forms: forma corporeitatis - the form of the body, and the "forma intellectualis - anima", the acceptance of which precludes any essential unity in man. He also accords primacy to the will in both man and God, and he connects moral norms with the will rather than with the intellect. In ethics Scotus is in a sense a forerunner of Kant. Duns Scotus accepts the bonum honesti - the good in itself, as an objective value, and the bonum commodi - the pleasurable good, as a subjective value connected with personal satisfaction. Although both of these goods are found ultimately in God, subjective satisfaction cannot be the motor of conduct, such that one should not aspire that the bonum honesti not be at the same time a bonum commodi. In all activity love is ultimately higher than cognition, and the ultimate human act is to be one in which, in contemplating God, one loves God - contemplando diligitur Deus.

Duns Scotus closes the period of the great scholasticism of the thirteenth century. Now we encounter some thinkers who tend toward neo-Platonism upon the background of the syncretistic heritage of the great period of the middle ages (such as Meister Eckhart or Nicholas de Cusa), and others who analyze the cognitive attitudes and are led to nominalism and a concentration upon logical operations, such as William Ockham (d.1350) who never attained to the dignity of "master" and thus remained an beginner (hence his title Venerabilis Inceptor). At the close of the medieaeval period, thinkers preferred epistemological issues to the understanding of being. Being and the understanding of being makes its appearance here more clearly in the light of the accepted conception of cognition. In cognition we observe tendencies connected with intuitionism, with the cognition of individual things rather than with the understanding of general, necessary structures of being. In nominalism, especially that of Ockham, there is quite simply a break with any and every kind of generality of natures. It seems, however, that Ockham went deeply into the cognitive relation of the intellect to the thing cognized, when he wrote: quodlibet universale est vere res singularis existens... est tamen universalis per praedicationem non pro se sed pro rebus, quas significat - every universal is in reality an existing individual... it is a universal in predication not for itself (i.e. as if it existed in itself as a universal) but for the things which it designates (P. Böhner - L. Gilson, Hist. Fil. p. 537). In Ockham's nominalism the intellect was regarded as passive, wherein he was at variance with the nominalist Petrus Aureoli who regarded the intellect as creative. Kant was later to accent the creative activity of the intellect on other grounds. In his approach to reality and to being, Ockham was under the influence of Duns Scotus with the latter's doctrine that "haecceitas", that is, the singular nature, is the only existing nature. It seems, however, that he radicalized Scotus's positions, as he fittingly observed that the existence of a nature is only concrete in the individual, whereas all generalities are the work of the intellect. Following Duns Scot in his univocal understanding of being, he also accepted his position in the question of God's existence. He went a step further in Scotus's doctrine on the composite character of man, for to the "form of corporeity" he added a "sensual form-soul" which operates beside the intellectual "form-soul". In this he was following the old Platonic views of the Franciscan School, in conformity with which he also accepted a radical voluntarism in ethics.

Epistemological problems also eclipsed the question of being in the thought of Cardinal Nicholas de Cusa (d. 1464), who is known for his conception of docta ignorantia - "learned ignorance" (after the pattern of Socrates' position - "I know that I know nothing.") which thought he fell upon during his mission to Constantinople where in the name of the Pope he strived to dispose the Greeks to union with Roman Christianity. This "learned ignorance" is realized in knowing God, in knowing the world, and in knowing Christ, in whom there opens up the possibility of knowing everything more profoundly. Nicholas de Cusa crowns the close the middle ages in writing: "The quiddity of the things, which is the truth of being, is inaccessible in its purity; all philosophers have investigated it, but nobody has discovered it such as it is; and the deeper we shall steep ourselves in this ignorance, the nearer we will find ourselves to truth".(7)

There were instances when nominalism would take a turn toward skepticism, undermining the value of abstractive and conceptual intellection. Here we should mention the name of Nicholas de Autrecourt (d. cc 1350), Peter de Ailly (d. 1420), Gabriel Biel ( d. 1495) and John Buridan (d. 1353). At the same time there was a turn to mysticism, the particular sciences and astronomy. The works of Nicholas of Oresme (d. 1382), a Parisian master and later bishop of Lisieux, are regarded as a foreshadowing of the discoveries of Nicholas Copernicus.

III. Modern Times

The middle ages did not end as abruptly as it had begun. As social, political and geogrpahical contexts were changing, so too there were new accents and new movements of thought. It is commonly held that the end of the middle ages coincides with the disocivery of America, with Martin Luther, or with the acceptance of Copernican heliocentrism. None of these milestones marks any great interruption in the continuity of philosophical thought. They serve to situate philosophical thought in the changing interests of people, and somewhat modified this thought. Although the renaissance movement in Italy was very strong in its return to the times of ancient Greece and Rome, the interests and problems of mediaeval philosophy did not diminish, but were even given a new lease on life by the return to the thought of Aristotle and Plato. There was a significant rebirth of Aristotelian thought, "latin Aristotelianism", together with a renaissance in Thomistic thought in Italy (Padua) and in various universities in Spain. We may mention here the names of some important figures in the renewal of the thought of St. Thomas, the creators of Thomism one might say, as their commentaries to St. Thomas at times veiled or even modified the thought of Thomas. John Capreolus (c. 1380-1444) was called the princeps thomistarum on account of his subtle and penetrating commentaries to St. Thomas. Francis de Sylvestris Ferrariensis (d. 1520) is known for his commentary to the Summa contra Gentiles of Thomas. Thomas de Vio Cajetanus (d. 1534), besides his commentaries, is well known for his De nominum analogia. In Spain we have Francis de Victoria (1480-1546), to whom the revical of theology in Spain was due, but most well known for his studies in the field of international law; John of St. Thomas (1589-1644) was the author of systematic treatises in the areas of philosophy and theology which have been regarded as the deepest and most systematic presentation of Thomistic thought.

The one who exerted the greatest influence on the further development of philosophy was the Jesuit thinker Francis Suarez (1548-1617). He was to become the official interpreter of St. Thomas in the Jesuit order, the rule of which commanded adherence to the views of St. Thomas. The Jesuit schools which arose across Europe spread Thomism in its Suarezian version, and this in turn contribed in large measure to the formation of René Descartes' thought and terminology. Since Descartes brought about a true revolution in philosophical thought and exerted a powerful influence on the history af science and philosophy, it is no trifling matter that one could acquaint oneself with the views of Francis Suarez on the understanding of being. This understanding indeed had far-reaching consequences.

In the domain of the understanding of being, Saurez' though took shape chiefly under the influence of St. Thomas and John Duns Scotus, and the bitter controversy that had long raged between the "Thomists" and the "Scotists". It should be noted that while they engaged in polemics against one another, the Thomists and the Scotists took up terminology from one another and battled with the same weaponry. In so doing, they had modified the thoughts and opinions they were expressing. The first important formulation was later taken up by Descartes when he recalled the difference between the "subjective concept" and the "objective concept". The former is our person concept, created by our reason, through which we see the thing itself. A thing apprehended and interpreted "in the light" of our subjective concept constitutes the "objective concept". In post-Suarezian scholasticism there is less about being than about the "concept of being", by which an "objective concept" is commonly understood. The Scotist "ratio entis" become the "conceptus objectivus entis" - the "objective concept of being". Here in the very bosom of scholasticism we see the beginnings of idealism, for we can see a philosophical starting point not in the existence of being, but in our cognitive apprehension of being. The primal axis of subject and object is clearly emphasized, with the resultant impossibility of moving beyond the "cognitive field of being". Such an understanding of philosophy is already a "critical" understanding": being is understood in the light of the cognition of being. The act of cognition is no longer applied to being as to the object of spontaneous cognition. The post-Suarezian distinction between the subjective and the objective concept provided Descartes with an easy and convenient pretext for basing his own philosophy on the subjective concept as the only one which was clear and distinct. In the context of his time his solution seemed obvious, since there is not difference with regard to cognition between the subjective and the objective concept. Such a duplication of reality seemed unnecessary as we carry out an act of cognition in the face of reality itself. The object of the "duplication of reality" through our acts of cognition would henceforth appear often in the various critiques of positivistic philosophy.

Another very important point in the metaphysics of Suarez is his modifications in the understanding of being. He started from the almost universally accepted position that our human cognition finds its ultimate expression in the concepts we form, and to such a degree that there is nothing in the reality which we know that cannot be expressed in a concept. He was starting from a certain a priori presupposition. Suarez also took up the terminology of one of St. Thomas' disciples, Giles of Rome, in the latter's work "Theoremata de essentia et esse" in which essence and existence are spoken of as two different things. In this approach to the problematic of the non-identity of essence and existence in a real, contingent being, Suarez negated in being any real difference between essence and existence. For Suarez, being can be approached as "ens actu" and ens potentia". "Ens actu", i.e. being in act, and existent being are one and the same.

By presenting the problem in this way, he passed over the question of whether in an actually existing being its essential and existential aspect are the same thing. Suarez would have to say that they were! Here we would have a complete explanation of being, for we have arrived at the very root of monism, or at least we can see an essential factor behind the further fortunes of modern and contemporary philosophy. Suarez preferred to analyze being as the "object" of metaphysics.

The father of modern scholasticism, J. Kleutgen, has a splendid grasp of the thought of Suarez. The doctrines of Kleutgen were accepted as the standard in Catholic academies after Vatican Council I, of which Council Kleutgen had been an organizer. Gilson presents Kleutgen's view in relation to Suarezian doctrine. Kleutgen writes:

"It is then a question of knowing what is understood by essence and by real essence. The essence is the root or deepest foundation and the first principle of all activity, as well as of all the properties of a thing"

Among all that things have it is "the most excellent, and it gives the foundation and the perfection to all our instances of knowledge relative to the object itself." As Gilson notes, it is easy here to see the Suarezian exaltation of essence.

Kleutgen is using the very same terms to exalt essence used by St. Thomas Aquinas to express the supremacy of tha act of existence. Kleutgen, as if out of fear of falling into error, goes on:
"It follows from the preceding considerations that among the scholastics, the real is not identified or confused with that which is actual or existent and is not opposed to the possible. It may just as well be possible or existent, such that, when Scholasticism designates the real as the object of metaphysics, as does Hermes, it does not make the principle task of this science consist in the investigation and discovery of actual existences."

Kleutgen concludes by adding that

"this is what Suarez expressly declares". This is in effect that way it stands, except perhaps for the fact that Suarez certainly did not have Hermes in mind, who here affords a rather convenient scapegoat, but was thinking rather of what we have seen him designate as the opinion of St. Thomas, quam in hoc sensu secuti sunt fere omnes antiqui Thomistae [which opinion almost all the early Thomists followed]. The two questions are ultimately inseparable. The ultimate act of being cannot at the same time be essentia and esse, and if it is esse as Thomas never ceased to affirm, then the ultimate term of metaphysics must be a reaching beyond essence to the existence which is its act. There is not even a trace of this in the modern version of Scholasticism, that which one may say has become the commly accepted version, for this Scholasticism is so frankly and resolutely rooted in essence that it makes an abstraction not only of the actual existence of an essence, but even of its possible existence. Kleutgen declares:

"When we conceive a being as real, we do not think of it as purely possible, to the exclusion of existence; yet we does not think of it as existant, rather we make abstraction from existence... It is only in this way that the finite and created things for which existence is not essential can become the object of science"(8)

From an understanding of the position of Suarez we can better understand the revolution in philosophical thought brought about by Rene Descartes. He was behind a new epoch of philosophical subjectivism, persisting to this day. This style of philosophy is also called the philosophy of the subject. From his studies at the Jesuit college of La Flèche, Descartes certainly knew post-Suarezian Scholasticism, as we may be convinced by his terminology and his selection of certain problems which have their source in Scholasticism.

The great milestone of Cartesian philosophy consists in a shift of the center of gravity in cognition and philosophical justification from the extra-subjective object to the subject. Drawing chiefly from the Scholastic distinction between the subjective concept and the objective concept, he noted that the objective concept possesses nothing from the content known more than was has already been expressed in the subjective concept. Why then duplicate reality? The object concept should be rejected. One should employ only the subjective concept, the clear and distinct idea that manifests the objective contents and takes away the distance between the object known and the act of knowing. The spirit "does not go out of itself" in the act of knowing; it possesses in itself its object of knowledge. Only the "concept-idea" guarantees the certitude and the possibility of knowledge. The spirit or subject is the specially privileged place in the cultivation of philosophy.

Descartes divided reality into two opposed states: the res extensa - extended being, or matter, and the res cogitans, the spirit. Man is by nature a spirit, although he possesses a body that can be conceived of as a machine. (The conception of the body as a machine, whether mechanical, chemical, electric, or electromagnetic would unfold among the later followers of Descartes.) The bond between spirit and body exists by virtue of various "powers", yet man's essence is to be a spirit, and the essence of the spirit is to think; thus man, while he possesses the matter of his body-machine, is in himself a thinking spirit and all the laws of the thinking spirit may be ascribed to man. On the other hand, quantitative and measurable extension is an attribute (and in Descartes an attribute means an essence-being which can be seen intuitively) of matter. Henceforth the scientific concept of matter would be none other than "to be an object which can be measure either by a spatial or temporal measure".

If the subject-spirit is the privileged place of philosophy, it is idea which is the only object of spiritual cognition. There have been many ideas in the history of philosophy, including many which were feeble. They must be thrown out, since only a "clear and distinct idea" can guarantee a certain and evient cognition. Only the intuition and analysis of ideas can provide certain knowledge. The first idea, the idea furthest from any possibility of doubt, is the idea of the thinking subject. "Cogito ergo sum" - "I think therefore I am", is that which in cognition is most evident, for it is not an inference, but quite simply it is the definition of the spirit-subject, who is always carrying through-cogitation. The concept of the idea - "cogitatio" is in Descartes very wide and it refers to all kinds of psychological or spiritual operations. Thus cogitation is not only the intuition of ideas, but also an operation upon ideas; it is also any operation upon phantasms, these also being "ideas". It is this moment which was particularly developed by British empiricism! Ideas and operation upon ideas conceived as "chains of evidence" are inference, but acts of love, hate, even mere feeling are also ideas. Indeed, everything that takes place in the human spirit is an idea, and the most evident idea is the idea of the subject-spirit.

Whence come these ideas? If man is a thinking spirit, then ideas belong only to the sphere of the spirit and cannot originate from matter, as the soul is not a product of matter. The ideas belong to the order of the spirit. It is commonly said that they are innate, which means that they are the necessary endowment of the spiritual being. Of course, man as res cogitans, as the ceaselessly thinking spirit, can transform, construct and reconstruct these ideas, and in this sense one may speak of acquiring ideas, but in the proper sense ideas are the necessary endowment of the spirit. They originate from the same source as the spirit; they are created, originating from God, the Creator and Engineer of the whole of nature. For this reason, God is the guarantor of our veridical cognition, as he himself is the Creator and Engineer of our nature. The veracity of our cognition - if it concerns only clear and disticnt ideas - is irrefutable. Of course, one may attempt to justify the veracity and value of cognition through an appeal to things, which is what certain post-Cartesian thinker and various scholastics who found themselves under the influence of Cartesian thought tried to do. They thought that phirst philosophy is a theory of cognition aiming at guaranteeing the veracity, certitude and infallibility of cognition (eg. the Louvain school, many of the followers of Kleutgen). For Descartes this was not a problem, for the problem had already been resolved at the very beginning when he had set down the method of philosophizing.

The divorce from real being in philosophy, from really existing being, in favor of the analysis of the subjective idea of being, while the value ideas was inextricably tied to God prompted the statement that God is the only active reality; our analysis of the idea and our knowledge of its content cannot after all be the reason for activity. With the radical division of the world into res extensa and res cogitans, the activity we can read out in things (in the light of the analysis of an idea) is merely an occasion for divine activity. The Oratorian Michel Malebranche (1638-1715) elaborated the theory of occasionalism. He noted that our subjective ideas with which we have been endowed by God, concern not so much the thing in itself as the divine idea, the divine archetype of the thing. The human intellect has an intuition of the divine ideas, of God in his ideas, but not in the sense of an intuition of God's internal life; the intellect has an intuition of these ideas inasmuch as they are models, a law according to which things are created. The activity of things which makes up the dynamic order of the world is in itself totally the activity of God. The activity of God in creatures and through creatures is unvarying and always general. It is subject to modification with regard to the individuals that seem to act. Things are not capable of acting one upon the other, not can the soul act upon the body, or the body upon the soul, but when on accosion beings are applied to activity, it is always God himself who is acting. The seeds of occasionalism could be found almost in completeness in the theory of Descartes. Malebranche merely radicalized them. What can we really know about the world if we know about it only through a priori ideas given to us together with our nature by God? Everythings is seen as from above in the light of the divine idea or archetype. Since all intelligibility is contained in the idea, not in things as these are inaccessible in themselves, accessible only through ideas originating from God, the intelligibility of activity, as an idea, is also completely dependent upon God.

What we are dealing with here is a peculiar angelism based on our having a bird's eye view in our cognition of material things. Throughout the entire history of philosophy there has been a notivable effort to grasp the things or being itself in acts of sensile and intellectual congition and to thus read out the content of being. In the tradition and perennially important understanding, the veridical graps takes place in the cognitive (judgmental) concordance of that which has been bgrapsed with being itself (reality). Here, however, starting from the position of the spirit, the res cogitans, cognition no longer simply concerns things but ideas, and these ideas do not come from things grasped in the act of cognition. Cognition is the intuition of an idea with which we are endowed together with our being by God, the guarantor of order and cognizability.

It is most amazing that in the times following Descartes his position gained acceptance in France, the Netherlands, England and then in Germany, the position, namely, that the object of our cognition is to be found in the idea, not in the existent thing. The idea was conceived in various ways, but always within the limits drawn out by Descartes. It was not only the authority of Descartes that contributed to this acceptance, but the living tradition of classical philosophy in its Scholastic version, in which from the times of Duns Scotus and Suarez being had been conceived in abstraction from existence. This was being manifested as the cognized ratio entis, i.e. the objective concept. In abstracting from existence, the traditional current of philosophy was perforce paving the way for Descartes, then for British empiricism (Hume) and finally for Kant. It came to a conclusion in the speculation of Hegel and all that came to pass with Hegel's legacy. The starting point was the rejection of the theory of the contingent being composed of the non-identical elements of essence and existence; then the "beingness" of being was seen only in the essence of being. It was no longer to think or philosophize in any other way. A small mistake at the beginning (a mistake in the understanding of being) leads to an avalanche of errors and misunderstanding in many systems of philosophy.

The Cartesian conception of being, that being is given in the idea of substance, led Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677), the Dutch Jewish thinker, to a pantheistic vision of the world. It as Spinoza held ordo idearum est idem ac ordo rerum (the order of idea is the same as the order of things), and we have an idea of absolute substance, then the attributes of this absolute substance are infinite and there is no longer any place for any other things save the absolute substance, the pantheistic God.

In Germany Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716), a mathematical and philosophical genius who had studied both scholasticism and the thought of Descartes, created a great pluralistic, isolationistic system to explain reality. Beside his great mathematical discoveries and formulations in logic, he was interested in the philosophy of being. He was unable to accept occasionalistic pluralism, as this seemed to be a mechanistic error which leads directly to pantheism (that which does not act on its own does not exist, and so only God exists), Leibniz took a stand against monism through his theory of monadology, wherein he held that there exist various modes of infinity. Thus it is possible that there are an infinite number of monads.

Each of them is a microcosm. In each monad all the perfection of the other monad-microcosms are reflected as in a mirror. The monad cannot go out of itself as a spirit can; the monad possesses no windows, but it can within itself come to know everything, all other monads. Finite monads can also develop into infinity. The internal dynamism of monads does not preclude that some monads do not develop, that they are, as it were, quenched, while other higher monads attain to a high degree of development in consciousness and a priori knowledge. Monadological isolationism can be understood through the harmonia praestabilita, the harmony established by God. God a priori has coordinated the activity of all monads; although they do not act upon one another, by virtue of the pre-established harmony the activity of one monad finds a counterpart in the activity of another monad as in a reaction. The system of Leibniz, rational to the extreme, was built upon the principles of identity and sufficient reason; it presented an optimistic vision of God and the world. Many Scholastic and Cartesian conceptions come into play in his system, but, like any a priori rational system, it does not always fit with the real states of real being.

The last great post-Cartesian thinker, a German, was Christian Wolff (1679-1754). He retained very many elements of Scholastic philosophy and at the same time employed the rationalistic method associated with Descartes, with this difference - instead of Descartes chain of evident ideas he adopted a deductive method in metaphysics. He developed the conception of being in the direction of essentialism, holding that being is pure possibility. As a result, he is heir to the the thought of Duns Scotus and Suarez; in taking up the conception of "possible being" as real being, he took away every basis for making a distinction between real being and non-real being. In this sense it seems that be was a disciple of Carteisanism, that the idea of being is a true object of intellectual congition. Kant rejected Wolff's understanding of being and his radical rationalism, which in Hel became a convenient point for the analysis of most primary concept of being. As this concept is the most abstract of all concepts and is purely possible, it contains a contradiction in itself. For this reason Hegel's thought was of necessity fixed on the position that being does not persist but is ceaselessly becoming, where the so called dialectic provides a rational way out of contradiction. We will say more of this in our discussion of Hegel.

British empiricism, exemplified chiefly by John Locke (1632-1704) and David Hume (1711-1776), is, on the one hand, the legacy of their native Oxfordian spirit, and, on the other hand, their particular reception of Cartesianism. In the middle ages Roger Bacon had ben a disciple of mathematicism and the strict sciences. Mediaeval nominalism also bore an influence upon the English philosophical milieu. In the sixteenth and seventeenth century, Francis Bacon (1561-1626) undermined the purely rational methods, making appeal to experience and well organized induction. Yet it was John Locke and David Hume who were to become the representatives of British empiricism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. John Locke was under the influence of Oxford nominalism and had read Descartes, succumbing to the charm of his method. Though he did not acknowledge the existence of any innate ideas, as Descartes had, he still accepts the Cartesian starting point, that the object of cognition is the idea. Descartes had considered not only general and necessary concepts as ideas, but included thereunder our particular mental images. The British empiricists took as their starting point in the construction of philosophy the particular ideas, the cognitive impressions. For Locke there are two kinds of internal ideas, those which originate from internal experience (forming concepts, belief, doubt), and ideas originating from external experience. There obviously can be ideas which originate from these, fusing together into complexes of ideas, such as the idea of substance. Among the ideas there exist relations which take the form of various principles, eg. the principle of causality. Operations upon ideas, not the cognition of being as such, provide the context in which human cognition takes its general shape. The objectivity of cognition is contained in the idea. It is an empirical cognition because it operates with sensual ideas. It is possible to construct a coherent system on the basis of cognition thus conceived, but it is all isolated from reality, since every idea is an aspective grasp of reality. The British empiricists could not admit this.

David Hume (1711-1776) had a significant effect upon the later course of philosophy through his theory of cognition and his critique of causality and substantiality. Just as Locke had done, he haled that the idea is the object of cognition: the idea may be conceived as a particular impression, or as an disengaged impression, and the latter Hume called a "concrete abstraction". This means that in the impression we possess a very particular and concrete image of a thing, eg. a rooster, but as it is difficult to employ such an image in the further course of cognition and communication we must pare down this image and throw out a series of concrete features. To this necessarily impoverished and abstract image we attach the general name "rooster", and then we can employ this "idea" more effectively. Both the impression and the idea is an ensemble of features. Only these features are real. If a feature is not to be found in either an impression or an idea, then that feature is not real. For this reason causality is not real, for it is merely the consequence of how we register particular acts in an activity, but it is not a relation of causality; nor is the soul (in the Cartesian sense) real, for the "I" is not a feature. Therefore the principle of substantiality and the principle of causality must be rejected, and therewith also the whole Aristotelian conception of science which would explain things by showing their proper causes. David Hume provided the theoreticians of knowledge of the nineteenth century with a nominalistic conception of cognition, a radicalized version of mediaeval nominalism in which rational cognition and sensual cognition were held to be identical, since the object of cognition is an "idea" which may be conceived either as an impression or as an idea in the sense of a typical mental image. In this vision, philosophy in the sense of metaphysics was thrown out of the range of philosophical interest, for if the object of cognition is not being but only a sensual "idea", then metaphysics is reduced to phenomenalism.

Immanuel Kant (1724-1804), one of the greatest geniuses of the German spirit, directly attacked metaphysics. He proposed that the existence of metaphysics was impossible because it was impossible to know being in itself. Although he belongs to the epoch of the Enlightenment, whose luminaries included Condillac, Voltaire, Condorcet and Rousseau and which coincided with post-Cartesian rational thought, Kant closed the epoch of the Enlightenment and initiated the new period of the critical philosophy of the subject. The philosophy of the subject, studied in the critical Kantian spirit, so dominated the way in which philosophy was studied and understood to such a degree that even the great German systemic idealists (Fichte, Schelling, Hegel) have been regarded as interpreters of Kant, even thought each of them, especially Hegel, was an independent thinker who exerted his own great influence upon the further course of thought and social organization.

From Cartesian subjectivism and British empiricism, Kant inherited the conviction that the object of cognition is not things, but our impressions and representations of things. Kant's starting point is admirably demonstrated by Wadysaw Tatarkiewicz in his History of Philosophy(9):

Kant owed his new findings in philosophy for the most to the fact that in philosophy he had posed new question. These question were the following. How, on the basis of representations, can we know anything about things? For only representations are given to us, yet we pronounce judgments on things; how is it possible to pass from the representation to the things, from the subject to the object? "I noticed" - he wrote in a letter to M. Hertz - "that I am still missing something, which in my long metaphysical researches escaped my notice and the notice of others. and which is truly the key to the whole mystery which has up to now inherent in metaphysics. Namely, I asked the question, on what basis does that which in us is called a representation refer to the object".

These researches came to be called "transcendental", for they were to step over (transcendere) the border from the subject to the object. If my cognition is at its source the demonstration of an individual content contained in my impressions, then it can be understood as ordered and can be rationally read out. It occurred to Kant that rationality does not come at all from the object but from the subject. The subject is armed with the a priori categories of sense and reason. These categories order the contents of our experience and make possible in this way synthetic a priori knowledge, that is, knowledge which is empirical and at the same time necessary. The real content of our cognition cannot go beyond the content of our congitive impressions, rather our understanding of them and their entire rationality comes from ourselves as the subjects. Through the a priori sensual and rational categories, the subject is able to bring rational order to the whole of experience. The content of impressions constitutes the object of cognition, and cognition cannot reach beyond these contents in the information it receives. Nevertheless, the understanding is a priori nad necessary. Knowledge about the world is possible only through the unification of the cognition that is providing the new information. Such cognition Kant calls synthetic and necessary, and it originates from the subject. Thus synthetic a priori cognition is real human valid cognition. In this kind of cognition we do not reach to being, and therefore metaphysics is not possible, as Kant demonstrated in this "Critique of the Pure Reason". All that is accessible to us is our interior, the foundations of our conduct. Although we have no cognition of being, we do have immediate knowledge of the domain of our duties or obligations - sollen. The state, through its laws or through the order of virtue gives the full content of these obligations or sollen, or it orders this full content to be given. Although being - Sein cannot be known by us, for we are restricted to a mere phenomenon, the impression, the domain of obligation or sollen can always be clearly and absolutely known. The formal rule of moral conduct is the chief obligation. This is the categorical imperative, according to which one should act in such a way that the rule of one';s conduct may be a generally valid rule.

Having negated the metaphysics of being, Kant introduced in its place the metaphysics of value and of obligation. These things are not beings, for they do not yet exist, but they are to be incarnated through human conduct. The metaphysics of the practical reason concerns values which do not exist byu are to be realized and this metaphysics introduced into European thought not only the problematic of values which are said not only to exist independently of being, but also to precede being. All that which after Kant has been called "value" hitherto, in the whole of classical philosophy, constituted a quality of a real being, a quality which the human reason read out in a necessary manner. These qualities were the transcendentals, such as unity, truth, the good, beauty, or categorical qualities such as continuous quantity. The really existing qualities constitute an aspect of the good that attracts the human will; they were the real object of human action. In negating the real being of value, Kant made man into the lord of these values, or, strictly speaking, he gave the dominion over values to the state, which through the law was to give the changing contents of its commands in the eternally unchanged feeling of the necessity of fulfilling the state's sollen. This was the Prussian state… Kantian virtue also had its roots int the pure understanding of obligation, to the exclusion of pleasure and satisfaction, whereas in the classical tradition virtue was described as activity performed firmiter, prompte et delectabiliter - with strength, on the spot, and with pleasure. Thus the Kantian metaphysics of morality lacks any foundation in things, but is grounded in the spirit or reason which understand the sollen. This metaphysics was a priori with respect to action. We see in Kant the basic outline of Cartesianism: that which is real is understood from a bird's eye view.

Kant also initiated a revolution in the conception of science. As we can see from his entire conception of cognition, he was searching for the foundation of the value of human cognition not in reality beyond the subject, but precisely in the human subject. Hence the main scientific question could be: "what are the a priori conditions of valid cognition?" These condition are the structure of the cognizing subject, then the tools through which he carries out his acts of cognition. The fundamental sources of cognition, sensual and rational, keep each other in check. Rational cognition concerns the impression given us by our senses and is armed with the a priori categories of the understanding. As a result, we can have authentic knowledge concerning the senses (the domain of transcendental ethics), whereas authentic rational knowledge is analytic. Of course, the reason can act independently of the information of the senses; it can work through dialectic, but this is spurious metaphysical knowledge that ends in antinomies. If the activity of the reason is based on a priori categories that introduce order and rationality into empirical data, the activity of the reason is based upon ideas that we can neither arrive at nor can we divest ourselves of them. There are three main ideas created by the reason: the idea of the soul, of the universe, and of God. The idea of the soul takes in the whole of internal experience; the idea of the universe embraces the whole of external experience; the idea of God takes in the foundations of all experience in general. These ideas are the core of metaphysics; they are unverifiable and constitute merely the end to which the reason tends, but not a real end. They can only be justified psychologically as a need of the human mind.

As a whole, Kant's critique of metaphysics begins from the dogma that the object of human cognition is not the really existing world but the Empfindung, the sense impression. Our information concerning the world comes only from empirical data and cannot exceed these data. Of course empirical data are real, but our understanding of them comes from ourselves as subjects, from the a priori categories which make it possible for the subject to understand things. In this understanding, the thing in itself is unattainable, for it is manifest only as an impression or phenomenon. It is presupposed that the NOUMENON exists, but it is unknowable. Hence metaphysics is impossible for the pure reason. Being as being can only be an infertile Wolffian a priori which does not provide any information about the world, nor does it provide any way to understand this reality. Hume was right when he looked to the really existing world, but this is accessible only in sense impressions. Sense cognition does not effect and understanding of the fact of existence, for ultimately Kant through of the existence of a being as one of the a priori categories, bringing nothing to the content of a being. The categories of modality are possibility-impossibility, necessity-non-necessity, and existence-nonexistence. The core and foundation of reality, the fact of real existence, was excluded from being and became a category of modality in our understanding of impressions.

If the critique of the pure reason swept metaphysics out of science, and the critique of the practical reason introduced the metaphysics of values, of the sollen as the only value accessible to man and his spirit, it still seemed possible for Kant to build a bridge between them in the form of a critique of the power of judgment capable of pronouncing aesthetic judgments characterized by necessity, yet without any obligating rules. One cannot convince another of the rightness of his own judgment, yet this judgment has claim to universality. It thus possesses something from the critique of the practical reason, namely universality, and something from the critique of the pure reason, that it cannot be grasped in a concept, for the beautiful is that "which is pleasing neither through impressions nor through concepts, but is pleasing with subjective necessity, in a universal, immediate and completely disinterested manner".(10)

With his threefold division of philosophy into the critique of the pure reason, the critique of the practical reason and the critique of the power of judgment, Kant was restoring the ancient Aristotelian threefold division of man's rational activity, whereby we have the activity of theoretical, practical and creative (poetic) cognition. Yet Aristotle's thought depended on the object of cognition and remained within the sphere of realism, whereas in Kant's theory, being is destroyed and thought constructs the object, and despite the use of the term "critique", it is without any foundations for critical judgment.

IV. Contemporary philosophy

The contemporary period of philosophy begins with the work of Hegel, who died in the year 1831. His philosophical work has and continues to exert and very marked influence. As one of the three great German transcendental idealists he thought that he had overcome and synthesized the positions of Fichte, who in setting up an opposition between the "I" and the "non-I" was to see their monistic identity, since the appearance of the opposition "non-I" constitutes an occasion for overcoming this opposition and for the development of the "I". Schelling's radical objectivism is also monistic, since objective nature and the "I" are merely "modes" of the absolute. Hegel "overcame" the opposition of the subject and object in his dialectic development.

The source, however of Hegel's philosophy must be sought in the classical thought of Christian Wolff and his conception of being. As we know, Christian Wolff, being an heir to the Scotistic conception of being, conceived being, the object of metaphysics, as pure possibility. When Wolff writes: "Ens dicitur quod existere potest, consequenter cui existentia non repugnat" - "That which can exist, and consequently, the existence of which is not contradictory, is called being" - Gilson gives his trenchant commentary:

It is characteristic of Wolff's thought that in order to reach that which is real he had to pass through the possible; and to attain to that which is possible, he had to go by way of the impossible. How indeed, if one wishes to suspend explain being, can one choose anything other than non-being for one's starting point? ....In defining being, Wolff is quite simply satisfied with a simple possibility of existence, which first he reduced to a non-impossibility"(11)

Wolff's abstract being was to become the object of Hegel's analyses. If being is pure possibility and excludes from itself impossibility, then it is absolutely indeterminate. The absolute lack of any kind of determination is a truly absolute "vacuum", it is nothing. Hegel writes directly: "this pure being is pure abstraction, and thus, absolute negativity, which, if we grasp it immediately, is nothingness.(12). E. Gilson fittingly goes on to write in "Being and Essence", p. 183:

"What indeed is the being selected by him as a starting point? It is, says Hegel, the lack of any kind of determination, that is, it is indetermination; it does not precede such or another particular determination, but its is absolute indetermination, preceding every kind of determination in general. How can something so undetermined be grasped? Since it is some most full abstraction, it cannot be the object of sense perception. Neither may it be the object of imagination or intuition, since it is destitute of every content. Being is not even essence, for essence already contains certain determinations of being. It is basically reduced to pure thought; one may even say that it constitutes a unity with thought. "To think" means "to ponder being"; one could also say that being is a thought which chooses itself as its own object... Yet we must be ever mindful that thought is thought about being only when thought is most completely abstract and completely undetermined".

"When we return to the source from which at the same time there flows forth thought and being, we stand in the face of an abstraction in which nothingness becomes synonymous with its contrary. There is nothing determined in which there could be said to be pure being; being is thereby nothing, and thus it is true non-being. These two beginnings, says Hegel, are only empty abstractions; each of them is just as destitute of content as is the other."(13)

The identification of being and of non-being can have only one outcome - "non est" neque ens, et non est "non-ens" (14) - there is only "becoming" which "resolves" the internal contradiction of being and non-being. This is why, at the beginning of his habilitation (post-doctoral) thesis, Hegel placed the motto "contradictio est regula veri - non contradiction regula falsi": "contradiction is the norm of truth and non-contradiction is the rule of falsehood". Contradiction stands at the sources of Hegel's system. Hegel was truly aware that according to Aristotle contradiction concerns a judgement about being, but is not the structure of being, yet in identifying the Wolffian (and thereby Scotistic and Suarezian) "being" with "non-being", he "introduced" contradiction into the deepest structure of reality. Furthermore he expressed the ancient question of change-motion in the form of dialectics. In the old conception of motion the subject of motion was always affirmed, which subject was subject to opposing transformations. Here the subject became negated, since being is non-being, and thus contradiction became the "mater genetrix" of Hegel's entire system. In beginning from contradiction he could then do just about anything, and with impunity, for all foundations for the "intelligibility" of being had been thrown out, and thereby the very roots or rationality had been destroyed. Thus henceforth Hegel would be able to develop his system and introduce and new "dialectical" order in a very "logical" or even "pan-logical" manner, as Plotinus had done of old. The "way out" of the identity of being is nothing other than precisely the discovery of the dialectic. Being is the thesis, non-being the antithesis, which is realized in a "synthesis" of change and becoming. In the scale of the microcosm the dialectic of reality passes through a process: from "idea" through "nature" to "spirit", which also is subject to the law of the dialectic: from the subjective through the objective spirit to the absolute spirit.

The fact that Hegel found a place in the concept of the European conception of being did not efface the then in force "subjectivistic" path long which philosophical thought had passed from the times of Descartes. For from the psychological point of view, and from the epistemological point of view, the starting point of philosophy continued to be the field of consciousness. The data of consciousness are manifest to us as "alien" (fremd), even "inimical" (feindselig), which brings about in us a "feeling" of alienation (Entfremdung), and even of internal division (Entzweigung). This state must be overcome by uniting the spirit with reality (Versöhnung). The spirit must be in the fullness of "itself", and thus united with reality, and thereby with "pure personality", which is, as it were, a synthesis of knowledge and love. This appears in the ABSOLUTE IDEA. Just as the absolute Idea is already an overcoming and synthesis of the states of "alienation" and "being by oneself" so the Idea itself, by its nature, contains within itself the "contradictory" states of objectivity and subjectivity, which in the process of the "dialectic" synthesize into new stages of being.

In the very conception of the absolute idea one may read off everything which is made manifest in the analysis of being in Hegel's understanding. Such an understanding of idea and of being may become :intelligible" in stages of development, in the radical antithesis of that idea which is the material nature of reality; in the "overcoming" of this antithesis and alienation in the form of the appearance of the spirit as the synthesis of the idea and of material nature. The spirit appears in man, who is the location in which reality is ultimately brought to completion in the form of the "absolute spirit". Thus Hegel's philosophy became a unique interpretation of Christian revelation, when the WORD becomes flesh, that is, when God becomes man, which is to say, the division of human consciousness from universal consciousness is "taken way" in the God-Man. Through Him sins are forgiven, that is, the road is unveiled by which the Spirit-God comes in the Christian community, where finally God is fulfilled in man.

Hegel drew out a gigantic plan for the dialectic development of reality, which (reality) was in the final analysis conceived monistically as the evolution - through the overcoming of internal contradiction - of being as being; and this (being) was the heritage of the univocal concept of being so stoutly defend by Duns Scotus, Francis Suarez and Christian Wolff. Henceforth evolution becomes a unique a priori scientific understanding of nature and of man himself, and also comes down into the cosmological theology of Teilhard de Chardin and others.

The reception, however, of the dialectic interpretation in the understanding of the reality of society took place in Karl Marx and in Marxism, where "the chaff of ideas was changed into the wheat of matter", which can also be stated in other way, that the merely the name "idea" was changed into the name "matter", but the method of reasoning remained the same. In the final analysis it doesn't matter whether reality, monistically understood, by virtue of contradiction, in the direction of the spiritualization of matter or the materialization of the spirit; all the more so, as everything is merely a stage in a synthesis which takes place by necessity from the thesis and antithesis of the previous states of being. Thus from the point of view of the understanding of being by this dialectic of the contradiction which evolves in the direction of constantly "higher" syntheses, the position of Hegel is of key importance for the further history of philosophy and for all the evolutionary conceptions of various sciences and ideologies (called "philosophies"). The evolutionistic systems of the nineteenth and twentieth century continued to presuppose the great conception of dialectic development constructed by Hegel.

Kierkegaard's coming on the stage was an important reaction against Hegel's systemism. If for the Hegel the dialectic was join philosophy with the reality of becoming and thereby of existence, then it was Kierkegaard who demonstrated that Hegel's thought remained abstract thought, a pure system which does not touch upon the problematic of existence itself. But what was "existence" supposed to be for Kierkegaard himself? Does it call to mind the "act of being" of Thomas, that "propter quid" or "on account of which" being is real? Gilson, in "Being and Essence" analyzes some texts of Kierkegaard and notes:

"In Kierkegaard everything happens rather as if the notion of existence had spontaneously recovered it ancient, common sense, and the sense legitimate, moreover, in its order, of ex-istentia, i.e. that of the being which comes after something else and is the starting point of that which is not itself. Thus conceived, existence designates not so much the act by virtue of which a being is, as it designates a certain particular condition for the act of existence. It is the empirically known MODUS of being. Existence thus becomes an ontological rupture, ceaselessly recurring and incessantly surmounted; it continually separates being and continually joins it anew with itself, at least so long that it might overcome nothingness. One therefore cannot describe existence without invoking such concepts as the moment, time and change. That which exists is that which is in time, which perdures and changes. That which is defined by the name existence is thus not the act of existence which would constitute the very root of being, but rather one of the varieties or modalities of being. The existant is then that from which the being falls like chaff, so to speak, from moment to moment. ... Kierkegaard constantly repeats: "all knowledge about reality is possibility; the only reality with respect to which the existing being is not limited to abstract cognition, is the reality of its own existence, that it exist: This reality constitues its absolute interest"(15).

Existence is man's manner of being. The only possible way of grasping existence is through faith. Faith, however, is a paradox, for it apprehends the existence of another subject without objectivizing or generalizing (as every cognition) the other existence. Faith is presented as the immediate relation of one subject to another. The paradox of faith lies in the fact that it is cognition of the existence of something other that the subject. The ontology, however, and therein also every ontology of Hegel, excludes existence and, vice versa, existence excludes ontology. Gilson does well in noting:

"...it is undeniable that Kierkegaard's critique of Hegelianism strikes to the very heart of his adversary, where Hegel claimed to transform existence and the existant into an abstract dialectic. It has been confirmed that such was Hegel's intention. From the time of Kierkegaard to is no question that this intention was not realized... For his part, Kierkegaard did not in the least discover existence, which after all was always universally known, but in philosophy he defended existence against philosophy and, and his thesis that the existant cannot be reduced to the purely onjective is equal in importance to Hegel's learned enterprise of objectifying existence. The "yes" of the one and the "no" of the other, taken together and joined inseparably, form one of the unforgettable dialogues which are a credit to human thought and which constitute, if one may say so, its highest flights"(16)

The understanding of existence as an inseparable MODE of one's own subjectivity has taken on new life with great force in our times among such existentialists as Heidegger and Jean Paul Sartre, who after make appeal to the thought of Kierkegaard.

Independently of the speculations of the German idealists, rationalist post-Cartesian thought continued its development in France. Condillac (1715-1780), with his theory of ideas as signs which are expressed in correctly used language, was one of the chief figures in the formation of the school of "school of ideologues", with A. Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836) and P. Cabanis (1757-1808). Starting from the presupposition the "ideas" are the object of human cognition, ideas being very broadly understood, since only "through ideas and in ideas" do we see reality), they postulated that instead of any kind of "metaphysics" or "ontology" as the fundamental science, "ideology" should be made into "first philosophy". from which all other sciences are to spring, or, to put it in a paradoxical manner, "ideology" is identified with the sciences, chiefly with the natural sciences. In ethics they took the position of utilitarianism and concentrated on physical needs; it is our write to satisfy natural needs, and our duty not to go beyond them. From the political point of view (Napoleon Bonaparte was a disciple of this school, only to dissolve them later as emperor) this school was influential in France and in America, and later its position were in some measure taken up by Marxism-Leninism, in which "ideology", this time "scientific" according to a special understanding of "science", is a sum or culmination of political activity and at the same time the "foundation" of politics, a foundation which serves to legitimize the legality of the group in power.

At the same time, in contrast to the materialistic currents of the "ideologists" the activity of the French spiritualists and of spiritualist philosophy was developing, with Maine de Biran (1766-1824), who attempted to build philosophy on the basis of an analysis of the will, of effort and power. Victor Cousin (1792-1867) labored in a spirit of philosophical eclecticism and with great social success. Yet it was the "father of positivism", the Frenchman August Comte (1798-1857) whose position would be truly important for society. He wished to bring in a reformation in epistemology and science in order to introduce a new social order. He also became the creator of a new conception of science through the posing of the scientific question: "how" do facts, process and events run their course? According to Comte, human cognition passes through a theological phase, a metaphysical phase and the phase of the positive sciences. After the passage through the preceding phases of cognition one must pass to the "positive" stage, in which one describes and classifies the facts not only of the natural sciences, but of the social sciences as well. One should not take up the study of that which transcends our observational data, for that is unknowable in any case. The positivists took up Hume's basically nominalist conception of cognition and thus, in both France (R. Taine) and in England (J. Stuart Mill), they limited themselves in questions of metaphysics to the position of agnosticism. The theory of being was outside the range of their epistemological position.

During the entire nineteenth century, the problematic of cognition and the theory of cognition, in keeping with post-Cartesianism, was the central point in philosophical thought. This was particularly evident in the third quarter of the nineteenth century, when under the banner "Zurück zu Kant" neo-Kantianism developed, and then the phenomenology of Edmund Husserl, and German and French existentialism (Karl Jaspers and Heidegger in Germany, Gabriel Marcel, Jean Paul Sartre and others in France), which was connected with phenomenology by the methods used to cognize, or rather to explain, the contents of ideas and experiences.

The neo-Kantian problematic of cognition, and therein of the methods of scientific cognition, especially those of the humanistic sciences, joined philosophical thought with scientific thought rather than with the understanding of reality itself. Finally, as one of the representatives of the Marburg school, Cassirer, formulated it, man in locked within a world of symbols and has no access to reality. The immanence in the world of signs and symbols laid the ground work for the later hermeneutics which would reduce the task of philosophy to the interpretation of meaning of "inscriptions" by way of the creation of new meanings or senses.

The American philosophers Charles J. Pierce (1839-1914) and William James (1842-1910) attempted to overcome neo-Kantianism through their pragmatism. In Europe, however, the philosopher who stepped outside the "enchanted circle" of subjectivism (and thereby of Kantianism) was Henri Bergson (1859-1941), the first great metaphysician of the twentieth century. Just as the ancient and mediaeval philosophers had done, in his investigations he concentrated on the understanding of being and of man. He noted that man in his intuition attains to "being-duration" and is capable of expressing this understanding of reality in metaphorical language, since the univocal language is connected with conceptual cognition, a type of cognition which petrifies dynamic reality. Furthermore man comes to a knowledge of himself, of his transcendence, his self, through "memory" - the internal experience of the identity of the self - and memory is superior to matter, matter being, as it were, a fossil of dynamic duration. The univocal language of positive science, which language works with schemata or generalities, did not permit Bergson to reach to concretely existing reality, and thus it forced him to employ metaphorical analogy and internal experience (especially in the problematic of the mystical knowledge of God), instead of resorting to metaphysical analogy, with which, unfortunately, Bergson was not acquainted. Bergson's thought would be subject to various interpretations, chiefly epistemological psychological interpretations, as his thought found disciples among psychologists and idealists. It seems that Henri Bergson himself had returned to the classical problematic of being and man, that he perceived the importance of the really existing world, the understanding of which is the task and office of the philosopher.

The creator of phenomenology, Edmund Husserl (1859-1938), however, did not succeed in moving outside the confines of Kantianism; not only was Kant's "Critique of the Pure Reason" one of his favorite works, but furthermore his ultimate understanding of "reality" remained at the level of the problematic of cognition as this had been formulated by Kant. Although Husserl thought that he had overcome psychologism in the theory of cognition by calling to attention that consciousness is characterized by "intentionality", yet the demarcation of the field of intentionality does not yet constitute the reality of the object given to us the "phenomenological" inspection. With his banner "back to the thing itself" he only made his way as far as the "phenomenon" which is manifest as the object of the intentional acts of consciousness. The thing which is immediately manifest in consciousness, which manifest its own content as the object "present" for the intentional acts of consciousness, should be grasped in the "phenomenological reduction" and thus in separation from the fact of existence, from the context of theory and historical context. What remains? What remains is the inspection of the "essence" as the object of consciousness. How can I make my way to really existing beings? The propositions of certain phenomenologists (Ingarden!) that four existential orders should be differentiated: the absolute, the ideal, the real and the intentional orders, may be reduced to a misunderstanding: they have constituted the existential order through a selection of appropriately linked qualities as features of this order. Since when, however, does a group of features create the fact of the existence of anything?

Martin Heidegger (b. 1883), Husserl's assistant and his successor in the chair in Freiburg-Baden, showed interest in metaphysics and being. In his distinction between "that which is" (das Seiende) and being (das Sein), he seems to hold that only in the human DASEIN, in the concretely exiting man, being is "unveiled" as being split into human be-ing (Dasein) and extra-human be-ing (Seiende); man himself is das Seiende - that which is. Although Heidegger's understanding of being can be explained either (a) in a pre-Socratic sense: being as the stuff from which everything which is "emerges" or forms, or (b) in a Scotistic sense: being is the ground layer which is without contradiction for everything which is, or (c) in a Kantian sense: as the manifestation in man and though man of Dasein - "the sense of to be" a being, and this sense may be reduced either to the form "Seiende" or to the form "Dasein" - this does not bring us any closer to an understanding of being itself as being. For being as SEIN does not exist as a concrete reality, and being as Dasein is man; as Seiende it is a concrete content. But "thanks to what" is a being a being, on what account is it truly real? Although Heidegger was very influential in his formulations and in the kinship of his thought and Hegel's, it is hard to see how he got out of the general direction of subjectivism which was started by Descartes in so signal a fashion, and in which through criticism, whether Kant's critique, or Hegel's speculations, or the empirical minimalism of positivism all post-Cartesian philosophers seemed to move, with the possible exception of Henri Bergson and certain thinkers joined with the Scholasticism of St. Thomas (it is a question here of the greatest thinker and historian of this circle, Etienne Gilson).

The school of British analytic philosophy, for which the object of philosophical interests is language itself conceived as a system of signs, seems to be a radicalized form of post-Cartesian subjectivism. A sign, in the chief understanding of the term "sign", is the thought-concept of things which we form when we cognize reality and in the light of the sign-concept we grasp or approach reality. The concept as a sign is the first and natural kind of sin, created by us spontaneously by virtue of the very process of cognition. In its function of spontaneous cognition the concept is a fundamentally "transparent" sign, since it links us directly with the thing known. As a sign we do not cognize it before we cognize the thing in itself. But in linking us with the thing cognized, as a sign it may be objectivized in our reflective cognition. For when I say that I cognize a dog, then each person understands that what I have in mind and what I am indicating is the very thing known. When, however, someone will ask me what I understand by the expression "dog", then I answer that it is, for example, "a barking quadruped". This is to say that in my spontaneous cognition I see at the side in my "concomitant reflection" my concept-sign "dog", since I can give an account of my understanding of this sign-concept.

Beside the purely natural, transparent sign-concept, however, we form in our linguistic communication (for ourselves and for others) instrumental signs (in large measure conventional) , and these constitute our language. Language, precisely as a system of instrumental signs, became the object of philosophical analysis for the analytic philosophers. In relation to reality, in the midst of which man lives, and which he wishes to understand, language becomes for the analytic philosophers a unique "a priori" without which one can not gain meaningful knowledge.

The leading figure who had and continues to exert a powerful influence in this matter is Wittgenstein, by birth an Austrian, but by his education and work more joined, on the one hand, with England, and on the other, with the "Vienna Circle". It is difficult to report his thought in detail on account of his style of teaching and writing and on account of the evolution which his position underwent. In any case his general attitudes are important here, as they turned out to be very influential. In his first period (Tractatus logico-philosophicus), he noted that the logic of our language is a condition for the meaningful cultivation of philosophy, the end of which is as follows: "philosophy should elucidate and sharply limit thoughts otherwise vague and indistinct"..."The theses and question which are formulated in philosophical questions are in the majority of cases not false but meaningless. Hence we cannot answer questions of this type at all, but only affirm their meaninglessness. The questions and theses of philosophers consist predominantly in the fact that we do not understand the logic of our language".(17) From his analysis of the sentence, Wittgenstein came to the conclusion that it is an "image" of reality, as we ourselves think. If it gives a faithful image of a fact then it is true. A sentence may be an image of a fact, since it is itself composed of interconnected elements. The arrangement of the elements of the sentence shows the structure of the fact. Of course it is the language of mathematics which best shows the structure of facts. The sentences of metaphysics are meaningless since they pass beyond the limits of language and endeavor to express that which is inexpressible.

In the second period ("Philosophical Investigations"), after the year 1928, Wittgenstein returned to philosophy, changing his views in relation to the object of his philosophical interests - language. He no longer regarded the sentence as an "image" of empirical reality, but he approached language as a collection of various games, among which there obtain only "family resemblances". There are innumerable linguistic games, just as there are innumerable ways to use words. The error of philosophers is that they suppose that there exist beyond language hidden processes of thought which are expressed by language. "Thought is not an incorporeal phenomenon which would impart meaning and life to speech, and which could be separated from speech...". The office of the philosopher is to search for clarity, though a description of the rules of various language games and to remove the misunderstandings which occur with the abuse of language. There are the well-known aphorism of Wittgenstein: "philosophy is a struggle with the enchantment of our thought by means of our language"; "the findings of the philosophers are the discover of common absurdities and brawls which the understanding contracts in attacking the boundaries of language"(18) Thus philosophy cannot constitute a theory, but it is to be an explanatory and therapeutic action, with the goal of exposing pieces of nonsense in our language.

The position of Wittgenstein and the analytic philosophers who refer to him, while on the surface very critical, is at its basis a "metaphysical" position in the bad sense. He accepts the dogma that language adequately "creates" the human psyche, that language is a necessary "a priori" of human cognition, that to think and to know means to use and to know well the rules of language. In this sense such a position calls to mind the "school of the ideologues" for whom ideology as one of the only source of information about the world was to be first philosophy. Here, however, language is a cage without any way out, as symbols were for Cassirer, and systems of signs for Pierce, which systems of signs one must learn to read off through new interpretations and the creation of new meaning, as is demanded by contemporary hermeneutics. All this is the result of a faulty "starting point" in philosophy, the analysis of critical and reflective cognition, while we gain information about reality in our spontaneous cognition, in which really existing reality-being "takes us by the throat" and demands explanation. Critical cognition is already an "instrument" in the explanation of the world and not the first, or worse still, the only object of philosophy. The great number of philosophical schools and movements rose as a result of a dislocation on to the critical field of cognition, onto the axis of subject-object as the starting point in the cultivation of philosophy. In such a case one may adopt constantly changing positions in such a field, absolutizing one's position as the sole correct one and attaining to philosophical results, each of which will be astounding in a different way. Meanwhile in philosophy there is no "starting point" as a principle from which one may move ahead without error. There is only really existing being, given to us in our spontaneous cognition, and it is the task of philosophy to grasp being, to understand its "content" and to explain it by showing such unique and necessary factors of being which "divide being from non-being".

Certain currents in Polish philosophical thought

From there very beginning of the Polish state, our country has been found in the circle of Christian culture, and in the East European version of this culture. The educated class of the nation took science from the West, the regions of Germany and France. At that time, it should be remembered, the only educated class was that of the clergy. Thus it may generally said that the history of Eastern European philosophy and theology is a history in which we participated though the representatives of our leading religious communities. Thus in the mediaeval period, in the renaissance and the enlightenment, Polish thought was strictly connected with the intellectual movements of the West, and the major cultural and intellectual currents were dominant in Poland, especially in the Kraków Academy. Certain dramatic changes in Polish thought were brought about by the division of Poland, and it was in that period that there appeared certain specifically Polish meditations, thought these were also connected with the thought of the West. They were also connected with religion and, at the same time, with the pan-logistic tendencies of Western European thought.

Contemporary European philosophy, which begins from the death of Hegel, basically continues post-Cartesian and post-Kantian epistemological speculations, which belong to the circle of the "philosophy of the subject" which is cultivated and understood in various ways. Yet the starting point and, at the same time, the ultimate point of reference in the philosophical systems which were being built was constituted by thought as this is generally understood, conceived either as an expression, or as a general or particular idea, or again as a principle, and sometimes even as a "feeling - Gefühl" being the disclosure of a "spirit", which would be understood in accordance with the particular philosophical context.

Within this general current of European philosophy Polish philosophical thought also had its own place in the nineteenth and twentieth century. It shared in all the major conceptions of European thinkers. Yet Polish philosophy of the nineteenth century brought into the center stage some distinctive marks of the national culture, especially the particular role of the nation as the natural niche in which man, as the subject of inalienable personal rights and the creator of culture in the eschatological, indeed religious, dimension, matures spiritually. The nation, which is the guardian of man's person, has at the same time a sublime mission both in relation to each individual and in relation to societies, especially the national societies which constitute the fundamental cradle of a worthwhile life for man and the development of man's spiritual life. These distinguishing marks, prominent in the philosophical tendency of romanticism and messianism and in the positivistic current, have endured to this day and at present are beginning to radiate out more intensely to other nations, especially in the context of the pilgrimages and teaching of John Paul II, and the political, social and cultural contacts between the various nationalities of the contemporary world.

Thus we should turn our attention to the messianic-romantic (and neo-romantic) current of philosophical thought; to the specifically Polish version of positivistic philosophical thought, and the directions ordered to rendering knowledge more precise. In these currents there have been important formulations, which not only are related to the contemporary formulations of philosophical thought throughout the world, but furthermore are bringing in to it certain valuable elements which are modifying or at least having a certain influence upon the general state of international culture.

Polish reformers had a very active and even important part in the age of the enlightenment, the sign of which was the Constitution of the Third of May, 1791. This constitution proclaimed new responsibilities of the state vis-avis man and the nation. After the enlightenment romanticism quickly spread, expressed not only in the various domains of art, but also in philosophy. This was a philosophy making appeal to nature, to primary intuition, activity and the history of the nation, it exercised an influence on the formulation of the broadly branched spiritual current called romanticism. It is not a question of setting forth definitions of this direction as it is well known, but it would be called to attention that Polish messianism and the national messianistic philosophy were connected with romanticism. In this connection Hoene Wroñski, Cieszkowski and Liebelt were important as thinkers, as were various national bards.

Jozef Hoene Wroñski, who after taking part in the insurrection of Kościuszko, after Maciejowice, worked at the headquarters of Suworow, settled in France around the year 1800, and starting in 1803 gave himself over to philosophy in the context of the systems of Kant, Fichte and Schelling, while presenting his own philosophical system, parallel to Hegel's "absolute philosophy". This philosophy was to become the foundation for a general reform of the science, beginning with mathematics. The discovery of the absolute in a pure act of intuition permitted him to overstep the limits of the Kantian doubling of the phenomenal and noumenal world and to attain to the principle and condition of all existence, and thereby to see the "autogenesis of reality" i.e. the law of creation. This made possible a historiosophical vision, and thus the application of "absolute philosophy" to history, politics, morality and religion. The practical part of the system was to constitute a body of knowledge which "God promised to men under the name of messianism". Historiosophy conceived as a "recognition of the principle of human destinies" and the recognition of the idea of the ultimate and, this being a "great fulfillment" of humanity, has its foundation in the nature of man. An analysis of this nature is valid only in history, which makes it possible for man to become conscious of his own wealth. Historical knowledge is at the same time man's self-knowledge of his own essence. In the history of mankind in which various ends have been realized, a time is coming when humanity shall attain full self-knowledge and full autonomy. First it seems to him (in his cosmopolitan vision, which he would reject after 1830) that Germany and France had a special mission in the fulfillment of the ultimate end, but later he changed his position, saying that the messianic philosophy is a "subsistent and inseparable part of the providential mission of the Slavic nations". It is due to Slavic culture that humankind gained a chance for the future, and he himself as a "member of the Slavic tribe" had discovered the absolute truth, the "shield and standard of the Slavic nations". Hoene Wroñski wanted to see the attainment of an "epoch of truth" thanks to the Slavic nations, which nations shall close the contemporary "era of antimony" and lead humankind to its ultimate fulfillment through the attainment of the absolute truth (theory), the absolute good (morality) and the absolute reform of social life (politics). There will come the time of the "kingdom of God on earth" and the messianic revelations will be realized in the end.

This idea of the particular mission of the Slavic nations and the leading role in the fulfillment of humankind became in some measure the heritage of the Polish messianic thinkers and philosophers of the nineteenth century, who did not, however, accept Hoene Wroski's "law of the progress of the reason", basing themselves rather upon the specifically romantic values of feeling and belief.

A. Cieszkowski (1814-1894) in his writing, particularly in the OUR FATHER presented the conception of the fulfillment of the history of mankind, that mankind would come to the ultimate epoch, that of the Holy Spirit. In his discussion with the thought of Hegel, and on the canvas of Hegelian concepts, he presented his own historiosophic conception, based on the Christian elements of faith and para-religious beliefs. In his opinion, after the epoch of antiquity and of Christianity "we are moving more quickly either to the most terrible reverses or to the most ineffable and unthinkable joys." He ascribed a special role to Poles and the Polish nation in the realization of this epoch, for in the national character, "the elemental properties" of Poles, he saw a special convergence with the character of the ultimate epoch of the Holy Spirit, the epoch of the unity of God and the world. Then daily work will take on the sense of a "deed" and of light, and a unity based on love will reign among mankind.

Karol Libelt (1807-1875) accented even more strongly the role of the nation in his works. He noted that every nation possesses its own specific characteristics, and these appear in political and cultural life; furthermore, each nation possesses its own God-given historical mission, a mission rooted in the structure of social reality. The elements of nationality are preserved in their purest form by the folk and folk customs, and these elements are always intertwined with religion. Although a higher degree of the idea of the Fatherland is not be found in the formation of statehood, yet the highest degree of this idea is the mission of the nation in the historical process of all humanity. The individual matures in the context of the nation, and the individual possesses his own autonomy despite his identification with the community. The development of education and the elimination of various prejudices are necessary in order to strengthen the national bond, and the nation must make its own the achievements of technology and culture. Yet the content of the history of nations is the realization of the truth, the good and the beautiful; this takes place gradually as the chief ideas take expression among particular peoples. Each nation possesses its own distinctive mission, and creates its own organic and autonomous whole in its own history, which history cannot be reduced to some general "logic of history". According to Libelt, the Slavic nations are characterized by a "spiritual element" in the form of the imagination(19), and he contrasted this with the Cartesian "cogito", the latter being a one-sided "philosophy of thought". After the manner of Hegel he conceived the imagination as one phase of "cognition" in the dialectical process; he conceived the "imagination" as an absolute power, an attribute of God, who created the world from nothing; the "trans-imagination"(20) is a faculty of nature which unconsciously transforms already created material; finally there is the human imagination(21) which, in keeping with knowledge and will (these being limited) is able to consciously call new forms into being new forms of existence, as the sphere of human constructs, the domain of human culture (religion, art, language and history). In the domain of cultural creativity the nation impresses its own characteristic brand upon creators, thanks to which one may speak of a national culture.

The influence of romantic thinkers, and therein our poets, Mickiewicz, Słowacki and Kraśinski, upon the growing awareness of the role of the nation was based both on religious thought, even heterodox (the circle of Towiański) and upon the influential speculations of post-Hegelianism, for the currents of national, messianistic thought were intelligible only in the context of the Hegelian and post-Hegelian atmosphere, in which the triadic dialectic rhythm was employed to explain the unity of God and man, of the individual and the nation, and of man and nature.

It is interesting that such positivistic thinkers as Henryk Struve (1840-1912) and Alexander Swiętochowski (1849-1939) in their philosophical writings and in their writings for the general public accented social and national matter primarily in the domain of the development of though, thought being a condition for the higher development of civilization and economy, and thereby for a higher national consciousness. The investigations of Stanisław Brzozowski (1878-1918) were also in large measure concentrated upon the problem of the "individual and society"; he accented the role of the individual, which role realizes values which are independent of man. After 1905 and the appearance of the proletariat as a decisive political force, Brzozowski turned to Marx as a philosopher and accented the role of work in the formation of man and of his place in the cosmos. Human creativity is realized in work. Under the influence of Newman and Catholicism, Brzozowski again accented the role of man as one who realizes the highest values.

The problematic of the individual, the nation and its destiny found an outstanding theoretician in the person of Roman Dmowski (1864-1939), who was interested basically in the political aspect of the life of the nation and the state.

Thus the fortunes and vicissitudes of the Polish nation, the loss of independence as a state, the unsuccessful insurrection connected Polish thought of the nineteenth century, of our national philosophers and bard, with the problematic of the development of the life of the nation, and therein of the human person, in the contact not only of social-state organizations, but even more of the nation and the fundamental cradle of cultural life. Romantic messianistic thought and Hegelian philosophy, with its necessary dialectic development, and the national religious consciousness helped in this. All these factors contributed to an unusually powerful awareness among all social classes, especially in the period between wars when Poland enjoyed independence, of the important role of the nation the formation of the human personality. The striking development of national literature, positivist, romantic and neo-romantic, in the period of national slavery put into yet more powerful relief the significance of the context of the nation in the development of a spiritual culture directed at the fulfillment of man himself in that which is essentially human. This was the general conviction of the intelligentsia between the two world wars, and it was passed on to contemporary reality after World War II; this conviction is very close to the formulations of the Polish Pope concerning the role and dignity of man, his rights and the function of the life of the nation in the formation of the human person.

The intense development of contemporary philosophy in Poland began with the teaching and writing of Henryk Struve (1840-1912), in particular this "History of Logic", which was an elaboration of the development of philosophical thought (together with logic, from the foundation of the university in Kraków up to his own times. Not only did he bring forth a wealth of historical material in this field, but also made it possible for succeeding generations to gain a more precise understanding of logic and other philosophical disciplines. The work, however, of the Lvov-Warsaw school, together with its founder Kazimierz Twardowski (1866-1938), whose works were subordinated to a more precise understanding of cognition and knowledge, was of fundamental, even decisive, importance for contemporary Polish philosophy. He had studied at the University of Vienna and under Franz Brentano, and thereby was an heir both to the classic philosophy of Aristotle and to the contemporary and rapidly developing science of psychology, and the positivistic and phenomonological tendencies in philosophy. Thus it is not surprising that Twardowski and his disciple should contribute to a stricter understanding of knowledge. Twardowski himself in his teaching postulated the cultivation of a philosophy which applies scientific methods, and, which follows from this, that the philosopher should limit himself to the domains which are accessible to science, and should not endeavor to resolve problems concerning world-view. Human cognition is a particular object of investigation for philosophy, and according to Twardowski philosophy itself is basically the theory of science. Beginning from psychological data, he made a distinction in the domain of cognition between representations and judgements, and he taught that judgements cannot be broken down into representations, but that a judgement is an autonomic act of cognition (in agreement with the theory of classical philosophy). Representations contain within themselves both mental images and concepts, the latter presupposing undefined mental images, wherein he was also referring to classical philosophy. In differentiating the psychic (psychological) act of cognition and its content, just as classical philosophy had done, he conceived of this as the relation of an activity to its product. Stable psychophysical products are constituted by the components of nature and are at the same time the object of the humanistic sciences. Analyses of this kind led Polish thought to realism and cognitive objectivism, and thereby permitted Polish philosophers to enter into the ever living circle of philosophical problems reaching back to the classical problematics of Plato and Aristotle.

The disciples of Twardowski went deeply into the sphere of classical philosophy in Poland. For example, Witwicki translated the works of Plato and thereby much enriched Polish philosophical consciousness, giving it a ground in classical formulations and the classical vision of the eternal problems which concern man and reality. Another of Twardowski's disciple's. Kazimierz Ajdukiewicz (1880-1963), recognized through all of Poland and abroad as an outstanding philosopher and methodologist, contributed through his works to the evolution of the "Vienna Circle" in the direction of semantic logic, and overcame the tendency to limit philosophy to the sphere of syntax. His work served as a starting point for efforts to formalize the deductive system. He was the creator of the directive theory of meaning (the employment of the expressions of a language is tied with the directive for the acknowledgment of propositions in force in that language), which theory led him to linguistic conventionalism, according to which, as he put is, "the scientific image of the world is convention in even the tiniest of its details, and it can undergo change through a corresponding change in the conceptual apparatus, which is established by the meaning of the concepts of a given language, while each of the scientific images of the world has the same right to claim that it should be acknowledged as true". After World War II he modified his radical conventionalism, and departed from the theory that closed languages are untranslatable, while retaining his view that the linguistic apparatus has an essential role in the demarcation of the image of the world. In turning attention to the function of language he preceded others and gave an impulse to investigators in this domain in other philosophical circles beyond our country.

The world famous logicians Łukasiewicz and Leśniewski also belong to the circle of the Lvov and the Lvov-Warsaw School. Through their works to some extent they beat new paths in their domains of thought, which went beyond the limits of strict logic. Alfred Tarski, who has been working in America since the second world war, should also be number among them. His thought is rooted in the Warsaw logical milieu. The matter of logic and mathematics, however, constitutes another separate domain of scientific culture.

Without doubt the work and thought of the Polish thinkers Ingarden, Tatarkiewicz and Woroniecki were part of the world context of philosophical creativity. Each of these authors cultivate a different domain of thought. Perhaps the most dominant figure is Roman Ingarden (1893-1970) in his phenomenology philosophical creativity, especially in the field of aesthetics. Ingarden not only worked out a Polish phenomenological terminology, but he also endeavored to avoid the consequences of transcendental [idealism](22) to which Edmund Husserl, the creator of the phenomenological movement, had arrived. Ingarden's "Controversy on the existence of the World"(23) is an important attempt on the terrain of phenomenology to find a place for phenomenology on the ground of realism. In Ingarden's works, of particular importance are his analyses of the mode of intentional being, and so of the broad spectrum of various types of creations of art and, what is joined with this, the aesthetics of experience. His theory of the literary work became an important point of reference in the understanding of literary compositions. The theory of knowledge was the subject of profound analyses concerning broadly conceived conditions for its cultivation. For this reason in the phenomenological current of philosophy Roman Ingarden's position is, after Husserl's, of basic significance, both in the understanding of philosophy as an autonomous discipline without presuppositions and in his subtle presentation of particular philosophical problems.

The metaphysical works of Władysław Tatarkiewicz gained world renown and international influence, especially his "History of Philosophy"(24) and his "History of Aesthetics"(25). By his original and creative approach to problems, in his works Tatarkiewicz offered an essential development of science, and we find profound and often unique insights and formulations. A few generations of the Polish intelligentsia have been formed on Tatarkiewicz's "History of Philosophy", and his "History of Aesthetics" is probably the only undertaking of its kind on such a scale in world literature.

Adam Schaff occupies a special place in the contemporary currents of Marxist philosophy. His works have also been published in foreign languages and have raised the more and more developed problematic of the human individual, his alienation and inalienable rights in the context of Marxist systems of thought and praxis.

Finally in the current of classical philosophy, in what is called Thomism, we have the noteworthy work of Jacek Woroniecki, and now the works of the so-called "Lublin school of philosophy" from the Catholic University of Lublin are of significance. The particular object of interest for Woroniecki was man and his conduct, and thus everything which is associated with human morality. He drew attention to the value and appropriateness of the method employed by St. Thomas in the domain of the philosophical explanation of reality, and especially of human conduct. Such a method, more than any other, makes it possible to attain to the objective truth, conceived as the conformity of explanation with the reality which is being explained. He called upon all the works of St. Thomas in the domain of human morality and presented the totality of ethics, calling the result "Catholic formational ethics", which ethics analyzes both the foundations of human acts of decision and the mode of human moral activity, which is integrally connected with the totality of the system of human virtues and vices. In this way he referred to the classical positions and solutions of Aristotle, the stoics, Gregory the Great, John Damascene, and Thomas Aquinas. He enriched his three volume ethical treatise with illustrations drawn from Polish, Russian and French literature. He also made the practical observation that ethics in particular is not the work of one thinker alone, but first and foremost the work of the natural human wisdom and experience contained in so-called common-sense conduct; furthermore, the many and various philosophical systems of various cultures have brought in many new and valuable perceptions and formulations in the domain of the explanation of and creation of norms for human conduct, as a result of which ethics is a work of the thought of people everywhere and at all times, rather than the through construct of any one man. One of the basic problems in the field of ethics is the conception of the human free decision and of free choice; Woroniecki devoted special attention to this matter and arrived at new formulations. Through his teaching and works he influenced and continues to influence not only the Polish circles of classical philosophy, but also other Catholic centres.

Following the Second World War, the philosophical centre in the Catholic University of Lublin was not only significant within our country, but also had an influence upon thinkers beyond our borders in the area of classical philosophy. The Lublin school is, on the one hand, characterized by its return to the classical philosophical authors, including Plato, Aristotle and Thomas. These authors are read in the original without any veil of commentaries. On the other hand, it is characterized by the consideration of the history of philosophical problems, the application of methodological reflection, which shows that it is possible to explain existing reality (being as existent) in analogical cognition. Analogical cognition is rendered more precise as the kind of cognition specifically suited to philosophy. This quarantees, on the one hand, the analogical generality, and on the other hand, the concreteness of this cognition. This position allowed the Lublin philosophers to reformulate and explain the entire range of important problems in metaphysics. Metaphysics is conceived as the theory of really existing being. In all this, they have been able to give clearer expression to the philosophical problematic of man. There are many problems which appear in various ways and are resolved in various ways depending on our understanding of metaphysics and philosophical anthropology. Such problems may be found in many domains of philosophical knowledge concerned with man directly or indirectly. Thus the theory of man has repercussions in how one presents matters of human morality, the conception of society, human culture, and herein particular, the theory of creativity, of religion and of aesthetic knowledge. In addition, the consideration of the methodology of the sciences, and especially the elaboration of the methodology of philosophical cognition made it possible to see the real autonomy of philosophy vis-à-vis the sciences, faith, theology and various ideologies. Thanks to this, one could see how it is possible to introduce order to the domain of the rational cognition of reality. One moment of particular importance in the philosophical investigations of this circle of thought was the elaboration of the theory of man as an autonomous or sovereign being, the conception of the person as the subject of rights and duties.

Karol Wojtyła, at the time of this writing the Pope, was a professor of philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin for twenty four years. While he was a professor he worked together with others in developing the problems of man and his conduct. He laid special emphasis on the human person in his decision and had a vision of the particularly important problematic of man, a problematic widely discussed in the Lublin milieu. There is certainly a continuity between his thought today and his analyses then. As head of the Church, his teaching focuses precisely on man, who according to his vision "is the road of the Church". So it is that we have encyclicals dedicated to man, his work, his suffering and his destiny. These may be acknowledged as a particularly important theoretical contribution from Polish thought to world culture as a whole. This did not come about in a vacuum or without preparation here in Poland.

Endnotes for Chapter 2

1. "panlogiczny": a belief that the "logos" is the basis of reality. [translator's note]

2. The original line would have read:

"For this reason, the very presentation of contradictory "features" was a powerful garment for the realism of being." ("I dlatego samo zestawienie sprzecznych "cech" było walnym argumentem na realium [sic] bytowy). The translator assumes a typographical error.

3. "bytowość" : this could be translated better, if not more awkwardly, as "being-ness".

4. The original has "necessary "possibile esse" (konieczne possibile esse). The translator is assuming a typographical error.

5. language employed not to speak of objects but of language itself.

6. Opus Oxoniense, I d.3, q. 3

7. 0 Apologia doctae ignorantiae, cited after Etienne Gilson, History of Christian Philosophy in The Middle Ages, 1954, London, pg. 537 f.

8. 0 Gilson, Etienne, op.cit., pp. 153-154, quoting from Kleutgen, La philosophie scolastique t. II, pp. 89-92.

9. 0 Władysław Tatarkiewicz, Historia Filozofii, Warsaw, 1983, vol. II, p. 165 f.

10. 0 Tatarkiewicz, Historia Filozofii, vol. II, p. 180.

11. 0 "L'Être et l'essence", Etienne Gilson, pp. 169-170, Paris, 1948.

12. 0. "Encyklopedie", art. 87, p. 109.

13. 0 ibidem, p. 184.

14. 0 This text was originally in Polish, but its impact depends on word order and thus cannot be rendered (with the same impact) in English. The Polish would translate literally: <<"not is" neither being and not is "nonbeing">>.

15. 0 "L'Être et l'Essence" pp. 243-244

16. 0 ibidem. p. 215

17. 0 E. Gilson, T. Lancan, A. Maurer, "Historia Filozofii Współczesnej",(A history of contemporary philosophy) p. 474.

18. 0 ibidem.

19. 0 "imagination" = "wyobrażnia": from "wy-" = "ex-" or "de-" and "obraz" = "imago"; this is the ordinary word for the faculty of imagination.

20. 0 "trans-imagination" = "przeobrażnia"; "przez" = "trans" or "per", and "obraz" = "imago". This neologism indicates a faculty for transforming images, and is a back formation form the verb "przeobrazić" = "to transform, to change the face of".

21. 0 "imagination" = "wyobrażnia"

22. 0 The words in parentheses are the translator's, as there was an obvious lacuna in the text.

23. 0 The Polish title of this three volume work is "Spór o istnienie świata".

24. 0 "Historia filozofii"

25. 0 "Historia Estetyki"



For over a hundred years European and American philosophy has been so closely associated with epistemology that it has sometimes been identified with it. Here the Kantian and neo-Kantian tradition, which, after all, had its place in the broadly conceived current of the "philosophy of the subject" linked strongly with Cartesianism, exerted a particularly strong influence. We can never too strongly emphasize the revolution in philosophy initiated by Descartes. From him we can date an essential change in the philosophical understanding and establishing of the object of man's cognition. In philosophy the stated object of human cognition had always been being, that is reality (understood in an appropriate way). Descartes apparently did not go far beyond the epistemologically tinged circle of Renaissance scholasticism, particularly in its Suarezian version with which he became familiar during his studies in the Jesuit college of La Fléche. In Renaissance scholasticism, under the influence of Scotism, the "concept of being - conceptus entis" - was emphasized as precisely the object of human cognition. The fundamental understanding of being was situated in the context of cognition and its proper object. The object of cognition is being, since - for John Duns Scotus - it can be reached by one simple act of the intellect; everything else is accessible in being and through being. Being, as the object of the act of cognition, becomes the first "concept". From then on, one would speak more of the concept of being than of being, which is "of value" to man only when it is cognitively accessible, when it is a "concept". Of course, it was necessary to distinguish two aspects in being thus understood: a) the objective content of being that is, the "objective concept", i.e., that which we grasp with a simple act of the intellect; and b) "the subjective concept," that is, our personal "image" which is formed by our intellect and through which we "see" - as through spectacles - the objective content of being: in the "subjective" concept" we interpret an "objective" content - that is, we have an "objective concept" of being. This objective content is the first thing in cognition and at the same time it is something that ultimately allows us - in an analysis of every cognitive content - to intellectually understand the object under examination. This splitting into an "objective concept" and a "subjective concept" guaranteed the realism of philosophical cognition created a link between the theory of cognition with logica maior, that is, the objective result of cognitive determinations required in philosophy and of the ontic categories of the reality being cognized.

From the point of view of the content of knowledge, the set of informational units about a known reality, there was no difference between the "objective concept" and the "subjective concept". There was only as much objective content contained in "objective concepts" as the "subjective concept", which is the apex of a given man's efforts at knowledge, allowed. Thus, from the point of view of the "apprehended cognitive content" there was no difference between the subjective concept and the objective concept. However, there was a fundamental difference as regards the very mode of existence of the content being cognized, for in the objective concept this content existed as objectively cognized, dependent on the thing itself. This is because the objective concept is a thing as cognized, whereas the subjective concept is my psychic construct existing within myself which allows me to discern as much in the thing itself as I have personally cognized and to the extent that "I have formed an idea about it."

This subtle distinction between the objective and the subjective concept was not accepted by Descartes. Taking as his starting point the well-known statement that there is no difference between the subjective concept and the objective concept with regard to their cognitive content, Descartes rejected the "objective concept" as an unnecessary duplication of reality. and thus he originated the "philosophy of the subject" making my subjective concept, an "idea", into the object of cognition. From this moment onwards, the "idea" alone (evidently a clear and distinct one) has become both the object of cognition and the key to understanding philosophy. This idea can be an intellectual concept, but it may also be a mental image. An idea is an adequate compilation of cognitive content. The concept of the idea as something imagined and even as an impression was adopted by English empiricists; they made it the first object of cognition, as well as the ultimate instance deciding the "value" of cognition. Kant accepted the impression or "Empfindung" as the only "source" of cognitive contents: he imposed the a priori categories of sensory and rational understanding and cognition upon these contents. Hegel and the Germanic transcendentalists did not go beyond the idea as the basic cognitive situation. The phenomenological movement buried itself deeper and deeper within the cognitive situation, although it distinguished between intentional "pure consciousness" and the intentional order of being(1), which was supposedly to overcome psychologism but in fact enclosed man totally in the prison of consciousness. After all, intentionality does not fall "down from heaven" but is, in my cognition, a sign construct(2), as a result of which, after Cassirer, we may call man as a maker of symbols-signs an animal symbolicum. In forming signs or symbols, man has formed for himself the whole cognitive world in which he is forever imprisoned. We can still pass over or flee from psychic sign-symbols to linguistic signs, losing to a great extent in this process the reflection which is concomitant to cognition. The British analysts did this, particularly Wittgenstein, to whom it appeared that in language, which he conceived no longer as a collection of signs but as the proper object of philosophical analysis, he had found his "Archimedes' point" of leverage, just as Descartes had previously set out on his triumphal march from the cogito without any second thoughts. In this way the history of modern philosophy became almost totally bound up with the analysis of cognition and the theory of cognition, now not merely as its "first philosophy," but as its philosophy tout court. The theory of cognition immediately presented its bill to be paid: justify the value of cognition!

All this was the result of a fatal mistake long before made by Plato (and Parmenides before him), a mistake which the above mentioned great thinkers would repeat: the object of cognition was confused with the mode of cognition. Each of these thinkers had his own reasons for doing this. That is why the problematic of the value of knowledge took so many different forms. This mistake is twofold: what is merely a mode of our intellectual understanding is reified and objectified; reflection is placed before spontaneous cognition. This twofold error weighed heavily upon the way in which philosophy itself was understood. It is a simple matter that in coming to know a thing we are capable of necessarily grasping some of its features. In the philosophical tradition we find the view that these features even constitute even the "essence" of the thing itself. No doubt this holds true in certain cases, for example, in the case of simple geometrical figures or of certain "species" in the "hierarchy of natural classes", or, above all, in the construction of various instruments. However, when we apprehend in a necessary manner certain stable and general (even constitutive) features of things, we do not at the same time apprehend all its features: most of them remain hidden from us. How little do we know of the thing itself, even when we claim that we know its essence. But the possibility of grasping the essence of things thus understood is something unusually significant, for it allows us both to understand (aspectively!) the thing itself and to make use of it as a tool for our human needs. This in turn allows man to live in a human way, rationally. This type of cognition, however, concerns the thing itself, and not concepts. Every time I call: look out - a dog! the person to whom our warning is directed immediately reacts objectively and looks around for a real dog without reflecting on the idea of a dog. When I apprehend the essence of a dog in a necessary way, I know very little about the dog, even if I have graduated with a degree in canine studies. What I know I know in the light of concepts I have acquired. These concepts in a way determine and sharpen, like spectacles, my view and understanding of the dog.

It was here that philosophers made their grave mistake: they reified and objectified the human mode of understanding the real object (e.g. the dog) in the form of the concept which determines and hones our view (of the dog). They began to say that what I see and understand is no longer the object itself (the dog), but rather my idea of the dog, my concept of it. I can go on to ask how it happens that in cognizing the concept I reach the thing itself. Such a question, however, has been wrongly formulated from the outset, for it is, after all, the object and not directly my concept-idea of the object which I know.

While it is true that I can know my concept of the object, this is in reflective, not spontaneous, cognition. When, I say "the twins are in the sky," I am asked the question: What do you understand by the expression "twins?" I answer that in this case I understand a constellation. Thus, I can reflect upon my spontaneous cognition, in which case the object of my cognition is my cognitive act itself along with the product of this act, my concept, the sense of the general expression I employ in my spontaneous cognition. But spontaneous cognition is the prior condition for reflective cognition, for in order to reflect upon my cognition and its results I must first have the act of spontaneous cognition itself. Consequently, every time I have to deal with an analysis of my concept I already have to deal with a reflected upon cognition, which can occur only on the basis of a spontaneous and objectified cognition.

Therefore those philosophers are very mistaken who see the problem of the epistemological value in cognition which is already at the reflective stage and objectified, when they subject cognition itself and its products to critical examination as if this type of cognition was the fundamental human form of cognition. Yet it is this spontaneous human cognition which constructs both human life and the sciences. In this type of cognition there occur all the processes of valuable cognition, as well as all its errors. These errors, however, can be discovered in spontaneous judgmental cognition, for it corrects the spontaneity of our primary apprehensions and is saturated with an introductory type of reflection, "concomitant reflection", which is concomitant to every act of personal life (personal life manifests itself in cognition, love and freedom). It is only on the basis of spontaneous human cognition (endowed with spontaneous accompanying reflection) that we can carry out an act of full reflection and objectivize our spontaneous cognition, and make it an object of criticism and analysis. However, the critique and analysis of cognition made in a full act of reflection concerns spontaneous cognition, on which the whole of human life and its varied "institutions" are built. In these spontaneous, objectified acts of cognition there is basically no "problem of the value" of cognition, since this value is constantly realized (in cognition and through cognition) as the only connection between us and the world. What is more, it allows us to become aware of "ourselves" and also to become aware of the "world" as the "object" of this cognition (in whatever way "object" is understood). Thus there is no room here for the problematic of the "value" of cognition, since this problematic can arise only in cognition that is reflected in act, when we objectivize our own cognition. But one's own objectivized spontaneous cognition is not something "primary" either in the act of human cognition or in philosophical problematic and cannot constitute "first philosophy", which of its nature is oriented completely toward objects. Cognition is only possible when it concerns something, when it has an object of its own. The understanding of the object of cognition - being - is something absolutely primary, just as in the act of love that which is primary is the object of this love - a good, and not love itself, which can emerge only in relation to a good. If we subject our cognition to analysis, then we are analysing and reflecting upon it precisely as "something" which exists as a particular being of cognition, a being possessing its own object, its own various acts, its ways of realizing these acts and the ontological structure of these acts. The analysis of all this shows us the ultimate value of cognition itself. Critical reflection on our spontaneous cognition is both necessary, since it concerns a fundamental domain of specifically human life, and useful, for it has the power to show us how cognition itself proceeds, how it guarantees a real contact with the whole world. At the same time it shows the possibilities of error and the causes of cognitive mistakes; it also shows the effective scope of this cognition and its most varied "modes" - its "methods" concerning both the spontaneous process of cognition and organized, methodical investigations on cognition and its "value" understood not univocally (as will become ever more evident upon an examination of how the critique of cognition has been historically conditioned), but analogically.

2. The Fundamental Problematic of the Theory of Cognition

If, therefore, cognition plays such an essential role in linking us with the world, then it should be one of the main objects of man's investigations, particularly philosophical investigations. In fact, when we take a closer look at the history of philosophical thought, even perfunctorily, we perceive without great difficulty that every great philosopher who attempted in any way to give an adequate explanation of the world devoted a great deal of attention to the fact of cognition. From the times of Heraclitus, who complained about the faulty testimony our senses (the eyes) supply about the world, and Parmenides, who rejected completely rejected sensory cognition and would trust only in the reason in his cognition of the world - we find a theory of human cognition in almost every philosopher, whether this theory be elaborated or merely in outline.

The theory of cognition outlined by philosophers usually occurred together with the totality of philosophical knowledge. This happened not only in Plato and Aristotle, probably the two greatest ancient systematizers of philosophy, not only in Aurelius, Augustine and St. Thomas Aquinas, but even in those philosophers who placed epistemological problems first, like the ancient Sophists and Skeptics, and Descartes and Kant in modern times. Everywhere the theory of cognition was a reflection or afterthought on the system, propounded openly or else implicit in such and such metaphysical or ontological hypotheses.

Let us ask why a crisis occurred in Greek philosophical thought after the period of first philosophical systems. Why did the Sophists appear before Socrates, and then why did the Skeptics later arise from the Platonic Academy to strike a blow at the value of human knowledge? Why did Descartes decide to reform the whole of philosophy and make it into some kind of general knowledge, free of all doubt? Why did Kant finally make a "Copernican revolution" in the whole of philosophy, "make it more critical," as he thought, and why did he "put it on its feet," as he supposed, since up until then it had "stood on its head?" In a word, why did problems of the value of human cognition arise?

We shall find the answer to this question not in the theory of cognition itself, but precisely in metaphysics or ontology, whose theory of cognition was always de facto merely a function.

In metaphysics, and thereby in the whole of philosophy (pars potior pro toto) there is, in fact, only one problem, a problem central to the whole of philosophical thought of ancient, mediaeval and modern ages. It is the problem or the "scandal" of the unity and plurality of beings. This problem also implied other problems of an epistemological nature.

This matter appears very strongly in the first philosophical systems of the Greeks, where philosophy developed decidedly in a monistic direction. This seemed to be the only way out of the entanglement of thought, for man wants to know, wants to cognize or get to know the world. Yet the senses provide very bad testimony of what is happening around man. If we rely only on sensory intuitions we cannot create any system of knowledge that is sure and justified by necessary reasons. The only escape from non-cognition is the reason, which we must totally trust. The reason, free of the restraints that the senses impose by their intuition, perceives the necessary structures of reality, the one, unchangeable, basic structure, identical with itself. The human mind, having discovered this structure, can develop in pure, detached speculation; it can deduce necessary and univocal laws which apply to the whole of reality. Those who discover these laws (philosophers) are of necessity called to rule the world.

Yet laws deduced from thought do not somehow fit everyday life, and in concrete cases, do not work. And although philosophers at first say that we must despise the testimony of the senses and trust only the forces of the reason, the same philosophers, also being human beings, sometimes painfully felt that the laws of "reality" deduced from pure, abstract thought do not pass the test of life. Everything should be as thought says it should, yet it is different.

On this basis the first epistemological problem arose - the value of thought was suspect. Does our human thinking (not cognition, since this was paradoxically ruled out at the very beginning in a paradoxical abstraction) have any value? The value of thinking, known later - imprecisely - as the value of cognition is the only main problem that arose as a result of the perception that the laws deduced by the reason in a speculation upon being as upon the necessary object of thought and upon everyday experience are either partially or completely inconsistent.

The sophists, ex professo, showed this inconsistency between the laws of thought and the laws of life and thereby undermined all trust in reason. It took the great moral authority of Socrates, his great strength of mind, his return to common sense, to save science from para-scientific thought games.

The same problem, however, arising from Plato's henological(3) metaphysics(4), later rose to the dignity of a system in the work of the Skeptics. Again the problem of the unity of ideas and the plurality of material things, which Plato had failed to explain adequately, became the basis whereby they would undermine trust in the powers of the intellect to know to such an extent that philosophers would negate the value of cognition in general. The extreme skeptics could be heard to say that we do not know anything; even if we did gain some knowledge, we cannot, in any case, convey what we have come to know - the fruit of cognition - to others; even if we did this, it would be a wasted effort, for they would not be able to understand us or to receive what we attempt to convey to them.

This fundamental blow struck at the value of cognition arose on the grounds of metaphysics, where thought becomes involved in an insurmountable antinomy in the reconciliation of unity and plurality.

Descartes' theory is - in another version - a repetition of the same paradoxes. Let us ask why Descartes tried to construct a new philosophy, one which would not be the carrier of the same objections that he had towards all philosophical systems which existed before him. Why did Descartes want philosophy to be as clear and methodical as mathematics, not giving rise to any objections or discussion?

Descartes could not understand the constant philosophical disputes that had existed from the times of Aristotle up to his own time. He did not regard the whole of scholasticism and all philosophical systems which existed before him as scientific systems; they were merely prescientific philosophy, which of necessity gives rise to many reservations and objections but is of no advantage or even harmful: "the common philosophy which is taught in schools and academies is only a collection of basically dubious opinions, as we can see in constant sophisticated disputes. Moreover, these disputes are useless, as we know from long experience, for nobody ever personally used either prime matter or substantial form or hidden qualities and other similar things."(5)

The fundamental reason behind the uselessness of pre-Cartesian philosophy is precisely the vagueness of its ideas, the plurality of its opinions, in a word, its imprecise thinking, as a result of which the whole of philosophy does not present any scientific value: "for whenever two people express judgements that are inconsistent with one another about the same thing, it is certain that at least one of them is wrong, or it may even be seen that neither of them has knowledge, for if one of them had certain and evident knowledge, he would be able to present it to the other in such a way that he would finally win over the intellect of the other person."(6)

Thus, Descartes, wanting to make philosophy more scientific seeks his chief point of support in human cognition. Philosophy must be a real science like mathematics, so it must become evident and absolutely certain. Certainty and evidence are the only attributes of scientific thinking: "all knowledge (science) is a certain and evident cognition. Nobody is wiser when he doubts many things than if he did not think about these things at all (…). We reject all types of cognition that are only probable and we resolve to believe only the truths that we cognize perfectly and about which there is no longer any doubt."(7)

The scientific character and certainty deriving from obviousness can be gained only by placing one's trust in thought itself, by rendering thought critical. Thinking is the only infallible point of support for scientific and evident philosophy. Descartes' cogito is not only a point of support but also a point of departure for the development of the whole of philosophy. The cogito - one's own thinking as a certain point of support - makes all cognitive operations unnecessary, even deduction itself: "the method itself will correctly explain how we should employ the intuition of thought (…) for we cannot extend it to teaching a method of (logical) operations, since they are the most simple and come before all others, to such an extent that if our intellect had not been able to use them before, it would not understand any rules of method, even if these were the simplest. The other rules, through which dialectic attempts to direct operations of thought, are quite useless, and they should even be considered as obstacles, for nothing can be added to the light of the reason which would not darken it in some way."(8)

The clear and distinct idea, therefore, which is separated from the other ideas, as in mathematics, is the highest criterion of thinking. We can doubt everything but our own thinking, and thinking is a certain activity of ideas (acting on ideas). The fundamental elements of scientific certainty are contained in the distinctness and clarity of ideas. Before beginning to philosophize, therefore, we must have a clearly specified method of philosophical thinking. It can be reduced to drawing attention to thought itself, which justifies itself and makes us critical. In thought, in clear and distinct ideas, lies the strength of scientific philosophy.

We asked why Descartes expressed his views so sharply against the whole philosophical tradition and why he ultimately condemned all philosophical systems preceding him. We normally hear that he did it because he was fascinated by the ideal of mathematical knowledge. Such a response is correct, but incomplete. After all, he could have accepted several sciences, several truths: one in mathematics, another one in physics, another in philosophy. Among philosophical investigations, the truth could have and should have been relativized to apprehended aspects and then the problem of `Cartesianism' would not exist at all.

Descartes could not tolerate a plurality of truths and theories. He would not bear discussions on any subjects. He not only refused to admit that any one of those engaged in discussion was right, even holding that it was a mistake to admit that one of the parties in a debate was right. Why did the maker of modern scientific philosophy have such a strange attitude toward a plurality of theories?

The matter will become clear when we become aware of the fact that Descartes - apart from his basic error of confusing the mode and object of cognition - suffered from the same monistic disease as other skeptical and sophistic `theoreticians of cognition.' Descartes believed that human thought in its general structure is one and thus there also be only one truth. If there are many truths, this means that there is no truth. We must, therefore, destroy everything and build it (unsuccessfully - as the history of philosophy has shown - for real life is stronger than the products of unreal thought); we must rebuild it, in order to retain the unity of thought. We must find one universal method, we must create one universal body of knowledge, one, total, panlogical system of thinking. Only then will we be able to speak of the progress of knowledge and cognition.

Although Descartes recognized not extra-mental being but the being-idea as primary reality (as can be concluded from his method), in spite of the change of the object of philosophical investigations, the monistic bacillus-germ penetrated into this area and infected the new "reality," which was an original object of thought and investigations; it infected thought at its very roots, for, after all, thought itself can be of no value if it is not subjected to the new method. The problem of the value of thought became connected here again, in a key place in the history of philosophy, with the old problem of unity and plurality, as previously - in a rather different field - this took place in the era of the crisis of ancient thought.

At any rate, at the bases of the Cartesian concept of reality and specific monistic tendencies lies a perhaps not too well camouflaged trend of essentialism, which sees be-ing in a detached and homogeneous essence, which can be, as Duns Scotus taught, embraced and assimilated by one act of thought. In such a case, the whole of Cartesian revolutionism would turn out to be a continuation of Suarezian-Scotist scholasticism.

Can Kant, however, and his criticism of pure reason be connected with any monistic tendencies of philosophy? After all, it was Kant who buried metaphysics together with all its problems, that is, together with monism and pluralism! In fact, the matter of the value of human cognition and its monistic sources are not so very evident at first sight in Kant's system.

Kant, however, had the same tendency of making philosophy scientific (which is fitting!) as Descartes. If, however, Descartes, did so in objective factors (the idea-human thought was the first object of philosophy for Descartes), then Kant, analysing the problem of the object perceived in it elements that were also subjective and not only objective. That which is objective (the thing in itself), is even non-cognizable, for what we obtain from reality that imposes itself on us has no evidence, no necessary connections. That is why David Hume was right when he criticized both the principle of substantiality and that of causality. Thus, reality in itself cannot in any way be sufficient to guarantee the scientific nature (the critical certainty) of cognition.

There are, however, branches of the sciences in which certainty, criticism and constant progress exist. These are mathematics and physics (Newtonian physics, of course). These sciences do not end in any antinomies, as philosophy does.(9)

Why do the sciences fare so well? Why do mathematics and physics so critically and strictly develop the empirical material obtained from the outside? They have a specified and clear idea of the object (not of external reality itself, nor the concept itself, but jointly - of our *apprehension and reality). The views of these sciences are synthetic a priori. As synthetic, they make possible the real and constant progress of the sciences; as a priori, on the other hand, they constitute the bases of the certainty and the necessity of these sciences.

If, therefore, we want to make science critical, we must first become aware of what in its object is "received" and what is organized by subjective, a priori categories on our part. If we do this, there will be no question of any science being uncritical, since all human cognition falls under the cognitive apparatus discovered by Kant.(10)

Of course, in such an interpretation there can be no question of metaphysics, since we do not "obtain" any material from the outside in it. That which metaphysics says about substance, causality, God) is in no way "given" to us, for these are our a priori ideas which we can neither prove nor disprove.

Thus the discovery of the structure of the "object" and the differentiation of a subjective element in it and another element obtained from things is the basis of making every type of human cognition critical.

This is well and good, but where are there any monistic tendencies in Kant? Monistic tendencies in the work of any philosopher - if they are present - are always connected with the concept of the object of philosophy. For ancient and medieval thinkers the object of the theory of being was external reality. For Descartes the first real object of philosophical investigations were ideas, as an indubitable point of departure in philosophy. For Kant the object is not the thing itself, for this itself is not cognizable in itself; it does not consist in ideas, for these do not exist without reference to things, but the object is the manifestation of things apprehended in our a priori categories; the categories give necessity, permanence and obviousness to the material which comes to us from the outside.

But where do the categories of sensory cognition and reason come from? They are projections of our own "I". And precisely here we discover in Kant the source of monistic tendencies, tendencies which perhaps unconsciously disturbed the minds of philosophers of previous centuries. Kant, like Descartes, was afraid of there being many types of cognition, of many truths about reality. Reality (that which can be apprehended by us) as an object, as a manifestation, is always governed by the same laws. They must be discovered in order to finally gain a univocal understanding of the world (that which we accept from the world), that is, some actual object of our cognition. He did this, drawing the work of the critique of thought to a conclusion. Monism, in the form of the univocity of the object of human cognition indubitably appeared in Kant, and what is more, the source of monistic philosophical tendencies became apparent in the form of the projecting of the unity of man's nature, projecting the unity of individual-unitary being (revealed in cognitive activity) onto all that is cognizes.

We are, in fact, concerned here with an extremely "narrow" tendency of human cognition: to impose a mode-method of human cognition of reality, so that it might adjust to our requirements of thinking (which undoubtedly has in itself a characteristic of unity, being the emanation of one, human being). After all, existing reality is independent of our cognition in its ontic aspects. Here, we are concerned with a very primary intellectual "pride," with some kind of source of totalitarianism very deeply hidden in us, for according to the revealed monistic tendency, we do not adapt in a cognitive way to a thing, but we demand that the thing adjusts to us, and we attempt to discern (a conscious desire of discerning or one that has not fully been made conscious) the stigma of monistic unity on the model of ourselves and of our thought.

The ancient Sophists and Skeptics, and in modern times Descartes and Kant - here is the source of the critique of cognition, here we see how the problem of the value of human cognition came to be posed as the introductory element (the rational justification) in all philosophizing. However, in all these "sources" of the critique of thought and of the value of human cognition (or rather thought) it was possible to discern earlier assumptions that were not epistemological, but purely systemic, one could say metaphysical. The value of human cognition in each of these great "sources" (of skepticism, idealism and subjectivism) of epistemology, appeared in fact as a secondary element in relation to hidden systemic assumptions. In each of the trends mentioned, trends that were fundamental for epistemology, it turns out that a monistic tendency in the construction of the object of philosophical investigations was prior to the problem of the value of cognition. This tendency ultimately, in Kant, revealed its foundations - an aspiration towards the projection of one's own "I" onto the object being investigated - and allowed similar sources to be perceived in two other cases, characteristic for the theory of cognition. Just as monism arose from "critical thought", so too critical thought reveals monistic tendencies with regard to cognition.


Classical philosophy, when it emphasized the excessively dominant role of the theory of cognition, expressed itself distinctly in "neo-Thomism".

Georges van Riet, completing his extensive work "L'Epistemologie thomiste" (Louvain, 1946), an analysis of the epistemogical theories of over fifty Neo-Thomist authors, posed the following question in the final chapter: What is the object and what is the method of neo-Thomist epistemology? After forming a synthesis of previous analyses, he reached the conclusion that fundamentally the object of the theory of cognition (which in the "Thomistic" system was sometimes called "logica major", "criteriology", "criticism", "gnosiology" or "noetics") was the value of human cognition, together with its conditions and limits (p.637). Georges van Riet himself believed that this problem was fundamental for the whole of epistemology. In order to solve it, however, one first had to make it more precise, since up to that time, as the analysis of the thought of particular theoreticians of cognition showed, the term "value" with respect to cognition could be understood in any of a number of ways, such as the certainty of cognition, the question of error, the sources of cognition, or even the criteria for the certainty of our cognition.

In fact, a closer look, even a perfunctory one, at neo-Thomistic theoreticians of cognition, confirms the conclusion reached by G,. van Riet.

For a whole series of authors from the second half of the nineteenth century and even for some twentieth century theoreticians of cognition (eg. G. Picard), skepticism is the central problem in the whole of epistemology. Skepticism is taken in a rather broad sense, since various kinds of problems are discussed in connection with it, for instance, how to carry on a direct discussion with the Skeptics, a discussion using ad hominem arguments or more serious forms of discussion, in which we indicate the bases of skeptical statements and sometimes also the immanent errors of the system. Most often the authors contesting the position of the skeptics employ St. Augustine's conquests of thought in their battle. They indicate, therefore, that negative skepticism cannot exist, i.e. that skepticism according to which one cannot affirm anything but one should sink into silence. Man, according to J. Marechal, is not capable of not affirming anything, for by his nature he is transcendentally ordered to affirmation. The deficiencies of positive skepticism are indicated in the form of a vicious circle, for every affirmation of the skeptic is the negation of his standpoint.

The problem of skepticism is also connected with the widely discussed matter of "doubt", which is emphasized by almost every theoretician of cognition. This "doubt" (whether universal or not, methodical or hypothetical) is the point of departure in the critique of cognition. In this matter the views of neo-Thomist philosophers are most divided. In fact, however, the discussion, often very heated, was purely academic and unreal, for the most ardent defenders of common doubt did not take this matter seriously since everyone doubted only ad usum delphini, for the sole purpose of leading the mind of the pupil to the edge of an abyss in the intellectual life, then only to find a yet more excellent way out of the whole mental embarrassment of doubt. None of the defenders of doubt in fact ever plunged into doubt; before beginning to doubt, each already clearly saw a way out. Surely, none of the authors of epistemological works defending methods of doubt was even for a moment convinced that he would not get out of the doubt he expressed. Probably the most serious statements about doubt were meaningless for their authors, since each having placing himself in the position of a "bookish doubt" showed ways in which doubt could be dispelled, and had entered upon roads that led to indubitable truths. These roads most often turned out to be simple treatises on Descartes' thought, and the most indubitable truth was the Cartesian cogito interpreted in one way or another, sometimes surrounded by a Kantian spirit, which tended to fall into a subjectivistic contemplation of one's own "I", revealed in the "category of individual being".

The question of skepticism and how it could be systematically and groundedly overcome also appeared to the public in connection with the problem of the capacity of our cognitive faculties to possess the truth, a problem that was discussed particularly towards the end of the nineteenth century. Following J. Balmès, different scholastic philosophers (particularly S. Tangiorgi, J. Gredt) propounded the following thesis as basic for epistemology: man's cognitive faculties (the intellect) are capable of cognizing and guaranteeing the truth. This thesis, together with two other fundamental axioms-postulates: 1/ the existence of a thinking subject, and 2/ the binding power of the principle of (non)contradiction, provided the basis for forming "the three dogmas" in the critique of cognition. The three dogmas have remained over a long period in textbooks of scholastic philosophy (they are to be found to this day), in spite of the violent critique of philosophical dogmatism from the side of the Louvain school.

Thus, the efforts of very many critics and theoreticians of cognition were centred around the problem of skepticism, the overcoming of which was to guarantee the value of human cognition. The overcoming of skepticism was not a problem for itself, independently of the problem of the value of cognition. On the contrary, the problem of the value of human cognition became more concrete precisely around such philosophical trends.

However, the discussions with skepticism in its various manifestations do not exhaust the question of the value of human cognition. This same problem also occurred in connection with the widely discussed phenomenon of error and methods whereby it may be avoided. Already the very fact that one becomes aware of error in his cognition became the indicator of the necessity of practicing a systematic theory of cognition, which would maximally allow us to free ourselves of error. If our cognition not only can be subject, but in fact is subject to errors, it becomes urgently necessary first and foremost to come to a knowledge of our own cognitive apparatus, its functions and how it is conditioned, in order to be able to mark out roads of thought which shall be free of any errors.

In connection with the desire to avoid errors, there is the issue of the criteria of correct and real cognition, criteria which would help us to separate truth from error. There arose, therefore, theories of objective and subjective criteria. Both turned out to be impossible in practice. Consequently, philosophers drew attention to another element of error-free cognition: the necessary connections which become evident in the object of cognition and also in cognitive structures themselves, particularly in propositions. Thus, several necessary laws were distinguished, both ideal and concrete, and different types of analytical and synthetic statements were analyzed. At the same time a vague concept of truth was employed, since most often the classical definition of truth was accepted in a quite idealistic interpretation. The definition, "adaequatio intellectus ad rem" was interpreted as the concordance of thought with the thing, and by thought philosophers very often understood the conceptual cognition of the intellect or else the necessary arrangement of concepts in a predicative judgement, whereas even Aristotle himself, in his "Metaphysics" (Book 4, or Gamma) defines truth in a different way.

The problem of error in various scholastic philosophers generally ends, which is perhaps most reasonable, in practical pointers which are to help one avoid falling into error and which van Riet, not without a certain irony, calls "the rules of the hygiene of thinking"; for his own part he demands that the criticism of cognition deal with the analysis and revelation of the very possibility of erring.

The struggle against error and the effort to guarantee to human cognition its supreme value - truth, became the aim of special investigations on the part of some theoreticians of cognition. C. Boyer perceived in St. Thomas' texts, (particularly De veritate 1,9) the foundations for solving this problem. According to C. Boyer, St. Thomas' theory of judgements, in which man through constant reflection checks his intellectual cognition, is sufficient to guarantee the truth. L. Noël, Roland Gosselin and others saw the possibility of assuring the value of cognition in a reflection of the intellect on itself and thereby, in a cognition of the nature of one's act. Such a state of affairs could be called the Thomistic cogito, which was supposed to have been both prior in time and better justified than Descartes' cogito. Neo-Thomistic authors, the discoverers or adherents of the so-called Thomistic cogito, stressed the primacy of the theory of cognition in relation to other disciplines of philosophy; they perceived in this approach merely a critical mode of philosophical thinking; furthermore, therein they perceived a common platform of agreement with the trends of strict ideological philosophy.

The question of error discussed here, error as a fundamental problem of the theory of cognition (as interpreted by a serious number of neo-Thomistic authors), immediately becomes associated precisely with the Cartesian standpoint in philosophy. It is a theory that is supposed to guarantee certain and indubitable knowledge by discovering and making more precise the laws of thinking which - if they did not exclude error - would at least reduce its danger to a minimum. In Descartes' view not even error itself, but merely an ordinary discussion and a difference of opinions in some matter testified to the worthlessness of the standpoints of the debaters, testified to an error on both sides. The search for a cogito on the model of Descartes' in St. Thomas Aquinas' system almost totally assured that the problem of error in the theory of cognition, which problem is raised to the rank of a disease annihilating the value of thought, is, in fact, a problem that has been needlessly "imported" into Thomism from Cartesianism.

The problem of the theory of cognition is set out so strangely that the third central question of neo-Thomistic epistemology is to a great extent a Kantian one. It is a question here of the sources of our cognition. Obviously this does not mean that this problem did not appear in the work of ancient or medieval thinkers, concretely in Aristotle or St. Thomas Aquinas. Both of them often ask themselves the question: where do we draw our cognitive contents from? We can rightly say that a question posed in this way (about the methods-ways and sources of acquiring ideas-concepts) is a question that is Aristotelian through and through. He was forced to pose such questions when he contended with Platonic intellectual intuitionism. Likewise, St. Thomas Aquinas devotes a whole series of questions to explaining the problem of how our intellect acquires knowledge, how it transforms contents cognized by the senses into contents that are intellectually cognizable. And probably nothing is more characteristic of Thomas in the theory of cognition than the problematic of the origin of concepts, their structure, and the general theory of judgements as a full expression of human cognition. The affirmation of the fundamental inerrancy of the cognitive faculties in relation to their proper object is a typically Aristotelian and Thomistic affirmation. In the writings of both philosophers this affirmation appears with relative frequency as the ultimate argument for the possibility of avoiding errors in our cognition.

On the other hand, the problem of "sources of cognition" in contemporary epistemology was posed in a different way. It was a question of investigating that which is given to us as objective (as Van Riet says - ibid. p. 645 ff.), and that which is already the result of our subjective work. G. Van Riet claims that the establishing of such positions can become a solid basis for classification of the theories of "Thomistic" authors.

If Thomistic authors, in connection with establishing the "sources of cognition" are concerned with establishing the role of the subject and the role of external reality in that which appears in our consciousness as a result of the function of cognition, the problem posed in this way is a descent to fundamentally Kantian positions, as was previously shown in an analysis of Kant's standpoint. It was precisely Kant, by evolving a new concept of the object as the result of analytical-synthetic actions (synthetic - a priori ones), who brought about his famous "Copernican revolution" in all philosophy up to that time. Hence, if we apprehend the question of the sources of cognition as the search for an answer to the question: what in the objects of our cognition is the work of our subjective construction, and what is given to us from the outside? - then we shall undoubtedly find ourselves at the very core of E. Kant's philosophical concepts.

Of course, this does not mean that such a problem did not exist as an objective problem. It does exist as an objective problem in itself, but only when we connect it with another problem - that of establishing the scientific nature and the strictness of philosophical thinking, as well as establishing the "value of human thought," does the matter of the Kantian sources behind such a problem become almost evident.

This is confirmed by two great groups of responses that were made among neo-Thomistic theoreticians of cognition. For one group cognition itself can be reduced to the statement or affirmation of facts. To cognize means to affirm facts either a) in the sensory-cognitive order (P. Gény, A. Farges, J. de Tonquédec and E. Gilson in his earlier works), or b) in the sensory-intellectual order (E. Domet de Vorges, L. Noël, J. de Vries, A. Brunner, E. Gilson), for the whole man assimilates reality with all his cognitive faculties, that is, external reality or else - particularly in the first stage of cognition - inner reality, wherein he affirms his own existence (A. Picard, A. Zamboni). The first intuitive affirmation of reality by human cognition (sensory-intellectual cognition) would constitute the first and primary data; herein the interference of a cognizing subject would be minimal.

The second group of theoreticians of cognition claims that the fact of man's cognition as more connected with the construction, that is, with the formation of concepts and a view of reality through concepts (J. Balmès, P. Peillaube, R. Garrigou-Lagrange, R.Jolivet, R. Verneaux). In this group there are serious differences. J. Maritain, for instance poses the problem of cognition in the framework of concepts quite differently from M.D. Roland-Gosselin. If J. Maritain believes that the concept is rightly a medium in quo - merely something which merely provides an access to the content of things (the content of the concept is identical with the content of the thing), Roland-Gosselin believes that the concept is that which - id quod - we cognize. When epistemologists stop short at an analysis of concepts and attribute the main value to concepts, as A. van Riet (p. 647) rightly observed - they find themselves proceeding along Cartesian lines in their philosophizing.

Several authors, however, like J. Kleutgen, J. Rickaby, D. Mercier, A. Sentroul, C. Boyer, B. Romyer and P. Hoenen rightly stress the role of judgements beside concepts in assuming valuable cognition. Appropriately constructed judgements put man in contact with reality, sometimes more than other forms of cognition.

If one poses the problems in the manner outlined above, if one joins the value of cognition with a cognitive apparatus which is constructed and perfected in a corresponding manner, one is not thinking on the normal and realistic plane; rather, this reminds us in many places of Kantian philosophical conceptions. Of course, this does not yet provide any grounds for saying that such philosophers as J. Maritain, J. Jolivet, R. Garrigou-Lagrange, etc. are Kantians - but it merely stresses the fact that the problematic of the value of cognition under discussion, together with the prepared concept of the sources of cognition (in the analysis of these sources we are supposed to become aware of what is objective and what is subjective) is the same as Kant's starting point. Moreover, these positions do not have much in common with the normal realistic development of philosophy from pre-scientific thinking - common sense. Finally, the fact that they laid emphasis on cognitive constructions and sometimes reduced cognition to the effective functioning of the thought constructions we ourselves have produced suggests that they were subject to the inspiration of Kant in their interpretation of the Thomistic theory of cognition.

The observations we have made on many modern theoreticians of cognition corroborates the thesis that much of modern "Thomistic" epistemology owes more to certain non-realistic and alien inspirations that to Thomas. They grew up on the ground of skepticism, idealism and subjectivism, that is, from positions that were foreign both to Aristotle and St. Thomas. In the trends mentioned (skepticism, idealism, subjectivism) a theory of cognition which justifies the value of human cognition can make sense, but probably not very much sense, since the epistemological problems of these trends are a function of a monistic metaphysics. At any rate it is difficult to place most epistemological "Thomist" tendencies in decidedly realistic positions.

One cannot justify the desire in these tendencies (in this case the result of an inferiority complex) to render St. Thomas' philosophy more scientific. Although several theoreticians of cognition (L. Noel, J. Marechal, M.D. Roland-Gosselin) seek convergent, critical facts in the philosophy of St. Thomas, and Kant or Descartes (J. Marechal regards St. Thomas very near to being a Kantian, and L. Noel views him as the true precursor of Descartes in the theory of cognition), the bases of St. Thomas' philosophical thought, and then that of Descartes and Kant are quite different. One cannot artificially transfer the problematic proper to some philosophical trends to others without fundamentally deforming the thought of authors, which authors one, even though perhaps in good faith, wants to render critical or scientific. This is quite unnecessary and even injurious to their system of thinking, if only for the reason that some types of rendering thought critical and scientific (more precise) completely do not correspond in the least degree to realistic thought, which employs transcendental, and thereby analogical concepts, such as being, truth, good, etc. We cannot in any way fit these terms within the framework of univocal thinking, because to make analogical concepts into univocal concepts would be tantamount to their total destruction.

Most epistemological trends up to that moment were not an attempt to explain the particular mode of being(11) of cognition, but were concerned merely with the problem of the value of human thought (value being conceived in any number of ways), and thereby it did not grow up on the realistic ground of human cognition; G. van Riet (probably without wanting to) also proves this by the very arrangement of epistemological concepts in the work of contemporary authors. This arrangement shows how different concepts grew on the ground of different philosophical trends. A. van Riet in his work places contemporary epistemologists into the following groups:

I. The first, who formulated the theory of Thomistic cognition are the "dogmatics." They arose in reaction to some various strains of skepticism, particularly Hume's skepticism, known as nominalism. To this group belong authors such as J. Balmès, M. Liberatore, C. Sanseverino, J. Kleutgen, S. Tongiorgi, D. Palmieri, S. Schiffini, J. Urraburie, M.de Maria, V. Remer, L. Gonzales, T. Zigliara, A. Lepidi, J. Rickaby, K. Gutberlet, T. Pesch, J. Gredt.

II. The second group is made up of the theoreticians of cognition who contested the "dogmatic" positions of their predecessors and sought a rapprochement with the trend of Cartesian idealism, or else those who reacted against these same tendencies. These include: D. Mercier, L. Noël, C. Sentroul, J. Beysens, R. Jeannière, P. Gény, E. Domet de Vorges, E. Peillaube, A. Farges, A. Canell and H. Tredici.

III. Another group consists of those authors under the influence of M. Blondel. These are the adherents of at least some of his theories, or his opponents. The former include: A. Gardeil, J. Maréchal, P. Rousselot; the latter include J. De Tonquédec.

IV. Some Thomistic theoreticians of cognition were in the circle of H. Bergson's influence, and either they yielded to him in some aspects or they discussed Bergson's concepts, forming their system to a great extent in the fire of discussion or in the rays of the influence of this eminent philosopher. D. Sertillanges, J. Maritain and R. Garrigou-Lagrange belong here.

V. A certain proximity to idealism can be discerned in such authors as: P. Descoqs, A. Picard, A. Zamboni, A. Gardeil, M.D. Roland-Gosselin, C. Boyer and B. Romyer. As in previous cases, some of these authors found themselves under the influence of idealism in a positive sense, clearly yielding to some idealistic postulates; others, attempting to overcome such a standpoint, found themselves within reach of the influence of idealism in a negative sense.

VI. A certain rapprochement with contemporary French idealism and phenomenology can be discerned in the work of A.Forest, J.Söhngen, A.Rabeau and A.Brunner.

VII. The following attempted to reconcile different trends: H.Gouhier, R.Jolivet, R.Verneaux, A.Vilpert, J. de Vries and J. Santeler.

Finally, we may mention R.Gilson, who to a great extent applied the historical method in his investigations, which allowed him maintain intellectual distance with respect to various conflicting one-sided tendencies.

The point of departure in the problematic of cognition among the authors presented was to a large extent foreign to the realism of human thought, or, to be more precise, human cognition. That is why almost in the case of all the authors mentioned there appeared, as the most important problem of epistemology, the value of human thought in general and the value of philosophical cognition in particular. (G. van Reit also regards this as a real problem.) However, this is not a real problem except in the context of the philosophical preconceptions of skepticism, idealism and Kantianism.

This does not mean, of course, that we should depreciate "neo-Thomistic" authors, who wanted to develop St. Thomas' system and make it scientific; neither does it mean that we should regard the effort of their thinking as aimless and reject their definitions. On the contrary, in the work of each of the thinkers mentioned, and also in others who have not been mentioned thus far, such as F. van Steenberghen, J.H. Nicolas or G. Toccafondi, there are many correct interpretations and certainly many realistic theories, which undoubtedly already constitute a common good for human thought; moreover, we find many correct precisions and a real development of thought, and thereby a real and indubitable contribution to science - however, in spite of everything, we cannot recognize the whole of a theory of cognition which has developed on unreal ground as a realistic expression of thinking in epistemology. This is above all a result of putting a pseudo-problem in place of the real problem of a realistic, normal theory of cognition.

4. What is the problem of the Theory of cognition?

What, then, is the real problem in epistemology? For almost all modern theoreticians of cognition, the value of cognition itself is considered as the most important and, in fact, the only problem in the theory of cognition. This value can appear in the most varied forms. But all its forms, whether it be the problem of the certainty of cognition or its veracity or falsehood, establishing the quality of the sources of cognition or its most important criteria, all these are, in fact, different forms of a basic problem: what is the ontic meaning of human cognition, through which we form the sciences, construct our whole life?

Our previous considerations have led us to an awareness or at least to a suspicion that the whole "problem" of the value of human cognition is not in keeping with the realism that normally comes forth in pre-scientific thought and factual scientific cognition.

Why, however, in realistic, non-aprioristic philosophy is there no place for what appears to be a central problem - the value of cognition? After all, it seems that epistemology differs from psychology and anthology in that its object is precisely the value of cognition. To remove the problem of the value of cognition probably means as much as to remove a great and fundamental branch of philosophical knowledge, making it simply purposeless.

Moreover, the fact that errors do occur in cognition, the fact that there are many theories, would already indicated that the investigation of the value of cognition is a real problem independent of any one system.

Nevertheless, the object of epistemology is not the problem of the value of cognition; after all, epistemology constitutes an integral part of the one body of knowledge (one in an analogical sense) which is philosophy. If in philosophy we distinguish between metaphysics and theodicy, if we regard the theory of cognition and the philosophy of nature as separate disciplines, these distinctions do not exist because of any fundamental different methods of philosophizing, nor on account of that which one could call sensu stricto the formal object of philosophy. Philosophy is one indivisible body of knowledge. The distinctions between the objects of particular philosophical sciences are secondary and non-essential. They follow from the fact that some general state of being is accented.

From an emphasis upon the unity of philosophy it in no way follows that the position of the theory of cognition as a recognized branch of philosophy must be diminished. On the contrary, the value of the theory of cognition does not in any way yield to the value of other branches of philosophy. That which the theory of cognition examines, however, that which it investigates (its material object) is not the problem of the value of cognition but a being - man's cognition. The theory of cognition does not examine man's cognition, as a particular manifestation of real being non-philosophically; on the contrary, in the analysis of this problem it applies a specifically philosophical descriptive-critical method together with a specifically philosophical construction of the theory of cognition in as much as cognition is a being.

We must, however, examine this matter more closely. First of all, the problem of the value of human cognition arose in the kind of systems in which thought became detached from a cognitive contact with trans-subjective reality and took its own cognitive constructions (that which Aristotle called "techne", or in the Latin tradition "ars") as the object of its cognition. These constructions were substituted for trans-subjective reality., In such a state of affairs, philosophers ceased to objectively examine the real, trans-subjective world; in actual fact they began to investigate merely their own thought constructions (which, it is true, originate in a certain way from the objective world), as if these were this reality, only apprehended in a more subtle way. Thus, a serious rupture and gap was revealed between that which man thought about the world (when in thought he inspects his cognitive constructions) and that which actually existed in the trans-subjective world. When man, constantly inspecting his own constructions in his thought, believed that he was cognizing the objective world itself, he was, in fact, only thinking but not cognizing the world. He actually stopped philosophizing - if philosophizing is a particular way of cognizing the real world - and began to form sometimes marvelous constructions of art from elements drawn from the objective world. In these there was no longer the fact of cognition, that is, a psychic contact with the reality which is.

This confusion, tragic in its results, of the object of cognition - the trans-subjective world and the world of one's own constructions, revealed itself in (the area of) epistemology in the form of the problem of the value of human thought itself. Thought was supposed to put us in touch with reality but did this badly, since detached philosophical thought, when in contact with everyday matters of life and practice, often turned out to be something artificial. In spite of this, however, the problem of the value of cognition is, in point of fact, unrealistic. How do I know that my thought is capable of having no value? How can I become convinced about the actual value or non-value of my thought? Clearly only through cognition. I cannot in any way go beyond cognition. And even if, in making contact with the world, I did go beyond it, then even such a contact would be of no value for the cognizing "I". It is all very well - say those who believe in examining the value of cognition - but reflection exists, and it is a complete reflection of the spirit over itself; there are degrees of cognition and degrees of language. That which is often irresolvable in a first degree of cognition can be solved in another degree, in some kind of meta-cognition. The spirit reflecting on itself can reveal to me the conditions of my cognitive function and the nature of the act of cognition, and in this way it can immanently justify itself. All this is true. Nevertheless, however, it is also true that in every such cognitive justification cognition always takes place. The spirit ultimately justifies itself through a cognitive "contact" with its object. However it is irrelevant whether this cognitive contact occurs in spontaneous cognition or reflective cognition. It will always be merely a cognitive act, however it is apprehended. Here quite a strange paradox arises: I previously doubted (a psychological fiction and nothing more!) the cognitive value of my cognition, and now through the very act of cognition, an act of the same fundamental structure, I am to convince myself that my cognition has value! Why, then, am I to trust another cognitive act having the same ontic structure? What is to convince me that my cognition does have value? If another cognitive act having the same ontological structure convinces me of the value of cognition then why did I put my first cognitive act into doubt?

If I really wanted to justify the value of my cognition I would fall into a vicious circle, for I would find out about the value of the act of cognition through the act of cognition whose value I really doubted. No. The problem of examining the value of cognition does not exist, for - in real facts - we could not in any way justify the value of cognition. What is more, we could not even become aware of the existence of such a problem. Already the very fact that the problem of the value of cognition has been posed cancels out the very problem of the value of cognition as an object that is fit for philosophical investigation. Thus, either our thought can have no value (we could not in any way make ourselves aware of this, since any process of becoming aware is a cognizing of cognition and does not thereby add any new element to the normal spontaneous act of cognition) or we make ourselves aware of the fact that we are in error - and then we cognize to a greater or lesser degree the fact and nature of our error - and thereby we affirm the value of cognition, for the very becoming aware of error is the cognizing of one's non-cognition. Then, however, the problem of the value of cognition does not arise, for it is always affirmed (since I can remove error by a new act of cognition) but it is a question of concretely applying the rules of the hygiene of thinking. These rules can be different for different acts of cognition.

Hence we apply various rules of critique to different domains of cognition and different sciences. The application of the critique of cognition, however, does not aim at justifying the value of cognition in general, for it is as impossible as lifting oneself up by the hair.

Every man as a man is a realist in cognition; even the one who in philosophy adheres to some extreme form of skepticism or subjectivism, for he cannot help but to be a realist no more than he can cease being a man. As realists we discern a rather different problem, a real one, which can be summed up in the question: Why did the problem of the value of cognition arise in different trends of the theory of cognition under the influence of the trends of skepticism, idealism and subjectivism?

Although we have already given a general answer, we may supplement this by throwing light on that which took place among various theoreticians of cognition and philosophers. First of all, spontaneous cognition was confused with reflective cognition. If man takes his own cognition, and even more, his personal cognitive constructions as the object of cognition and calls it "trans-subjective reality", then for some more or less justified reasons he has clearly confused the objects of cognition. This has very often been the case in the history of philosophy.

If the object of spontaneous cognition and the object of reflective cognition have been confused, still the problem of the value of cognition does not arise; it merely draws attention to the need for careful and responsibility in thinking. It also leads philosophers to discover the reasons which cause the confusion of the objects of spontaneous and reflective cognition. These causes can to a great extent be reduced to the monistic tendencies which run deep in every human being (according to the principles of Catholic theology, we could discern here the results of original sin, particularly pride. Monistic - univocal thinking gives one a title to rearrange the world from above in a totalitarian manner through univocal laws binding everything). They are a reflection or an expression of the ontological unity of man's nature.

Authors who attempt to apprehend the problem of the value of cognition as an object of critique and the whole theory of cognition expect that they will make human thought critical, that they will make it more precise for univocal functioning. One general truth will thereby ensue.

Yet, there is no single non-aspective truth and there cannot be. The world is pluralistic; there are many beings; there are also many cognitive approaches and there are even more aspects of cognizing the same being. Just as being is plural, so too the cognitive apprehensions of being are plural and truths are plural as well, if truth is the ultimately complete cognitive contact with a thing. This plurality of truth can become a scandal for certain types of philosophers, and even for methodologists engrossed in the univocal and strict thinking of mathematical sciences and those close to mathematics. This does not, of course, mean that in relation to the same object, investigated by the same methods there exist many contradictory truths in the same conditions. Such a state of affairs would be no less absurd than a negation of the plurality of truth, that is, the plurality of real cognitive apprehensions.

If it is a question of the most general, fundamental unity of human cognition, this unity can be reduced only to the kind of unity that takes place in the real world; its unity is only an analogical unity, which unity is expressed in the common (how imperfectly common) concept of being (and this is common only in a very imperfect manner). The objective unity of cognition, that is, the unity of cognized truths - is an analogical unity. And it cannot be confused with the unity of the subject cognizing these truths, since herein there is a perfect unity (if the man is psychically integrated, normal). If the unity of the subject of cognition is transposed on to objective unity, on to the absolute unity of cognized truths (even if it is of a most general, absolutely univocal truth expressed in a predicative sentence) it is a real expression of monistic tendencies, whereas the whole of reality is pluralistic and analogical.

What then is the main object of the theory of cognition like? It is the PHILOSOPHICAL COGNITION OF THAT BEING WHICH IS CALLED HUMAN COGNITION. Human cognition is also a reality, it is a being, just as everything that exists in a being is a being. Human cognition, however, has a fundamental role in our contact with the world; it is the only factor consciously connecting us with the world and so it has a particular hold upon the philosopher's attention. Hence the being "human cognition" requires a special philosophical analysis which is to lead us to discover the nature of man's cognitive faculty, the ontological nature of the structure of cognition, both in general and in the details which will be revealed in the process of the analysis of cognition.

The philosophical analysis of the meaning of that being which is "human cognition" as the only problem of the theory of cognition shows at the same time that it is a problem which is just as philosophical as all the others which other philosophical disciplines deal with. If philosophy is a science which is general, indivisible and analogically one (it is analogically one, since its object - being - is analogically one), then the theory of cognition is also an integral part of philosophy and we do not need to treat it as a prerequisite or threshold of philosophy. Such conceptions are connected with the concept of the value of cognition as the object of epistemology.

Since the being which is "human cognition" presents in its structure (not its functions) probably the greatest difficulties in investigation, because it is a specific being, consequently the critique and entire theory of cognition should be the crowning point in philosophical investigations about the world. That is why it should not be put at the beginning in the order of philosophical disciplines, but rather in the more advanced parts of philosophy.

The analysis of human cognition in its ontological aspect will not in the least abstract from the discussions and the indubitable accomplishments which took place in the various trends in the theory of cognition. Discussions with the skeptics, the idealists or with subjectivism, as well as all achievements in the analysis of the nature of cognition will find their true place when we connect them and subordinate them to the most important problem of the theory of cognition: the examination the ontological character(12) of human cognition. It is clear that a problem as broad as that of the being(13) of human cognition is extremely complicated; it is made up of many factors and can be examined in the most varied aspects. This is an almost infinite area of investigations, with the application of various aspects, both for strict philosophers and for methodologists of science in general and its particular branches. However, the philosophy of cognition is the basis for all types of methodology.

5. Being - the object of cognition

In considering the general problematic of cognition, its object, its method and its value, we have reached the conclusion that both the fact that the problem was posed, the manner in which it was set forth, and the solutions offered all followed to a great extent from philosophical, systemic standpoints of which the philosophers in question were not always aware or upon which they had not reflected. Thus, we must introduce necessary distinctions which will help us to pose questions more sharply and thereby perceive the answer more easily. These distinctions concern above all the nature of cognition: is it a question of spontaneous or reflected cognition? What is the object of one and the other? How does this object present itself to us? What is the value of cognition? What is the criterion of the value of cognition?

Several of these questions and answers are overlapping to some extent area, but in the course of our discussion certain things will stand out more clearly and draw our attention, which may help us to find the way to a solution.

The first matter concerns the twofold nature of our cognition: there is cognition of a spontaneous character and cognition which is reflected upon. Of course, we must begin from spontaneous cognition, as this is the primary kind of cognition, accessible to every human being, a cognition which allows people to make contact with reality, with other people and finally with themselves. Spontaneous cognition is always objectified and at the same time is characterized by a an initial reflection called "concomitant reflection." This allows us to "keep in mind" the process of cognition itself and to perform upon it an act of deliberate reflection - a new act of cognition. It is reflected upon as a new cognitive act, also an objectified one, and this reflection can be called a "reflection in act(14)." The reflection in act is already a cognition of a secondary degree for it is a cognition of cognition itself, that is, it is a particular type of meta-cognition. Spontaneous cognition as a natural act of man is always objectified and takes place on various cognitive structures. However the understanding of the object of human cognition(15) allows us to understand - to a degree accessible for man - the very act of cognition. Thinkers from different trends had for a long time drawn attention to the fact that any activity becomes understandable when the object of activity is revealed. Besides, there is no activity without an object, and the whole effort of understanding an activity itself can be reduced to discovering, revealing or indicating the object of activity. Then the description and the understanding of the object throws light on the nature of activity, connected in a necessary way with its object.

In the domain of human cognition it is both easy and at the same time extremely difficult to indicate the object of cognition, for cognition itself is structuralized in various ways; there are various sources and trends of sensory cognition, such as: seeing, hearing, feeling, imagination, remembering, as well as trends in intellectual cognition - we understand what we see, hear, smell, imagine, remember, etc.. This "understanding" also takes place in various forms of intellectual cognition of the kind spoken of by philosophical tradition: simple conceptual apprehensions of the content being cognized, judgmental cognition (when we assume a more consciously held attitude toward our process of cognition, finally reasoning - as directed with awareness - that is, with an application of the rules of logical thinking - this type of human cognition is heuristic, it is oriented to discovery, and it is deliberate. As we have already mentioned, every act of our reasoning is accompanied by an embryonic or germinal reflection. In understanding the thing that I cognize, in various structures and acts of cognition, I simultaneously know that I cognize, that I understand the object being cognized. If my spontaneous cognition is objectified, then the reflection accompanying cognition (I know that I cognize) is not objectified. That which is the object of cognition is a thing, a being which I am cognizing, whereas concomitant reflection registers the fact that I am cognizing and how I am cognizing in a secondary manner. It is a kind of afterglow of intellectual light which rises over cognition. Traditionally it is described as a function of the spirit, which does not totally "fit" in the stream of cognition which flows toward the object, as opposed to sight, to take one example, which sees a coloured object in light, but does not see the fact that it sees. In cognition known as "understanding", on the other hand, that is, in intellectual cognition, we ourselves, cognizing the object itself, at the same time "know," that is, "cognize" the fact that we cognize, even if our act of objective cognition were to absorb man in an unusually intensive way. It even appears that the one who is cognizing is completely absorbed and enclosed in his act, as when during a battle on the front the soldier "concentrates" completely on defence or attack, or when in the act of committing murder the criminal is, as it were, completely "objectified" in his cognition. Yet all that he did in such objective attention and concentration has been registered, for he can recreate the whole process of his activity and cognition eg. as the criminal at his trial or the soldier writing his memoirs from the times of battles on the front. Concomitant reflection generally does not have an object of its own; it accompanies every spiritual (cognitive, volitional) act of man and it cannot be destroyed. It is released together with objective cognition and registers its cognition both with reference to the object and with reference to the source (me as I cognize), that is, the subject of cognition as well as the method itself. This function of concomitant reflection is extremely important, for it grounds self-awareness and makes it possible for deliberate reflection of an act to take place when we take, as the object of reflective cognition, our act of cognition registered in the reflection accompanying our cognition or other spiritual activity of man (coming from the spirit). Concomitant reflection "awakes" together with the act of our spontaneous cognition. While in relation to spontaneous, objectified cognition it is a "secondary" cognition, precisely a "concomitant" cognition, at the same time it is inseparable from spontaneous, spiritual cognition in man. It is the "place" in the analysis of our cognition for indicating "reason" and "consequence." Thus, the reason for the reflection concomitant to our spontaneous cognition is spontaneous, objectified cognition. However, equally important is the fact that the reflection accompanying our spontaneous cognition "builds up and swells", as it were, in the process of man's cognitive enrichment. This may even reach such a point that concomitant reflection, which has been developed, may paralyze our spontaneous cognition, as it were, particularly in the case of people with great experience in life and reflectiveness. Hence the saying that "the person who has once been scalded blows on that which is cold." However, concomitant reflection is not some "a priori" of our cognition, but is always subsequent in its nature, for only the object of cognition can "throw" the faculties of cognition out of their "passivity" and arouse the cognitive process. At the moment cognition is aroused by its object, then "accompanying reflection" is released, which as it were "registers" the whole spiritual process.

Nevertheless, the cognition of the object of cognition is still decisive. It is commonly recognized that it is being which is the object of human cognition. And it is here that the difficulties arise: how are we to understand being that is the object of our cognition. In the history of philosophy there have been many theories of being. And almost every theory makes appeal to man's cognitive experience, is somehow connected with experience - understood clearly or dimly. There were, then, some standpoints that drew attention to the "intuition" of being, an intuition which everybody is said to possess in some way. However, there were also protests from philosophers and thinkers who said that they themselves were not aware of any idea of being. Moreover, the appeal to the intuition of being presupposed some kind of initial understanding of being. Here philosophers most often drew on an abstract understanding of being, as the most general "form" of reality. This - the most extensive "form" or "layer" of reality - would constitute the basis and "bottom" of each and every thing and in itself it was supposed to be the kind of structure which excludes contradiction (that is, to put it simply, "non-contradiction"), or else it was supposed to be pure possibility. The trouble is that such an understanding of being is both false and dangerous in its consequences, which Hegel drew out, declaring that being, as the most general form or layer abstracting from all determinations is identical with nothingness and is contradictory in itself. That is why it "is" not, but it "becomes" in a determined dialectic movement, and thereby it does not destroy itself in contradiction.

These brief observations are sufficient to show that the understanding of being as the object of human cognition is both difficult and involves long centuries of speculation on the topic of the understanding being. However the object of both our intellectual cognition and understanding of the world is precisely being. To be brief - through being we understand "that which exists," "that which has existence!" Yet the understanding both of "existence" and "that which" or "that which has" was and is controversial. It is true that in pre-scientific common sense cognition we ascertain immediately and spontaneously in the reality being cognized the fact that there is something and the fact that something is. Let this be our point of departure in the analysis of the understanding of being as the object of intellectual cognition.

Both animals and people react cognitively to really existing objects, to "reality." Of course, the cognitive reaction of animals is of a different kind than the cognitive reaction of people. For animals "reality" is constituted by a stimulus defined by the nature of the animal, to which it reacts in a way that is determined by its nature - to the extent that cognitive stimuli incommensurable with the nature of the animal "do not count" and "do not exist," as it were, but for man everything that exists and constitutes a stimulus in cognition "is something," is precisely being. Here we may ask: What does it mean to be a being? The answer is one - it means to exist as "something" that is determined in its content. But the following concrete beings are determined: Adam, Eve, Bucephalus, this cat, this tree, flower, mineral, air, my thought about Adam, my love for Eve, etc.. But is something that I cognize a being because it is Adam, because it is Eve, because it is a horse, a flower, etc.? Certainly not! For every other existing concrete being is really also a being. As emphasized in metaphysics - every concretum inasmuch as it possesses existence is a being. It is on account of the existence they have that concreta are called beings. In the cognitive sense existence is always presupposed or conjectured. The formal affirmation of existence is, in fact, unnecessary, for it is originally or initially evident and is the reason of evidence. That is why, in describing our cognitive contact with reality, both logicians and theoreticians of cognition did not pay special attention to the affirmation of existence, but worked out sensory perceptions of existing reality, as if - erroneously, of course, - existence had been given to us originally as a suitable "set" of qualities of things by the senses. And it was not until after the Second World War that for the first time the eminent philosopher E.Gilson in his work L'Etre et L'Essence formulated the concept of an original cognition of existence in the form of judgements which do not have predicates, that is, "existential judgements," in which we cognitively affirm the existence of a thing as existence. The formulation of the existential judgement of the type "Alpha exists," in which judgement we can substitute for "Alpha" any concrete thing accessible to us in spontaneous cognition, is merely a formal clarification of what we normally do implicitly when we make statements about concrete beings. It is true that in metaphysics as an organized philosophical-cognitive discipline we first form existential judgements as our "point of departure" in isolating the concept of being as a being. We must proceed in such a way if we are to deal with real being, and not only contents that are more or less abstract. Existential judgements affirming the concrete existences of different objects can be made almost to infinity, enumerating and affirming the existence of the most varied beings, both independently existing ones as beings whose existence is subjectified in themselves, and beings existing non-independently, beings existing in within a subject, such as weight, thickness, qualities, relations, etc. The formal affirmation of existence in existential judgements shows that the affirmation of existence takes place in an intellectual inspection of things; existence is not merely a sum of features or a suitable "set of qualities," selected - (as, e.g. - Ingarden theorized enumerating the modes of absolute, ideal, real and intentional existence) through a set of qualities that were supposedly to constitute the four basic forms of existence. No choice of features will create existence: existence is the reason for and not the "consequence" of the content of things. Hence, the view of existence given to us in the context of really existing concrete contents, is not a sensory view, but a view and intellectual affirmation in the context of sensory impressions. The existence of being is not, however, reducible to the contents of impressions but affirmed by our reason in the cognitive-sensory process. However, never in man is there any process of cognition which is exclusively or merely sensual, for in seeing I understand, in hearing I understand, and in seeing, hearing, touching, and smelling I know that what I feel, hear, smell, see, etc. exists. I can express my cognition of the fact of existence in the existential judgement: "Alpha exists." This is not normally "necessary," however, for in the real cognition of the content of a thing I am already supposing its existence, which existence is the reason for the real contents of beings. This is almost evident, since one must exist in order to develop. Only a living, that is, a really existing man grows, develops intellectually, morally, socially or artistically; only "under actual existence" is a real enrichment in ontological contents possible.

That is why a cognitive apprehension of being concerns concrete, real things, that is, some kind of "something" determined in itself that exists proportionally to the determined content. Being, as the object of intellectual cognition is a "something" determined in itself that really exists. Both its aspect of existence and its aspect of content is something unique and unrepeatable. There are as many "existences" as there are concrete contents; and there are as many contents as there are existences of being. Apprehending the contents of being in a more or less detailed way we assume, guess or directly affirm its existence. The human apprehension of being is similar to the way in which forceps or tongs grasp things from both sides: we grasp the being from the aspect of determined content, which we aspectively assimilate, and from the aspect of intellectually evident existence in the reception of real contents. It is true that we can, having a primary, fundamental apprehension of the content of real being, make abstractions and generalizations of already apprehended real contents. We sometimes even call the apprehended, and of necessity aspective and generalized contents, a specific "reality," as eg. "literary reality," "mathematical reality," "historical-scientific reality." Philosophers speak of an "order" or an "ontological reality" while what they have in mind is selection of contents which are apprehended aspectively and (more or less) necessarily connected. Nonetheless, real being is always an existing concrete being. In apprehending it simultaneously from the aspect of its existence and its existing content, of necessity we grasp it analogically and not univocally, for the real order is exclusively analogical. The univocal order is always connected with some particular mode of human apprehension for specialized purposes, principally in the areas of science and technology. But the analogicity of being and the analogicity of the cognitive apprehension of being places us in a field of being that is determined with regard to extension, the poles of this field being both concrete content (the essence of being) and existence commensurable to content (essence). No abstract, since all abstracts are more or less generalized contents, is a real being, but abstracts are the "products" of our mode of cognizing and understanding the content of an initially and really existing being.

That is why it would be a mistake to seek the "onticity(16)" of generalized and abstract beings in the fields of content, although very many philosophers have thought and do think that being as an object of intellectual cognition, is precisely the most general "content" common to everything, as the widest "foundation" or the ultimate non-contradictory structure of reality, as the "possibility" of being everything, etc. All "possibilities" and "generalities", however, (both the least and the most general) are simply not reality in its fundamental sense. There is no such a thing as a "possible" existence. These are merely our ways of conceiving, understanding, or thinking about the contents of being. Nobody is so naive as to exchange "generalities" for concretely existing ontological contents. Neither a horse apprehended generally, nor a human being, nor money exists beyond the existence of the conceptual thought. Beings in the mind are not beings that really exist as subjects. Being as being is being as really existing. In knowing a being we grasp the fact that in being "something" (that is, content determined in itself) it exists. In the cognitively unspecified proportions (they are unspecified as a result of the weakness of our cognition) of content-essence to existence, the "undulating" field of being constantly makes its appearance. The polarity of being (the fact that it exists as "something" in every instance of being in a particular and unique way) causes difficulties when we try to imagine being. Hence, the understanding of being - in the thing itself of course - requires concentration and constant watchful attention, since we cannot without treachery "simplify" being into the form of a simple apprehension, schema, or sign. As the object of intellectual cognition being is connected with live thought, with the act of intellectual cognition, for beyond live cognition there is no being as an object of cognition. Thus, when I properly say "being - as a being" I understood that "it is", that "something" determined in itself "exists".

That which is absolutely primary in the understanding of real being is the fact of its existence. Although I do not always affirm this existence formally, it does not mean that I cannot do this . Sometimes - precisely in philosophy (metaphysics) I am forced at the beginning of any cognitive operations to formally affirm the existence of the world-reality. Too many philosophical trends arose which philosophers, not having paid due attention to the fact of the existence of things, or else having considered that such an affirmation of the existence of real existence is a finis ad quem (not the point of departure but something which was to lie at the end of philosophy) - became engrossed in mental speculation (not cognitive speculation!), a speculation which kept alive only by the coherence of the philosopher's thought; this is of value to man, but it does not explain reality. It is strange that the existence of a concrete thing is so evident as to be unnoticeable. The whole of our attention is drawn by the content of the thing, as this content provides us with cognitive information; for existence does not give any new units of information, but merely "ontologically justifies" the real information provided by the content of existing being. Usually the whole of our attention or the main part of our attention is drawn by the content of the thing providing cognitive information about itself. As they analysed the arrangement of content, it seemed to many philosophers that they are already concerned with being, when in fact these were merely certain selectively apprehended features of being. Every cognitive conceptual apprehension of ours is selective, abstract, since we do not have the capacity to cognize the whole of reality in its full endowment of being. Only such an intellect which creates a given thing can understand that thing in such a way. The cognized features apprehended by man constitute a very modest bundle, and it is this bundle which is analysed and employed in different types of sciences, mainly the natural-technical ones. Yet the real cognition of being, wherein we grasp a given reality - with tongs, so to speak - from the aspect of the existence and the content of thing, is not the same as the cognition and apprehension of merely the very content of a thing (being). Besides, this is the reason for the difference between the scientific and metaphysical mode of cognizing reality. The fact that the mode and method of cognition in philosophy and those of the sciences cannot be reduced to one another has passed and continues to pass unnoticed to many people, and this constantly gives rise to gross errors and lapses, chiefly in the area of philosophy, as the methods and tasks of philosophy are different from those of the sciences.

We formally affirm the very act of the existence of being, as we have already said, in the existential judgement, when eg. we affirm: "this here - exists" - "Alpha - exists," that is, I affirm "John - exists," "Mary-exists," "this oak - exists," "my thought about John - exists," "John and Mary's marriage - exists" etc. In the cognitive act of the existential judgement I affirm the fact of the existence of a thing denoted as the subject "Alpha." My cognitive attention is concentrated on the act of existence, the fact that a thing is, that it exists, and not on "what" this thing is in itself or "what it is like." The affirmation of the act of existence of a thing still does not define the thing itself for me; it still does not inform me what this thing is like, but it does something more fundamental; it affirms the reality of the thing, for existence is not in any way a feature of the subject. Hence existential judgements, such judgements which affirm actual, real existence, are judgements without a predicate (non-predicative judgements). They cannot be reduced to any predicative judgements (S is P), just as the act of existence is not reducible to any constitutive feature or consecutive content of the thing. The affirmation of the fact of real existence places philosophical (metaphysical) cognition in the real order, and not merely the cognitive order or the order of thought.

All types of idealism ultimately are derived from a neglect of the affirmation of the act of existence of a thing, or - what is worse - from the lapse of thought and the cognitive error wherein the fact of existence is regarded as identical to some appropriately selected set of features constituting the content of a thing. Worse still, sometimes the act of existence is recognized as a "feature" of the thing itself, which would imply a grave error - that there is a "passage" from possible states to real states by virtue of suitably chosen arrangements of content alone. Unfortunately, "a posse ad esse non datur illatio (there is no inference from can-be to is)."

There are standpoints which claim that in the first perception I am also given the existence of the being as if this were contained (implicit) in the perception. But this is not true, since we do not apprehend the act of existence through observation. Although we perceive real contents, existence does not belong to the set of contents appearing as qualities perceived by the senses - "white," "black," "cold," "hot," "sweet," "sweet-smelling" etc. Existence is apprehensible only by the intellect as the "reason" of contents that appear and can be perceived by the senses. The fact that a thing which can be cognized by the senses "exists" allows us to perceive contents that can be apprehended by the senses. And only man cognizes existence as an act of being. In its perception of the real contents of a thing - as we have already mentioned - an animal (a dog, a wolf, a bee, etc.) does not cognize the act of existence but merely perceives the thing inasmuch as it is suitable stimulus, commensurable to its (the animal's) nature. That is why an animal reacts - according to the measure and perfection of its nature - only to the stimuli which are commensurable to the given nature of the animal, that is, the kind of stimuli from the real world which serve to preserve and develop the individual life of the animal or the life of the species. The rest of reality - beings as beings - "do not exist" for the animal, for the animal does not affirm the act of existence and does not carry out abstract cognitive processes.

Man, on the other hand, being an open being, grasps reality as existing - in any way whatever. This provides a foundation for man's "openness," wherein he is not restricted to cognizing and reacting only to ensembles of content which would always be determined, and could thereby "determine" man to the cognition not of the whole of reality but defined arrangements of content.

Moreover, if we did not apprehend existence as an act of being, an act that cannot be reduced to content, then something that took place in the history of philosophy would occur: entity or onticity(17) was reduced to the most general content, non-contradictory in itself, as John Duns Scotus supposed. But such a standpoint is erroneous, both for purely theoretical reasons and in view of certain turns of events in the history of philosophy. Theoretically, for being as being would constitute only the kind of modest content which in fact does not exist. Where are there such beings constituted only by non-contradiction? If something real exists it exists as a concretely determined content. Non-contradiction, as Christian Wolff believed, can be merely a possibility. But then the limit and difference between reality and non-reality, that is, pure possibility, disappears. Philosophy, having as its object the being conceived as a pure possibility, would become enclosed in an unreal world; it would be merely a play of thought and not an explanation of reality. Moreover, history testifies to the fact that such an understanding of abstract being, of pure possibility abstracting from all determination, would not distinguish being itself from nothingness. It was precisely this that Hegel ascertained in his recognition that being, as the most general content, is precisely contradiction. The structure of being is contradictory in itself and that is why being must become, in order to "liberate itself" from contradiction. Yet Hegelianism as an idealistic system is far from realism; negating contradiction it is equally far from rationalism, if non-contradiction is the basis of rational order.

As we have previously mentioned, philosophical trends exist in which the existence of the real world is the finis ad quem of philosophical considerations rather than the "point of departure" in the philosophical explanation of reality. In these types of philosophies, as, for example, in the phenomenological movement, "ontology" precedes metaphysics. Both general ontology and the ontologies of various domains of reality and scientific cognition establish the necessary framework of a rational analysis of reality. Metaphysics, analysing the concretely existing world would be precisely such a "destination" for "rationally" practised philosophy. But in such a view everything is upside down. Where do analysed concepts - the framework of understanding reality itself - come from in "ontology?" Are they an "a priori" in relation to the normal cognition of the world? No, they are merely the objectified senses of our spontaneous cognition. Plato's old error is repeated. In his work the intellectual method of cognizing the content of things became objectified as the "ideas." Beyond the real order there are no such "ideal orders" whereof Ingarden spoke. An "ideal order" is an objectified way of the intellectual, spontaneous cognition of reality together with a deliberation and reflection that draws attention to some, more important, constitutive as it were, features of the reality which is cognized spontaneously. Ontology, both general and specific, appears where the first object of cognition is not being as existing, that is, reality, but an analysis of cognition itself; that is, where it is not spontaneous cognition which is the beginning of cognition but reflective cognition. Such a procedure is a "turning upside down" of the human process of cognition, for if I shall begin not from objectified, spontaneous cognition, but from an analysis of reflective cognition - as a supposedly "critical" type of cognition, I will thereby lose any possibility of a critical view of my own cognition. Critical cognition given in reflection is already "meta-cognition," which cannot be "checked" by spontaneous cognition, as uncritical cognition. Critical cognition does not concern reality but the mode of my cognition of reality (of course, together with the apprehended cognitive content). But in narrowing the field of cognition to my cognition of reality I thereby lose contact with reality, for I can merely "make inferences" about it from the method of apprehending the content. Any possible further "criticalization"(18) is the formation of a new act of reflection over reflective cognition and by the same token yet a further "removal" from the reality being cognized. Thus, if I resign from the objectified, spontaneous cognition of really existing reality (being), I am thereby condemning myself to being enclosed in consciousness, wherefrom there is no exit. If the point of departure in philosophy were to be the theory of cognition, that is, the cognizing of my cognition - or in general terms: the cognizing of cognition itself, then the ultimate, final solution, as Cassirer indicated, remains that man is irrevocably enclosed in a world of signs and symbols.

Fortunately, this is a standpoint that is foreign and unknown to the man who spontaneously cognized the world; it is the standpoint of professionals, professors of philosophy who do not live in this "world" as people, but make analyses from their chairs of philosophy. If they wanted to live in a consistent way (on the road of cognition) as they propose "in the chair," to arrive at the real world through an analysis of cognition and a priori ontology, they would never reach this world and they would not be capable even of recognizing real food.

The theory of cognition and possibly "ontology" in the phenomenological sense is possible on the basis of spontaneous cognition such as it really takes place. This is objectified cognition. The object of cognition is the being existing really in its ontological analogicity, as a result of the non-identity of the fact of existence and the content of real being. Analogical really existing being opens infinite possibilities of cognition. It is, however, a cognition that demands the effort necessary to become aware of the fact of what being is and how it is apprehended. But it is an analysis of the object of cognition given to us in the spontaneous act of cognition that occurs in every human being. Analogically existing being apprehended in philosophical cognition opens the road to a rational analysis of further stages of cognition, for being "interpreted" in its content expresses itself as a principle of identity, non-contradiction, the excluded medium, the reason of being, finality.... Operating by these principles in our cognition and explanation of reality makes philosophical cognition itself rational.


Our considerations up to this point have shown that our spontaneous cognition, as objectified, has its limits in being; the understanding of it - also spontaneous - is evident, though it is vague and unspecified. Difficulties in the understanding of being arise in reflective deliberation, particularly that which is built upon the knowledge of the historical and philosophical consequences of a problematic of being. Of course, this does not mean that a knowledge of the problematic would in any way be detrimental; on the contrary, it requires that the deepened understanding of being should take into account, on the one hand, the consequences of various positions that appeared in the history of philosophical thought, and on the other, the very understanding of reality as the ultimate instance of veridical cognition.

The understanding of reality-being takes on different forms or shapes and thereby helps in a deeper cognition of the real world. The traces of precisely such a deepened cognition of reality are its different names, used in common cognition, such as, eg. "thing-res," "something (else) - aliquid" "good -bonum", "something one - unum" etc. Relatively early in the middle ages these types of terms came into use as transcendentalia, of which there were supposed to be seven: being-ens, thing-res, one-unum, something distinct -aliquid, the true-verum, the good - bonum, the beautiful - pulchrum. The term "transcendental" itself was suggestive of certain cognitive difficulties which arise in using the concepts of "universals" each of which has a limited scope in predication, and the kind of "concepts" which "transcend" - "transcendunt" all conceptual spheres. But in the thing itself it is not a question of understanding concepts, but of understanding that which is denoted by any one particular transcendentale. They always denote a being, which in different cognitive contexts reveals itself more and more by its rich "content": this allows us, on the one hand, to cognize reality itself in a deeper way and, on the other, to discover the bases of rational order, which expresses itself in the form of important principles, such as relative identity, non-contradiction, the principle of the excluded middle, the reason of being, of finality. These principles, sometimes postulated, sometimes presupposed in different sciences, form the foundations of the rational order and they are the "interpretation" - expressed in the form of a judgement - of the content of particular transcendentalia. Thus, both the many-sided understanding of existing reality (henological, aletheic, axiological) and the very foundations of rational cognition and reasoning - particularly that which justifies in a necessary way - depend on the deliberation upon and cognition of the problematic of transcendentalia.

Consequently, we must briefly reflect on how the transcendentalia are formed. What is their characteristic content and how can we express them in our language? The set of problems in, in fact, very extensive, and it is not possible to analyse them here in detail; they will be given merely general consideration, which will allow us to become aware of the importance of the problems under consideration.

The response to the first question - how are transcendentalia formed? - was fundamentally given by St. Thomas (De veritate, I,1) when he drew attention to the fact that we constantly have to deal with the same being on which we make various acts of cognition expressed in judgement, as the carrier of veracity and verifiability. We can examine the same really existing being in a threefold way: a/in itself, in so far as we apprehend it by acts of positive judgements and negative judgement; b/ in relation to another real being; c/ in a personal relation, that is, in relation to the Person of the Absolute, which appears as a necessary decontradictification(19) of the reality of being.

Thus, being in itself, apprehended in positive judgmental cognition appears as a relative identity; an identity, because we have to deal with one (ontologically the same) something that exists; and the relativity of identity appears in the fact that this one being has a content-related aspect: "that which", and its existential aspect - "exists". When we want to stress the ontological, existential, that is the real aspect of being, then in the judgmental predicate (as the carrier of information) we lay stress the moment of existence. Thus: "being is that which (determined in itself as a concrete content) exists (possesses existence)." If, on the other hand, we place the moment of content in the predicate (we make a sentential inversion), then we also obtain a judgement on the relative identity of being in the essential formulation: the existent is determined in itself." The two judgements about the same being are different, for they stress different aspects of the same being; both judgements are of equal weight but not synonymous. The first judgement stresses being(20) (the fact that some kind of content exists), whereas the second judgement stresses the content, the essence determined in itself of that which exists. The second judgement shows the factuality of being. All that is a being is at the same time a thing, that is, it is a content determined in itself to its ultimate limits, for it is an existing content. The shift of emphasis from the act of existence to the content is significant, since it provides us in philosophical explanation with information about the structure of being. Having "ensured" reality (by the transcendentale: being), we can take closer look at the content of being, its structure, its conditioning etc. We obtain all this thanks to stressing the "factual" aspect of being. When we apprehend the same being cognitively through a negative judgement in which the sentence connector "is not" appears, we obtain the next transcendentale "one", for "being is not non-being." We obtain a stronger affirmation of the identity of being and its inner non-division into being (itself) and non-being (not-itself). Of course, the interpretation of ontic unity through the first negative judgement gives us, as a result, the main negative judgement - the "principle of non-contradiction". It becomes the basis for philosophical explanation through separating being from "non-being".

The discernment of the (relative) identity of being through positive judgements on being and a negative judgement showing the non-division of being in itself into being and non-being becomes deepened when we compare this being with another being identical in itself and undivided. It turns out that one being is separated from another being which being is in turn identical in itself and undivided. Only being exists (one or … another). There is no non-being. Non-being is merely an act of negation of the mind over being; the pluralism appearing in beings that are undivided and separated each being from each other being excludes from the states of real being any "medium" between being and being, for there is no non-being; There is only being and there are no intermediate states which not be being - for non-being is an act of the mind expressed in the negative judgement "is not". Everything that is a being undivided in itself into being and non-being and that is separated from another being is "something distinct/separate", that is, pluralistic, for there is more than one being. Ontic pluralism does not destroy the rational order shown in identity and non-contradiction. On the contrary, it confirms the rational order, for there is only being in every case and there is nothing intermediate that would not be being. Rational order, by virtue of the principle of the excluded middle reigns in every being, in every "distinct something".

The cognition of being in itself gains its very necessary essential complement when we correlate it with personal being, that is, with the kind of being which is self-aware, which can say "I" about itself, having self-knowledge of its subjectivity. The possibility of saying "I" presupposes non-necessitated, that is, free cognition and volition. And only the personal being through its cognition and volition-love comes into contact with being as being. All other animals have contact with things, but not as with beings, but as their necessary, natural "complement". for they cognize in a sensory way and have an appetite for other things only in the biological aspect - the aspect of individual survival or the survival of the species. All that goes beyond this scope "does not exist" for their cognition and desire; it is not taken into consideration. Only a personal being is capable of cognizing being and is capable of "coming to love" this being in an unselfish or disinterested way. For this reason we see why it is necessary to take being into consideration (the thing - the one - the distinct) in relation to the person and personal activity - cognition and love. The relational transcendentalia, those connected with personal being are the true, the good, and the beautiful. They form vast domains of cognition and of personal "activity" based on cognition.

First let us consider being as the true. The first matter which emerges in our cognitive context is the fact that being "can be interpreted", that it contains in itself a cognitive charge or cargo. This cognitive "charge" appears directly in our earliest cognitive contact. I simply "see" reality, I distinguish the fact that reality exists as something that I can understand from what is merely apparent, which really does not exist. The first cognitive contact with being is articulated in the form of a judgement of identity, or in the form of a non-contradictory judgement. This constitutes the basis for the rational order. Thus I immediately perceive that being is "intelligible", that it is the object of my cognition and provides my cognition with all cognitive contents. Moreover, when we take into account the development of the sciences and the whole of scientific culture, we perceive that being, as we discover it gradually more and more, interpret it with ever greater care, appears as rational, and its interpreted content can be articulated in the form of scientific laws. Thus, being is without doubt intelligible. Our intellect is connected with being by bonds of cognitive dependencies of truth. I can check my statements about reality with reality itself and affirm the conformity of my human cognition (judgmental cognition) with the content of being. It was this CONFORMITY of cognition expressed in judgement with being that was always recognized as truth. Thus, the being is "truth" in itself, it is "intelligible", that is, "giving birth to the truth", before our cognition is truth. Our cognitive accord with being gives us the truth of cognition and guarantees the truthfulness of the act of cognition. If, therefore, being itself is the object of cognition and the source of veridical cognition, then being in itself "is sufficient" for the intellect; it is being which has in itself everything that can "satiate" intellectual cognition; there is nothing in being would not be being and thereby unintelligible and unknowable, which could be divided off from intellect. In a word, being, which is intelligible, possesses within itself the "reason for its onticity(21)" and, by the same token, the reason for its intelligibility, ultimately allowing being to be separated from "non-being". Both the reason of onticity and of intelligibility is contained in the whole "area" of being; this means that if we do not find the reason for being(22) in one being, we must then seek it in another being, in which the reason of onticity(23) as well as of intelligibility will of necessity occur.

Man's created works may be of help as we try to understand this problem and may serve as a sort of psychological "introduction" and paradigm. There are many such works: the whole "world of culture", the world created by man. Let us take the simplest examples: manufactured things such as a school desk, a table, kitchen utensils, houses, factories, airplanes, etc. These are not, of course, beings that have emerged as a result of natural changes, but they are constructed lege artis, through art. They too can be interpreted, they too are "intelligible". The whole intelligibility of a created work, however, comes from the intellect of the artist who has by his thought "thrown a spell" on the work he has created. The fact that the human constructs derive their intelligibility from the human intellect helps us in posing and finding our way to an answer to the question: what is the source of the intelligibility of natural products, of being as being, and where may we find a rational ground for their intelligibility? The answer is of a necessaristic(24) type: if we really affirm the intelligibility of belong in being (as being), then either this intelligibility is an intellect in this being or it is derived from the intellect. In view of the contingency of being, that is, the fact that beings do not exist by virtue of their nature but by virtue of existence coming "from the outside" of contingent being, from the ABSOLUTE, who IS EXISTENCE, therefore the intelligibility of beings is also dependent on the INTELLECT of the Absolute. Just as man, producing things through art, "exteriorizes"(25) his thought in the work which takes its origin from him, so too the Person of the Absolute "realizes" his thought in a being derived from himself.

Thus, there exists as relation between being and the intellect on which it depends, or a relation of the intellect to the being which it cognizes and is dependent on the intellect in its being known. In this sense (in the sense of the relation of dependence), we can speak of the truth of being, or the truth of cognition. Being derived from the intellect of the `absolute, then, possesses its intelligibility by way of participation; but it is intelligible. For this reason too, being - as truth, interpreted by our intellect and expressed in judgement - has its reason (rational justification) of being(26) and understanding either in itself or beyond itself in another being; in itself in the case of its constitutive features and beyond itself (in another being) in all other cases. The reason for being, therefore, is "that without which a given being is not that which it is".

Another transcendental making clear to us the understanding of being is the good. Like the truth, the good is on the line of the being-to-person relation. The good, however, is connected with the will of the personal being, which wants, that is "loves" a given being. And just as in the case of the truth, we can speak both of the good of the loving will (wanting will) and of the good of being itself. We, in loving "good" beings, that is,in loving beings that are perfect in their order and without any deficiencies, become good through our "good" will, which has to come to love being in its order without deficiencies. But is also evident that the original good lies in being, and when we love it we thereby become "good" ourselves. What is good in being? If good lies on the line of the relation between being and the will of personal being, then if we bear in mind the that fact that beings are contingent and do not have the capacity to create themselves (for if they were to create themselves they would be giving themselves what they do not in fact possess), we see that the good of being is reified(27) in the act of creation by the love (will) of the Absolute. Contingent beings exist because the Absolute wants them exist; He has loved them into existence. The fact that contingent beings exist can ultimately be explained by their derivation from the Absolute, from His will, from His love; the Absolute "loves" them "to existence" and that is why they exist in their whole ontic, intelligible endowment, and in existing they are really "desirable" themselves; they have the power to arouse love, for they are derived from love. A good is a being connected by a necessary relation with the will, with the act of love. Love is always the first motive of activity. Hence, the good lies at the foundations of ontic dynamism. This, being the "materialized" love of the Absolute, "causes" love itself, and liberates activity that is directed towards the good. Hence, every activity (always having a "motive" of natural love or of love that comes from cognition) is connected with finality, that is, a tendency towards a good, motivation through a good. The dynamism of being is the dynamism of personal love which love is always connected with being.

Finally, the last transcendental, beauty, shows being connected with the person in the fullest way, since it satiates cognition and arouses delight both from the very object of cognition (being), and the act of cognition itself. Beauty is connected most fully with the person and, as it were, constitutes the very content of personal life, if this life is cognition and love. Being inasmuch as it arouses the delight of cognition and soothes someone with the love of pleasure(28) is at the same time beauty.

Too many misunderstandings have accumulated over the centuries in the problematic of beauty. The cause of this was both the erroneous understanding of being, as being was basically reduced to abstracted content, and the transfer of the moment of beauty from being itself (which erroneously appeared as abstract, and thereby not beautiful, since it was not attractive - abstracta non movent). As human products, which are concrete, accessible to the senses, subject to both the mathematical analysis of the Pythagoreans and the phenomenological analysis of aestheticians of different hues. Thus, "beauty" finally became an expression devoid of meaning, merely burdened with the history of erroneous definitions, both a posteriori and a priori definitions of various philosophical systems. It was as if beauty was to be accessible only to "specialists" educated or brought up in or "gifted" with a special "sense of beauty". Yet being is accessible to every intellect, to every will and love. There is no one who does not cognize and love that which is given to him in his cognitive intuition of reality itself. Being was always the object of cognition and, at the same time, of love. Only such a state of affairs aroused strictly personal reactions in human persons, that is, cognitive and amatory reactions. To separate being from cognition and love means to put to death personal life. Precisely being as cognized, and at the same time arousing pleasure(29) is beauty. Here we are not concerned with some kind of specialized cognition, accessible only to the "chosen few", but with simple cognitive intuition, what was called a contemplative vision, a vision which always ends in joy and pleasure(30), which is, after all, an act of love in its dawning. But being is always an existing concrete being, full of cognitive content, and at the same time "rich" in itself, that is, endowed with the elements ("parts") which constitute being itself and which, as real, are capable of evoking a "desire" of themselves, i.e. the beginning of love, for love is only possible towards an existing being and not an abstract. Even though a being may be "poor in content", e.g. the act of my cognition, this act is nevertheless an existing one, it is mine, it is a being, and I also love my cognition.

However, a really existing being is connected by one ontic relation to the person "as loving in cognition". The bond between being and the person, who in cognizing (seeing, intuitively contemplating), at the same time assumes an attitude subjectively, personally, to that being given in cognition through pleasure(31) (which is love in its embryonic stage) and also to being and to the very act of cognition connecting us with being. This bond is the manifestation of personal life that has not yet been "divided out" into cognition and love, which still does not specialize either in "pure" isolated truth or in love dynamizing concrete activity. Something is begun in personal life when a being simultaneously binds cognition and will (love - pleasure) and, as it were, "consolidates" the whole of personal life. This is beauty; this is cognized being which arouses pleasure.

If we were to reach out towards the Person of the Transcendent, to God, then precisely He as the fullness of being in itself and through itself, the fullness of intelligibility and good, ideally fulfills all the conditions of beauty. It is He who has "produced" everything that is

beyond Him as intelligible and, at the same time, as good, that is, beautiful, for He in cognizing wants (loves) to have what He constantly creates. That is why the relation of contingent being to His Intellect is simultaneously a relation to His Will, for everything really exists (it is love -in order for it to be) as intelligible, satiated with "truth".

In Christian Revelation, particularly in the Epistles of St. Paul and in the Gospel of St. John, we found the outline of a view of eternal life, the life of those who, directly uniting themselves in contemplative cognition with God, love Him totally, to the limits of their personal capacities of the will and intellect. Such a vision ultimately fulfills the understanding of being as beauty.

The answer to the first question: How are the transcendentals formed? presented here in a shortened form, was at the same time an answer to two further question: What is the characteristic content of a particular transcendental and how can it be expressed in our language? We cannot give a minimally satisfying answer to one of these questions without giving an answer to the remaining ones, since in the understanding of being and the transcendentals we cannot make artificial mutually exclusive areas of responses; the answer to one question concerning structure or cognition already contains the outlines of the responses to the entire ensemble of problems.

* * *

Thus having posed the general question of whether it is being or cognition which should be in the first place in philosophy, after analyzing the epistemological problematic and the conditions of our knowledge, it was necessary to respond that being is prior to cognition: this is so for epistemological reasons, for all the acts of our human cognition always have an object. There is no such a thing as an awareness without an object of this awareness. The object of activity appears before the nature of the activity is accessible to us. So also in our spontaneous cognition the object of cognition is first. This object is being. Upon the background of the cognition of being one may begin acts of reflection and in meta-cognition analyze man's cognitive activity.

If pure consciousness existed, then it would certainly be necessary to analyze this fact, and then cognition as cognition would precede being, which would be given merely as a "topic" of consciousness. If philosophy were a "critical cognition" and not an ultimate explanation of reality, then cognition too, as a critical tool conditioning the value of the "work" done by this tool, would precede being, for being would be totally dependent upon cognitive acts. But in such a case as well this kind of philosophy, as the history of philosophy has shown, would be something in understanding the world, for it would turn "upside down" the problematic of the cognition of the real world.

Consequently, bearing in mind the nature of philosophy as an ultimate cognition of the really existing world, it is necessary to respond in accordance with the nature of human cognition, developing from spontaneous interpretations, from common-sense, cognition that has always been objectified by being, that being is "first". Thus it was necessary to "emphasize" the understanding of being, together with the whole problematic of the transcendentals, as the clarification of being itself. The transcendentals, as the ways in which being is expressed, not only introduce us into the philosophical understanding of reality, but they can constitute the basis for various philosophical divisions of cognition. Above all, they serve as a basis in the demonstration of the foundations of the rational order of reality whereby man may construct rational science based on the principles of identity, non-contradiction, the reason for being, the excluded middle, finality, and the meaning of personal life, and the life of the person is made manifest in acts of cognition and love.


1. being = "bytowanie". "bytowanie" is a verbal noun and as such corresponds to "esse" rather than "ens" [editor's note].

2. "Wytwór znakowy"

3. "henologiczny" from the Greek "`ENOS" meaning "one".

4. cf. E. Gilson, L'être et l'essence, Paris 1948, p. 39 (Byt i istota translated into Polish by P. Lublicz J. Nowak, Warszawa 1963

5. Réné Descartes, Epistola ad Voelim, Paris 1897-1913, vol. VIII

6. idem, Regulae II, vol. X, 363.

7. ibidem

8. idem Regulae, IV, vol. X, 372.

9. cf. Roman Ingarden, Przedmowa do drugiego wydania (Foreword to the second edition) in I. Kant, Krytyka czystego rozumu (Critique of the pure reason), translated into Polish by Roman Ingarden, Warsaw,s 1986.

10. cf. op. cit..

11. "mode of being" = "bytowość; this term is composed of "byt" (ens) and the abstract ending (beingness!).

12. "ontic character" = "bytowość"

13. "bytowość"

14. "reflection in act" = "refleksja aktowa"

15. Here the translator suspects that there is a word missing in the original text. The text as stands reads "rozumienie przedmiotu ludzkiego" - "the understanding of the human object", but it is being rendered as if it said "rozumienie przedmiotu ludzkiego poznania" - "the understanding of the object of human cognition".

16. "onticity" = "bytowość"

17. "entity or onticity" = "bytowość'"

18. "criticalization" = "ukrytycznienie" - the procedure of rendering something critical.

19. "decontradictification" = "uniesprzecznienie": this means the search for or discovery of a factor without which something would imply a contradiction.

20. "being" = "bytowanie": this is the verbal noun formed (by way of back-formation) from the noun "byt" (being, ens).

21. "onticity" = "bytowość"

22. "being" = "bytowanie"

23. "bytowość"

24. "necessaristic" = "koniecznościowy": the word "konieczny" is the more common form - "necessary".

25. "externalizes" = "uzewnętrznia": the text reads "uwewnętrznia" which means "internalizes" and the translator is guessing that there has been a typographical error.

26. "being" = "bytowanie"

27. "reified" = "urzeczowiona": in other words, "made into a thing" (the prefix "u-" is equivalent to the latin suffix "-ficare", and "rzecz" = "res").

28. "the love of pleasure" = "milość upodobania": "pleasure" is not meant in the usual English sense of frivolous or sensual delectation, but broader in meaning, whenever anything pleases us. Whenever in any way we like something.

29. "pleasure" = "upodobanie"

30. "pleasure" = "upodobanie"

31. "pleasure" = "upodobanie"



The world in which we live presents to us a very rich mosaic of the most varied beings. We are surrounded by the most various people - close relatives, distant relatives, strangers - the world of animals, plants, earth, water, air, space, planets, stars. We also live in the "world of culture", i.e. of human thought, human constructs etc. All this, however, makes up our "one" world, but not by reason of its being "our" world, as if it was we ourselves who integrated it all into a unified whole, but, as we can observe, bonds are formed independently of us between things, and these bonds are so deep that they condition even the existence of things. This unity of the world, which is revealed at first glance in the interdependence of real processes and events, has always been a source of astonishment and an occasion for reflection. Such reflection has always been alive over the ages, and it gave rise to a number of questions on the unity of the real world and the plurality of beings in the context of the unity of the world. From these questions and the various responses given to them there developed the problematics of monism and pluralism, which upon close examination is seen to be the main problematics of philosophy, wherein we find a wealth of questions and solutions from the greatest thinkers of all epochs and cultures(1). These are not mere theoretical problems which have no bearing upon life, but, on the contrary, they are very closely involved with human life, its ultimate meaning, human conduct, religion, life in society ... in a word, these problems touch upon what it means to be a human being. Depending on whether we adopt the monistic or the pluralistic standpoint, we will or will not accept the existence of God, of personal life after death, etc. It is not surprising, therefore, that the philosophical problem of the monistic or pluralistic interpretation of the world was always emotionally charged, not only in regard to purely theoretical questions, but also when it was a question of our whole attitude toward human life. This is an interesting phenomenon from the cultural point of view, for people in their normal spontaneous cognition and in their common sense behaviour basically, one may even say fundamentally, take the stand of pluralism, for they distinguish one thing from another, their own property from that of other people, the people close to them from strangers. A person who in his daily life, in his practical affairs, would consistently hold to a monistic point of view, or even tended toward monism, would be regarded as "abnormal". Yet the same people are often seen to adopt monism in the area of the natural sciences or philosophy. What someone spontaneously recognizes as pluralistic appears to him to be, upon reflection, a manifestation of a monistic understanding of reality. For many people, such a view of the world is not only easier to understand and thus more acceptable, but it also would seem to guarantee them an easier way of life in their everyday conduct and holds the promise of ultimately exempting them from responsibility for their own conduct, for in a monistic system everything happens by necessity.

Thus, in the monist and pluralistic interpretations of reality, we find two philosophical and ideological standpoints which are irreducible to one another, especially if it is a question of one's ultimate world view. Moreover, each of these standpoints entails several important consequences on the practical plane in man's attitude toward life. This is not to say that the person who professes to interpret reality in accord with monism inevitably must follow through with all its practical consequences, for in his practical conduct, in his acts of decision, man is really free in relation to his theoretical cognitive convictions. Theoretical interpretations, however, as genuine standpoints, are of fundamental importance for both the individual person and society, for they present the basic value of truth, without which all other values are mere illusions or indeed negative. Thus there is good reason for analysing the problematic of monism and pluralism in their totality. Our analysis of monism will be threefold. We will examine what shall be called classical monism, dialectical monism, and, finally, theological monism. These analyses will allow us to investigate the proper philosophical interpretation of pluralism, its basic structure and its necessary consequences. One of the consequences is that one must necessarily acknowledge the existence of God, the Absolute, as the source of the duration of being, and the necessary order in which ontological relations are found, those associated with the analogical "whole-unity" of the really existing world as it is given to us in our daily experience, in which we are also "immersed". The analogical unity of reality (the world) and the analogical cognition of reality deriving from this unity constitutes a fundamental difficulty in our interpretation of the whole. The analogical character of the world's unity and of our knowledge of it has been the occasion for many to have recourse to monism, to a monistic conception of being.


1. Classical monism

We are all basically pluralists in our prescientific, everyday spontaneous cognition and in our conduct. In the simple, subjectivized acts of our human (sensory-intellectual) cognition, we discern or ascertain different concrete objects as separate from and irreducible to one another. Every normal human being separates the objects of daily use one from the other without confusing them or reducing them, and he regards them as separate beings of which each has its own independent, subjective existence. This is the only rational standpoint in daily life, and any departure from it is immediately branded as eccentric, as "philosophical" in a pejorative sense, or as simply an abnormality.

As soon as we begin to reflect on our spontaneous cognition of the world, however, as soon as we begin to reflect upon the nature of that which we know in spontaneous cognition, the whole matter begins to get complicated and all sorts of difficulties arise. These difficulties first arose in antiquity, both in European philosophy and beyond Europe, especially in Indian philosophy. As philosophers reflected on how beings condition one another and the fact that beings undergo change, they inquired about what was "first", what was the true "root", the "fabric", as it were, of reality. It is amazing that, although they applied different methods, scholars would always arrive at the conclusion that there is some one "fabric" of which the real world is constituted. Whether they resorted to myth, to various theogonies and cosmogonies, or whether to pure reason, they would constantly arrive at the standpoint of monism. According to this view, the plurality of beings we encounter in everyday life can in itself be reduced to something more fundamental, to a "one" which later articulates itself in various ways, takes on different forms of being, which in themselves are manifestations of the same fundamental and primeval factor - "arche". As we know from the history of science and philosophy, some thought water to be this primeval factor, others air, yet others saw it in fire; there were those who saw the first principle in the "boundless" - "apeiron" - from which everything emerges and to which everything returns in cycles of twelve thousand years. It is even more amazing to see how both an extrapolation of empiricism (in ancient times a still naive empiricism) and the application of purely intellectual, a priori methods of cognition resulted in monism. The disputes between empiricists and rationalists did not have any ultimate effect on the philosophical interpretation of reality. If, by way of example, we look at the naive empiricist method of cognition applied in the Milesian school, we see that the ultimate "generalization" of the one, important element entering "the composition" of the perceived thing would end in monism. When Thales posited "water" as the fundamental principle from which everything is built, he made a very wide generalization from the function of water in living things, for living organism cannot last without water. Water is then the fundamental "fabric" of the world, for it goes through all the states (known at the time), all the elements of matter: sometimes it is burning fire, it becomes air in the form of steam, it can be running water, or turn to earth in the form of ice. Seeing the functions of water in both organic and inorganic things, scientists may have felt entitled to state that it is "water" that is the fabric of all things and which constitutes the "arche", i.e., the beginning and, at the same time, the essence of all that is.

Purely intellectual approaches to reality would also lead to monism. The classic example is Parmenides of Elea. He rejected the method of sensory perception as worthless, as the "method of fools" and wanted to base his investigations exclusively on purely intellectual cognition, on pure thought, without making contact with the world of the senses. Pure thought of this kind, disconnected from all sensory cognition, could only be a pure logical tautology, for if the act of thinking is the same as the object of thought - noein te kai noema tauton - then everything is the same; everything is what it is. Hence our visible and complex world was a rather secondary matter, and it was interpreted in various ways, depending on the physical or philosophical standpoint. Some thinkers presented non-verifiable models, as Heraclitus with his comments on the upward and the downward path of fire. Others thought that the same factor undergoes metamorphoses, as water was thought to pass through all the states of matter (gas, liquid, solid). In the atomistic theory of Leucippus of Miletus and Democritus of Abdera, the inseparable particles of matter (a-toms) were not treated as absolutely simple particles, but as somehow already "composed" of magnitude and quality, yet, in spite of this, theirs was a monistic theory. The approach of the ancient thinkers, as they attempted to arrive at the very foundation, or, as it were, the "fabric" of reality" can be understood as so many attempts to reach an ultimate state of "identity", of non-composition, unity, to find the ultimate answers to the question "WHY?". Once we have reached that which is absolutely identical, non-composite etc., there is an end to questioning. Only identity is essentially comprehensible and rational in itself, and our thought is not sent away to look for some other factor. In seeking explanations of reality, the aim was always to arrive at an ultimate and fundamental "identity" and non-composition.(2)

The same quest for the ultimately non-composite and identical principle constitutive of all reality is the driving force behind the investigations of modern physicists. "As we analyse the history of Greek thought" - W. Heisenberg writes(3)- "it is easy to see that from the times of Thales up to the time of Heraclitus the development of philosophy was spurred on by the contradiction between unity and plurality. The world appears to our senses as an infinite variety of things and phenomena, colours and sounds. In order to understand it, however, we must introduce a certain order, and discover that which is identical, for order denotes a particular kind of unity. As a result of this, there arises the conviction that a fundamental principle of some kind exists; at the same time we are faced with a difficult task; from this one principle we are to deduce an infinite variety of things. The natural point of departure was the assumption that there must be a material cause for all things, since the world consists of matter. However, the concept of the unity of the world means - in its extreme form - the recognition that some infinite, eternal and non-differentiated being exists". Heisenberg rightly draws attention to the necessity of reading the basic "unity" of being as such, which should ultimately explain the differentiation of beings as we encounter them in the real world. For there to exist an infinite number of changeable beings, this basic "unity" itself must be susceptible to change. "Thus, according to Heraclitus, this cause is fire, a proto-element which is at the same time both matter and motive force." Heisenberg uses Heraclitus' idea in order to draw attention to how Heraclitus' views converge with those of contemporary physicists.

He writes: "We can observe that the views of contemporary physics are in a certain way unusually close to the Heraclitean concept. If we replace the world "fire" by the term "energy", then his statements will be almost completely equivalent to today's views. Energy is precisely that substance from which all elementary particles, all atoms, are formed, that is, all things as well. At the same time, it is that which causes movement. Energy is a substance, because its general quantity does not change, and numerous experiences convince us that elementary particles can really emerge from this substance. Energy is transformed into motion, heat, light and electrical tension. It can called the fundamental cause of all changes in nature." The convergence which Heisenberg perceives between ancient and modern views, in that they arrive at some fundamental primary "substance" as the stuff of all things, can easily be transformed into a philosophical statement about the monistic nature of reality; in reality there appears one "fabric", one "substance" of everything which in itself must be non-composite, "one", "simple", "identical". Although Heraclitus and Heisenberg note that this substance, which Heraclitus calls "fire" and Heisenberg calls "energy", must in itself be changeable if it is to be the reason for change, this radical changeability would be non-being if it did not have in itself any determinants. Hence in modern physics one speaks of "properties", that is, determinants of the fundamental particles of matter. Hence in modern physics we speak of properties, the determinants of the fundamental particles of matter. Heisenberg writes: "...Let us try to answer the question:"What is an elementary particle?" It turns out that, although we use terms denoting elementary particles, e.g. the term "neutron". we are not able to define these particles commonly and at the same time in a detailed way, nor are we able to give a strict definition of what we understand by these terms. We use different methods of describing the particles and we can present, e.g. the neutron, one time as a particle , another time as a wave, or again as a group of waves". We know, however, that non of these descriptions is precise... The "elementary particles" described by contemporary physics have mass. However, they have mass only in a certain qualified sense of the word "to have"; the same sort of qualification must also be applied to other properties of theirs. Since, according to the theory of relativity, mass and energy are essentially the same, we can therefore say that elementary particles are composed of energy. Energy could be recognized as the fundamental primary substance. There is no doubt that it has a certain property which is an essential characteristic of what we call "substance", namely, it is subject to the law of the conservation of matter. For this reason we can regard the views of modern physics, as we have mentioned earlier, as being very close to Heraclitus' conception (provided that we interpret "fire" as energy). Energy is that which causes movement; it can be called the proto-cause of all changes; it can be transformed into matter, heat or light. The conflict of opposites of which Heraclitus speaks finds its counterpart in the mutual opposition of two different forms of energy....

Elementary particles are certainly not eternal and indestructible building blocks of matter, and they can be transformed into one another. If two elementary particles having great kinetic energy collide, then they can cease to exist, and many new particles can emerge from the energy that they carried. Phenomena of this kind have been observed many times. They convince us most strongly that the fabric of all particles is the same substance: energy. The similarity between modern views and those of Plato and the Pythagoreans does not end there. The "elementary particles" of which Plato speaks in the "Timaeus" are, in fact, not material corpuscles, but mathematical forms".(4)


Modern physics arrived at a solution analogical to those of the ancient Ionian physicist-philosophers. It can be interpreted in a monistic fashion, but does not need to be. Although one may hold that there is one fundamental substance, i.e. energy, for the entire changing material world, precisely because it is the reason for all further transformations, it cannot be regarded as being absolutely "simple" and non-composite in itself, for in that case it would be impossible for there to be any "becoming", any transformation or motion of beings in the world. If one accepts the idea that this primordial stuff is absolutely non-composite, then one is necessarily faced with the alternatives formulated by Parmenides. However one may choose to call this primordial substance, whether by the name of energy or of being (Parmenides), neither "becoming" nor change would be possible, due to the absolute non-composition and unity of this substance; the only possiblity would be a change into "non-being" and "non-energy". There is no such a possibility, however, in the case of such a primary, non-composite "substance. Hence, the only possiblity is static monism, and the only explanation for change is that it is an illusion arising from the deceptive testimony of the senses. Since we know through our various senses, the world appears to us as pluralistic, yet in itself it is simple, non-composite, always identical.

In modern physics, in which energy is regarded as the primary building material of the material world, energy is regarded, as Heisenberg said, as possessing certain specific properties. If this is the case, energy cannot be conceived as an absolutely simple substance, but rather as one which is composed, in various ways, of certain sub-structural elements. These can only be free of contradiction if they generally fulfil the following schema of order: the order of potency to act, that is, these "parts", existing as something determined in a specific time, at the same time form a unity and a whole by themselves. Classical philsophy explains the potency of changes by the union of "prime matter" and "substantial form". The possibility of changes and dynamism in nature requires certain conditions which would render these changes non-contradictory . The perceived changes would be impossible, i.e. contradictory, if the "proto-stuff" were in itself absolutely non-composite. Nothing composite can arise from absolute non-composition. On the other hand, however, we must accept, at least theoretically, the postulate that some primordial non-composition is the factor which is the common "matter" of the material world. It can be called "energy"; this energy, however, as the simplest ontic structure, must have an ontic sub-structure, precisely on account of its constant transformations, and this substructure would be made of "factors" incapable of any independent existence, factors which would make the dynamism of being possible, the verifiable mutability of "energy" (if we may give this name to the prime matter of material things), and thus render it free of contradiction. These sub-structural factors, which in classical philosophy were called "prime matter" and "substantial form" are not, and cannot be, known empirically, for they have no independent existence apart from each other in a composite. They alone can be recognized by the reason as precisely that which "renders free of contradiction" the changes and the ontic dynamism of the meterial world. To reject these factors is to negate the very fact that the beings of the material world undergo change.

"Prime matter" and "substantial form" exist only in being and through being. They come into a unity in such a way that the "consequence" (not in the temporal sense but in the order of justification) of this union is one and the same being. This being has a radically potential aspect and the same time the various "constants" that define it. It is thereby both a being, and a dynamic and changeable being. The relation of "prime matter" and "substantial form" to one another is expressed in the schema of "potency" and "act", and these constitute a contingent form of existence. As we know, neither can the potential aspect of being exist without act, nor can the aspect of act exist without potency, for they themselves are not being, but rather that which renders changeable being free of contradiction (decontradictification). Really existing being (as made up of potency and act) has in itself the most varied "dispositions" to be something else. All this conditions the constant mutability and dynamism of material beings. Thus, if we were to accept the idea that at one time (even for the briefest instant) there existed a materially "non-composite" being, as the primary form of energy, then we would have to admit that this being would already be composed in itself of some substructural factors, of prime matter and substantial form, as elementary particles: of two quarks ("up" and "down") and of the electron. Moreover, in the universe there commonly occurs yet another elementary particle, the neutrino. (Today the list of elementary particles has grown longer, but apart from the four above mentioned, they can be made only in the artificial conditions of the laboratory or within stars.) The countless forms occuring in nature can be reduced to four elements.

There have been equally impressive findings in the investigation of reactions at the elementary level. There are a great number of forces in nature, the force of wind, of water, gravity, electrical and magnetic forces, forces of viscosity, the force of muscles, nuclear forces, etc. These have been reduced to four elementary forces: gravitational force, strong nuclear force, electromagnetic force and weak nuclear forces (responsible for radioactivity). Scientists have been working with some success on further reducing this number, on showing how these four are different aspects of one force - a unified theory of the microcosm. At the foundation of modern physics we find the principle of symmetry of characterization. In theories based on the symmetry of characterization, one finds groups of different but equivalent elementary particles. As it turns out, if a reaction precisely fulfils the principle of the symmetry of characterization, then the elementary particles which depend on this symmetry are unable to exist in a free state, but only by combining with one another into composite objects. This phenomenon is called the imprisonment of particles. This occurs in strong reactions, in which we can observe only the bonded states of quarks, but scientists have not yet succeeded in observing free quarks, ones not accompanied by other quarks. This is a completely new situation and its implications for our world view should be more closely examined. There are two important observations to be made: a/ this theory arrives at the concept of composite systems which by their very nature cannot be divided into constituent parts; b/ the imprisonment effect is the result of an ideal symmetry between completely equivalent objects. Ideal symmetry excludes the existence of free elementary particles.

This view of matter is concerned with the structure of the integrating parts of matter which can be measured by us. As it turns out, we are presented with a particular "whole" which is made up of a plurality, and the particles fulfil their function only when they are in the "whole". Thus the measurable aspect of matter (insofar as it is composed of integrating parts) has an ontological structure different from the nature of the particles constituting its substructure. Does not this all become clearer if we think of the substructure of the essence of material beings (i.e., prime matter and form), and the substructure of contingent being, where we are dealing with such "parts" as the essence and existence of being? Monism in general and theories tending towards a monistic view lose their reason for being, for monism is valid only if one can reduce all the forms of being in the real world to one basic substance which would be non-composite in itself, a substance which articulates and organizes itself into the diversity and multiplicity of real beings, which, however, would be inconsistent and imply a contradiction. If we hold to the earlier view of reality, that what is called in short form (and perhaps improperly) "substance" is itself composed of substructural elements, then it is possible for it to undergo development, and it is possible for beings to change and "articulate" themselves. At the same time monism becomes unacceptable as standing in contradiction to the basic composition of this "substance".

Thus some thinkers have been led to monism both by original philosophical interpretations of reality and by superficial philosophical interpretations of the findings of modern physics. This seemingly scientific monism is the result of faulty analyses and superficial or misapplied scientific methods. The monistic view is undoubtedly attractive on account of its simplicity, but upon deeper reflection we see that it negates the very foundations of rationality, the principles of identity and contradiction. Since we are concerned with a rational view of the world, the price of monism is too high.(5)


There is one form of monism which does not negate the principles of identity and contradiction, the monism of Parmenides, of which we may find vestiges in the philosophy of Kant. It was Kant who in fact laid bare the foundations of monism by revealing the empirical subjective conditions for cognition. In Parmenides, who emphasized both identity and non-contradiction. we find two methods of cognition - the higher way of the sage and the lower way of fools. The first, the way of the sage, was an intellectual view of being totally detached from empirical data. Life, however, compels people to guide their steps by the testimony of the senses, which inform us of a plural and varied reality. In order to preserve our biological life we are forced to employ the testimony of the senses and to recognize that there are many beings which appear to us in sensory experience. The intellect, however, completely free of the senses, can accept only the absolute necessity of the principle of identity and non-contradiction and must recognize the monism which results from the absolute principle. This does mean that Parmenides forms his view of the world on the basis of reference to the sources of knowledge, now the intellect and now the senses. He wanted to understand reality without any possibility of doubt. In his interpretation, this could be assured only by cognition detached from all empiricism, only by purely a priori intellectual cognition. Yet, having behind him historical experience, especially the investigations of the Ionian philosophers, he could explain their speculations by the influence of empiricism, which embraced various sources of sensory experience. Epistemological objectivism remained the predominant attitude over long centuries of philosophical reflection.

Kant deliberately sought to change this epistemological attitude by his theory that science and valid knowledge are dependent upon the subject and his a priori categories. Descartes had introduced epistemic subjectivism with his theory that the proper object of knowledge is the subjective idea (a clear and distinct idea) and not the thing in itself; nevertheless, Descartes did not make the understanding of things dependent upon the structure of the knowing subject. Kant, after reading Hume and experiencing a great intellectual crisis, succeeded in bringing about a philosophical "Copernican Revolution", when he made the rational structure of the object of knowledge depend upon the knowing subject. In Kant's critical philosophy the important question was: "How, on the basis of representations, can we know anything about things?" According to Kant (and other post-Cartesian philosophers who preceded him), what we know is only an impression and representation, i.e., the effect that something has made upon our senses. This had been justified by British empiricism, especially Hume. How, then, is it possible to proceed from a subjective impression or representation to the objective thing in itself? The Polish historian of philosophy, Tatarkiewicz, quotes a significant excerpt from Kant's letter to M. Hertz: "I have noticed that I still am lacking in something essential, to which I, like others, did not pay attention in my long metaphysical investigations, and which is, in fact, the key to the whole mystery that still lies deep in metaphysics. I have asked myself on what basis that which is called representation in us refers to the object."(6) Kant's solution, that the value of knowledge is dependent upon the subject, was, in this historical context, the only acceptable one, for David Hume had already criticized and apparently invalidated the idea that the value of knowledge depends upon the object. Hume had attempted to show that both the principle of causality and that of substantiality were merely subjective attitudes without any sufficient reason in the thing itself. If, therefore, the object is not the source of the rationality of knowledge, then it must be correspondingly structuralized; it must be "armed", so to speak, with a priori forms of rationality. Some of these forms apply to sensory cognition (space, time). Other forms apply to intellectual cognition, (e.g. unity, plurality, reality, substance, cause, possibility, existence, necessity). The rationality of knowledge is derived not from the object but entirely from the knowing subject.

In addition, the very concept of the object had been changed. If, up to the time of Kant, the "object" was given as the already existing correlate of the cognizing subject, then for Kant the "object" is a subjective structure, for subjectivity is the condition for the emergence of the object. Thus, it is the subject that indicates the rationality of the object. The subject is in itself, as the source of knowledge, one and undivided. It is the subject as the source of the rationality of objective knowledge that imposes the a priori categories that make scientific knowledge possible. Although these categories (both for sensory and intellectual cognition) are many in number, nevertheless they are a projection of the same "ego", the rational "I". This "I", as it makes knowledge possible through the critical categories which it imposes, at the same time through these categories imposes an implicit monism; this "I" draws together the plurality of aspects and the pluralism which appear in the light of the rational categories. If the condition for objectivity is subjectivity, then this subjectivity, as an a priori "ego" underlies the rational cognition which occurs in the light of the many and various a priori categories. In Kant we can see a fundamental reason for the rise of many monistic trends in philosophy - the unity of the knowing subject; the subject imposes itself like a shadow on everything which it cognizes as plural. It is this shadow of the subject, who is the only source of knowledge, which outlines the monistic view of reality. The error of Kant which gave rise to an epistemological "Copernican Revolution", the view that the object and the understanding of the object are dependent upon the subject and its a priori categories, clearly brings to light the tendencies towards monism which ceaselessly appear in the history of philosophy. Although monism entails epistemological difficulties, its simplicity makes it very attractive.

Superficial philosophical reflection seemed to give a basis to the monistic standpoint, as did a certain type of mythical thinking (I say "mythical" because it was not based upon the basic principles of rationality - relational identity and non-contradiction). Monism can be found in some epistemological trends which tend toward psychology, for Kant made objective cognitive values depend upon the subject.

Monism as it has been presented here has fundamental shortcomings; it implies a contradiction and thereby loses any rational foundation, although it presents a simple and attractive, indeed imaginative, vision. Nothing can entitle us to identify non-being and being with each other, singularity and plurality, non-composition and composition, indivisibility and divisibility. If one accepts monism then one must by necessity identify non-being with being, for that which is one, identical and indivisible in itself must at the same time be the plurality of beings of which reality gives witness (I, you, he, we, others). It does not matter whether the transition from that which is simple and non-composite in itelf to the plurality of beings which now exist has taken place over a longer or shorter time, or whether this transition is beyond time. Time, in monism, is also illusory and unacceptable, for time is, in spite of everything, the flow of matter. How can that which is in itself identical, one, and non-composite in any way flow or change? That is why, after all, there are no consistent monists, except perhaps Parmenides. Parmenidean monism, the only consistent monism in which everything is one and the same and in which plurality and change are to be dismissed as illusions, is untenable in the face of the evident dynamism and plurality of reality. The other forms of monism, presented as postulates, are in reality "pseudo-monisms", for the original "one" presented in these systems is not in itself simple, but manifestly "composite", as only if there is composition is dynamism and evolution non-contradictory. The internal commposition of the postulated first principle, the monistic "one", destroys the postulate of monism, for the inner composition of being (the primary and unique principle) immediately raises the problem of the "reason for being" of such a composition. Together with this question there arise immediately all the problems of ontic pluralism, how being has inner unity and is indivisible, while at the same time each being is separate and distinct from other beings, how reality is ordered and how it is connected with the reason for being, the Absolute. We will consider this in greater depth in our analysis of ontic pluralism.


Classical monism first appears in the work of the Ionian physicist-philosophers and continues to be reflected in modern cosmological theories and theoretical physics. If one is to preserve rationality, however, it is untenable; we cannot keep the principles of identity and non-contradiction and monism at the same time, for these principles are necessarily connected with the pluralism of being. Our cognition has an objective nature and concerns reality - being.

It was an erroneous interpretation of being which led some thinkers to question the binding force of these first principles, as can be seen especially in the system of Hegel. He initiated a new type of monism, "dialectical monism", difficult both to understand and to refute, for he rejects the rational foundations of knowledge and thought.

Let us examine the philosophical background which led to Hegelianism, the ambiguous interpretations of being which paved the way to his system. The mediaeval scholar John Duns Scotus brought about a fundamental confusion in the way being was understood. His standpoint had a decisive influence on metaphysics persisting to this day. His error in the understanding of being was influenced by several things. First of all, it was commonly held at that time that the whole of human knowledge can be expressed in the form of concepts or ideas. This was the Platonic and the Aristotelian heritage, and it apparently was supported by the theological view that God's knowledge is expressed in the "divine ideas", the most important of these ideas being the logos, the Divine Word. According to the prevalent view, everything knowable can be expressed in the form of a "concept" as an intellectual interpretation of reality. As a result, weaker intellects need a greater number of concepts in order to be able to express a particular thing, whereas stronger intellects can understand the same thing better and understand more in fewer concepts. Angelic intellects, in their "concept" of their essence understood things better than men did. God understands everything in a creative way, in one concept, the Logos. It is not, however, true to say that human cognition is manifested only in concepts, for our cognition culminates not in concepts but in judgements. Although very judgement contains concepts, the act of judgement is something different from the act of conceptual cognition, something more perfect; it apprehends the structure of being more profoundly and it is in judgement that truth abides. The relation between us and the reality we apprehend, the relation of truth, is established in the act of judgement. Nevertheless, there was a tendency in the history of philosophy to reduce all type of intellectual cognition to purely conceptual cognition, which is once-sided as concepts do not apprehend the fact of existence, but only content, the various endowments of being.

The univocal concept is another prejudice associated with the name of Duns Scotus. His univocal concept of being was associated with Avicenna's doctrine of "Third natures", and it emphasized the values of intellectual knowledge. Avicenna's third natures were his significant contribution to the understanding of the Aristotelian concept of essence-substance. Essence or substance could occur in three different states: a/ as a concrete individual nature; b/ as a concept of this substance existing in the mind of the knower, e.g. my concept of Socrates - "the man"; c/ a nature detached from existence, existing neither in the thing nor in the mind of the knower, but being in itself a set of constitutive features - e.g. man as man, horse as horse. The third nature thus understood - "in itself" - provides the foundation for a certain metaphysical interpretation of reality. Avicenna's third natures presented a possible but at the same time necessary reality as "possibile esse" (an essence without concrete existence which could come into existence) as opposed to "necesse esse" (that which exist by necessity, God Himself). Duns Scotus tried set the third natures in order by arranging them in an hierarchy. In this way he arrived at a nature which the common foundation of all things (God and creatures), and this nature was being. Being constitutes the most general and fundamental level upon which the other "nature-forms" are built. The next layers are substance, corporality, life, animality, man, and finally "John". He formed a kind of multi-level pyramid composed of layers which were arranged according to examples. What was "being" in this pyramid? It was supposed to be the most general content, non-contradictory in itself and therefore common to everything. The most general structure of content, which excludes any inner contradiction, determines the nature of being. This internally non-contradictory structure of content can be reached by one primary and basic act of the intellect. Whatever the intellect cognizes, it cognizes as being, as internal non-contradiction. Thus being, as inner non-contradiction - is the object of man's intellectual cognition; being demarcates the field of possible metaphysics and unifies all intellectual cognition.

Duns Scotus' sublime proposition, so different from Thomas' concept of being, seduced with its simplicity such eminent philosophers as Suarez, Descartes, Wolff, and Hegel; it indirectly contributed to Hegel's revolutionary thought, in which being is understood not as inner non-contradiction, but precisely as a contradiction which is resolved in the dialectical triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. In the post-Scotist tradition, the simple and univocally understood structure of being is of fundamental importance. If being was supposed to be a content-nature, non-contradictory in itself, then in the same sense - as a non-contradiction - being was predicated of the whole of reality. This guaranteed the unity of the object of man's intellectual cognition and thereby the possibility of a rational understanding of reality. Being could be expressed in a univocal concept that philosophers could communicate univocally using such a concept. From the time of Descartes, philosophers did not speak of being, but almost exclusively of the concept of being, the idea of being. This simple and rational idea was supposed to express, according to Wolff, a pure possibility (i.e. non-contradiction), which is so detached from all determinations and ontic layers that it is quite different from them and cannot be identified with any concrete determination. If this pure possibility were to be identified with any determination, it would be exhausted in it. This concept of being was supposed to be the ultimate and unshakeable foundation for metaphysics.

This is the point where Hegel struck; he understood that in this conception of being, in abstraction from all determinations, being does not differ in anything from nothingness. Consequently being and nothingness are the same. But being "is" not, it develops in a necessary way. Being is evolving. Evolution and the development of being occurs according to the basic law of dialectics - thesis, antithesis, synthesis.

The influence of Hegel's thought has had such an influence on thought and conduct that it has proved practically insurmountable. Marx adopted Hegel's dialectics, but he replaced the Hegelian "idea" with his own "matter". Many Marxist philosophers returned to Hegel in order to bring greater cohesion to Marx's thought. Moreover, many theologians, including Roman Catholic ones, have drawn on Hegel's evolutionary and dialectical concept in order to explain the process of salvation. What was Hegel himself concerned with in his presentation and ultimate understanding of reality? After Descartes, for whom the object of knowledge was no longer the real world but the subjective concept, the clear and distinct idea, the history of European philosophy became connected with subjectivism and idealism. Scientists believed that in fact our ideas as sensory impressions and the products of imagination, or as abstract concepts, constitute the only accessible source of knowledge and information about the world, for we know only as much as we can gather from our senses. There, it is not the really existing world in itself which constitutes the object of our knowledge (impression, the products of imagination and concepts being various modes of this knowledge), but the world, insofar as it is given to us in our "ideas". Kant gave grounds for this view. Consequently, the fundamental cognitive situation, the originally rational situation, is the "idea" conceived in various ways. Kant gave grounds for the idea that subjective conditions, as the categories of the senses and of the reason, make the "idea" rational and intelligible, and the "idea" was conceived as "Empfindung", a sensory representation. Kant's follower Fichte argued that the existence of things depends upon thought and overcame the common conviction that things exist independently of thought. This view was shared by Hegel. If, therefore, the basic situation of rationality is the "idea", then it is the idea of being, which is of its nature general. Hegel recognized generality as the essence of being; everything individual is merely a secondary manifestation of the idea-concept(7).

The idea-concept is of its nature general and necessarily contains the whole of being. Only the whole of being is an absolute; it alone is rational. Particular facts, though regarded as rational by the empiricists, in fact are not, nor are they beings. The idea or concept of being as general and necessary is not static, for if it were it would destroy itself, as it would be a contradiction. If the concept-idea is general, then it is devoid of all determinations, thereby in no way differing from nothingness. Thus the concept or idea of being constantly "becomes" and thereby overcomes its inner contradiction. Moreover, in becoming it emanates plurality, thanks to the dialectical process. Absolute being - a concept deriving from inner necessity, is evolutionary, changeable, for if it were unchanging it would self-destruct, as it is by its nature as general a contradiction in which being and non-being are identical. Thus the triple rhythm of dialectic development constitutes a way of being-thinking (if to be and to think is the same). Every mode of being-thinking "yes" corresponds by necessity to the mode of being-thinking "yes-no", that is to say, each thesis corresponds to the antithesis of being-thinking. The thesis of "I am alienated" transforms itself, as it were, from within into an antithesis. Thus the world develops in a triple rhythm.

Hegel's concept of the dialectic is yet another tragic and erroneous attempt to explain the be-ing of movement. It is erroneous chiefly because he identified being and thought with each other, and then being and changeability, in order to avoid evident self-destructive contradiction. If being were absolute generality, it would be identical to nothingness, and that is why it cannot"be", it can only "become". Becoming is the essence of being. That which in Aristotle was only a manifestation of the categories (motion and becoming) was raised to the rank of all-being in Hegel. That is why the whole of reality appears as the "transformation" of ideas into the material universe, and this in turn into one ultimately absolute spirit. In Aristotle, the phenomenon of motion was also subject to philosophical explication; he referred to the infra-structure of being, to the non-independently existing component factors of being - potency and act. Motion as change in the contingent world was supposed to be an act of a being in potency as potency. Being, however, is in itself composed of of factors which are relatively opposed to one another, related to one another as potency to act. Motion is a state of being, but motion is not a subsistent being. Being "is in motion", being carries out transformations, but being is not change. Change is in being because there is in change a plurality of potential, transformable factors. Being is always present, however, and the motion that is in being is an act which is actualized, but which is still in potency to further actualization.

Of course, motion (change) understood in this way as an act of being in potency is not in itself very comprehensible; we must constantly make reference to concrete being and concrete motion. It is not surprising that Descartes objected to Aristotle's interpretation of changeability and motion as vague and imprecise. To sum up, the definition of motion and changeability appeared not as a clear and distinct idea, but rather as a vague idea, and thus it was to be rejected. It is true that the reality of motion is "vague", yet in Descartes's eyes vagueness was enough to disqualify an idea, even if it were reality itself which would be rejected, to which Descartes did not attain in his analysis of clear and distinct ideas. That is why Descartes preferred to define motion though the concepts of an inert body and a force which "breaks in" upon an inert body. This seemed to him to be sufficiently distinct and clear, mathematically simple and useful.

Hegel was the third major thinker to contribute to this discussion of change; he identified being with absolute generality and, at the same time, with changeability. He had to assume, on the one hand, that being has a contradictory nature, and, on the other hand, he had to extricate himself from this contradiction by accepting a radical changeability which would not only allow him to overcome contradiction but also to develop and absolutely "logical" system by the application of the law of dialectics. The affirmation of contradiction as the fundamental "law" of the concept - idea, and then the revelation, on the basis of the law of contradiction, of the rational nature of the system - this was Hegel's grand design. At the beginning of his dissertation for his habilitation exam in Jena in 1801 he wrote the significant sentence: "contradictio est regula veri, noncontradictio, falsi"(8) - contradiction is the rule of truth and non-contradiction is the rule of falsehood. The contradictory interpretation of being in motion is Hegel's "original" idea; we see here a complete break from the rational order, since the basis of the rational order is precisely non-contradiction. When the principle of non-contradiction is negated, all reasoning and thinking shall come to an end, for anything that can be said will then be of no value, irrespective of whether the judgements expressed are reasonable, even "ingenious", or absurd. Non-contradiction is not only the foundation of knowledge and reasoning, it penetrates the meaning of every judgement and every statement. If I negate non-contradiction as the deepest law of knowledge and thought, then every statement in which this law is not recognized has to be regarded as farcical and meaningless. It does not matter whether the statement in question happens to be "true"! The statement will always be a priori invalid and worthless, since the prime absurdity has been accepted as valid. In fact, this is the point where we should stop reading Hegel and discussing his position.

Nevertheless, a strange social phenomenon took place. Hegel's thought won general acceptance, his views were widely analysed, and his theories have exerted a constant influence on various thinkers. Hegel himself had a somewhat unusual understanding of "contradiction". He understood it in various ways, in spite of the fact that he formulated an anti-rational position and he interpreted contradiction arbitrarily, depending both on the context or circumstances and on his own intentions. A real negation of contradiction, in the proper sense of the word "contradiction", puts an end to all knowledge and reasoning (thought). It is, however, sometimes convenient to propound that which is itself a fundamental absurdity in order to freely justify an intended view, or else to rationally justify a clearly irrational standpoint. This is precisely how the matter stands both in the works of Hegel himself and in the works of his disciples, particularly if it is a question of the method of Hegelian justification.

The phenomenon of change in beings, with which Aristotle was well acquainted and which he extensively analyzed, was used by Hegel to make a fundamental epistemological "slip" in which he identified being with change. It was not the concretely existing being that was in question, but rather "being" understood in an abstract way, i.e. the most general concept of being. We know from experience that the concrete being (we ourselves are concrete beings) is subject to change and motion, but it is not itself change nor motion. In order to be able to state that being is change and motion, we must make a "slip" and "change" being as concretely existing into being as apprehended abstractly and in the most general way. This has been done many times in the history of human thought. Hegel also concluded from this that being is a "concept" and "is" not but rather "becomes", that is, it is change. If being conceived as the most general idea, is change, then it is thereby self-contradictory; contradiction is the fundamental law of thought and of being, since as Hegel said: "What is rational is real and what is real is rational; the thinking is the same is the same".(9)

On the other hand, the most general concept of being is the most general mode in which we have a cognitive intellectual apprehension of the content of concrete being, but it is never and nowhere a being, and it would be absurd to hold that it exists; the mode of human knowledge or cognition is the mode of the existence of man's thought and not of the existence of the thing itself. Otherwise, all the wise and foolish dreams of men would be true. There is no passage from the mode of human cognition to the mode of real being. It is pure absurdity, therefore to attribute the real states which are realized in a concrete being to the most general concept of being. The fact that there are changeable actual-potential states in concrete beings had been perceived and explained already by Aristotle over two millennia ago. He correctly distinguished between the different modes of opposition in real being: "I maintain that one thing may be opposed to another in four ways: as a relation, as opposition, as deprivation and possession, as statement and negation. Here are the particular modes of opposition: the "double" is supposed to the "single" as a relation; the "good" is opposed to the "bad" as an opposition; the "blind man" is in opposition to "the man with sight" by way of deprivation and possession; "he is sitting" is in opposition to "not sitting" as a statement is to its negation."(10)

Aristotle thus distinguished four pairs of oppositions. The first three are modes of being that really occur in things. The fourth, contradiction, cannot occur in a thing, but is a property of a judgement concerning thing. It is an opposition expressed in a judgement - "It is" and "It is not". The thing-being is in itself that which it is; it is relatively identical. Only in the case of the Absolute is it or can it be identical absolutely. Contradiction is our cognitive vision in relation to a being of which, if one stands on the ground of cognitive objectivism, one cannot pronounce a contradictory judgement, that it is, when in fact it is not, or that it is not, when in fact it is. Non-contradiction, on the other hand, appears in our cognition in relation to things. Hence, from this reference to cognition, being is "non-contradictory", i.e. we see that in itself it cannot be divided into "being" ("itself") and "non-being" (the negation of "itself"). Non-contradiction is the vision of the relatively identical being in the light of the negative judgement concerning this same being.

Inner composition, causing changes and the motion of being, consists in the oppositions mentioned by Aristotle at the beginning as the oppositions of relation, privation and contraries. They are real states of composite being, but they are not a contradiction in being. In the concrete, real being, as a result of inner, varied composition, there exist a wide variety of parts which are opposed to one another in motion. Aristotle set these parts in order. His ordering was accepted by the post-Aristotelian philosophical tradition. We have the opposition of relations, e.g.,, left and right, the opposition of contraries, e.g. (in colours) white an black, night and day, virtue and vice, and the opposition of privation and possession, e.g. a blind man and a man who sees, the deaf person and the one who can hear, the man with a head of hair and the bald person etc.. Among the parts of being which dispose being from within, there exists a constant and vacillating state of change, It is not however, a contradiction, but the relative identity of being. Identity, because it concerns the same subject - being; relative because it recognizes the parts of this subject.

Hegel could not, or did not want to, understand the distinctions between ontic opposition made by Aristotle; Hegel simplified the states of being differentiated by Aristotle and called change (the potency to change) a state of contradiction. In order to make the matter even more complicated, be presented this state of contradiction arbitrarily in any number of ways. As a result, there arose various interpretations of Hegel's thought, especially in the question of his fundamental interpretation of reality.

For Hegel, the state of the inner contradiction of things and concepts is the ground for the solution of contradiction through the surmounting of alienation as a state that is contrary to the initial situation. Thus "contradiction" is the mother or life-giver of the "dialectic process" as necessary form of the onticity of all things or concepts. On this basis we should accept the general scheme of understanding reality. It is the "idea" as a particular "collection" of rationality in itself. Is this perhaps God? If it were God, it could be God unaware of Himself and of the world - "die bewusstlose Gott - das unbewusste Sein". We cannot identify "concept" as the initial state in dialectic development with God, since there is no "nature", no material world, which is an alienation, i.e., an antithesis in relation to the "concept"; without the world there is not God, for according to Hegel "Ohne Welt ist Gott nicht Gott"(11). The idea, therefore, as the initial state of the gigantic dialectic process is, as it were, a cumulation in itself of "rationality", since it is a realization of contradiction. The latter, in order not to destroy itself, necessarily "becomes" in dialectic movement, changing into an antithesis, i.e. into the nature of the material world which contains layers of rationality and which is unaware of itself and then changes into the third phase of the dialectic movement, synthesis, the appearance of the spirit. The spirit also undergoes a dialectic development: from the "subjective spirit", which appears in man as subjectivity, through the alienation of this spirit, the "objective spirit" - as products of the "subjective spirit", i.e. as language, law, social institutions, in order to bring an end to its process in the absolute spirit. The absolute spirit undergoes its dialectic development through religion, art, and then philosophy, in which God becomes aware of himself and aware of the whole of being.

The contradiction of the "being-concept" is the chief motive force and the ultimate reason for the all-embracing dialectic movement. This is because "everything", i.e., the abstract, the most general being, would self-destruct if it were not subject to dialectic development, since "everythingness" is the same as "nothingness", hence we have the necessity of the dialectic movement, in which the "concept" will become self-aware, "returning to itself" as it were, in a higher way, as an absolute spirit, aware in itself (through the universe) and thereby God ultimately being "being-in-itself-and-for-itself".

Besides the concept of primordial contradiction as a reason for the dialectic process, there also exists an ontological contradiction, understood in Hegel's work as a set of relational antagonistic forms, now in contradiction to one another, now succeeding one another, like the forces of birth and of dying, allowing another form of being to form, etc. Generally speaking, the understanding of contradiction in Hegel is an evident confusion of the state of the abstract thought and concretely existing being; it is a confusion of the opposition of contradiction with other types of opposition, particularly the opposition of relations and contrariety. It is, however, a desired confusion, so the necessary process of "dialectic development" may find a rational justification, which process is itself supposed to provide a "rational" explanation of everything, albeit at the cost of the paradoxical acceptance of contradictions as being precisely the rational state. In Hegel's system, which was born of contradiction and lives by feeding on contradiction, God appears as a synthesis in the dialectic, and man appears as the place in which God is born; the difference between being and non-being, good and evil, disappears in the general view of the world which "becomes" by necessity, according to the plans of Hegel's thought, in which, as we can see from the totality of the system, God probably became ultimately aware of himself.

Hegel's gigantically delineated dialectic monism appears to be the second great system of human thought after Plotinus in which reality is made to develop in a manner dictated by the thought of a human "god", i.e. Plotinus or Hegel, independently of all experience. Both these systems, Neoplatonism and Hegelianism, were associated to such an extent with Christian thought that, on the one hand, it was difficult for the Church in the East to surmount Plotinus' speculations. It was only after long centuries of discussion and many councils that theologians were able to definitively deal with his pan-logism. On the other hand, Hegelianism has more recently become the mode of expression for Protestantism in the West. Through the Protestant Churches it has exerted a decided influence upon Roman Catholic theologians, who have not been able to free themselves as of yet from Hegel's pan-logism. Hegel's dialectic monism was accepted not only by Marx and Marxists, among whom the "chaff" o the idea was replaced by the "kernel" of matter (i.e. only the name of the object of analysis was changed), but also in the work of Protestant theologians and some contemporary Catholic theologians who, under the influence of Hegel's thought have in one way or another moved toward pantheism. They have renewed the great philosophical vision of Anaximander of Miletus, according to whom the divinity was unaware of itself and boundless, an infinity, and constantly emanated worlds from itself by necessity and cyclically, just as Plotinus' primordial one radiates by necessity from itself the Logos with all its necessary consequences. Similarly being-concept (the most general concept), while it is contradictory in itself, surmounts this contradiction in a necessary dialectic movement and ultimately produces the absolute spirit in man, who is the cosmic place of the birth of "God" in the thought of Hegel.

The French historian of philosophy, Emil Bréhier, has presented, in his "History of Philosophy"(12), the connection between Hegel's understanding of religion and his philosophy. What is religion for Hegel? Hegel has in mind above all the Christian religion, the fundamental dogmas of which are the incarnation of the Word of God, the birth of Jesus, and the remission of the sins of men in connection with the life and death of Jesus. That the Word becomes flesh, i.e. God becomes man, means that the separation of human awareness from universal awareness is removed in God-made-man, as Jesus. Sins are forgiven: this means that man's failures and his imperfections are henceforth to be conceived as necessary conditions for the coming of the Spirit. Thus Christian revelation lies at the very roots of Hegel's philosophy and is implicit in the whole of this philosophy. In his system, Hegel attempted to present in a rational form those things which are found in CHristianity in the form of images and allegories. It is the "story of redemption" in which God emerges as the future on the basis of the necessary, dialectic development of the "being-concept". Of course, Hegel's God is not dependent on the community of believers. He is the "common" spirit of the religious community. In this sense too, religion according to Hegel is not only the second stage (antithesis) in the development of the absolute spirit, but in religion and the religious interpretation of the history of the spirit, the spirit who ultimately becomes aware of itself as the absolute spirit, we can recognize all three stages of the dialectic development of the absolute spirit. That is why the theory of art is, in fact, the history of art in which the history of the spirit is disclosed. Likewise, both religion and philosophy are, in fact, the history of religion and the history of philosophy, insofar as they show a gradually fuller revelation of the spirit, which reaches the status of God only in the dialectic development. Hence, the external manifestation of the coming into awareness of the spirit are the various religions, which Hegel apprehends as steps of revelation leading ultimately to Christian revelation. Christian revelation is supposed to be a symbolic form of the same doctrine which Hegel himself presents as his philosophical system. In it man reveals himself as the ultimate aim of the whole of the dialectic development. Only man possesses in himself the ultimate and highest values.


Hegel's formulations on the subject of religion take us to theological monism, which comes under many different forms. We may speak of the religious and theological dimension of ancient stoicism, and we may observe the same monism as it reappears in the speculations of Baruch Spinoza, but in fact it is Hegel who has given the major impetus to theological monism through his developmental dialectics and his negation of the principle of contradiction. We find his influence in the thought of contemporary Christian theologians, even Catholic ones. Some vestiges of ancient and mediaeval monistic thought are still current, e.g. Aniximander's "panentheism", the pantheism of David of Dinent, or the Plotinistic ideas of Bruno. Hegel's dialectic, however, together with his negation of the principle of non-contradiction, connected "cosmic evolution" with God, and so God was henceforth held to be subject to the law of development. This view would have been regarded by the whole of the philosophical tradition as an "inner contradiction" and as a negation of God himself. It is difficult to subject many expositions of theological monism to critical examination because they are written in essay style, which abounds in metaphors, and because of the recurrence of grandiose prophetic visions concerning the "fullness of time" the parousia, instead of an interpretation of Revelation which respects the rational foundations of thought.(13) There are, however, formulations which are unambiguously monistic, much akin to the ancient gnosis, formulations which claim to make theology scientific, to bring theology into line with modern scientific views. This is the case with regard to process theology. Process theology has its beginning in Whitehead's philosophical concepts of the development of the universe, and in Teilhard de Chardin's doctrines, his "prophetic" view of the "noosphere", with the "cosmic" Christ as the ultimate stage in cosmic evolution.

Teilhard de Chardin, in his Declarations remains rooted in Catholic orthodoxy; he cannot be personally "accused" of negating the Catholic faith. However, many of the formulations which he left behind in his writings, and even the general outlines of his thought are objectionable, because there is much which is ambiguous and could lead to pantheism. Although Teilhard de Chardin claimed that he was not doing philosophy, but merely giving a certain scientifically grounded theological interpretation based on the Letters of St. Paul, nevertheless, objectively speaking, we find a philosophical position on how reality is to be understood (a henological concept of being), and his theological interpretations are presented in philosophical terms. Teilhard writes:

At the lower limit of reality, completely beyond our reach, we discover a great plurality, a complete differentiation, which is accompanied by a complete lack of any manifestations of unity. In fact, such absolute plurality would have been nothingness and never would have existed. This is, however, the direction from which the world emerged for us. At the beginning of time, the world appeared to us, emerging from plurality, as it were, permeated by plurality, dripping with plurality. But even them, since something did exist, the process of unification persisted. In the earliest stages we can imagine a great number of elementary souls had already been active for a long time. These battled over its scattered parts in order to exist by unifyng them. It is impossible to doubt that "raw matter" was already in a sense animated. Total "exteriority" or total dependence are, like absolute plurality, synomous to nothingness. Atoms, electrons, elementary particles of whatever kind, as long as they are something objectively existing, must have some kind of rudimentary immanence, i.e. "a spark of the spirit". (14).

Two philosophical concepts are accepted here: a/ reality is reality-being through unity and unification. As a result, absolute plurality is the same as nothingness. If God has created the world, then he has introduced the principle of unification. By the same token, unity and unification are consequences of onticity, and to call something into being is to impart existence to it; b/ in the pluralistic world thus apprehended, there is "pan-psychism" - the spirit is present as a property of matter thus apprehended. The acceptance of such a standpoint, although it may be suggestive, does, however, level the difference between being and non-being, as we shall have the opportunity to explain later. On this basis, Teilhard suggests a particular understanding of the spirit:

"The phenomenon of the spirit is not, therefore, something like a brief flash of lightning brightening the nocturnal sky, but it reflects the gradual and systematic passage from non-awareness to awareness, and from awareness to self-awareness. It is a change of state on a cosmic scale. In this way, both the connections and the oppositions between the spirit and matter can be explained without contradiction., In a certain sense, the soul and matter are fundamentally the same, as the neo-materialists claim. Nevertheless, between the soul and matter a "reversal of signs" as it were, takes place. As a result of this, a certain kind of opposition arises …" (15)

Both the understanding of creation as the unification of matter and the understanding of the spirit as the "reverse" of relational matter are unacceptable, for in this understanding we see a failure to take into account some fundamental properties of both spirit and matter, while Teilhard concentrates exclusively on what is merely secondary to matter and spirit. To be created means to be called into existence, and to be a spirit means to be unmeasurable in terms of time and space. That is why we cannot agree with the philosophical assumptions underlying Telihard's thought. Of course, this does not mean that in his propositions there appeared features which were somehow "non-existing". These are, however, secondary features, and not constitutive ones, which indeed only adds to the confusion. Real "unification" occurs in being, but it does not constitute being; matter is the "reverse" of the spirit, but thereby we have neither an understanding of the spirit nor of matter. On the other hand, to be "unmeasurable" in time and space was regarded as a fundamental feature of the spirit, in opposition to matter as the object of scientific cognition. All the more, the propositions which level the limits between being and non-being, matter and spirit have the mere appearance of science. Though they may be splendidly presented, they are never the less misleading.

Much worse, however, is the "panentheism" implicit in Teilhard's thought. In classical philosophy as it is presented by St. Thomas, and in theology, we learn about the connection of all contingent being with God. We speak of the omnipresence of God, and we speak in philosophy of the participation of contingent be-ing in God's be-ing. Thus, for a long time there has been a recognition of the bond between contingent being, "creation", and God, the Creator. St. Paul the Apostle wrote and spoke about this bond. In his speech in the Areopagus in Athens, we encounter the highest form of metaphysics. "God, who created the world and everything in it ... in reality is not far from each of us, for in Him we live, we move, we have our being."(16) In his epistles, St. Paul presents Christ as the Lord of the universe. Teilhard appropriates these passages and uses them in his theory of the "Cosmic Christ". It is true that it is an enchanting view, but it is probably tainted by panentheism. This is because Christ, who according to the Christian faith is the incarnate Word of God, did not thereby impart his divine existence to the whole of humanity and the whole of cosmic matter. Other people come into communion with Him through personal acts of knowledge, love, decision - but they do not unite with him by uniting with the "hypostatic union" or the "theandric union". Contingent being is necessarily united with God through his causality, which is simulataneously efficient, examplary, and final, but not through any formal or material cause, to use Aristotelian terminology. This means that contingent being is not in itself in any way God, but it retains its separateness in being; it is at the same time completely dependent on God as his "effect", that is, in the fact of existence, in the derivation of its ontic content, in the ultimate ordering of its activity. This is "participation", that is efficient, exemplary, and final dependence, but it is neither to be materially identified with God, nor to formally "become" God in its content (formal identity).

Because of his failure to observe this well known distinction, Teilhard, in his prophetic vision, runs the risk of "confusing" contingent being with God, of panentheism, of blurring the distinction between the order of "nature", i.e. the order of creation and natural activity, and the order of grace, i.e. the order in which man is chosen by God for special participation in God's life by personal acts of knowledge and love, acts no longer mediated by other created beings, but directly and immediately objectified in God as God.

Here is a specific example of Teilhard's panentheism, the result of his failure to make essential distinction which have been well-known in the philosophy of Christian theology:

"God could not have been the prime Mover, attracting from the aspect of the future [and is there a future in God? M.Krępiec.] if he had not become Incarnate God and Redeemer; in other words, if he were not God-made-man, the historical Christ. Christ, on the other hand, could not "justify" man if he did not at the same time transubstantiate and renew the whole universe … God is the culmination or apex of the universe, which has a univocal structure inclined in a certain direction and is subject to the still unfinished process of evolution. If, then, as St. Paul says "everything that is on earth" is to "unite with Christ so that he may return to the bosom of the Father" as the "one in whom everything continues to be", the supernatural sanctification of souls through Christ is insufficient, though perhaps it appeared to us to be so. Christ must, by virtue of his creative action lead cosmic noogenesis to its natural fulfilment. Thus the unusual phenomenon of universal Christic energy gradually emerges. It is at the same time a supernaturalizing and superhumanizing energy, in which the field of universal convergence materializes and becomes personalized and the process of the winding up of the universe is conditioned.(17)

In Teilhard de Chardin's view, we find a confusion of various trends of philosophy; the state of nature is not differentiated from the state of grace and personal union is clearly extended to the cosmic union of Christ, the result of which is a clear tendency towards panentheism. This is not said with the intention of giving a univocally negative assessment of the whole of Teilhard's thought. It follows from Teilhard de Chardin's personal statements and expressed standpoint. He makes clear statements of the Catholic faith, despite his rather ambiguous (panentheistic) formulations.

The matter stands differently with other theologians and writers who, following Whitehead, clearly profess a panentheistic standpoint, monism, which position can only be maintained at the cost of a renunciation of the rational order. M. Wildiers' statement in Theology and the Image of the World may illustrate this: "Let us attempt, however, to penetrate deeper into the new concept of God present in today's view of reality". "Traditional atheism and traditional theism," wrote Hartshorne, "are two aspects of the same error, one of the most characteristic errors of human thinking"(18). Process philosphers set atheism and theism in opposition to the concept of God often defined by the term "panentheism", which should not be confused with either pantheism or with theism. It is true that they recognize the essential difference between God and the world, but at the same time they treat them as very closely connected with one another, such that one is not to be thought of without the other. Let us now return to the reality that reveals itself to us. We perceive everywhere events that together form a whole that is at once harmonious and aesthetic. Naturally this harmony exists in different degrees, but nowhere do we see total chaos or definite contradiction. Pure creativity and potentiality would be incapable of producing unity, consistence and harmony. Yet a third factor is necessary here to give phenomena their inner connection and order. An analytic description of reality shows us the ever present activity of the ordering principle. "God is the element of order. Due to him, creativity rejects specific features and without him no concrete occurrence would be possible. From this point of view, God is the never failing and ever present basis of experience."(19)

We see in the above a definite confusion between the physical standpoint (motion and evolution are accepted as a physical, measurable occurrence) and the theological standpoint (God's existence); there is a confusion of the mode of activity measured in physics and philosophical explanation, which demands a "reason for being", the latter being treated along the lines of physics. As a result, God has become "the element of order"; that which serves to explain other things has become the object of physical explanation. God, as presented in this theory, is not God the Absolute, but a "relative god", a new idol created by theologians who are half-educated in philosophy. The proofs of such a "half-education" constantly recur in the writings of N.H. Wildier and Hartshorne. This can only be explained by the prevalence of Hegel's thought and hence the acceptance of contradiction as a basis for explanation. Whitehead's process philosophy can be explained in like manner. For him, "becoming" is a basic category, as if the becoming of that which does not exist could exist. Thus the proposal that one should explain God by presenting Him to oneself on the pattern of the human "I" as personal being is in this case misleading, for we are treating the experiential human "I" as a "relation": the "image of God" formed on this basis is really a negation of the Absolute. Panentheism is a form of monism in which we do, in fact, recognize the "beginning", but only the kind of beginning that "is part" of everything that has been "begun" and is subject to changes. In this sense God does not go beyond the panlogism outlined by Hegel. This panlogism has become not only an inspiration for those theologians who adapt their thought to physics, but is the only consistent system in which God is reduced to the world "being created", in which the supreme manifestation of the spirit is man himself, and particularily the man in whom there has emerged a feeling of the "absolute spirit", a spirit capable of ultimately passing judgement not only on God's mode of existence, but also the mode of his activity. All this is "learned nonsense" for God transcends human cgnition and the man cannot comprehend the mode of God's activity.



1. Ontic pluralism is the state of the natural world in which man lives and develops. The conviction that pluralism denotes the way things really exist is the natural, spontaneous and common-sense attitude of every human being in daily life. If someone fails to recognize this pluralism, we have good reason to suspect that he is mentally ill. In the normal order of thigs. people differentiate between different objects, do not identify them with one another, and do not regard them as the manifestation of one and the same being. A husband differentiates his wife from his neighbour's wife; the child recognizes his mother and does not identify her with any other woman; we differentiate our houses and possessions to such an extent that we protect them with a legal system and can claim our rights to them in a court of law. In every case where in daily life someone fails to differentiate and identifies one object with another, that person immediately draws a spontaneous reaction from other people (even if these people be professed monists!) who defend the normal pluralism of things, that things cannot be reduced to one another, that they really differ. This is not only the characteristic standpoint in daily life, but it is the attitude of man living in the real world. Such a standpoint, albeit man did not reflect on it to any great extent, was the basis for man's survival during some very difficult periods in his history when in order to survive he had to procure his food in primitive conditions. The spontaneous recognition of the plurality of beings, the irreducibility to one another, has never given rise to any objections in the sphere of man's spontaneous (objectified) mode of conduct.(20) As we have mentioned earlier, it was philosophical and scientific reflection which finally gave rise to the problem of monism as a specific alternative to pluralism; it was not until reflective cognition became known that it became possible to treat spontaneously recognized pluralism as the manifestation of something one - some kind of single foundation or fabric from which everything has developed, something which appears to us as plural but in actual fact is not. This seemed to be the simplest way of understanding things in the ultimate explanation of the plural world. Consequently there had to be found such premises as would give a theoretical and rational justification for monism, and these premises were most often a priori. However, the monistic approach to the understanding of reality was not only artificial but always ended by falling into contradiction. Though this may not always be evident, it is always an inevitable consequence. Contradiction is the negation of the basis of rationality itself, both in be-ing and in cognition.

Thus, in view of the failure of attempts to give a rational justification for monism, we cannot recognize monism as a realistic and universal view of reality. Reality itself in our spontaneous cognition does not entitle us to explanatory hypotheses along hte lines of monism. It is only from some a priori standpoint that such hypotheses are constructed. When we objectivize our spontaneous cognition and when we analyse the results of objectified cognition, it may appear possible at first to hypothesize a monistic nature of reality, which reality is spontaneously cognized as plural. We may cast the hypothesis of a monistic reality as a "net" upon real plural facts (beings) as they appear to us in experience, and reduce this spontaneously perceived plurality to some "hidden" unity. Of course, we can examine reality in any way while we are attempting to arrive at an ultimate explanation of it. From the methodological point of view, however, the natural way of explanation has much greater validity. This consists in: a/ perceiving plural facts, beings, and affirming their existence, as we do in our common-sense, spontaneous cognition; b/ attempting to explain these facts as plural in an ultimate explanatory interpretation.

This was also the attitude of the eminent classical philosophers, Aristotle and St. Thomas Aquinas, to mention only the most eminent representatives of classical realism. It is unfortunate, however, that this kind of attitude is necessarily connected with the recognition of the Absolute as separated from plural instances of being, from the source of being, the negation of which implies a necessary negation of the plural (pluralistic) facts themselves. Not everyone regards as rational (and not everyone "likes") the fact that it is necessary to affirm the Absolute, even if it be only on account of the practical consequences of such a judgement. That is why when faced with this alternative they prefer to choose monistic explanations, even though these be contradictory, as these explanations raise man to the dignity of a "god", as we have seen above.

Thus, for both methodological and actual reasons, seeing that monism fails to give an adequate explanation of the facts, we are forced to accept ontic pluralism as the proper explanation for the fact of life experiences.

2. Ontic composition is the basis for pluralism.

From the very beginnings of reflective philosophical thought, philsophers, in particular Plato, were on the one hand amazed by the plurality of individual beings, e.g. people, horses, dogs, and on the other hand they wondered at the strange epistemological fact that man can possess one concept and express this one concept by only one general term - e.g. "man", "horse", "dog". How is it that we can express many individuals, the number of which may even be infinite, in one concept and in one term? Thus did the problem of pluralism (the plurality of individuals) and monism (as a concept and one term) arise early in the history of thought. The problem become even clearer with regard to being: we possess one expression "being" and yet there is a plurality of individual beings. The simplest solution seemed to be to stress a higher mode of be-ing, of monistic forms, "higher" because it was "spiritual", "intellectual". This meant that true being was to be found on the side of the conceptual mode of existence, i.e. the "monistic" side, and not the changeable, individual one. For this reason ontic pluralism as an explanation became associated with the "sensory" mode of cognition. That is why Parmenides could say that sensory, pluralistic, changeable information constitute the "road of fools", whereas the "road of truth" is characterized by intellect, which informs us of unity and the unifying "monistic" form of be-ing. Such a view, however, did not solve the problem. It was simply not in accordance with real life. Aristotle rightly drew attention to the fact that the very fact of ontological pluralism is, as it were, a "division" of the concept of species (viz. genus) into its individual "parts". After all, individuals (concrete people) enter the "composition" of the same species (the concept of species which is predicated in natural language of individuals) denoted by one term. He drew attention to the fact that all types of unity are nothing other than the negation of divisions in some given aspect. The inner non-division of being is its ontological unity. Moreover, Plato had already (erroneously!), and to a certain extent Aristotle himself as well, believed that on account of inner non-division (into be-ing and non-being) caused by substantial form, the fact of be-ing occurs; they believed that unity is prior to being, since it provides a foundation for be-ing. Thus, the concept of non-division was associated with a "unifying", "monistic" image of the world, whereas division or divisibility indicated some kind of pluralism. Aristotle also drew attention to the fact that a non-division exist within the realm of being, within the realm of number, within the realm of species and genus, and in the realm that is beyond a supra-generic, analogical understanding of the world (this was fundamentally a specific analogy - pros hen i.e., the analogy of attribution, based on the interconnection of real beings through their common source of real motion). Hence, division and divisibility constituted, according to Aristotle, the "justification:" of pluralism.(21)

This concept was generally correct, although it could give rise to serious errors. This happened in Aristotle himself and in his commentators, who believed that the general state of be-ing (symbolized by the concept) is prior to and "stronger" than the state of individual existence. Another danger was the interpretation of "parts" and "composition". They were conceived after the pattern of "parts" and their "composition" in the world of art, where new artificial beings are formed from previously existing parts, a house from wood and stone, shoe from leather, etc. On the other hand, artificial ontological "composition" is different from natural composition, since man is also "composed" of different parts, eg. the head, arms, legs, body; and the head is certainly different from the leg, but this does not mean that the head or foot existed prior to their composition, even by a fragmentary mode of be-ing. The head, arms and legs as parts of the same being form themselves into a whole and the whole is "composed" of them, but they did not exist previous to the whole. A composition which arises in the process of art does not essentially form one being. This unity is quite accidental; it is human thought which connects different parts into one whole. Perhaps the image of composition which arose from art, like the composition of a ship from planks of wood, a house from bricks, has become a kind of paradigm for all composition, since it had such a profound influence on all theories of ontological unity; for in "art" this unity is the reason for the emergence of a new being. Perhaps for this reason the Greek philosophers believed that the reason for being was to be found in unity, whereas unity is a mode of be-ing and not the foundation of be-ing in natural things. Only in works of art does this unity of previously existing parts united together according to some criterion into a product originating from the intellect really constitute the reason of "artificial" be-ing, i.e. of such things as a cart, ship, an electrical appliance.

Returning, however, to the matter of pluralism, we perceive in the plurality of beings surrounding us their very rich composition of various arts. If there were no such composition, if there were no "parts", amd it was entirely one and the same "factor"-"element", there would be no reason for one and the same factor, identical and undivided in itself, to extend into non-identical and different components, and thereby to form the bases for inner changes and the constitution of varied and plural beings. Absolute identity, and thereby "single-featuredness" excludes the possibility of all pluralism, for unity multiplied by unity is always unity, and in the ontic order, identity.

If, therefore, we observe in our objectified, spontaneous cognition a plurality of beings, then by the same token the question arises: "what for?" - why has this plurality emerged? On account of what "compositions" are we dealing with proper pluralism?

Besides, if we take a merely practical approach to the matter, we ascertain a wide variety of compositions in being, which we sometimes very easily "separate" in a physical way. Perhaps the most evident are those which in the philosophical tradition were called integrating, material composiions. These serve to integrate, i.e. to unify, material beings with themselves. In man we find such integrating parts as the head, the body, the arms, the legs, hair, organs, body tissues, cells, molecules, atoms. Integrating parts can be divided with the help of the appropriate physical tool, because we are here dealing with physical composition. In physics or physical chemistry we stop precisely at the level of these types of composition, assuming that the structure of being is fundamentally a material, integrating structure. Every time we speak of the "structure of matter" in physics, we are presenting the model of an integrating composition of the object. The type of integrating composition itself is explained to us by material divisibility and plurality, as well as the quantitative differences of being. In Aristotle we can even find the germs of a theory whereby we concentrate on the quantitative aspect of reality, and this would be the basis for creating mathematical being. Quantity, with its relations, whether constant or variable, is connected with some kind of measurement and the expression in numerical units of the results of measurement.

However, the quantitative aspect of being (and thereby the composition from integrating parts only) still does not explain to us the whole nature of being. It would be an error to say that man is merely the sum of his integrating substituent parts. It would be an error to say that to understand man means to enumerate and sum up his integrating constituent "parts". Man is also a something, a someone "more" than merely the sum of his integrating parts. However, it is also true that we cannot understand man's nature in abstraction from his integrating components, although these in themselves are not capable of ultimately explaining who-what a concrete material being is. Nevertheless, the destruction of some integrating components is at the same time the destruction of the being itself, e.g. a living thing is killed when some organ is destroyed.

In material beings, particularily living ones, we can easily perceive other constituent factors, more deeply connected with the very nature of being than are the parts in a merely integrative composition. For example, we may consider the compositions which are called according to philosophical traditon the composiiton of substance and accidents. We immediately perceive in the same living being, a human being, a "fluctuating" set of accidental components, though at the same time the identity of being is retained. The same John who was a child and weighed a few kilograms now weighs fifty kilograms; the same John had some qualities in childhood and others in maturity. he was involved in some relations before and others later in his adult life; the same John performed various activities in various periods of time and was at the same time subject to various activities. He is identical (relatively) in himself; he is also in himself a specificlly dynamic susbtance, an independently existing subject. John's substantiality, as a concrete expression of relative identity, is not and cannot be conceived as a "static" and "ossified" form of be-ing, as some evolutionists would suggest, as they do not have a correct understanding of either philsophical categories or the history of philosophy. After all, the very fact that the same substance objectifies various accidental facts makes it dynamic in relation to these components. If the independently existing being (substance) is the carrier of these ever changing properties and accidents, these properties do not come "from the outside" (apart from some relations) but are elicited from the substance itself. Is it not dynamic in constantly radiating new properties (accidental components) from itself? Does it not change, though retaining relative identity, in a real relation to the constituent factors that radiate from itself? Everyday experience reveals to us a very important form of pluralism: the immensely rich composition from substance and accidents in the real beings that we ourselves are and the world of the people, animals and plants surrounding us. Perhaps minerals and chemical components are also substances and accidents, and perhaps even atoms. It is difficult to definitively resolve this, for the hypothesis of the substantiality of metals, minerals, the chemical "substances" of atoms has as many reasons "for" as "against". The hypothesis that the only thing which exists in the universe is one infra-vegetative (inorganic) substance is as acceptable as the hypothesis that there are many substances, even of infinite number, whose modes of being are weaker or stronger in proportion to their structure. They can just as well be conceived as cosmic concentrations or focal points of "energy", analogically understood, in which case that substance, the carrier of infinitely varied dispositions and properties would be that fundamental composite energy. However, we can never "univocally" conceive both different forms of being and their ontic hierarchy according to the same mode of understanding.

The ontic compositions from substance and accidents which have been traditionally singled out in philosophy become the basis for the realistically understood principle of relative identity (because substance itself with the properties emanated from it is the relative quality - identity of the non-contradiction and reason of being). At the same time this shows the dynamic developing nature of being. This happens without recourse to the contradictory theories of Hegel, Whitehead, and some modern "theologians", who in the process have lost, together with rationality, the basis of their faith. Pluralism, associated with the composition of substance and accidents, is also the basis of moral and legal order, as well as social and economic order. It may be easy to reject this, but the consequences, if taken seriously, are very dangerous, even when they are the result of ignorance coinciding with the "courage" to proclaim absurdities.

There is yet another composition of being, that of "matter" and "form". This is sometimes ridiculed (as a result of a failure to understand the object and mode of cognition), but it explains the cosmic bond of matter and at the same time the distinctness, even the substantial distinctness, of material beings. When we speak of matter here, we are concerned with its philosophical and not merely its scientific and physical interpretation. Matter, in the philosophical sense of the term, is not being, is not that "which" exists, but is merely an essential constituent of being, the reason for its changeability and "evolution". In nature we observe the flow of matter through different forms of existence. Of particular significance here is the flow of matter through different living beings: through plants, animals and people. The same material constituents univocally denoted in chemistry "flow" through the world of plants, animals and people. The material constituents that make up our food were formerly plants or animals, and now are to become a thinking human being. We say that the same matter which in plants and animals manifested lower forms of activity now thinks in man. What has happened? It has "taken shape" in a different way; it has received a different identity, a different "substantial form", an independent-ontological substantial form. There certainly exists in nature specific ontological "constants", eg. in people in the form of the individual persons of John, Peter, Eve ... There are different ontological "constants" in animals and plants. We immediately and spontaneously see and recognize this, for we distinguish some units from others, not only in people, but also in animals and plants. These constants are a comparatively lasting manifestation of ontological relative identity; they are ontologically different. Nevertheless, "common" cosmic matter flows through them and connects them in a specific way (the community of matter), in spite of the fact that they are separate beings each having an independent mode of existence as a subject. After all, I still exist as a subject, although I have eaten a chicken, another independently existing subject. How can we explain this? In order to avoid contradiction, since on the one hand there is the annihilation of beings whose matter has changed into other beings, and on the other hand we have the true unity of the being (its unrepeatable nature and identity) which has accepted this new matter and has identified it with itself, we should recognize (after Aristotle) one, unique standpoint (the standpoint which renders the facts free of contradiction): the inner composition of being from the factor which is the reason for the identity of unity, i.e. that which can be called, according to tradition, its substantial form. We should at the same time acknowledge the equally present material factor as the reason for the potentiality and dynamism of being. Following Aristotle we may call this "prime matter", i.e., the kind of potential factor which "of itself" is not determined to be anything, and which gains all the forms of its determination as a being because a substantial form has united it into one being. Substantial form is the fundamental factor which gives a determination to existence. It is the reason for the identity of a being. Prime matter, conceived of in this way, is never capable of independent existence; of itself it is a "nothing", and everything that it is is merely in being, which is already a composition of matter and form. Such a concept guarantees, on the one hand, the constants, the ontological determinants in the world of nature, and on the other hand, the constant changeability of material beings. This changeability (from within!) can also be called the process of evolution, in the sense accepted by Aristotle and through the whole philosophical tradition. Of course, the constituent factors of being known as "prime matter" and "substantial form" can be discovered only in the process of intellectual analysis making non-contradictory the explanation of the following facts: the ontological distinctness of existence and the flow of common cosmic matter through the most varied determined subjects independently existing in nature. The theory of matter and form as the ontological constituents of our world of nature is the only rational theory which avoids contradiction in the face of the evident facts of change in material beings and their real, separate existence which is comparatively determined in itself.

Even some of the most eminent thinkers (eg. Ingarden) had difficulties in this matter and became entangled in contradiction when explaining the hylemorphic theory. This results, on the one hand, from their reification of the constituents of being, matter and form, for they conceive of them after the model of real beings. In fact, matter and form are not capable of being independent beings, but are merely the constituents through which contingent beings exist. On the other hand, as they are not independently existing beings, matter (especially!) and form are not cognizable in the process of conceptualization. They are known rather in a judgemental analysis of a being and its states. Throughout the centuries, scientists attempted to hold an "idea" or a "concept" of prime matter, and thus would again and again be entangled in the contradictory consequences of this position.

The theory of the composition of being from matter and form has always been associated, from the times of Aristotle (under the influence of Platonism) with the theory of limitation and individuation, and thereby ontic realism. The matter is more complicated, however, than it would seem from Plato's imginative models. Plato accepted the "existence" of distinct general ideas which are the specific models of individual things. It is on account of the "reflection" of general ideas in matter, apprehended as an "empty space", that individual material beings arise, according to Plato, and the source of their individuation is precisely matter. Aristotle took almost the same line of thinking, as he held that form per se is general and is individuated through matter. Yet form has never existed without matter. Thus we may modify Aristotle's thought in the sense of the question: what is the reason for the individuation of being in the concrete being? Then we may recognize the fact that matter organized by quantity and quantitative relations explains to us the state of individuation. However, we are in the area of existing being in which we seek the reasons for changes and determination and derivative states connected with this, such as, eg. limitation, individuation, plurality etc..

The ontic compositions thus far presented presuppose the composition from essence and existence which are the basis of ontic contingency. Contingency is fundamental in ontic pluralism. The composition from essence and existence in contingent beings has been at the heart of long disputes and many misunderstandings in metaphysics and epistemology and has given rise to a whole spectrum of standpoints. It has wide ranging implications in a view of the world.

The history of the doctrine of ontic contingency is intimately associated with Arab and Christian philosophy. The concept of composition from essence and existence in concrete contingent beings did not arise in ancient times, nor could it have arisen given the state of philosophical reflection. The Greeks accepted the reality of the world and its actual existence without harbouring any doubts or questioning the reasons for its existence. For the Greeks, the world had always existed, whether they held that it has always existed either as chaos or cosmos without a beginning, or whether they held that everything repeated itself in cycles which had no beginning. Either the world goes on forever without change, or it periodically is plunged into consuming fire from which it emerges to go through the same stages of organization that it had previously gone through. In either case the world was assumed to be eternal and necessary.

In the history of our culture, there was a revolution in the way we perceived reality brought about by the Bible and its reception among the Moslems. The world was created by God, and God is "at the beginning" of our understanding of the world. From the episode in which Moses meets God in the burning bush, God's name is "Being", "He who is", whereas the Greeks understood "being" as "that which is". The concept of creation was taken up by the Koran. Reflection on this biblical idea of creation led Arab thinkers, and finally Avicenna, to the realization that "existence" is a gift of God who has created the world. Thus existence was conceived after the model of the "properties" of necessary natures, which are pure possibilities that God makes real by giving them existence. Saint Thomas Aquinas brought about a revolution in the way being was apprehended when he discovered that the beings of created nature are each composed of two mutually complementary facts, act and potency. In real contingent being we find the concrete essence and the existence oroportional to this essence, and existence has the function of the act of being. When a being is in itself a concrete existing essence, the being is real being, not merely a conceptual apprehension in the mind. Moreover, both "components" of being: essence and existence, are really non-identical, i.e., really different in one and the same being. But this does not mean that they can continue independently of each other and still retain their identity. Either they had existed previous to their coming together, or they are "things" of some kind, as St. Thomas' disciple, Giles (Egidius) of Rome clumsily expressed it, when, wishing to emphasize their real non-identity in being, he defined them as separate "things" from which being is composed. This issue has fueled many commentaries and disputes up to the present day.

The understanding of being as composed of the mutually complementary and really non-identical factors of essence and existence was a milestone in the history of human thought. Human thought has always endeavoured to reach the simplest forms of reality that can be expressed in a concept. Human thought repeatedly arrives at a simple state of reality connected merely with content, sometimes positing a simple form of matter (fire, energy), sometimes positing a principle of content which would unite all that which is in being. so that everything would be seen as the manifestation of a certain moment of unity (form, identity, non-contradiction, possibility, etc.).

St. Thomas, in accordance with common-sense experience, determined that being as it is given to us in our everyday experience is composed in itself of "the fact that it is" and "what it is". We cannot disregard either one of these factors and still expect to be dealing with real being. The composition of being from essence and existence is universal, and is fundamental for all other compositions of being. This means that without it all other types of composition would be merely illusory and would not really exist in the real world. It also means that this composition can occur in some orders of being where other types of composition do not occur. Without the composition of essence and existence, no other type of ontic composition can occur. This also means that it alone is the mark of a radical difference between God, the Absolute, and contingent being; it is the basis for the whole order of contingent beings. This composition constitutes the ultimate basis for ontic pluralism and thereby for causality (efficient, final, examplar, formal and material causes). Without this composition there would be ontic monism, and the principle of causality would be divorced from the very order of thing.

It is not strange then that St. Thomas, having perceived the significance of such an understanding of real contingent being, attempted to find traces of this same doctrine in the works of other thinkers, in keeping with the scientific customs of his day. At that time it was firmaly held that the great and the true is not something which some thinker discovers by his own originality, but that which is universally accepted as true and which has been perceived by great thinkers of the past is of the most value. St. Thomas had without doubt made a discovery in the area of ontic compositions, but he searched for traces of this doctrine among his great predecessors in order to consolidate his position. He pointed to Aristotle, Boethius, Augustine and Avicenna as thinkers who had perceived, in their various formulations, the function of the composition of being from essence and existence, calling it - according to its terminology - by different terms , eg. "quo est" - "quod est"; "the fact that it is" - "what it is" etc.. Never the less, his view was quite original, and the reasoning he presented to justify this view was also quite original. It is a very simple justification, as we find formulated in his first work "De ente et essentia." In chapter IV he writes:

Whatever does not belong to the concept of essence, that is, what a thing is, is added from the outside and, together with essence, forms the composition. This is because no essence can be understood without that which is the constituent part of this essence. Yet any essence, that is, what a thing is, can be understood without the fact that we apprehend something about its existence, for I can apprehend what a man or a phoenix is, but nevertheless not know whether it has existence in the order of nature.(22)

Thus, if the existence of the essence entered into the essence, then it would thereby be, like other features characterizing essence, one of its constitutive features. In such a case each essence would exist of necessity, just as of necessity it is composed of its constitutive features. This means each essence would exist to the extent that it is an essence; abstractions would also exist, though in reality they are only a mode of my apprehension. The identification of existence with essence would cause existence to the extent essence was apprehended. On the other hand, the identification of essence with existence, that is, the reduction of essence to existence, would result in absolute monism, for existence "of itself" does not possess any features. Existence is the act of being. The reduction of essence to existence and its identification with existence would destroy all determinations between beings. The only possible result would be monism, but monism stands in clear contradiction with the obvious fact that different beings exist. Besides, we are in the privileged position that we experience our own "I" as a concrete essence. We cognize the nature and essential features of our "I" by the circuitous path of philosophical cognition (as a concrete essence). Although we originally experience our own "I" from the aspect of existence (that is, I know that I exist, but I do not directly know who I am), nevertheless, when we experience our own "I" in this way, we realize that our existence is not a constituent of "my" essence or nature. I want to exist, but I know that it is not in my power to control my existence, because I know that I shall die, that is, I shall not exist as I exist now, even if I wanted to. I have here an experiential proof of the non-identity of essence and existence.

There are various ways in which we can extensively justify the distinction between existence and essence in a real being, the fact that in one and the same being its essence and its existence are really not identical to each other. We can also show the fatal consequences of regarding essence and existence as identical in a being. The current dispute can, in addition, be solved by bringing to light some errors in the way the "nature" of essence and existence have been apprehended (the error of reification of ontic factors) as well as errors in the process of cognition and its nature (we are unable to grasp the act of existence conceptually, hence the "non-conceptualizability" of existence). Thus cognition is apparently "exhausted" in the concept of essence apprehended more or less abstractly, which gives rise to the illusion that existence can be interpreted as a "mode" of the be-ing of essence. In what, however, would this "mode" consist without which there would be no essence?

The composition from essence and existence is constitutive of contingent be-ing, since only the Absolute as the First Being is non-composite. St. Thomas, in accordance with his fundamental view of reality, spoke of God as a being whose essence is existence: "He who is". In De ente et Essentia St. Thomas also writes:

This, when perceived, becomes clear, in what way essence is found in various beings. We find a threefold manner of possessing essence in substances. One way is like that in God, whose essence is existence itself. That is why some philosophers teach that God does not possess that which he is, that is, his essence, since his essence is nothing other than his existence. From this it follows that God is not in some genus, since everything that is in a genus must possess that which it is, different from its existence, as that which it is, that is, the nature of its genus or species, does not stand out on account of its nature (its cohesion) in all the beings which are within a given genus or species, but their existence is different in different beings. If we say that God is existence itself, we must not make the mistake of those who called God the "common existence" through which each thing formally is. The existence which God is is such that we cannot add anything to it. Hence, through its own non-composition, it is an existence different from any other kind of existence."(23)

Thus the composition from essence and existence constitutes the ultimate and unique basis for drawing a distinction between the world of contingent beings and the Absolute. Other thinkers looked elsewhere for the basis of this distinction, for example, in the distinction between the infinite and the finite. But what is this finiteness and its negation "infinity" if not a certain "modus" - a mode of be-ing? Do differences occur only in the mode of be-ing and not in being itself, its inner structure? Besides, infinities have never sufficiently been explained; there can be as many kinds of infinity as there are kinds of "finiteness" in different orders. If one does not accept the composition of contingent being from essence and existence, all the other types of composition, along with integrating composition, would have to be treated as non-essential and even illusory. The first and most important matter is the fact that beings exist. Do they really exist as subjects, or do they share one common existence, indeed, does the whole of reality have one existence? If there is merely one existence common to everything "that is", then in the question of monism and pluralism we would have to opt for pluralism. This is because one being, having the same existence as other beings, does not ontologically differ from them. Such existence is one and at the same time necessary, and all changes are either apparent or contradictory in themselves, as Hegel has already written on this subject. Then there is no reason to be concerned with the problematic of ontological compositions. At the most, the problematic of our experiences of the plural world could arise: how does it happen that we experience the world as plural? Such questions were also raised, but they belong rather to the domain of psychology, or parapsychology, or perhaps even to psychiatry. On the basis, however, of the real composition of contingent being from essence and existence the other above mentioned types of composition make sense, for they explain the significant facts observed in the plural world which is changeable "from within". The fundamental question, however, is this: why is the world plural? Why, on what account, does ontic pluralism exist in being itself? The only answer, the answer based in the existing beings of our experience, is that they are composed from a concrete content - essence, and the existence which actualizes them. If being, as it is given to us in our everyday experience, were not composite, then there would be no justification for pluralism. The non-composition of being would be non-contradictoy only if we were to adopt ontic monism. That which is in itself ontologically non-composite is absolutely identical in itself. That which is absolutely identical is in itself unchangeable, it is always the same. Hence, ontological non-composition is necessarily connected with monism. Monism is an ultimate view of the world; it is an ultimate explanation, proclaiming that everything is the same, that all changes are merely apparent and that the plurality of beings is also merely apparent. Otherwise, as in the case of dialectical monism and the formulations which spring from it, it immediately rejects the bases for the rationality of being and a priori propounds a "contradictory" structure of reality and cognition. At the cost of a total negation of the intelligibility of the world and the very foundations of rationality, it appears to feed its adherents with the remains and detritus of the rational world, showing the evident logical consequences of such a standpoint in some detailed explanations of the world.

3. The Absolute—The Decontradictification of the Pluralistic World

If, in accordance with the actual state of things, we accept ontic pluralism, which is without contradiction only if being is inwardly composed of factors which are not identical with one another, factors which cannot exist by themselves in isolation from their constituent correlates, then we are faced with a question fundamental to our understanding of being: what for? Why does the pluralistic world exist rather than not exist? The state of the inner composition of being is such that we have, on the one hand, a really existing single being, which exists through its "parts", the constituent "factors" none of which can be reduced to another, which cannot be identified one with another. One integrating element is not the other: the head is not the foot; substance is not accident; matter is not form; above all, essence is not existence in one and the same being. Constituent factors cannot be reduced to one another, and there is a great mass of them, particularly in integrating composition and susbstantial-accidental composition. In philosophy, in metaphysics, we are particularly concerned with the basic composition from essence and existence, the ultimate basis for all other compositions and thereby for all ontological pluralism. The existence of a paticular concrete being is not some "consequence" and does not "flow out" as one more factor or its "modus" from the essence of this same thing.

If, therefore, new beings arise (composed of concrete essences and the existences proportional to them), beings which did not hitherto exist, and if their essence does not explain the fact of their emergence - for essence would "give itself" that which it is not and what it does not possess, then the reason for the emergence of contingent being (the reason for the inner connection of their concrete essence with proportional existence) is not the "ontological interior" itself of the emerging being. The reason is "outside". If this "reason of being" did not exist - then the being which had arisen would not differ in any way from "nothingness". This would happen because being, not possessing in itself, in its interior, in its constitutive factors, the reason for its coming into existence, would not at the same time possess this reason "externally" beyond itself, and so, by the same token it would be "nothing"; being would not exist. Yet since it exists, although it did not exist before, and it does not have a reason of being in itself, for this is also a contradiction, then it has this reason of being "beyond" itself, beyond its constitutive factors. This "external" reason of being is not and cannot ultimately (in a decontradictifying explanation) be contingent being, a being composed of essence and existence non-identical with it, for it finds itself in the same ontological situation as the contingent being whose existence we are explaining. Aristotle and St. Thomas called this an "infinite succession" of causes in the act of causality. Thus, of necessity, in order to separate being from non-being, in order to avoid the contradiction of be-ing and cognition, the "external reason of being" is no longer a contingent being composed of essence and existence, but it is the first being, a being absolutely non-composite in itself (excluding through its structure all relativity which would have emerged had there been composite factors), a being which alone, in possibility and at the same time of necessity, exists through itself and which alone can be called the "absolutely real Being who is. It is, of course, the God of religion. This does not mean, however, that the God of religion is different from the God of the philosophers. "The God of the philosophers", whose existence is necessary in order to explain the existence of contingent beings, is precisely that God of religion who is the justification as a person of all personal acts of contingent beings, in this case of us men. However, the first Being, existing through Himself and who is the reason for the existence of contingent personal beings, is at the same time Himself a person (according to the paradigm of personal being that we have in our inner experience of being free persons).

The pluralistic view of the world in which man normally lives and in which he has survived threats to his human existence is, therefore, only non-contradictory if it indicates the reason for its pluralism. The reason for pluralism is inner ontic composition, and above all the basic composition, without which the other compositions would not be real, of essence and existence, which constitutes ontic contingency. Ontic contingency is contradictory without the inner reason of being, without the Absolute, the First Being, He who exists through Himself thanks to the absolute inner non-composition from "ontic parts".

From the point of view of "theodicy", i.e., the justification of God in His existence in so far is this is intelligible to us, there are no arguments for the existence of God apart from the understanding of the structure of contingent and analogical being. In philosophy we do not so much justify the existence of God as attempt to make non-contradictory the existence of the world as a collection of beings. That is why there is no other way of recognizing the existence of God, and there cannot be, than to explain the non-contradictifying existence of those beings which we are. All our desires would be meaningless if they were not a manifestation of the contingent mode of our existence, and thereby they would not be the revelation of the contingent mode of being. Thus, apart from the analysis of contingent be-ing in explanatory reasoning, there is no other way and no possibility of effectively indicating the existence of the First Being whose essence is existence. This is shown by the structure of ontic being, where existence is participated. Strictly speaking, we are not even capable of indicating the existence of God as this existence, but we indicate the truth of the statement that "God exists", and this truth is based precisely on the non-contradictifying explanation of the nature of being, sometimes known as effects. That is why St. Thomas rightly had the courage to write the not very well known, but nevertheless significant statement: ..." 'to be' is understood in two ways: in one way, it signifies the act of existing; in the other way it signifies the composition of a proposition at which the mind arrives when it joins a predicate to a subject. If we take 'to be' in the first sense, we cannot know God's existence (His 'to be'), nor his essence, but only in the second sense, for we know that the proposition that we formulate about God, when we say God is is true. We know this from his effects."(24)

St. Thomas' statement emphasizes the object and scope of our cognition. Our cognition is connected with analogically apprehended contingent being, whose ultimate non-contradictifying interpretation is at the same time the affirmation of the existence of God as the reason of being of contingent beings. It is the assertion of the necessity of the "first source of be-ing" of contingent beings, and by the same token it affirms that contingent beings stand in relation to the Necessary Being as having their origin from him - the famous "habitudo principii" which finds expression in the "Five Ways" in which Thomas discloses why it is necessary that God exists.

When we draw attention to the fact of the existence of contingent being, then the emergence of existing being takes on the form of a "movement-change", which is the actualization of a potentiality. This is, in its essence, the import of the "First Way". The "First Way" should not be understood merely in terms of physical motion, for physical motion cannot reach transcendence. The realization of the existence of being indicates its efficient decontradictification, which is the efficient "First Cause". This is the import of the "Second Way".

The relation of existence to essence in contingent being is the basis for the affirmation of Necessary Being existing of itself. This is revealed to us by the "Third Way".

The perfection of being "under its actual existence", that is, the existing, transcendental perfections of being (good, unity, truth, beauty) taking on an intelligible gradation in perfections, is the view of reality presented in the "fourth way".

Finally, purposeful or teleological activity (activity towards a good) is treated in the "fifth way", and it reveals the personal nature of the First Being who exists through Himself.

St. Thomas' interpretation of the "five ways" is nothing other than the ultimate philosophical understanding of contingent being with a view to ontological decontradictifications, that is, the kind of explanation in which we indicate one factor (in this case God) whose negation is at the same time the negation of being as it is given to us in our everyday experience. In order to separate contingent being from nothingness, from non-being, we must connect it with the real "reason" of be-ing, with the Necessary Being, the Absolute Being. The "connection" we discover is nothing other than the habitudo principii, the relation wherein a contingent being has it origin in the necessary Being.

St. Thomas' concept of being is something exceptional and yet it is not very well known in the history of philosophical thought. By the same token, his understanding and "proof" of God's existence as we find it expressed in the "five ways" is exceptional. In other conceptions of the classic philosophers, God becomes an "a priori" which is later justified in philosophical speculations in which an understanding of being is formulated to correspond to this "a priori". This is particularly apparent in John Duns Scotus and Suarez, as well as those who more or less consciously hold to an essentialist (and thereby monist) conception of being. The principles of "causality", "radical infinity" which play important roles in these systems are not "justified" by the inner structure of contingent being, but are rather an a priori form, as it were, which orders, according to the rules of logic (mutually exclusive divisions) the domains of thought accessible to man.

4. God in the World

The last matter to be dealt with in understanding monism and pluralism, in particular pluralism as it is connected by a "relation of origin" to the First Being - God, is precisely His "presence" in contingent beings. This matter, particularly in the work of the above mentioned theologians of a panentheistic bent, calls for some further explanation. The appropriate explanation has been well known for centuries, which is why it still goes unnoticed by "progressive theologians". The presence of God in creatures, according to traditional philosophical thought, is nothing other than precisely the participation(25) of creation in the existence of God, the First Being. Participation is an old theory, one which has been formulated and interpreted in various ways, as we can see from reading modern philosophical writings. How participation shall be understood depends on our understanding of being. Plato regarded "true reality", the world of ideas, as necessary, eternal, whereas plural and changeable reality was merely a "shadow" and, to be precise, a "participation" in the world of ideas. Such a type of participation could only occur through "similarity", "similitudo". When, however, the concept of being and the corresponding concept of contingency developed, the concept of participation also had to change, together with the theory of God, about which there is nothing in Plato's philosophical system. It is true that the idea of good-unity could be identified which the idea of God as He is understood in philosophy, but Plato himself does not make this identification, and one should not try to teach Greek to a Greek. The concept of God did not fit into the necessary and eternally real world of ideas. Gods could appear in the world of changes and pluralism, that is, in the layer of Plato's thought which is connected with the changeable world and with doxal cogniton. Plato was apparently pious and prayed to his tribal gods. These, however, were also dependent on the world of ideas as objects of their contemplation. Thus the concept of participation proposed by Plato is not useful for a realistic (not idealistic) view of the pluralistic world. Hence in St. Thomas' view of being, there appeared a synthesis of the ideas of Plato, Aristotle, St. Augustine and the neoplatonists. It can be reduced to the realization of transcendental dependence in the order of efficient, exemplar and final causality. There is a transcendental relation of dependence concerning all beings in the aspect of Aristotelian "external causality", for inner causality can be reduced to the mutual interaction of the material and formal cause which characterize the inner nature of beings. Beings in the order of their nature are different from God and God does not enter the composition of the nature of contingent beings, for He is not the form of things, that is, the factor which is the reason for the relative identity of the thing itself. Thanks to this factor, a thing is precisely what it is and is manifested in activity. Neither is God the fabric, the matter from which things are built. On the other hand, the Absolute is the cause of the emergence of being, the be-ing or facticity of activity, the foundation for the intelligibility of being and the aim of ontological activity in its ultimate dimension. Through the threefold activity of "external" causes, through finality, efficiency and exemplarity, each and every contingent being is ultimately and necessarily connected with the First Being as the First source of be-ing, the first creative exemplar as well as the ultimate objective aim of the activity of creation. On this basis we can, viewing the situation from below, percieve the manifold presence of God in creation and at the same time exclude all forms of pantheism and panentheism. God is not "part of the nature" of creation, he is neither its fabric nor the factor which constitutes its identity, although both fabric-matter and the factor connected with identity-form are derived from God and totally dependent on God in the three aspects we have just distinguished: efficiency, exemplarity and finality as these are ultimate understood in philosophy. Such an understanding of God's participation and presence (omnipresence) in creation excludes panentheism and, at the same time, indicates the absolute dependence of contingent beings upon the First Being. St. Paul drew on this in his address in the Athenian Areopagus when he said "Yet God is in reality not far from any one of us, for in him we live, move and have our being" (Acts 17, 27-28). Such a statement can be best understood in the light of the concept of participation in which we perceive the necessary bond of contingent beings with the First Being and the Absolute's independence in being.

In philosophical explanation in which we are constantly concerned with beings, we base our investigations on an analysis of the ontological structure (revealed in their activity) of these beings, and our statements about the Absolute are justified to the extent that contingent beings provide a verifiable basis for these statements. This, however, does not entitle us to form any judgements about God's mode of activity or His relation to the world. To do so would be to go beyond the foundations provided by an analysis of contingent beings. That is why the statements of theologians, even of those like Teilhard de Chardin, that God "can want" or else "cannot want" do not seem very probable. These are metaphorical expressions at best, and their meaning depends on the one who coins the metaphor. We cannot know anything directly about God's mode of activity unless it is disclosed to us by the nature of contingent being (as a source of activity). Traditionally in philosophy "God's activity" was spoken of merely in terms of being and non-being, namely, insofar as that which we call activity is not in contradiction with the nature of the Absolute. It was in such a sense that philosophers traditionally drew attention to the fact that God's activity is formaliter immanens et virtualiter transiens, that it is fundamentally immanent and remains in Him alone; creation, as it were, "goes out of" God and is expressed when "created" natures are called to existence and supported in existence, insofar as God wills to freely "produce" the world together with time, through which He is connected with the nature of material beings. This production, however, of material beings is not necessary but free, and time, which emerges together with the material world, is not necessary but also originates from non-necessary and free divine activity. These matters, however, go beyond the limits of the mode of activity of contingent beings and they are connected with the mode of activity of the Absolute, who transcends the mode of contingent be-ing, and the mode of our cognition. The Absolute appears as a necessarily existing Being who renders free of contradiction the existence of contingent beings, that is, the pluralistic world. Monism, pantheism and panentheism exclude the existence of God and render everything absurd.


1. In this paper our aim is to consider the problematics of monism and pluralism in the context of European philosophy, though these problems are just as alive in Indian and Chinese thought. The basic philosophical texts of the East are often steeped in metaphor, as are the commentaries on these texts, and abounding in paradoxes and apparent contradictions, thus leaving us with an almost insurmountable barrier in our understanding of their purport. Yet at bottom there are no significant formulations which would indicate some reality or way of thinking totally alien to the West. Therefore I think that it shall suffice if I restrict the range of discussion to Western philosophy.

cf. "Philosophies and a comparison of philosophies" in F.C. Copleston's "Philosophy and Culture"

2. cf. Aristotle, Metaphysics, Zeta, VI, and St., Thomas Aquinas, Summa contra Gentiles, II, 15.

3. W. Heisenberg, Fizyka i Filozofia (Physics and Philosophy), translated into Polish by S. Amsterdamski, Warsaw 1965, p. 46.

4. ibid. p. 56-57.

5. cf. A. Bialas, "Elementary Particles" in Nauka - Religia - Dzieje (Science - Religion - History) the Second Interdisciplinary Seminar in Castelgondolfo, 6 - 9 September, 1982, Krakow, 1984, p. 24 ff.

6. Tartarkiewicz, Wladyslaw, Historia Filozofii (The History of Philosophy), Vol. II, pp. 227-228 (I checked this reference and could not find this citation. I do not preclude the possibility that it is to be found in another revised edition. - Hugh McDonald)

7. For a treatment of the concept in Hegel, cf. F. Grégoire's brilliant study Etudes Hegeliennes, Les Points Capitaux du Systeme Louvain, Paris 1958

8. cf. F. Gregoire, L'universelle contradiction, pp 51-139, and Etude III - Idée absolue et pantheisme, pp. 140-217.

9. cf. Hegel, Recht. Vorrede, Gl. 7.

10. Aristotle, Categories, ch. 7, 12a 20-30.

11. G.W.F. Hegel, Philosophie der Religion I, Begriff, p. 188

12. E. Brehier, Histoire de la philosophie, Paris 1959, Vol II, notebooks, p. 733

13. for example, see N.M. Wildiers, The Image of the World and Theology

14. P. Teilhard de Chardin, from a Polish translation of selected works entitled Pisma, Człowiek, Mój Wszechświat" (Writings, Man, My Universe), ed. M. Tazbir, Warsaw, 1968, p. 117-118.

15. ibid.

16. Acts 17, 24-29

17. Selected works. One wonders how Teilhard or Wildiers can know about what "God can do", since the very existence of God is in fact inaccessible. St. Paul, in his letter to the Romans, already wrote on this subject: "How great are God's riches! How deep are his wisdom and knowledge! Who can explain his decisions? Who can understand his ways? As Scripture says, "Who knows the mind of the Lord? Who is able to give him advice?" (Rom 11, 33 -34).

As we read Teilhard's works, we get the impression that he was adviser to God, for he seems to know what had to be done and how it should be done in the "economy of salvation", which was, after all, an essential mystery of Christianity! It is disturbing from a purely rational point of view to see how he fails to observe the scope of the object of knowledge, how he extrapolates a few specific modes or methods of cognition (e.g. from biology) to the whole of reality, where the overextended application of such methods seems to reflect a basic "ignorance".

18. Ch. Hartshorne, Man's Vision of God and the Logic of Theism, Hamdem, Conn. 1964, p. 3.

19. Wildiers, op. cit.

20. Here I am repeating what has already been formulated, because I want to emphasize that importance of spontaneous, objectified cognition as the point of departure for critical and philosophical analyses.

21. I have written ore extensively about ontological "compositions" and have given a more extensive interpretation of them in my "Metafizyka" (Metaphysics) (Lublin, 1978), part II, "Struktura bytu" (The Structure of Being).

22. St. Thomas, De ente et essentia, ch. IV.

23. St. Thomas, "De ente et essentia" - "On Being and Essence"

24. St. Thomas, Summa Theologica, I, q.3, a.4 ad 2.

25. On the topic of participation cf. Z.F. Zdybicka, Partycypacja bytu (The Participation of Being), Lublin 1972. In this study there is a critical discussion of the various concepts of participation formulated up to our time and a discussion of the concept of participation in St. Thomas, which we are drawing upon here.

Chapter 5. Analogy


Analogy is "omnipresent" in the world of really existing beings. Their structure and pluralism "forces" the analogy of cognition(1) upon man; this perceptibly manifests itself in our every day language, for the various names and the way they are used in expressions are also analogical. The phenomenon of analogy is perhaps easiest to see in our language. Language itself is an expression and communication of our knowledge, and our knowledge concerns reality itself - being. Thus there is no escape from analogy in its concrete use. Our common sense cognition (which is the basis for man's natural life and the basis from which the sciences and philosophy develop) is full of analogy, as analogy is broadly understood. So it become necessary to understand analogy through an analysis of its various domains (the analogy of being, the analogy of cognition, the analogy of predication) and of its various forms in the particular domains of human cognition. In its centuries old tradition, philosophy has actively taken up the problematics of analogy and made a great number of precisions and explanations. A knowledge of these will contribute to a deeper understanding of pluralistic reality (which is, however, not isolationistic) where we clearly perceive the unity not only of the material world, but the relative unity - the analogical unity to be precise - of both really existing beings and of our cognition and the mode of our linguistic communication. Cognition and linguistic communication concern both the range of prescientific cognition (common sense cognition) and scientific and philsophical cognition. Philosophical cognition in particular is in a special way an outgrowth of the common sense sort of cognition; thus it is necessary to consider analogy as it occurs both in pre-scientific cognition and later in the sciences and philosophy. These considerations, by virtue of the subject matter, cannot be exhaustive in the framework of such a short essay, but that does not mean that any fundamental problems must be left to the side or deliberately obscured.

1. Common Sense Analogy

When a child begins to enter into the world he constantly poses question to the reality which surrounds him. The answers he gets most often inform him in a merely cursory manner about the topic of his questions. Yet these cursory answers already provide the child with a living acquaintance with the surrounding world. The child only grasps certain characteristic feature-relations from things, the ones pointed out to him in the answers of adults; he is able to create for himself certain "classes" of objects and at the same time to see the individuality of each object which belongs to a given "set" or "class" of objects. Human life calls for the use of a language which is "general" but which at the same time concerns precisely the concrete things which differ from one another. This "likeness in the unlike" is, as it were, the first pre-philosophical, common sense understanding of analogy. Similarity in the dissimilar manifests itself as a certain "coincidence of relations-features" , only some relation-features, while the entire variety (dissimilarity) of the other various relations of the thing are retained. When we use certain expressions of our language, such as a "thing", "whatever", "something", "good", "alive", "healthy", "comfortable", "the smile of fortune" etc., at once we see that we can signify the most diverse matters and states of affairs by the same name. What is more, we understand at once the mode of communication, because we spontaneously apprehend only certain relations from the thing, relations which are characteristic of the thing or of the manner in which we use the thing, while at the same time we know nothing of many of the other features and relations belonging to the object of our interest. What we are performing here is not some process of abstraction, but we grasp in the thing the similarities and dissimilarities which it has in comparison with other things. We are not even always aware what is similar or dissimilar or under what aspects. For example, when I say that Adam is "good" and the horse is "good" and lunch is "good" and that idea is "good", I am not imparting some "abstract" and univocal understanding of "good" which I subsequently adjoin to various objects, but, on the contrary, I grasp Adam as good, and the horse as good and lunch as good - I spontaneously understand that I am speaking reasonably and expressing the truth, even though I cannot always express in pre-scientific knowledge exactly what it is that is common in the "good" of various objects. The matter stands much the same with regard to other expressions by which I signify such diverse objects as are designated by the name "thing", "something", "alive" etc.. Pre-scientific language is full to the brim with expressions which are understood analogically; this understanding is only in a very narrow respect "the same" with regard to various objects designated by the same analogical name, but fundamentally different when it is a question of their essential structure. Such diverse objects as Adam, Eve, this horse, this house, an oak, a thought, have very little in common, and yet I call each of them a "thing". At this point philosophical thought is needed to establish the most precise content of our understanding of "thing", although we spontaneously use this expression in a meaningful manner. If we consider the matter more carefully, we see that our pre-scientific language is analogical, to be precise, and in its analogicity it is remarkably to the point and efficacious. I react to analogical, imprecise expression in a lively manner, as when someone says to me: "you snow-man!" - "Be careful, you goat". Life is bound up with the analogy of being and cognition which is expressed in the pre-scientific and common sense understanding of reality.

2. From Analogy to Univocity

Science has a basis in pre-scientific cognition. The base of collective human experience is a the necessary first stage of knowledge, and also in the formulation of the sciences and the establishment of their efficacious methods. Science nevertheless leaves the field of analogical cognition and goes in the direction of univocity, as univocity guarantees the precision of science. Univocity is commonly regarded as the first condition for the cultivation of science, and it has even been regarded as synonymous with being scientific. Thus it is not strange that the high value placed upon scientific cognition became in large measure the reason behind the tendency to make philosophy into an exact science by rendering it univocal. This tendency was based on a mistaken understanding of the object of philosophy, on a univocal understanding of being. This became the dominant understanding of being from the mediaeval period on, namely since Duns Scotus, followed by Suarez and their heirs. The nineteenth and twentieth century succumbed almost completely to the enchantment of univocity, to such a degree that everything which in "scientific" cognition was not univocal was regarded as being metaphysical "nonsense". Philosophers - in keeping with the univocal conception of reality-being - built a univocal language for their system. Perhaps in their case this was not unfitting, since as they were occupied with a univocally understood "reality" (namely only certain apprehended manifestations of reality), and as they made language more precise, they were explaining their own thoughts. On this occasion they could also purify language itself of any equivocal understanding and contribute to a better formulation of their thought. Unfortunately, reality itself as it really exists is richer than any of the aspective, unilateral and univocal approaches to it, chiefly because the very structure of being is irreducible to the simple, univocal content which can be grasped in a concept and expressed in a univocal name.

Where is there univocity?

To thus pose the question leads us to the old mediaeval controversy on universals and at the same time to the always timely problem of the realism of our cognition. Univocity occurs only in our human intellectual cognition. Reality itself is pluralistic, constantly changing in its material dimension, irrepeatable in its ontic structure. Yet it is precisely such a reality which we apprehend in our conceptual cognition in some "univocal" way. One of the properties of universal concepts is precisely that they can be predicated univocally. Universal concepts are only the manner in which our intellect grasps the contents of being. We are not capable of grasping these contents exhaustively in our human aspective and selective cognition. In its contents, real being is immensely "rich" and it would take the intellect of the Creator to "know" it exhaustively. Only God knows as he creates being and creates as he knows being (to be precise comprehensively - exhaustively). In our cognition of the real contents of a thing we grasp only certain of its "features", those which are important to us, whether this be by virtue of the very structure of the thing, or by virtue of the way in which we use the thing. The very structure of being manifests to us the characteristic features which serve to establish an "hierarchy of natural classes". As a result, we can at once distinguish living being from non-living; among living beings we spontaneously distinguish plants from members of the animal kingdom: in the world of "animals" we at once perceive the special place of man in the hierarchy of being. In general, we are able to point out the characteristic features of particular classes. The objects which serve the needs of our daily practical life are by far more necessary to us. Here we see how man can know a thing in the aspect of its instrumentalization. It is relatively easy for us to cognize a thing, inasmuch as from it we can produce some tool of which we may make use in our daily needs. When we cognize a thing under the aspect of its instrumentalization, we grasp only certain of its features, the ones which enable us to construct a tool out of the thing. In this respect man is remarkably creative; he is endowed with the ability in cognition of discovering and grasping those few relations-features, out of which he may subsequently create for himself the right "concept", i.e. the manner of understanding the thing in the aspect of its "instrumentalization".

It is because we grasp only certain features from the thing which we cognize that our concept (our manner of understanding the thing) is merely general. But this generality is a manifestation not only of the weakness of our intellect, but at the same time -for other reasons - a manifestation of its spiritual power. For when we grasp a thing in a general way and build a general concept, we join into one not only accidental features as such, but precisely those features which are necessary, whence we are able in a stable manner both to understand the thing and to make use of it. The generality, necessity and stability of our conceptual cognition was already seen by Plato in antiquity, and thus he held man to be a "spirit-intellect" - nous in Greek.

Thus in cognizing a thing conceptually (generally, by necessity, unchangeably), man can make use of his conceptual cognition, provided that he has first predicated general, stable, necessary concepts of individual things. This predication is univocal, since the unique, determined, general, necessary and unchanging content grasped in cognition is matched by him to individual subjects. If we call the content which has been grasped the "meaning" of an expression, then we predicate only this "one meaning" to diverse subjects. The meaning is delimited and determined in itself. In the process of predication, we predicate this "meaning-concept" by identifying this meaning with a subject. If I assert that Adam, Even or John is a man(2), then I am identifying the content of the concept "man" with these subjects. Here I am performing a remarkably important act in identifying the ontological content of the grasped (created) concept and the real subject. In my cognition and predication I reach the structure of being. With my intellect I penetrate the thing under the aspect of being(3), I affirm the real identity of the subject and the content I predicate of it which is contained in the concept. Subsequently, this not only lets me come to a theoretical knowledge of the structure of being, but also, as a result of a reflection upon and an objectivization of the concept, to create tools on the basis of a determinate, univocal plan-concept (a licence) of the thing itself. Thus it is not strange that the univocity of cognition underlies our genuine scientific knowledge of the "natures" of material, changing, pluralistic things. Furthermore it constitutes the basis for all technical sciences. Of course, the highest mode of the univocity of cognition is the cognitive grasp of univocity in the aspect of mathematical being, when we understand a material thing in the network of its quantitative relations.

The fact that our conceptual knowledge of things is characterized by univocity does not cancel out the non-repeatable character and the individual structure of being itself, of that which we call the analogical character of being (the analogicity of being)(4). A thing which has been grasped through univocal concepts is accessible to our cognition only in the light of precisely these very narrow apprehensions of the things features, and all the "remainder" of the being is left unapprehended and is for the knower's intellect a mystery. Univocal predication, although it is of great help in cognition, is still "abstract" cognition, for it passes over this rich "remainder" of the being which is being cognized. Although I could multiply my acts of univocal cognition (and this is what normally happens in the development of the sciences), and "cover" the thing with the entire "network" of my concepts, thus "drilling" my way somehow to the interior of being, still in an act of univocal cognition I always "abstract", mentally "divide" the features which I have apprehended from the immensely rich "remainder". Furthermore, I am always "confined" to the range which has been marked out by features I have apprehended; I create for myself the appropriate classes; these classes are not always marked out by the structure of the thing and the real influence which it exerts on other beings. In the process of creating univocal concepts, in a certain way I "betray" reality and I "steal" it from what interests me cognitively or can serve to satisfy my needs. I construct for myself a concept from the features which I have apprehended univocally; this concept normally serves as a "medium" in my understanding of the reality which I am cognizing. But these univocally apprehended features may, when I objectivize them, be themselves an "object" of my knowledge; when on the basis of a thus constructed concept I create new "object-tools", I somehow materialize my univocal concepts in the form of new objects produced in factories or by hand, such as wagons, cars, houses etc.. Yet I touch reality itself only at certain points - in the univocal cognition of things - precisely at those points which I grasped as features of the cognized object. So it is that in scientific, univocal knowledge I possess contact with reality only through the features which have been apprehended in a concept. Science itself, as was observe long ago by Eddington, is a "scaffold of concepts" over reality, a scaffold which fits reality only in the features or relations which have been apprehended in a concept.

3. Towards the analogy of being

The "thing in itself", however, the really existing being, is not "univocal" and in its real existence it is very "rich", immensely "well-endowed" in its ontological content; we apprehend this content selectively and we render it univocal through abstraction. In being, however, this "treasure" of element-features is realized and they are ordered to each other in both necessary and non-necessary ways (in constant and unceasing change and motion). As a result, being is constantly "the same", even though changes may occur and the various elements which somehow "continue" the identity of the relational system of the whole of the being in a certain way "shift".

What does all this mean? Let us take a closer look at this matter. The material world surrounding us, in which we are "immersed", is a conglomeration or system of an uncountable multitude of beings. Each of these beings in particular is also a "system", a "whole" of the uncountably many "element-parts" through which is has its being and operates. Yet when we speak of the "composition of being out of parts" we have, and indeed must have, constantly in mind the difference between a composition which comes about by way of "art", and one which is natural, as in the genesis or coming-into-being of things. In the "artificial" production of an object, the component parts of the object previously exist, and through their "composition" we produce a new object, one which possesses only the unity of composition alone. In this manner I produce (in various kinds of industrial and hand production) a wide variety of instruments which serve the purposes of dwelling, sleep, locomotion, communication at a distance, as is the case in the building of houses, the making of furniture, of cars, telephones etc.. On the other hand, in those beings which arise by virtue of natural genesis, none of the differentiated parts have previously existed, nor is any one of them able to go on being a "part" of the being after it has been separated from the whole. The parts, which are of the greatest variety, "shoot out" from the whole. The whole itself organizes its parts. For example, a man develops from the first human cell into the entire organism of the human body; he forms for himself the widest variety of organs of locomotion, sense cognition, digestion, respiration etc.. We may say that man himself is "composed" of the organs which he has formed as his "parts", through which he can carry out his vital functions and in a certain way bering himself to perfection. None of the "parts" of the human organism existed "previous" to the coming into being of man, and no one of his parts is his "part" after being separated from the organism. The unity of a being which has arisen by way of "art" is one thing, and the unity of a being which has arisen by way of natural "genesis" is another thing - it is an essential unity. Thus the term "ontological part" or "part of being" as it is understood in reference to the whole of a natural being does not refer to the "parts" of the products of "art", i.e. of handiwork or a factory.

Both the needs of man's daily life, and the particular sciences (e.g. anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics), as finally philosophy itself in its centuries of development, demonstrate various ontological compositions, and thus also the "parts" of being which are distinguished by various cognitive methods. If, for example, we were to consider empirically perceptible and technically realizable "integrative parts", then at once we would be faced with the uncountable multitude of various constitutive parts of the human organism, or of the animal organism in the form of organs, tissues, cells, molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. Furthermore, in philosophy a distinction is made between substantial components and accidental components (in the various categories of accidents): the parts, matter and form, which pertain to essence, and the components of being which concern both substance and all the accidents in the form of essence and existence. All these parts are ordered to each other and together they create one essential ontological whole which, in keeping with a philosophical tradition which reaches all the way back to Aristotle, is commonly expressed by the relation "potency to act", of a multiplicity which is united by one factor.

If we concentrate only upon man's integrative parts, we notice that in a living human organism there are about two billion cells, and each cell is also remarkably richly composed of molecules, and these are composed out of atoms, etc. - and all this together operates both within the confines of the cell and in the necessary context of other cells, tissues organs and the entire organism. Within the organism, therefore, we see necessary relational connections between the most various kinds of "parts" belonging to the same organism. Before us there appears an enormous "net" of relations which draw into a unity such different "parts". There are so many incessant motions and changes which occur in one living organism as a result of the cooperation of all the parts. There is the circulation of blood and nutrients, the breaking down of old cells and the production of new ones, there are the motions of nerves, the known and unknown motions within the cell, and what is more - as in all nature - there are the motions of molecules and atoms together with the vertiginous orbiting of electrons around the nucleus of the atom. All these motions penetrate the entire organism , causing at times very profound transformations of the organism which nevertheless retains its identity. When we call to mind that among all these "parts" which are conceived in so many different ways, there are stable, necessary relations which are constitutive of the organism, the relations of parts to parts, of parts to the whole, before us there appears a real being of "fluctuating relations", a being which is "unchanging in its changeability", or "changing in its ontological unchangeability". Despite this changeability, the being is constantly "the same"; in a stable manner "relationally identical" in itself. We call this relational identity of being in all the changes of its relations the intrinsic analogy of being.

Thus every contingent being is analogical in itself with regard to the fact that it is internally composed out of diverse parts which remain in relation to each other and to the whole in relations which ultimately signal the identity of being, despite the constant change (motion) of its "parts". As it is analogical in itself, at the same time it is also analogical in relation to other real beings, and by virtue of this fact it creates an analogical, real unity, the "universum" of contingent beings. This analogical unity of contingent beings is based on the analogical internal structure of every being. For the components of a real being which are variously joined by relations are not something "simple", "univocal", but rather they occur in a stable interdependence upon one another in the constant substructural changes, and yet they create the analogical unity of being, the relational identity of being.

The multiplicity and diversity of the component-"parts" which integrate material being is only a first exemplary glance at the many aspects of ontological "compositions", and yet they show the analogical character of the ontological structure of the individuum. Other kinds of ontological compositions appear against the background of a metaphysical explanation of really existing and functioning things. It is a question here of such compositions and relations which are a bundle of the various components of one being; these are known in philosophy as the composition of substance and accidents, of matter and form, and above all, of essence and existence. Each of these compositions underlies the explanation of important facts and ontological states. Thus these compositions are not "univocal" in relation to themselves, but analogical; they concern various "ranges" of being and the various ways in which the unity of being is realized.

Thus in explaining the identity of being - an identity which persists despite the constant changes taking place in being, we accept the well-known composition of substance and the accidents which perfect substance in the nine chief categories of being. "Quantity" alone, as the accident which organizes the material aspect of being, turns out to be so rich that it constitutes the object of investigation for just about all of the empirical sciences, including mathematics. Yet there exist the other "accident-properties" of being, and these are no less rich, such as "quantity", "relation", "action", or "the passive reception of action", "time", "space" etc.. Each of these states of being is also something non-univocal, but composite in itself, containing its necessary components. Indeed, how many kinds of qualities does we possess in the material and spiritual order, for example in the human being? How many kinds of relations are there? All this concerns one and "the same" being, e.g., a concrete man. The very "substantiality" of being has been understood very schematically and superficially, and even not understood at all, as is the case of the many critics of Aristotle (e.g. Heidegger) who have attempted to insinuate static schemata into substantial structures; this "substantiality" is an ingenious perception of the fact of the subjectivity of being. This ontic subjectivity is constantly dynamic not only by reason of the subjectivization of variable accidents, but furthermore, by reason of the "internal" development of substance; substance is perfected through its activity, passivity(5), relations, possessions... Substantial being is "strengthened" in its subjectivity and as it remains itself it becomes different in its being through the occurrence of internal changes in the relations of its components.

The compositions of essence and existence are of particular importance for contingent being. These compositions constitute being as being; they concern all that is real, both in the order of the substantiality of being and in the order of accidents. The problematic of the composition of essence and existence in being made its appearance relatively late; it was at times misunderstood and was the occasion of many controversies and misunderstandings. It would be difficult to discuss all these matters here. But we must constant keep in mid that what we call "essence" and existence" is an "aspect", a "part" a "component" of the same beings, and not merely our manner of understanding being. As components of being, essence and existence in being are not and cannot be really "the same", since a being's "to exist" is not the same as to be a bundle of features which constitute essence. Furthermore, if in the same being essence and existence were thought to be one and the same, there would ensue a series of absurdities. In such a case, abstractions would exist, since an abstract essence is conceivable, e.g. "man", but he does not yet exist on this account. If essence were to be reduced to existence (if we were to identify essence with existence) then everything would be merely existence, which is of itself simple, non-composite. The pluralism of being which then vanish, for everything would be merely existence. But our "way of speaking" of essence and existence is by its nature inadequate: human language was created to express and communicate being, not to express "infra-ontic" states. For neither essence nor existence are beings, but they are, as the components of being, merely that "through which" being is itself and really exists. The danger of a "confusion of languages" is very real and important when we discuss and try to understand the components of being which are not themselves beings but rather the factors which constitute the being.

The composition of being from the really non-identical components, essence and existence, concerns every contingent being, both in the aspect of its subjective-substantial existence and in the aspect of its accidents. Furthermore, this composition is the ultimate basis for all the other compositions of being. This is to say that if not for the composition of essence and existence in the contingent being, all other types of compositions (such as, e.g. the composition of integrative parts, or the composition substance and accidents) would be merely apparent compositions: they would not exist. For without the fundamental composition of essence and existence in concrete contingent beings, there would be no pluralism of being at all, and monism alone would be conceivable; the theory would have to be true which states that all are one and the same being, that multiplicity would be an illusion and merely the manifold articulation of the one being, notwithstanding that the very concept of the manifold articulation of the one being is in itself inconceivable, as it is contradictory, for what could be the basis for this manifold articulation since everything is the same simple being? One could only appeal to the imprecision and fallibility of our cognition. Thus the composition of essence and existence in contingent beings constitutes the very core of the contingency of being and the ultimate "internal" justification of pluralism, dynamism, causality and all other compositions of being. For this reason, this type of fundamental composition becomes the basis for the analogical nature of being. For if in the being there exist its various components, components which are not identical with one another and which, as a result of their mutual relations, create the relational and analogical unity of being, then all this is anchored in the "non-univocity" caused by the nonidentity of essence and existence both in the being as a whole and in its substantial and accidental parts.

Infra-ontic analogy is thus the mode of the persistence of contingent being which is variously composed of its components, components which are "joined" into one being by the uncountable net of the relations of all the components ordered to each other and to the whole. Although the various components of being constantly undergo changes, yet this does not destroy the relative identity with regard to the persistence of the relations of the constitutive components of being(6), especially of the act of subjective existence and the act of the form organizing subjectivity-substantiality.

4. Inter-ontological analogy - the analogy between beings

The analogical structure of contingent being itself provides the basis for inter-ontological analogy - analogy between beings. In nature and in the entire order of being there also exists a relational bond which causes the relational unity of the nature of the cosmos, of being as being. As a result of this, we see this bond immediately and spontaneously, and we call the things surrounding us "being-reality" etc. What is more, as we observe and analyse precisely this reality, we see diverse forms of inter-ontological unity - from the unity of each particular being as it exists subjectively-substantially, through the unity which is joined together by relations of a common origin, the unity marked out by the mutability of matter and the circulation of matter in nature, up to the unity brought together by the necessary and transcendental relations of the very fact of existence (i.e. relations present in every being). Furthermore, there come into play various kinds of bonds between beings, bonds related on non-necessary relations, relations which are "adventitious" to the already created being. There are uncountably many such relations, and as a result the unity of reality is enriched for various reasons, e.g. various activities and passivities, various convergences among beings; we perceive only some of them, such as convergences in time and space, convergences in measures and comparisons. Thus the network of relations (both necessary and non-necessary, both such relations as constitute groups of beings and transcendental relations which completely comprehend the reality of contingent beings, real relations and mental relations which occur in cognition among the various features of which we grasp of things) - this network of relations is so "great and dense" that for certain investigators its analogical expression is veiled and it leads human thought along the track of the absolute unity of being, a unity which is expressed in monism or at lest a fundamentally monistic theory of reality. But in fact the enormous network of relations between beings, which network is grounded in the equally dense network of relations inside being, is, to be precise, the "revelation" of both the analogy within being and the real analogy between beings. It must be noted here, that there have been many theoreticians of analogy who failed to perceive the analogy within being and who affirmed only the analogy between beings, as this analogy is apparent in human cognition. Yet a theory of the analogy of cognition as the analogy which manifests itself in the cognition of states between beings would be futile if there did not exist the fundamental analogy between beings caused by the substantial unity and the multitude of the changing part-components which are joined together by necessary relations which constitute the concretely existing being.

Philosophy is chiefly interested in the necessary and transcendental relations which bind all contingent beings. Hence it becomes necessary that we give them special attention, because they are the basis of metaphysics and the metaphysical understanding of reality. It is a question here above all of the relations which really occur both in any given being and at the same time in every contingent being. Cognition can be the grasp of something which really takes place in the thing itself, and not only that which we ourselves "impose" on the thing known as what may be our a priori conditions for understanding the thing. In examining a contingent being from the metaphysical point of view, we see three types of characteristic necessary and, at the same time, transcendental relations in being. All three types of relations can be grasped in the analogical schema "potency and act". First, however, we should take a closer look at them.

The first group of necessary and, at the same time, transcendental relations, which relations are realized in every contingent being, is the oft mentioned above relation of essence to existence, which relation constitutes the ontological character(7) of contingent being and constitutes the basis for the order of real being; in consequence this relation points to the source and the first efficient cause and to causality as such. If in every contingent being we its components as really non-identical, then by the same token we affirm their facticity, that they are really found in being. This means that being itself is nothing other than precisely "that which possesses existence", that being itself is constituted by essence and existence internally bound to each other as potency and act. Essence is, as it were, the "subject" which recieves into itself an act, and limits the act to the realization of only that content which is marked out by essence. On the other hand, essence as potency is not prior to existence, but with respect to thing, with respect to nature, it is "posterior" to the act of existence. Only in real being and "under actual existence" is real essence created. Thus the entire ontological character(8) of contingent being is, as it were, the "drama" and the "tension" of the field of being marked out by the poles of existence and essence.

In analogical language we say that essence in being is the "analogatum", the bearer of a corresponding analogical perfection. Existence is the "analogon" and thus precisely that perfection which "actualizes" the subject - the analogatum. It is not one and the same thing to be an analogatum as concrete content, and to be an analogon, as the analogical perfection which is again said to be "proportionally one". In being, this proportionally one and common perfection is existence. But how is this proportional unity realized, if in every real being both essence and existence are unique; the existence is proper only to this unique essence? Adam is a unique essence possessing only his own proper and individual existence, an existence distinct from that of Eve, John, the horse, the tree. How then does the "inter-ontological" analogical community-unity of being really occur in contingent beings? How is it that one cannot reduce essence to one, nor can existences be reduced to one, since each existence is distinct, proportional and proper to the particular essence which is commensurate to that existence?

What then constitutes the analogical unity of being as being? It is precisely the "actualization" of essence by existence, in the sense that essence is realized, or set in the real order, by existence. This fact takes place in every contingent being, but in each individual being this takes place in a manner corresponding to this here concrete essence. In the same way as the proportional "ontological character" of being is constituted, so also the proportional unity of contingent beings comes about. Every concrete contingent being is by its whole essence "ordered" to its existence, which existence "actualizes" this essence; also, in the same beings, its existence, as "simple act" is exhausted in the realization of existence. The inter-ontological analogicity(9) expressed in the term "being as being" is the proportional (peculiar to each being and unrepeatable) relation of the essence to the existence of the same being. The facticity of the occurrence of this relation is as extensive as being itself is extensive.

The vision of ontological and inter-ontological analogicity (this analogicity is expressed in the term "being as being") possesses one more necessary dimension: it points to Necessary Being, to the Absolute-God and the necessary and unique "reason of being" which "divides" the ontic character of contingent being from non-being. This means that without the Absolute, as the unique "chief analogatum" no contingent being would exist, i.e. there would would not be any order of the reality of the world of contingent beings at all. If every contingent being in its deepest structure is "composed" of essence and existence, existence which actualizes essence, and if no contingent being is the reason for its own existence, with respect to the fact that the existence of contingent being is not a consequence of of content, then the facticity of composition, i.e. the facticity of being, is conditioned by a being whose essence is existence. Contingent being, as it does not "give" existence to itself, ultimately possesses this existence from such a being who is existence. Every contingent being is incapable of giving itself existence. This does not mean that the existence of a contingent being is not conditioned by the existence of other contingent beings; on the contrary, to the nature of contingency there belong multifaceted conditionings and relational bonds with other beings. But if each of the contingent beings is incapable of imparting existence to itself, then neither does the entire set of contingent beings have this power, this reason of being, since each particular contingent being does not possess this reason in itself. Thus the fact that contingent beings (beings composed of essence and a commensurate existence) do exist, does not imply a contradiction, if there is a sufficient reason for their existence: this reason may be such a being whose essence is existence. Only such a being, as the ultimate reason for onticity(10) (the fact that something possesses existence, which conditions the real essence-content which is organized "under existence") can be called the ultimate efficient cause of being. It is only the composition of the really non-identical components of being, essence and existence, which bears witness to this efficient causality. Without this composition, efficient causality and the reality of being would only be a "postulate" - "principle", and not a fact.

It was the analogy of being and between beings, with respect to the very fact of existence, which became in the thought of Thomas Aquinas the foundation for his formulation of the first three of the so-called "ways" for the demonstration of God's existence: from motion, i.e. the coming into being of being; from the fact of existence as well as from the relation of essence to existence. These are the three "ways" to an ultimate non-contradictory understanding of the fact that contingent beings exist.

In an existing contingent being, we read out its so-called "intelligibility:; this intelligibility is manifested in what we read out as the "rationality" of the first and chief principles (the principle of identity, of non-contradiction, of the excluded middle, of the reason of being, and of finality), and in the rationality of the very fact that there are sciences which express the structure, the dynamism and the laws of being itself. This intelligibility of being is expressed in metaphysics as transcendental truth. It is common to regard the truth of human cognition as the conformity of our judgements with reality, and to regard ontological truth as the conformity of a thing with the intellect which projects it. Both kinds of truth imply the bond of being and intellect. Cognitive truth draws its value from being itself, with which it consciously conforms in the act of "judgement". The truth of being itself contains the bond with the intellect, for if the first "reading out" of being is expressed in the chief judgement-principles of identity, non-contradiction, the excluded middle, the reason of being, and of finality, and in the content of scientific cognition (the contents which are expressed in science are the contents of being), then being is in itself intelligible, and it constitutes the foundations of the rational order. This intelligibility of being is at the same time an indication of some kind of "presence" of intellect in being; this presence can be either an autonomous presence or a derivative (heteronomous) presence. Meanwhile - since being itself is contingent, and thus derivative, this "presence" of the intelligibility can only be derivative, just as the "presence" of the intellect of the maker in his work of art or technology is a derivative presence. Thus in being we note the internal, necessary and transcendental (running through all beings) relation of the entire being to the Intellect of the Creator, from whom comes at the same time the derivative character of contingent being itself. The intelligibility of being cannot be understood unless it is necessarily referred to the INTELLECT OF THE ABSOLUTE (this reference is expressed in the entire ontological character of the being). Being as intelligible being necessarily implies an INTELLECT, in which and through which everything which is being has come into being. This derivation from the intellect and the intelligible order is the basis for the relational "value: on which other values, qualitites or perfections of being are built. The reading out of these real perfections in an existing being on the ground of truth is the basis for the formulation of the so-called "fourth way" of Saint Thomas in demonstrating the existence of God as the highest Truth, the highest perfection, of which we shall speak shortly.

The third type of necessary and transcendental relation contained in being is its relation to the will and to love, which relation constitutes the order of good. Being is associated with appetite as this is broadly understood. In the spiritual order appetite bears the name of will, and its act is love. In the case of man we perceive that it is precisely concretely existing being which elicits an appetite for itself. Depending upon the being-good which is desired, the very act of appetition, love, is good, and the will is good as the source of love. In real being is found the reason for desirability, and this is the corresponding endowment of being, the wealth of being. Since, however, being is contingent and owes its existence ultimately to the Absolute, since it exists as a being, since the Absolute-God WILLS that such a being exists, hence being as the good and the source of desirability is by necessity connected with the WILL of the Absolute. Contingent being exists as the good, for it is wanted and loved to really exist. Being itself as being contains a necessary transcendental relation to the will; to the will of the Absolute as the reason for the coming into existence of being, and to the appetite-will of man and in general of contingent beings, for whom the presently existing being-good is an object, an end, a motive for their love and the real activity which emanates from this love. This necessary relation of really existing being to the will of the Absolute marks the analogicity of the good. In the analogical manner in which the good exists there is contained a transcendental relational bond between a being and the will of a personal being - whether this be the will of the Absolute in the case of the good of being, or the will of a contingent person, in the case of the good of appetition and human love.

The good, as the object and end of appetition, dynamizes being to activity, for it becomes the motive, for which action is rather than is not. Of course, this motive - as love - makes its appearance principally and primitively in human activity, but, what is just as important, also in the form of a natural tendency in the non-cognitive activities of being, such as the tendencies or inclinations in the vegetable kingdom, or broader yet, in the material world. The good as an end is the cause of the dynamism of being in various ways, proper to each thing, and ultimately points to the Highest Good, the Absolute, as to the ultimate "fulfilment" of every love and of every activity, with the activity of the person (of the reason and will) in the first place. This is the perspective of the considerations of the "fifth way" of Saint Thomas, in which he shows why it is necessary for God to exist in order to avoid any contradiction which could arise from the activity of contingent beings.

If being as TRUTH and being as GOOD contain within themselves a necessary relation to the Absolute in the aspect of so-called intelligibility-rationality and in the aspect of telic dynamism, it may still be noted the these relational attributes of being (truth and good) are an expression of the full bond of being with the PERSON (both the person of the Absolute and the person of contingent being), who expresses himself in the personal activity of the intellect and the will. The connection of being with a person who expresses himself in full in the intellect (cognition) and the will (love) at the same time, takes place when the person, as he cognizes, loves his object and his cognition. We call this fully personal bond of person and being BEAUTY; beauty is cognition which gives delight. It is characteristic that just such an attitude "of beatuy" taking in the whole of the life of the person is both the embryo of our personal relation to reality and at the same time it is the term-end of the life of the person and culminates in the contemplation which gives life to love.

The chief manifestations of the analogy within being and between beings here analysed constitute the foundation of the analogical unity of being. A failure to recognize this analogical unity of being leads in consequence to a necessary acceptance of monism or of monistic tendencies in interpretation, or to isolationism of the Leibnitzian type. Of particular importance is the analogy between beings based on transcendental relations: the relation of essence to existence in the contingent being, the relation of being to intellect, and the relation of being to will, i.e. the understanding of being as being, of being as truth and of being as good. These necessary and transcendental relations join the whole of reality into an analogical unity and constitute the basis for the theory of participation, the theory that contingent being is joined with the Absolute in the aspect of efficient, exemplar and final causality (being as being, being as truth, good, beauty). In these aspects (efficient, exemplar and final) the "presence" of the Absolute in all contingent beings is possible, and at the same time necessary.

5. The analogy of cognition

It is only the analogy of being which can be a real basis for the analogy of human cognition, which analogy is expressed in its fourfold realization: metaphorical analogy, the analogy of mutual ordering or attribution, the analogy of general proportionality, and the analogy of transcendental (metaphysical) proportionality. In addition, there are certain kinds of the analogy of being based on non-necessary, categorical relations which can serve as the foundation for the heuristic process of cognition, as can be seen from the development of the particular sciences, especially the natural sciences, in which one may speak of a particular kind of "inference" by analogy. The matter, however, of analogical inference and the kind of heuresis which is associated with it belongs rather to the methodology of the particular sciences, and not, strictly speaking, to philosophy; it is the office of philosophy merely to show the bases for such a cognitive process, which are various relations between beings, categorical relations, relations built upon already existing beings.

Analogical cognition is sometimes reduced to isomorphy or homomorphism in view of a similar or even identical structure in the framework of which cognition follows its course. Isomorphy and homomorphism express a determined relation which occurs between members which only seem to be analogical. Thus, for example, an identical twofold relation is expressed in the schema: 2:4 - 3:6, or in the area of qualities, the similarities between 1/ the wing of a bird and its body, and 2/ the wing of a house and its structure. The determinate relations can be abstracted and grasped in an entirely univocal symbol. Thus there arises the question of isomorphy and homomorphism: although they seem to be close to analogy, and although certain thinkers would like to reduce analogy to isomorphy, still isomorphism and homomorphism are a form of the univocity of knowledge and not of the analogy of knowledge. Any attempt to reduce analogy to isomorphism (for the sake of rendering analogy more precise) is begging the question. In analogy, the relations between the members of the analogy itself are not, nor can they be, determined univocally, since it embraces a "coincidence" of relations in connection with (and not in abstraction from) all the other relations.

* * *

A. As we pass on to the various types of analogical cognition, we encounter first metaphorical analogy, the various forms of which appear widely in literary language as literary tropes. This analogy has a particularly prominent role in religious literature, above all in the Bible, where metaphor is used in its various forms in very striking ways. Metaphor is expressed not only in spoken or written language, but also in the language of gestures, of various modes of conduct, as can be seen in religious liturgies, to take just one example.

What are the characteristic and constitutive features of metaphorical analogy? As the name itself indicates ("phorein" and "meta"), in this type of analogical cognition we come into contact with the "shifting" of a a name which in its proper sense denotes some event, process or thing, to other "objects", for which the shifted name is not proper. Why do we shift a name from one object to another? We do so merely in order to evoke a psychological reaction similar to that evoked in the first instance. This can be illustrated with a banal example. The smile of a child, of a girl, of a mother, evokes in a man a pleasant psychological reaction, one of friendliness, closeness, trust... When the same or a similar reaction is evoked by other events, for example, the appearance of the sun after cold rain and overcast skies, we spontaneously say "the sun is smiling". The term "smile" has been shifted to another object in view of the psychological reaction which has been evoked. Thus metaphorical cognition is always a mediating cognition based on a common experience of nature or culture. Only one who knows Greek mythology can understand the metaphor: "For Adam, his head is his Achilles' heel".

It is precisely the fact that many have a common experience of nature and culture that makes the analogy of metaphor contribute to the creativity of language and strengthen man's "settling in" in a particular time and place. Furthermore, this analogy does not as a rule have cognition as its purpose, since it embraces also extra-cognitive psychological factors, e.g. the awakening of similar feelings and the evocation of desired forms of conduct. This is probably in large measure the reason why the language of religion is so permeated with metaphor, whey we use the language of metaphor when reality cannot be expressed univocally and at the same time that reality, as it were, "presses for" revelation and communication, as one can see from the philosophical creativity of Henri Bergson.

B. Another type of mediating analogical cognition is the widely analysed analogy of mutual ordering or attribution. Again, let us start from concrete linguistic examples of this analogy. We often speak of "health"; Adam is healthy, his complexion is healthy, air is healthy. medicine is healthy, gymnastics, taking walks, etc. We spontaneously understand this manner of expression and communication. If we consider it more closely, however, we see that all such "healthy" signs or processes make sense only when they concern "this here" Adam, since they bear reference to him. We must first understand what "Adam's health" means, in order to speak sensibly of healthy signs or processes. Thus "Adam's health", however understood, here constitutes the fundamental reference point in understanding the various statements or expressions on "health". It is thus frequently said that the proper sense of the expression "healthy" is realized in one chief analogatum, and this is the concrete living organism (plant, animal, man) and it is in relation to precisely this understanding of "health" that other expressions "healthy" draw their meaning. It may be that that which is healthy for Adam can be the reason of illness in Jane, on account of the different states of their organisms. Thus we order the understanding of the various expression denoting the "health" of a complexion, of air, of medicine, to only one chief analogatum, "Adam", in which the content of health is realized in a proper and essential sense (formally), while in other analogata (called inferior analogata) the content of the analogical expression (e.g. "healthy") is realized through being ordered to the understanding of the chief analogatum. As Averroes so fittingly observed in the early middle ages, this ordering is done by virtue of various kinds of causality. When we consider the Aristotelian conception of causes, then on the canvas of this theory we can see the possibility of ordering the operation of nature. Aristotle distinguished the internal causes or factors which constitute being; these are "matter" and "form", which are mutually complementary. In being, matter is that "from which" being is formed, and form is that through which a particular being is that which it is. Thus form (formal cause) is the factor which constitutes the essence of a being. Of course, under the influence of Plato, philosophers conceived of form, in the ancient and mediaeval tradition, either as the internal factor constitutive of being or as the external factor, the form as idea, the model or plan of a being. This model (the exemplar cause, that is, the external formal cause) exists only in the intellect which projects being. Nonetheless, it is matter and form which are chiefly mentioned as internal factors. In addition, there exist two external causes or factors which exert an influence on the coming into being of a being, and they are the final cause and the efficient cause. The end is principally the motive or love of good, and constitutes the reason why some activity has come into existence rather than not come into existence; on the other hand, the efficient factor is the real source of the coming into being of a being, and so it is a being which from itself liberates a real activity with the end of producing a new being (a new form of being).

Having in mind the conception of causality sketched out be Aristotle, the Arabian philosopher Averroes sought to render the conception if the analogy of mutual ordering or attribution more precise. He rightly noted that the principal analogatum of this analogy realizes the analogical content which is denoted by the common analogical name in the sense of a formal cause. This means that in a proper sense, in an essential or formal sense according to Aristotle's terminology, the analogical content is realized only in one, chief (principal) analogatum, e.g. "health" is only in Adam. All other terms "healthy" are intelligible only on account of their order to the principle analogatum, to Adam's "health". This ordering assume various forms of causation. Thus everything which is a means to the end of "Adam's health" can be called "healthy", as can every factor which causes Adam's health, or everything which is a sign (natural or conventional) of Adam's health. The understanding of the minor analogata is possible in the light of the understanding of the principal analogatum.

The analogy of attribution or mutual ordering, called by Aristotle "analogia pros hen" - "in relation to one" - was a point of dispute among many thinkers, who thought that this kind of analogy is the one fundamentally useful in metaphysics, for many philosophers (Suarez and those who adopted his metaphysics) thought that this analogy applies precisely to being. The chief analogatum in this understanding of being is precisely the first BEING - God, and all other being are intelligible only in their being ordered to God, who is the author, the end and the exemplar of all other beings. This, however, is an erroneous understanding of the analogy of being, for God is not the reason which mediates our understanding of the so-called minor analogata, other beings. On the contrary, the process of analogical cognition is, as it were, the other way around; for in coming to an empirical knowledge of contingent being and in explaining them, in being itself we are searching for the reasons for its intelligibility and we find this reason ultimately in God, whose existence we do not affirm directly, but affirm only in endeavouring to give a non-contradictory explanation for the fact of contingent existence. Thus God is not, as in the analogy of attribution, the chief analogatum in the sense of being the reason for our knowledge of other beings; God does not mediate our knowledge of other beings; on the contrary, God comes into view through the mediation of other beings, and He is known as the First Being. When we keep in mind the general picture of metaphysical knowledge, in which we analyse and explain the character of being as it is given to us in empirical knowledge, we can state that in the light of our analyses it also becomes apparent that it is necessary for the Absolute to exist, and only then may He be called the "principal analogatum" of being in our analogical knowledge of being. This is, however, the "end point" and not some kind of a priori knowledge of contingent beings.

C. The third type of the analogical knowledge of reality is the analogy of general proportionality; since the time of Aristotle there have been a great number of analyses and formulations on this topic. Aristotle himself illustrated the structure of the analogy of proportionality in the Nicomachean Ethics: "&hellip; Therefore, the just thing is something belonging to proportion, for the proportional is proper not only to abstract number but to all enumeration. Proportionality is an equality of ratios. Proportionality consists of four parts at least. It is clear that discrete proportionality has four terms, but so does continuous proportionality, for we use one term in two different aspects and state it twice, for example, A is in proportion to B as B is to G. So B has been stated twice. Wherefore if B is used twice there will be four proportioned terms."(11) This text of Aristotle contributed in large measure to the tendency to render analogy into something univocal. Namely, he states that in distributive justice we consider determinate proportions in the distribution of things and persons. If something is distributed, it is distributed among many, at least among two; thus there are also two things to distribute. There are then at least four members: two things which we must distribute among two persons. Thus we divide thing "A" and thing"B" among person "C" and person "D". Let thing A carry the price of 100 zlotys, and thing B, 200 zlotys. If person C worked one day, and person D worked two days, it is clear that we distribute A at the price of 100 zlotys to the person C, and B at 200 zlotys to person D. Thus there is an instance of proportionality - as A is related to C, so B is related to D. In like manner some contemporary authors, making reference to Aristotle, pay a great deal of attention to the proportional structure of analogical knowledge, but do not pay any particular attention to what kind of system of concepts or what kinds of relations we are dealing with here. Hence it is that they arranged the determinate relations among the members of the structure

"A/B : C/D" into analogical structures. One can fill in this kind of general schema with strictly determined relations or with non-determined relations. Strictly determined relations are in this context the classical instance of isomorphy or homomorphism, while non-determined relations create a separate field of cognition, the field of analogy.

The analogicity of knowledge in the schema of proportionality can, however, be replaced by a stricter, directly univocal cognition, one which in truth simplifies the mode of being, a simpler manner of cognition. For example, one can perceive and establish an analogy among people joined by the matrimonial bond: as Adam/Eve, so also John/Mary. Adam is the husband of Eve just as John is the husband of Mary. Thus there is an analogy between the matrimonial bond of the first and second couple. This bond is a singular relation, a relation determined by life, mores and by law, of man to woman in a given society. Everyone who enters into the bond of matrimony, generally speaking, knows about the relations which are in force and is, in the normal course of things, informed about them in the course of his life. From the legal point of view, there exist univocal regulations concerning the marriage bond. The matter has become so clear that even in the way it is understood in daily life, it is lost any touch of analogicity, even though the bond is itself analogical, for different and analogical subjects (the four relations of an analogy) are the basis for the unqiue and unrepeatable (to be precise, analogical) character of a marriage.

Nonetheless, from the legal point of view, or from the point of view of custom or morality, the character of marriage can be univocally defined. Why? Because one can here abstract the very relation which joins the particular couples. It is not necessary in understanding the very character of marriage to understand the particular subjects of the marital relation. One can in this relation leave to the side - "abstract" - the particular correlates and concern oneself solely with marriage "as such" in abstraction from their subjects. This abstraction of relations from their correlates is, however, tantamount to an abstraction of the whole set of features or elements from the remainder. Meanwhile, in analogy such an abstraction is not possible, for in the analogy of proportionality we are dealing with a somewhat different type of relation. Here there occurs a non-necessary relation, a categorical relation, which is "adventitious" to an already constituted being. The particular members of an analogy (Adam, Eve, John, Maria) are already constituted beings, and only through an act of the will - consent to common life in marriage - do they constitute a marriage. Although it is true that the character of a relation always depends upon the correlates, yet is is also true that one can abstract this relation, as non-necessary, as "superimposed", from the subject, and conceive of it univocally. Of course, a really existing marriage will be ontologically analogical and unrepeatable, but in our cognition, in a particular science or even in common cognition, it can be grasped univocally. At the same time, the real analogy of proportionality is based on necessary relations which constitute the ontological character of a thing and which are not merely a reference to another, not merely an existence "among" correlates, but, in being a relation, at the same time express a content which is in itself determined, a content which at the same time is entirely ordered to the whole organism and cannot be understood as "this here" head in abstraction from the "remainder" of the organism. At the moment when the analogical proportion is abstracted from the analogata, and by the same token from the dissimilar elements or members, the analogy itself is destroyed. When, in separating the relation from its real subjects, we render the understanding of the relations univocal, we destroy the very nature of analogy, analogy which embraces similar and dissimilar relations at the same time.

The analogy of proportionality is a way of grasping necessary relations, relations which are constitutive of things and which create some kind of "unity" between beings. We often operate with terms the real understanding of which is analogical (in the sense of the analogy of proportionality), although it is possible to grasp them univocally when we abstract the elements grasped (the features or notes ot things) from the "remainder". The terms "living" and "animal" and the concepts joined with them are of such kind, for when I want to understand the sense of the expression "living", I must conceive of it analogically. I immediately and spontaneously build myself an analogical schema for the understanding of "living" or "alive":

as the man John/ to his soul : so also the beast/ to his soul : so also are the plant / to its soul

As I analyse the understanding of "alive", I must take into consideration not only the so-called "body" of that which lives, but at the same time that element (which we call here in short "soul") thanks to which the corporeal organism is living rather than dead. "Life" is realized in one way in a man, in another way in a beast, and in yet another way in a plant. After all, plants are universally regarded as living organisms, and beasts, in their enormous diversity, are also regarded as living. A man in also alive in his life functions, indeed very rich, which we do not observe either in plants nor in beasts. The same applies when we make use of the term "animal", "vertebrate", "mammal" etc. These expressions can be grasped univocally ( and they are grasped in this way in the biological sciences), and nevertheless our real understanding of a beast is analogical, for an insect, a fish, a bird and a monkey are not "animal" in the same sense. Man also is an animal in a radically different sense. When I understand "animal" univocally, I very much restrict my understanding to grasp only certain features or notes which I abstract from the rest, and I operate with this understanding univocally, as, for example, when I define an animal as "a sentient living being" - "vivens sentiens". Such an understanding, however, is schematic and impoverished. If I want to really understand what "animal" means, I must do this in a scheme of analogical cognition (though this is not always explicit):

animal x / its natural activity : man N / his natural activity

When I analyse the natural activity of the analogates, I begin to gain a real understanding of what the expression "animal" means in relation to the designates of this expression. I can generally state that the analogy of proportionality is based on necessary, constitutive relations ( or relations which are a manifestation or and activity of these relations, e.g. cognition, desire or appetition, etc.), in the real understand of which one cannot overlook the subjects, the analogata. If one leaves them out of consideration, then in cognition the operation is either artificial or of a merely introductory character. On the other hand, non-necessary ontic relations can be grasped univocally, for they can be abstracted from their analogata; but they can also be expressed in analogical cognitive structures. This will commonly be metaphoric analogy. Although it is true that the analogicity of cognition on account of its precision is predominant with respect to analogical, especially metaphorical cognition, yet the analogical type of cognition is more closely related to the reality from which it does not abstract, but rather grasps in this reality identical or similar relations, with the simultaneous perception (this perception is expressed in the structure of analogical cognition) of dissimilar relations, from which we do not abstract. On the other hand, realistic, analogical cognition, as cognition which is by its nature imprecise, cannot become the basis for a more exact understanding of being in any specific aspect, nor may it become the basis for the technical use of the object which we cognize. Thus it is necessary, in our human understanding of the world and in the use we make of it, to employ both analogical and univocal cognition, which after all is what is done in the various particular sciences, and to such a degree that even the univocity of cognition is a synonym for the scientific character of this kind of cognition. No type of univocal cogniton, however, can replace analogical cognition, especially in its highest form: transcendental proportionality, which guarantees the possibility, on the one hand, of grasping the whole of reality, and on the other hand, the possibility of giving it and ultimate explanation by "dividing" being from non-being. This possibility of "dividing" being from non-being in metaphysical explanation extends to being's act of existence, which act ground the very realness (onticity) of being. No univocal cognition is capable of grasping being's act of existence, or, through this, the foundations of reality itself. The desire to apply univocal cognition in philosophy springs from the fundamental imprecision of philosophical cognition. Philosophical cognition comprehends or grasps beings and does not abstract from being; this cognition can only be grasped in the analogy of transcendental proportionality, the principal type of metaphysical cognition, which is concretistic cognition and at the same time provides a foundation for analogical, i.e. proportional generalization.

D. The analogy of transcendental proportionality, which analogy embraces the necessary and transcendental relations of being, is sometimes regarded as the only analogy of being and at the same time as the analogy of cognition. Saint Thomas wrote of this type of analogy: it is the "analogia secundum intentionem et secundum esse", intentional-ontological analogy, since it bears upon the very fact of being or existence, inasmuch as in itself this fact is intentional and relational and is also grasped in our cognitive intentions. Thomas' text is classic and it would be worthwhile to quote it here in the original: "secundum intentionem et secundum esse; sicut ens dicitur de substantia et accidente; et de talibus oportet quod natura communis habeat aliquod esse in unoquoque eorum de quibus dicitur, sed differens secundum rationem majoris vel minoris perfectionis. Et similiter dico, quod veritas et bonitas et omnia huiusmodi dicuntur analogice de Deo et creaturis"(12). Analogy "according to intention and according to existence; as for example, when we say that substance and accident are being. In such cases a common nature has existence in each of them, but this existence is differentiated with respect to a greater and a lesser perfection. I say likewise that truth and good and the like can be predicated of God and of creatures". Thomas is rightly interested in such a structure of being in which there is found a particular "intentionality-relationality", which can be grasped in the acts of our cognition. Such a relationality is found precisely in being itself inasmuch as the being is constituted by the connection, the relation-intention of essence to existence. Such an intentionality is found in being as in "truth:, inasmuch as being is intelligible and thereby "referred" to the intellect; in being as good the "intentionality"-relation appears to the person's will. Furthermore, all such intentionalities ("appetition-relations", as it were) are legible to thought, if only, of course, thought wishes to read them. Hence the relation "secundum intentionem et esse" has always been regarded as the relation of proportionality; but this proportionality is of particular importance in the analogy of transcendental proportionality, where thought reads out fundamental "bundles" of being, bundles which occur in the form of a necessary, transcendental relation.

Thus there exists the analogy of cognition, which analogy embraces the transcendental relations of being, which relations concern each contingent being, or "are realized" in it. As we have already said, these relations may be reduced to three chief forms: the relation of essence to existence; the relation of an existing being to the intellect (both the intellect of the Absolute, and of the contingent being-person in cases of creativity); the relation of really existing and intelligible being to the order of "appetition" in the wide sense, and more precisely to the will (of the Absolute, and of the contingent person-being in the case of this being's activity). We may also speak of the particularizations of these relations, according to various orders of real "external" causation. We spontaneously grasp transcendental relations when we name the concrete things which we have come to know: "being", "something", "truth", "good"... or generally "reality", "the real world".

It is, however, no easy matter to make onself aware and in a sense to "reconstruct" the schema of this kind of cognition. The simplest point of departure, the one which has been most often given in the history of philosophy, was to resort to abstract thought. It seemed to various thinkers that by broadening the extensions of univocal concepts one could finally attain to the "broadest" forms of being, which then may be called "being", "good"... But such a path is undoubtedly erroneous, for, as has been already said, then the difference between the real order and the mental order would be lost. Furthermore, how can the good be conceived as an abstraction? It is precisely with respect to the rich endowment of really existing being that something is "a good". Thus the road of abstract thought cannot lead to an understanding of being, truth, the good, the beautiful, for the very content of these "transcendentals" is not abstract, nor can the way to arrive at an understanding of them be abstract. The real understanding and the contents of being as being, and of being as truth, or of being as good, already manifest necessary relations, which cannot be "passed over in silence" without the loss of these contents. Of course, all analogical grasps of the truth and of the good presuppose some spontaneous, analogical acts of cognition of being as being, i.e. of being as existing. Then the analogical understanding of being as it is expressed in the following schema becomes necessary:

John / to his existence : "this here horse" / to his existence,

etc. Thus John as proportionally existing and the horse as existing in his own manner (proportionally), and "this here" existing tree are each according to their own measure a being. This is to say, in philosophical reflection we obtain a confirmation of our spontaneous and common sense grasps of reality. Something is a real being if it exists in itself. It is in view of the act of existence proportionally adapted to a concrete essence determined in itself (content) that we call something "reality-being". We call existing being, and thus existing John, as intelligible (joined by the fact of his existence with intellect) "truth"; and we call this same really existing being, really joined with intellect, inasmuch as it is related in itself to appetition (the will) by the name of "good". Thus in the analogical understanding of being, truth, good, there is always, as it were, a "cumulation" of the contents of previously differentiated transcendental analogical structures, and, furthermore, one perceives and accentuates the new relation which is constitutive of the new analogical understanding of this being as truth, or of this being as being at the same time truth - as the good. The grasp of being is, however, always the fundamental one. It is not abstract, but precisely analogical, for it is internally "composed" of the components of the concrete content and of the existence proportionate to it, components which are irreducible to one another.

Thus the analogata, i.e. the concrete subjects of the analogical perfection (e.g. John, this here dog, this here tree) are always basically different, just as John is different from Mary, from the dog, the tree and other concrete beings. We always grasp these analogata in analogy concretely and not abstractly. All abstraction would already be an abstraction from some form of being, or element of being. The analogatum, however, is not in itself grasped non-relationally, but precisely in its reference, in its necessary and transcendental relation to the "analogical perfection", which we call the "analogon". In being, this analogon is the act of existence, in the good this analogon is the connection with the will, and in the truth it is the connection with the intellect. Thus, when we say "truth", "good", we undoubtedly make a certain mental shorthand, for the analogons "truth", "good" expressing an internal ordering to the intellect or will, presuppose a primitive "level" of being, which level is also analogical and expresses the concrete content joined by existence. The analogon as a proportional analogical perfection joins into an analogical unity the objects or beings which are the subject of the analogical unity. This unity is precisely a "relational" unity, with respect to the necessary, and even transcendental, relation of analogatum to analogon which occurs in each case (in the case of the analogy of transcendental proportionality).

As a result of this internal relation there is in each case also a relation between beings, between the various analogical subjects in view of the fact of the occurence of this relation in each analogical case. The facticity of the occurrence of the necessary relation between analogatum and analogon is the deciding factor for a given form of transcendental analogy (the analogy constitutive of the onticity of being, its truth, its good, and the analogy of the cognition which grasps this state of affairs). We can express the state of the facticity of the occurrence of the transcendental relation in the schema of potency and act. The analogon has the function of act in relation to the analogatum as potency. The manner, however, in which this relation occurs in each analogical instance, i.e. in each analogate, is different, in the measure (according to the "portion", hence "pro-portion") of the analogatum itself. It can never be exactly established in what "measure" the mode of the actualization of the analogatum by the analogon exists in an analogical perfection. There is of course some intuition of an existing analogatum, e.g. of a man, a beast, a tree etc., and at once we perceive the essential differences which make their appearance in essential activity, but it is not obvious to us exactly "how" this happens and in what "measure" a man, a tree, and a beast is a being. Yet it is obvious that a transcendental relation occurs, if something is a really existing being, if something is intelligible (is "truth"), if something is good. The moment, then, of actualization, that is, the moment of the facticity of the occurrence of the analogical and transcendental relation, is decisive in the creation of an analogically common "concept-understanding" of being, i.e. of reality, truth, good, beautiful.

There remains the question of the non-identity of the analogatum and the analogon in transcendental analogy. This real non-identity of essence and existence, and furthermore of the existing being with its transcendental reference to the intellect and will, and the resultant non-identity of the existing being and the intellect and will toward which being is by necessity ordered raises the question of the reason for the facticity of this relation. Why does this transcendental and necessary relation occur rather than not occur, if the analogon (the analogical perfection of existence, intelligibility, amiability) is neither a feature which is constitutive of the analogatum nor constitutes its consecutive feature? Thus the structure of the transcendental analogy of being, which structure expresses the necessary and transcendental relations necessarily raises the question of the "reason for being" of the very fact that this relation occurs. The answer will take us through an analysis of the character of analogy, in which we perceive differentiation, though the gradation, hierarchization and intensification of the analogical perfection in the analogata. Thus, on the one hand, we have the facticity of relations, and on the other hand, we have the non-identity of the analogatum and analogon, and at the same time the "gradation" of the analogical perfection in the various analogata (we see more and less rich existences, more and less intensive intelligibility, greater and lesser good-nobility-beauty). Seeing that the analogon is not identical with or derivative from the analogatum, as the "necessary reason for being" there arises the necessity of such a degree of analogical perfection in which there is already an absolute identity between the analogatum and the analogon; concretely speaking, between the essence and existence of a being, between being and the intellect, between being, the intellect and its will. The unique and necessary instance is the first being, the ABSOLUTE-GOD. Hence by necessity there enters into the understanding of the structure of the analogy of transcendental proportionality the necessity of an affirmation of the "chief instance"; the ABSOLUTE, as the "reason for being" for the very fact that there is an analogical perfection at all. Thomas probably had this in view in his conception of the fourth way, where the necessity of God's existence is shown from degrees of transcendental perfections: unity, truth, good, "nobility". It is worthwhile to recall the text of Thomas. In a literal translation it sounds thus: "We assume the fourth way through the gradations which are found in things. And in things there is found that which is more and that which is less good, true and noble, and the like. One may predicate more and less of things inasmuch as they approach that which is "the most", as, for example, that is more hot which more closely approaches that which is most hot. Thus there is something which is most true, most good, most noble, and as a result is being to the highest degree. For that which is the most true is also to the greatest extent being, as Aristotle speaks of this in the Metaphysics(13). And all that which is "greatest" in some order (genus), is the cause of that which is found within that order (genus), as, for example, fire, which is the most hot, is the cause of all heat, as Aristotle writes of this in the same place. And thus there is something which for all other things is the cause of existence, and good, and every perfection, and it is of this that we say, that it is God". Thomas' text is significant for a man who is at the same time a great thinker for all ages and a man of his epoch, one who accepted the findings of the science of his time. We know that in the mediaeval period the conception of the so-called Aristotelian qualitative physics was dominant, which was indeed the cause of many misunderstandings and which held back the development of the sciences. It almost required the martyrdom of Galileo and other thinkers of the Renaissance for the qualitative physics to be put aside and for "quantitative" physics to be adapted. Thomas accepted the findings of the particular sciences then in force, and he made use of examples from the qualitative physics of his time, in which scientists searched for "form" as the source of understanding of activities. Hence in Thomas we find a "passus" with heat and fire as the cause of heat. In this Thomas is being a man of his epoch. Yet the course of his thinking is remarkably precise, when we consider the implied and presupposed structure of the analogy of being, the analogy of truth, of the good, of the most noble transcendent perfections. Only if we are speaking of the transcendentals is there any sense in speaking of a "lesser or greater" perfection and of the necessity of there being a "maximum". In the case of non-transcendental, univocal perfections, there is no gradation of "more and less"'for "univocity" by its nature excludes more and less; "the same" features, univocal features, are considered in predication. Where there is "more and less", there we are dealing with being itself, in which as existing, the perfections of the good, of truth and of existence can be realized "more and less", in view of the non-identity of the analogatum and the analogon (the analogical perfection) and in which alone one may attain to a "maximum", to a state of non-composition, a simple and pure state. It is just such transcendental perfection of which Thomas makes use in the fourth way, which way is, as it were, a synthesis of the other "ways", of course under the condition that what are being considered are only the transcendental perfections designated by the transcendental relations of the correlates. In our analysis of transcendental analogy, we are endeavouring only to clarify our normal and daily understandings of reality. If almost every man makes use of such expressions as "reality", "the real world"' "being", "the good", "the true", "the beautiful", this means that somehow, in his own, often vague manner, he understands them. Since expressions of this kind are applied to the whole of reality, there are "transcendental" expressions, expressions which transcend all the classes of the understanding of reality, for they concern every concrete, since of every concrete we may say that it is a "being", etc. Since these transcendental expressions are not the name of abstract, simple, univocal cognitive apprehensions, since that would be tantamount to a negation of ontic pluralism, the transcendental exporessions designate ontic states "composed" of "infra-ontic" components among which there obtain necessary relations. These relations are wherever we find composition of infra-ontic components, thus everywhere where there is being; thus these relations are transcendental, universal, concerning every being. It is possible to grasp such a state of affairs only in analogical structures, and not in univocal ones. Such an understanding of reality, already as a metaphysical understanding, contains a necessary reference to the "ultimate reason for being", one which serves as a ground for reality itself, a reason for being which in itself is non-composite, absolutely "simple", but not a "simplicity" in the sense of a poverty of being, but rather a "fullness of being"; we affirm that this fullness of being must exist, on the background of the analogy of being, but we do not know this "FULLNESS OF BEING". All our tentative steps in coming to a knowledge of this Plenitude are analogical.

6. The analogy of predication

The third and most perceptible dimension of analogy is the so-called "analogy of predication"; this is, as it were, the "middle" way of predication between univocity and equivocity. If sentential predicates in univocal predication possess one determined, precisely analogical, content-meaning, analogical predicates, the identity of the name notwithstanding (good, being, healthy, smile), possess a fundamentally different sense in each instance of predication, and only in certain aspects, inasmuch as the perceived relations come together, do they have the same meaning. On the other hand, equivocal predicates (e.g. a "star" in the sky, and a film "star") possess the same name while the meaning-contents in predication are totally different. In predication, analogy is closer to equivocity that to univocity. For this reason the ancient "grammarians" called analogy "intended equivocity" - "aequivocum a consilio". The so-called "grammarians", i.e. logicians of language, and philosophers, commonly did not take analogical predication into account when they explained sentential structures in the very process of predication, since for some of them this would have complicated their exposition, whereas for others analogical predication , by its nature "vague" and imprecise, constituted a fault in cognition and in language, a fault in predication itself; thus analogical predication had to be eliminated from science and scholarly discourse. Nevertheless, the fact that they did not look at the problem of the analogy of being, of cognition and of language did not at all eliminate the problem, just as the ostrich does not eliminate what it saw by hiding its head in the sand. Furthermore, a closer acquaintance with language reveals that language is fundamentally analogical, and univocity is process performed by the "art of thought". Thus analogical language, as it is the actual language of daily life, demands an explanation. We can come to an understanding of it only by becoming aware of the analogicity of being, the analogicity of cognition, and finally, by turning our attention to the analogicity of predication itself, i.e. the actual use of the language of "judgements", language which is subjectively predicative.

As has already been mentioned, our daily language, as well as philosophical language, as it is joined with really existing being, is fundamentally analogical language, i.e., in the actual use we make of them, predicates are spontaneously understood analogically, since they concern individual, concretely existing things and affairs. Although in their structure, as general expression, they may "in themselves" be understood univocally, yet in being used to designate concrete objects they become, in the way we understand them, analogical, for the really existing Adam, Eve, John, Mary are not "man" in the same sense, although it may appear that they are being predicated univocally. Univocal expressions (general terms) when they are understood in themselves in abstraction from the designation of concretely existing objects, are understood univocally, but precisely in sentential predication, in the act of predicating them of a really existing being, they already take on an analogical understanding, despite their abstract "significative" univocity.

Very often we have to deal with the obvious analogical structure of the predicates. Our previous analyses have already shown this. When we turn our attention to predicates used in our sentences or statements concerning reality, such as: "sad", "healthy", "alive", "good" - at once before our eyes there stand the previous considerations on metaphorical analogy, the analogy of attribution or mutual ordering, the analogy of general proportionality, and the analogy of transcendental proportionality. A closer acquaintance with each of these general expression which are used as sentential predicates requires of us that we make ourselves aware of the corresponding analogical structures. It is true that we understand them immediately, spontaneously, and thus such a spontaneous understanding of expression already makes meaningful their use in everyday language, the language which makes up the levels of commonsense cognition. To understand them precisely, however, one requires philosophical analyses, both of the real object of knowledge and of the mode of our analogical knowledge. When I express myself saying that "the man is sad", "the landscape is sad", it becomes at once necessary for me to become aware of how the understanding of "sad" functions in our language. The same applies to the example from the area of the analogy of attribution (healthy), the analogy of general proportionality (alive), or the analogy of transcendental proportionality (good). Only a philosophical analysis which answers the question "for what reason...?" or "on what account....?" can make us aware of the analogical sense of a given expression. The analogical sense of expression is basically manifested when they are use in a sentence precisely as predicates. When in the Middle Ages and in the Renaissance philosophers wrote treatises "de nominum analogia", on the analogy of names, it was noted that the analogical sense comes to light particularly when these expression - "nomina" - are used in sentences as predicates.

Thus everyday language and the philosophical language which explains really existing reality, which we call being as being (i.e. being as existing), is by nature analogical. The only way to render the language of philosophy precise is to become aware of the analogical character of language and the character of the analogy which is use in our language. The transformation of this language into univocal language essentially unfaithful to the nature of the individual object and to the nature of our knowledge of this object. All univocalizations abstract from the understanding of real being for the sake of an understanding of an univocally grasped sense. Such an understanding is necessary for the sciences, especially for the technical sciences, for our knowledge of the object would not be precise and it would not be possible to create a "plan" for production without an univocal understanding. A more and more exact knowledge of the object requires univocity. In philosophy, however, it is not a question of a more and more exact understanding of the object in complementary aspects of cognition, but of a "decontradictifying" understanding, an understanding which sets being apart from non-being by indicating one necessary factor which explains that fact which has given rise to problems; the negation of this factor is synonymous to a failure to set being apart from non-being, or to a resignation from any effort to explain the problem. In such a process of explanation, the analogical structure itself of being and of cognition shows that it is necessary that there exist some factor which decontradictifies (renders free of contradiction) both the fact of being and the rationality of cognition.

The second form of the analogical character of predication is the non-univocal function of "is" as a propositional copula. Our propositions, in the Indo-European languages, are composed of a subject "S", the propositional copula "is", or "is not" (in negative propositions) and the predicate "P": e.g. "John is a man". Regardless of what the linguists who analyse the syntactic aspect of language may say, our propositional utterances can be basically reduced to the simplified structure of the sentence: "S is P". Of course, this reduction will often appear artificial, nevertheless it will be meaningful, as the ancient "grammarians" have already shown. It is also true that in certain Indo-European languages, for example, in the Russian language, "is" is sometimes implicit, e.g. in the proposition "you are a thief" - "You - thief" (Ti - vor). It is also true that in Non-Indo-European language groups, such as in various Indian languages, languages related to Turkish, and in ancient Hebrew, the function of the propositional "is" is taken over by propositional prefixes or suffixes in such a way that the sense of expression in these languages, just as the sense of expression in Indo-European languages which in the simplest proposition use the propositional copula "is", is the same. This propositional "is" has always been regarded as the "soul" of a judgement-proposition in view of its specific function.

It is customary to distinguish two fundamental functions of the propositional "is"; the superficial and the deep function; the first is associated with the syntactic aspect of language, and the second is associate with its semantic aspect. It is the semantic aspect of language as a sign for some state of affairs which requires of us that we distinguish yet a third function, a fundamental function involving the real existence of being. Thus we distinguish:

1/ the cohesive "is" of a proposition. This joins the propositional predicate with the subject, and thus makes possible a human utterance on some topic. This "is" here explicitly has the function of a propositional copula, which function has been analyzed by Aristotle and later commentators. The purely cohesive function of the propositional "is" makes possible a human utterance, albeit at times paradoxical, at times humorous. Of itself this function does not yet bear a reference to reality, and thus does not contain the moment of the "verifiability" of the utterance through confronting it with a corresponding state of affairs. This function creates a syntactically correct utterance, but still one that is neither true nor untrue, for this will require a deeper treatment of the utterance. Thus there appears the second function.

2/ the assertive "is". This "is" already takes into consideration the relation of the person speaking in a proposition to reality. In this case I take the whole of my utterance (i.e. the sentence with the merely cohesive "is") and I refer it or compare it (I perceive the relation of my utterance with the thing) to a correspondingly understood "reality", in which my propositional utterance has a place. I may speak of the reality of everyday life, I may speak of literary "reality", of the "reality" of the physical sciences, of mathematical "reality". I also possess a proper criterion for the correspondence of my utterance with "reality", however conceived. Thus my assertion places my utterance in the field of truth or falsehood. If my propositional utterance is in accord with reality, then I have performed a true act of "judgement". The propositional utterance becomes the sign of a judgement, as a specific cognitive act, and in this judgement- thanks to concomitant reflection, I "verify" at once the correspondence or lack thereof of my utterance with a correspondingly understood state of affairs. Thus the assertive function of the propositional "is" is a "truth-generating" function, a function which joins cognition with a correspondingly understood reality. Thus the truth of cognition is a property of the "judgement" in which there follows the moment of adapting the utterance to reality. Not every propositional utterance is the sign of a finished judgement, of a cognition verified "on the run" in the reflection which is concomitant to every judgement, in which reflection the correspondence of the utterance's content with the "disposition of things" is perceived. There are propositional utterances which by their nature do not possess any possibility of being verified against reality. Such propositional utterances are not signs of a cognitive act, such as the act of judgement, in which we find the note of truth.

3/ the affirmative "is". The assertion which is carried out in a judgement and signalled by the assertive "is" suggests a deeper layer of meaningful human utterances of a propositional and judgmental type: this is "real reality", not merely "scientific, literary, mathematical reality" etc. Each of these forms of "reality" are a corresponding abstract elaboration of the reality of the existing world as it is first given to us. In a proper sense, that which really exist "here and now" is being. The actual existence of things is the only reason for the reality of the contents of things (and consequently for the realism of cognition). There is the possibility of affirming real existence when in an existential judgement we affirm the act of existence of some being and express this in the sentence: "A exists". The affirmation of the existence of being serves as the ultimate ground for the realism of cognition. Such an affirmation is commonly carried out implicitly, and is not noticeable by us because, on the one hand, the existence of things is so obvious that it does not give rise to any problem (it is rather the non-existence of something which had existed which is a constant source of unrest for man), and, on the other hand, the affirmation of existence does not terminate with the production of any concept, since it is a signless affirmation immediately (without the mediation of a sign-concept) connecting us with the real existence of a being. Only upon the background of the affirmation of existence are to speak of the real cognition of the contents of things. As we cognize these contents we can further delineate the fields of various realities: mathematical, physical, literary, poetic, etc. But all such delineated fields of "reality" are meaningful only when grounded in the reality of the existing world, the content of which can be subjected to various elaborations.

Thus all propositional assertions (based on "is") are meaningful if they somehow imply an affirmative "is" asserting the real existence of being. In metaphysics we are dealing with the affirmative "is" in the so-called transcendental concepts (being, things, one, something, truth, the good, the beautiful) of reality, for in them we do not abstract from reality, but we "contain" them in a cognitive apprehension or, to use the word in a broad sense, concept.

If we keep in view human cognition, which is most fully expressed in acts of judgement, we realize that our cognition of reality and our communication of reality through acts of producing propositions already reduces analogy do the only mode of predication. As it turns out, the very function of predication, the very function of "connecting" a predicate (which may be analogical in its structure) with a subject is not univocal, for it is essentially expressed in cohesion, assertion and affirmation. Cohesion concerns the syntactic aspect, and assertion concerns the semantic aspect of language, whereas affirmation concerns the real foundation for the use of signs in language by affirming the existence of a things, in relation to which there may or may not be agreement. To sum up, the propositional "is", as the "soul" of each judgement, is also analogical and it cannot be omitted in our understanding of the world and in our cognitive utterances about the world.

When the analogy of predication came to be of interest in the history of philosophy, most often the very structure of the predicates was taken into consideration, and it is basically for this reason that philosophers created the analogy of predication. As it turns out, however, the function of predication is itself analogical. It is strange that although philosophers paid it no attention in their analyses, for in common sense cognition the analogical function of predication is very striking. This is expressed often in such questions as: "Are you speaking seriously, or are you just making something up? Are you just talking? Are you telling a story?" This gives testimony to the spontaneous understanding of the analogy of predication in view of the various "levels" of the propositional "is".

7. Heuristic analogy

Heuristic analogy, inference by analogy, is perhaps the best known domain, in the particular sciences, of analogical thought. Just as in pre-scientific, spontaneous cognition various types of analogy are of help in interpersonal communication, so also in the science the role of analogy in heuristic thought has been well noted. If reasoning in the broad sense consists in passing from elements already known to us to as of yet unknown elements, perhaps such a passage is most clearly seen in heuristic analogy, by the help of which we conjecture that the same or similar elements or relations which are found in facts known to us will be found in other facts which are as of yet in some way unknown to us. If we did not make use of analogy in our acts of reasoning, the progress of science would be based solely on deduction of on induction in the strict sense, enumerative induction. The results would not be very striking. In the history of science, the discovery of a whole series of laws important for daily life and for science itself was based on the application of analogy, in the sense of the "coincidence" of certain relations among really existing things, processes or facts.

Thus there have been various attempts to discover and systematize the modes of understanding or inference by analogy. An analysis of these attempts properly belongs to the methodology of the particular branches of science and so they cannot be described or analysed here. One may generally say that all forms of inference by analogy are by their very nature fallible. At the same time, however, despite their inability to provide certitude, all these forms are remarkably valuable, for the development of science rests upon them. The attempts to systematize inference or reasoning by analogy revealed a variety of forms. At the same time, it was seen that in each type of reasoning the leading role was played by the cognitive intuition of the scientist or thinker. If the forms of analogical inference are always less then certain, they alone delineate the "framework" of thought. Properly speaking, it does not seem possible to establish and set down all the forms of inference by analogy. When we note that Aristotle listed the paradeigma as a kind of analogical reasoning, the paradeigma being a certain typical "example" understood in a particular way, we note how broad is the field of paradigmatic thought, how uncertain, but also how productive and creative it has been in certain instances.

The problematic of more detailed analyses of the various forms of reasoning by analogy already belongs to the domain of the study of the particular sciences, and it should be left to the methodologists of these sciences. Yet we should not forget that in this domain, analogy (as it is analogically understood) also is of very great significance. Thus our efforts to mark out the domains in which analogy occurs, to draw attention to the analogy of being, the analogy of cognition, the analogy of predication, and reasoning by analogy may contribute to a better understanding of the very problem of analogy.

1. "poznanie" - this denotes knowledge primarily as a process (knowing or learning), but also as the final state in which something is known, and finally as science, an organized body of rationally justified knowledge. The translator is using the word "cognition" as more general than "knowledge", not in any narror technical sense as in psychology.

2. "Cz&#322;owiek": this is "man" as in the latin "homo" or Greek "anthropos" and denotes, as is obvious from the context all human beings.

3. "byt": being as ens.

4. "analogiczno&#347;&#263; bytowa"

5. "doznawanie": this was previously rendered as passive reception.

6. The phrase is "ze wzgl&#281;du na trwalo&#347;&#263; relacji konstytutywnych komponent&#243;w bytu". To illustrate the grammatical structure it would be rendered in latin as "secundum permanentiam relationum constitivarum componentium entis" or "secundum permanentiam relationum constitutivorum componentium entis". This could be variously rendered in English: a/"with respect to the permanence of the relations constitute of the components of being", b/"with respect to the permanence of the constitutive relations of the components of being", c/ "with respect to the permanence of the relations of the constitutive components of being".

7. "bytowo&#347;&#263;'": more literally this could be rendered as "onticity"

8. "bytowo&#347;&#263;"

9. "analogiczno&#347;&#263;"

10. "bytow&#347;&#263;'"

11. book 5, chapter 5, 1131 a. 8ff. The translator is quoting this text from C. I Litzinger's translation of St. Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on the Nicomachean Ethics, vol. 1, pg. 404, Henry Regnery Company, Chicago, 1964

12. I sent. d. 19, q. 5, 2 ad 1

13. C. 1, 993 b. 28-31

Chapter 6. WHO IS MAN?

Man has often been said to be an enigma to himself; he does not know himself. Such statements undoubtedly express something of the truth but, at the same time, are a simplification, sometimes the result of an unwillingness to reflect more deeply on oneself and one's nature. This does not mean, however, that this reflection "opens" before us various "recesses" and "secrets" of the human psyche, and that it clearly shows us the course of human life. This will always be merely something to be deliberated upon, but a reflection on oneself, on the specific nature of human activity, will reveal to us a deeper meaning of the expression "man", and to a greater extent also will show the meaning of human activity, of life and death. Thus, it is worthwhile attempting to gain a deeper knowledge of human nature. Besides, for us people, what can be more interesting than man himself and the cognition of the essential problems of "being a man".

I. The fact of being a man viewed from without and within

Our cognition generally attempts to establish facts and to explain them. This is particularly significant in the area of philosophy, which is the ultimate explanation of the real world and also of man, as the main dramatis persona - the actor of the drama of understanding reality. What kind of being, then, does man appear to be viewed "from without"? Let us imagine rational beings coming from other solar systems who have reached our solar system and have been observing man for hundreds of thousands of years, in an attempt to understand - through a purely external observation of human behavior - the nature of the strange being here called "man" (on our planet).

The first thing that appears when man is observed "from without" is his biological make-up. Man is a vertebrate, a mammal similar to and at the same time differing from other animals. These differences can be seen in the purely biological domain, in the vertical system of the body's organism, in the way the brain itself is built, in man's behavior against the background of nature and his natural environment. Man is the only species among all animals which is not "naturally" adapted to his natural environment. In comparison with other animals that are "adapted" to their environment, man appears as a being "deficiencies" for which he must make up by creating for himself a special "niche - cradle" of life in the form of clothes, a home and other cultural products. Scientists often draw attention to the fact that for purely biological survival, moral conduct is necessary. This is unknown in the case of other animals. Man observed "from without", however, is above all a "maker of tools" - "homo faber" in Latin. The making and using of tools distinguishes man most "from without" from among all the other creatures living on this earth. A simple stick found by chance may perform many functions when held by a man, functions that transcend nature and the purely natural, biological ends related to the life of the individual or the preservation of the species. A tool, a stick, when held by a man can serve as a weapon to defend him when in danger; it can become a walking aid for a person with a limp; it can be used as a means of signaling in language communication; it can be regarded as the symbol of something, etc. The first time a tool is used for extra-biological purposes, man reveals his transcendence in relation to the determined world of nature. This transcendence becomes even more apparent with we draw attention to the objective development of tools in the life of people in the course of history. The ages of mankind have even been measured by tools, the development of which characterized human life: we distinguish the stone age, the bronze age, the iron age, the age of steam, electricity, the nuclear age.... The objective development of tools allowed man to dominate the world, thereby revealing - in the purely physical sense - man's transcendence over the world of matter in the aspect of time and space, that is, that which determines the "materiality" of matter itself. This objective development of tools was possible only in the context of man's social co-operation which is possible only thanks to the use of language. The function of language - speech in man's life was considered by thinkers of different eras. It can be looked upon as precisely the most human, the most creative tool, the tool whereby man most evidently transcends nature. Language as a system of signs, both conventional and natural, opens before man the world of things and other people. What is more important, it opens for man his inner self, through the possibility of self-objectivization in acts of cognition essentially linked with language. And although it is true that the act of cognition, as far as its nature is concerned, precedes language, as it is the reason behind the creation and employment of signs, real acts of thinking do, however, take place in language, and any inter-human communication is not possible without language of some kind.

If an outside observer were to turn his attention to the tools produced by man, as he lives in society and communicates by means of language, he would see evidence of the human reason and man's capacity for intellectual and conceptual cognition. It is clear to everyone that the production of very specialized tools requires detailed plans. A ship, a plane, a computer - the artifact does not come into being in an accidental way but requires the work of the reason. The reason, in embracing the whole tool and its intended purpose, determines all its components and necessarily suborders them to each other and, at the same time, to the whole in relation. Here we observe the work of the intellect, which employs general, necessary and permanent concepts, for in order to produce specialized tools factories are needed wherein a single tool may be replicated without change (generality); necessaristic(2) cognition is needed so that the tool itself shall not "fall apart" as a result of having been put together in a merely accidental fashion, so that it may be a lasting use to man. Therefore, the use, production and development of tools by man would reveal man to the outside observer as an animal which greatly transcends the rest of the animal world; that only man is gifted with the reason whereby he is capable of grasping wholes (generalities) and their necessarily inter-ordered components necessarily, and that thanks to this man is capable of overcoming the "course" and transformations of matter.

An inspection of man "from the outside" reveals yet another manifestation of human cognition - contemplative, as it were "useless" cognition. We can observe people gathering in temples for prayer, at concerts and performances, going to libraries, organizing pilgrimages and trips. No new tools are formed from all these cognitive activities; the cognition directing these activities is purely contemplative, useless to the production of tools, yet this type of cognition very deeply engages man to uppermost limits of his humanity.

Reflective cognition is still externalized in man: this cognition concerns the meaning of human existence(3). We see on Earth human cemeteries, bearing witness to man's reflective relation to himself. There are not nor ever have been animal cemeteries built by animals themselves; on the other hand from the moment man appeared on earth, cemeteries also appeared. Man has a living cognitive experience of his own lot; he has a living experience(4) of his own death and that of those close to him....

Human progress and activity, which can be observed from without in the form of the types of activity which proceed from acts of decision, such as when men join together in bonds of friendship, families, small communities, states and religious confessions, is perforce a consequence of externalized types of cognition (conceptual, contemplative and reflexive cognition. All this is a type of activity typical of man as he lives in society, in view of the other man, living and acting "for" the other man. The connecting of human activity and conduct with different kinds of cognition, perceived in a purely external way is part of the "fact of being a man". These facts viewed from the outside call for closer examination and philosophical explanation, i.e., they need to be explained in ultimate terms, by finding in man a necessary factor the negation of which would be tantamount to the negation of the fact of being a man(5).

There is still another perspective in which we can look at the "fact of being a man", a perspective which complements the first. It is the inner experience of "being a man" given to everyone when he does anything as a man, that is, whenever he acts "consciously and freely". And we affirm this in each moment of human activity. It is without doubt a privileged way of view from which we may understand "human being"; it is the only possible inspection of being "from within"; it is important for the understanding of man himself, but also supplements our metaphysical understanding of being, which otherwise is always viewed "from the outside". The experience of oneself as the subject of one's own activities which, in cognizing, we register at the moment they arise or emerge from the subject is a supplementary source of the philosophical explanation of human nature. The experience of oneself as the "ontic subject in the act of subjectivization(6)" of one's actions is important also because at that moment we do not employ any system of language or linguistic signs, proofs or reasoning but we merely register undisputable and directly given facts; we decontradictify(7) these facts in our explanatory philosophical cognition by showing the factor due to which such a fact is rather than is not, and is such a fact and not another.

When a human being acts, his inner experience concerns the fact that "I" act and through "my" activity I reveal my being, I connect it to other beings., Thus, "I" and "mine" is given to me. "I" is present, immanent in all that I do; "I" is present in "mine". If I were to call "mine" physiological acts such as respiration, eating and excretion, then "I" am the one who breathes, who eats, who excretes. I register "spontaneously" that "my" acts of this kind do not come "from the outside" but are emanated from the subject which I call "I". If I were to call "mine" the acts of cognition both sensory and intellectual, acts of sensual love as well as of purely spiritual love, then precisely "I" am present in all these acts "of mine", for "I" cognize, I feel, I daydream, I love, I hate - and I register the present of "I" in all these acts. I experience that "my" acts derive from "I" precisely at the moment they arise and are fulfilling, and therefore I cannot reduce them to another subject, for it is precisely "I" who am the subject of "my" acts in the act of their subjectivization, that is, at the moment they emerge and at the moment they are fulfilled. The immanence of the "I" in all "my" acts, both corporeal and spiritual, is beyond doubt and forms the basis for regarding someone as a "normal" person and not a mentally ill person. This experience of one's own "I" in all acts of the human subject was described by St. Thomas, who made it the basis for a demonstration of the essential unity of man: man exists through the existence of his own soul which is the factor that matter to make it a human body. He wrote: "experitur enim homo se esse idem qui intelligit et sentit" (1.g.76 a.1). In this text he is extending the concept of Aristotelian experience from empirical cognition to the type of cognition that was much more indubitable, to the type of "immediate" cognition in which it is not possible to make an error. That is why he wrote that there are a great deal of erroneous theories concerning man and his nature, but it is not possible to make a mistake as to man's existence; man exists, for everyone experiences this.

Besides the fact of immanence, that is, the present of "I" in "my" acts, we also experience the transcendence of "I" over each specific act "of mine" and over the sum of all "my" acts. Quite simply, I constantly experience in my activity that "I" do not exhaust myself in one of my acts, however intense it may be, just as I do not exhaust myself in all my acts taken together. I am someone more than what I have done. This experience of the transcendence of "I" in relation to all that is "mine" sometimes reveals itself very acutely, e.g. in the last words of the man condemned to death, when, faced with imminent death, he sees that now, were it only possible, he would lead a different life, that he would be a better person. The transcendence of one's own self over "my" acts is the basic revelation of man's transcendence in relation to the whole world of matter, for if man experiences his transcendence in relation to his own acts flowing from the "I" and sometimes embracing the whole world (an intellectual cognition of being!) then all the more he transcends everything that does not yet reach the level of personal being. He transcends matter, nature, human institutions.... The experience of transcendence given to man in his "interior" precludes all theories originating in abstract, materialistic convictions about the fact that man is only a link - perhaps a final one, perhaps the most important one, in the chain of changes in matter.

The experience of "I" as the subject "subjectivizing" acts "of mine", in which the "I" is immanent and which at the same time it transcends, reveals to us, as it were, the mystery of being; for it is the experience of a being visible "from within". And the first thing is that one sees the primacy of existence over the essence of being. In experiencing our own "I", we undoubtedly assert the fact of the existence of "I" as a subject. I know that I exist; here there is no doubt and nobody made mistakes on this subject. But at the same time while I know that "I am", I do not know "who" I am. In order to find out "who" I am, what my nature is like - I must analyze "my" acts, which I experience as constantly emerging from the "I". It is only in analyzing in a philosophical way (in order to decontradictify(8) being, that is, to distinguish being from non-being) the ontological structure of what is "mine", I can make conclusions about my own nature and form the framework of philosophical anthropology. Here we apply a roundabout method of cognizing ourselves; assuming the existence of "I" as a being-subject (given to me directly), we construct the theory of man's nature through the interpretation of different acts "of mine" flowing from the "I" as an existing subject. And thus, cognizing real being seen "from within" in one privileged "place" we indubitably ascertain the primacy of existence in relation to essence in the same being. This transcendence of existence over essence is the reason why I see myself in a different way than I see other people and other beings. Essentially I perceive and recognize others as characteristic "essences", ensembles of features proper to themselves, and therefore I define another human being as: born on such a date to such parents, of a particular height, color of hair and eyes, educated, etc. Thus, I enumerate his characteristic features and connect them together into one subject, to which I give a suitable label or name. I cognize the other person just like a "thing", being a "bundle" of characteristic features. Thereby I am stressing essence in relation to existence, which still does not tell me anything about the subject and his nature. The modern Jewish philosopher Martin Buber warned us against treating man as a "thing". He rightly believed that to view another person as a "thing" is to diminish him and cause his deterioration. This is because "you" is not the same as "it"; you (Du) can merely be conceived as a second "I", and not as a thing "Es". Hence, as the primate of existence is given to us to be experienced in a living manner(9) in inner experience(10), we always perceive that we can modify our personal image; we are not a sum of features, but in existing, we ceaselessly form for ourselves our personal "visage" up to the final moment, the moment of death, which "puts a seal" on our personal image.

In our inner immediate perception of "being a man" there indubitably appears the "I" and "mine" as non-identical; we experience "I" as an existing subject, which "radiates" or "emanates" from itself all that I strictly call "mine" and that I register as precisely emerging from "I" as an existing subject. As I register the non-identity of what is "I" and "mine", at the same time I constantly ascertain and experience the identity of "I" as the subject from which "my" acts emerge, which acts differ among themselves to such an extent as sometimes to be heterogenous. It is I who am the same one who thinks and who at the same time breathes, the one who loves and at the same time experiences a physical headache.... The identity of the subject as the only source of heterogeneous physiological and psychic acts (of different kinds), recognized as "mine", requires a philosophical explanation.

2. The fundamental interpretation of the "human fact".

How is it possible that we immediately experience the unity and identity of the subject "I" which "radiates" from itself such numerous acts, some of which belong to the material order, and others to the psychic, or "spiritual" order?

In the most general sense the unity of being in the plurality of its parts or its components and activities is only possible, that is, non-contradictory, when in this being there exists one fundamental factor as the reason for being and when this factor is the act which organizes, realizes and determines all that can be called a "part", a "component", all that which is realized, determined, actualized. In a word, when in one being its constitutive factors become arranged in the relations of "potency" to "act". There can be very many of these realized and actualized "potencies" and they can be arranged in different orders. However, they form one whole, one being when there is one "act", one factor, being precisely the "reason for being", that is, that "thanks to which" something exists and exists as one and is not divided in itself. Hence, both the plurality of "my" acts and their "heterogeneity" experienced immediately as "flowing" from one source from "I" as a subject (precisely in the act of "subjectivization") does not in the least disturb the experience of the unity of being, the unity of the subject manifesting itself in numerous types of activity and the heterogeneity of its acts. There is, therefore, in man one factor due to which the subject, the being "I" is a being and is one being. This factor is the act that realizes, organizes and determines all that in "I" appears as "mine", plural and heterogeneous. The act of being which is constitutive of man has been historically called the human "soul". We do not affirm its existence directly, but indirectly, as the necessary ontological factor that decontradictifies(11) both man's existence and his observed activity; If we were to negate the existence of the factor which is the reason of the human being, of the subject which in immediate experience is this "I", we would thereby be negating the very fact of being a man(12), such as it appears in our immediate experience. The reason of being, which has historically been called the soul, is then the necessary factor "thanks to which" man exists as a human subject and acts as a man.

The ascertained real reason of being, that is, the human soul, is an act of the human being that is potentialized in various ways, and thereby manifests itself in the most varied activities registered as "mine". The nature of the soul, its essential functions and ontological nature can only be interpreted in an analysis that is linked with the fundamental inner experience of "being a man". This means that a man's soul must guarantee the experience of the human "I" as it is immanent in all "my" acts and at the same time "transcends" all these acts. The concordance of the "structure of the soul" with the fundamental human experience of "being a man" is the essential criterion for determining the correctness of definitions of the nature of the human soul.

In the history of human thought, two ancient opposite concepts of the soul are known - the Platonic and the Aristotelian one. Both concepts had, and to this day still have, quite a considerable influence on the interpretation of man. In the Platonic concept, the human soul is interpreted more or less as a spirit - a mind which has eternal existence and is only "incarnated" in man for a time. The normal state of the human soul is its "pure" spiritual state, and that is why the union of the soul and the human body is, as it were, unnatural. The office of the soul incarnated in man is to free itself from the body, which is a kind of tomb for the soul - in Greek soma means body, and sema means tomb.. It is philosophy and the cognition of truth that is to ultimately make the soul aware of its own nature, that is to "save" this soul and assure its return to the place of eternal spirits and gods. The soul, while it is in the human body, constantly transcends the body and employs it like a tool, a defective tool, but still a tool. The soul, on the other hand, employing the body as a tool, is not present, "immanent" in human bodily and physiological activities. These come from the lower "souls". Yet this moment of the absence of the soul in physiological and somatic acts is contrary to the fundamental experience of being a man, when it is "I" who am present in "my" bodily acts. This is one reason why the Platonic concept, though apparently so very close to Christianity in constantly invoking the soul's transcendence over all questions concerning the body and matter, is essentially erroneous and does not explain "the human fact" since it does not take into account the fact of the immanence of the "I" in "my" acts.

The immanence of the soul in the human body is perfectly explained by the concept of the soul proposed by Aristotle. He viewed man as the highest creation in the changing sublunary world, that is, in the world subject to constant change. Aristotle recognized the fact that matter is subject to change, that it evolves and is transformed into ever higher forms of being: it seemed to him that the human soul was an "act-form" which organizes matter into one substantial being. The soul is the form and the body is the matter. Matter elicits from within itself, through unceasing transformations, constantly new forms. These forms push out the previous ones. In order for a man to arise, special material changes are needed, together with the co-operation of the heavenly spheres, which are more perfect, godly; that is why Aristotle's saying was known in the Latin translation: "homo generat hominem et sol" - "man is born of man and the sun". If ordinary "birth" was to suffice for other animals to be born, then man, gifted with a soul as a substantial form, making rational cognition possible for him, still needs a "higher" intervention - that of the gods. But in such a case the soul does not exist before birth (Plato did not teach that) and will not exist after the body disintegrates, but is the consequence of material changes. As the consequence (in the essential sense) of material changes made both under the influence of man and of higher superlunary spheres - the soul, as interpreted by Aristotle, cannot of itself transcend the totality of that wherefrom it originates, for no result can exceed being and possess in itself "more" being than there is in its causes. That is why in Aristotle moments of transcendence in intellectual cognition and will take place by means of a mysterious force called the "agent intellect". The agent intellect is unmixed with matter and is separated from it. The soul is a form of matter, its organizer, the most perfect substantial "form" in the world beneath the moon, but existing by the existence of the "whole", that is, by the existence of matter and form as such, which together constitute one subject - being. Aristotle realized the difficulties connected with such a concept of the soul and that it could stand together neither with Plato's theory, nor with the fact of intellectual cognition and man's transcendence over all other creations of nature. This is why, having no other possibilities, he resorted to the mysterious force - nous poioun - "the active intellect", whereby he could avoid the absurdities which follow from the conception that the soul is the result of material changes.

Christianity was forced to reject Aristotle's concept of the soul - in point of fact a materialistic one - as it was not in accord with the fact of man's fundamental transcendence in relation to the whole of nature, nor with the Christian doctrine of immortality. There was a tendency, therefore, to accept Platonism, although this too resulted in insurmountable difficulties such as those which followed from the Platonic conception of the salvific role of philosophy, wherein man could know the truth which would set him free; this fact led Augustine to accept the necessity of illuminationism.

To St. Thomas it appeared that the only solution in keeping with the fact that the soul is immanent in the body and the fact that it transcends both "my" acts and the whole of matter, was the conception of the soul as a being which exists in itself and is at the same time the form of matter, a form which does not emerge from matter but which arose as a result of God's immediate intervention - the creation of the human soul in the human body. In recognizing this creative act he recognized that it was impossible for the human soul to have arisen as the result of merely material changes: the soul, as it transcends matter in cognition and acts of the will, is in itself "simple", incomposite, "spiritual", and as such it cannot be the result of material changes in extension. Hence, if there exists a human soul that has precisely such "values", then it does not originate from matter (this would be a contradiction, for matter would give what it did not have) and it is not able to form itself (this would also be a contradiction: for it would be giving what it does not possess) and so it is of necessity derived from the first reason of being - from God. This immediate "derivation" is a "creation", it is the negation of the derivation from "nature", as this would be unproportionate in its natural possibilities to the "formation" of a structure higher in being than itself.

Such a concept became possible because St. Thomas perceived that the act of being is "existence", which means that a being is a being and something real because it possesses within itself an existence, as its act actualizing and realizing all that is "essence", "content". The recognition of the act of ontological existence was a revolution in thinking in the domain of a philosophical understanding of reality. Hence, whatever belongs to real order exists. Only really existing beings form reality. And the cognition of the fact of the "existence" of a being opens the road to cognition. This does not mean that everything that we cognize at the present moment exists now, but it means that the ultimate cognitive reason of cognizability is precisely the existence of things. In our conceptual cognition in consequent acts we do not consider this existence, since it cannot be grasped as a concept and is "absent" in the very interpretation of the content of being. Abstract conceptual cognition concentrates on content itself, which is real insofar as it exists.

If we take into account the general structure of reality - being, both the existential and the essential aspect, we can ask ourselves the question: What happens in the case of the human being? Man, as an independent subject, is a really existing being. Is his existence, however, subjectivized in the whole psycho-physical subject, or in the soul as an independently existing subject? If man's existence were subjectivized in the psycho-physical subject, and not in the soul itself, which "existing in itself" as a subject organized for itself the matter to be a human body - then how could human spiritual acts - of cognition and love - possibly transcend man himself? The case of man and his activity is exceptional in the whole of nature, for only man can say "I" about himself; only he can experience his subjectivity as a personal being. Animals, in cognizing, do not maintain a "distance" in relation to the object of their cognition and stimuli originating from their surroundings. They react in a determined way, in accordance with their determined nature. And they do not exhibit any transcendence, neither in relation to the object of sensory cognition or in relation to their nature. Only man is "open", cognizing his objects as a "being", that is, as something that exists in some way or another. The fact that man is open to the object of cognition and transcends this object is linked with his reflective cognition wherein he registers the process of cognition and is experientially notified of the source of cognition, the subject himself. That is why the experiential cognition of "I" as a subject which acts at the present moment, the experience of "I", that is "self-consciousness" - is always the sign of transcendence precisely from the aspect of the subject, it is a transcendence over oneself and over all one's acts. If, therefore, man's onticity(13) and existence were not subjectivized in the soul alone but in the whole psycho-physical human organism, then the fact of transcendence would be impossible, for activity, which would be, as it were, the "extension" of the existence of being, would be ontically superior to the mode of human possession of being(14), that is, of existence, subjectivized in the whole psycho-physical subject. The being(15) of the whole cannot be manifested in activity transcending the structure of the being(16). The fact of transcendence on the other hand, which is principally manifest in intellectual cognition and love, testifies to the fact that they are not essentially derived from a material subject. A being of a material structure cannot not the cause of an act-being in its non-material structure. Our concepts, however, as well as our judgements and reasoning do not contain any matter in their ontological structure; nor are they subject to any kind of "measurement" in space or time, which is an essential characteristic of matter. How, then, can the transcendence of man's activity, his essentially different "mode of being(17)" in nature be reconciled with the fact of man who exists with the existence of a material subject? This is one reason why the essential source of human activity - the soul - can exist only in itself as in a subject. It is a being, and existing in itself as in a subject it simultaneously organizes matter for itself in order to be a human body, which it needs in order to release its activity. Yet while liberating its activity through the body and in the body, at the same time it transcends the matter of the body which it organizes. Although the process of activity, activity as a function, does not arise without the mediation of the body, the activity which has arisen reveals, in its ontological structure of acts of cognition and love, a transcendence, an immateriality, which could not be reconciled rationally with the existence of man if his soul is not a subject existing in itself. What is to be reconciled, on the other hand, is the fact of the material stamp of human acts - of which some are immaterial in their nature - with the soul as a being existing in itself as a subject which is, at the same time, the "form" of matter. This was the position and explanation of St. Thomas who wanted to adequately explain both the fact of the immanence of "I" in my acts and the fact of the transcendence of "I" in relation to "my" acts and to myself as a subject.

This subtle standpoint adequately explains both the unity of the human being and the experience of one's human unity in various (physiological, psychic and spiritual) activities, for there is one act of the human being, the soul, which existing in itself as a noncomposite subject is at the same time the form, that is, the organizer of matter for being(18) a human body, through which it acts in the most varied way, makes contact with the world and reaches self-knowledge. The body is needed by the lowest spirit in the hierarchy of spiritual being, the human soul, so that the soul may act and thereby unite the world of matter and the world of the spirit. The human body is, therefore, an essential, and not merely an accidental, constituent of the human being, but this body is not some kind of independently existing being, for it exists, lives and acts by virtue of the independently existing soul, which cannot act except through the body. Thus for man's "good", "for the good" of the soul, the body is necessary as an essential constituent of humanity(19). The body is something primary; it is "possessed by the soul; it is the first thing "of mine", although the very fact one says "mine" can take place only through the body and its functions, quickened by the existence of the soul. Hence the body belongs essentially and integrally to "I" and to "mine"; although the body is matter organized by the soul it "detonates" man's acts and jointly takes part in the acts of man, who exists by the existence of his soul. The "I" appearing in such a way, immanent and at the same time transcendent with respect to "my" acts - is the revelation of the human person. Human personal being is given to us first of all as the experience of our own "I", while the understanding of the human soul is given to us later in the theory which explains and decontradictifies the initial experience of "being a man". The human soul as the factor which decontradictifies human activity - both immanent and transcendent activity - is the factor "thanks to which" man is a person (and thereby a rational and at the same time free being), a human, potentialized person, constantly in need of the help and co-operation of matter, in need of the body, without which human activity is not possible, just as it is not possible to have a tune unless the musician has an instrument to play and thereby exhibit his transcendence over the instrument.

The fact that the soul exists in itself as in a subject, a subject which truly has being on its own, but which does not operate on its own, since for activity it needs a body which it organizes, elucidates immediately the problem of human death the man's duration after death through his soul. If the soul exists in itself as in the subject, then the decomposition of its body does not destroy the existence(20) of the soul: the soul takes its rise independently of material changes, thanks to the intervention of the First Cause, and it endures after the body has disintegrated, since the soul exists in itself as in a subject, but not in a preformed psycho-physical subject. Disputes on the immortality of the soul arose on the grounds of a misunderstanding about man's mode of existence. Man, though he is a material being, exists with the existence of a non-material soul, which is manifested in the transcendent mode of cognitive and volitional human activity. Such human activity transformed the world, creating in it a cultural cradle adapted to the human way of life. In addition, the fact that in acts of cognition, love and creativity not only does man transcend the world of changing and ceaselessly flowing matter, but he transcends himself, this fact laid before man a fundamental problem, the problem of the meaning of human existence, not only in the perspective of changing matter, but the meaning of existence in general, and thus after death. Cemeteries, the remembrance of the dead and the cult rendered on their behalf bear witness to such a question.

The concept of the human soul as a subject existing in the matter which is ceaselessly being organized into the human body, and only through the body is "human activity" possible, constitutes a fundamental explanation of the human fact, both viewed from the outside and experienced from within in the "matrix" situation of being a man described above, when we register "I" as the subject of "my" acts in the act of subjectivization. In the light of this explanation, man is a being existing by the existence of his soul, which as noncomposite and non-material could not have been produced by any forces of nature, but if it exists, then it exists due to the direct creative intervention of God, as the "reason of being" of that which can neither give existence to itself nor obtain this existence from any other being having a finite strength of activity. The human body, as the very first thing which is "mine", is something more than "my" acts and activities, for the body is the "reason of being", necessary -though not sufficient - of any activity of man. That is why the body belongs to man's "nature", since by the term "nature" we always understand the first source of activity. That is why man in his nature is a corporeal-spiritual being and his every act and any activity bears a double stamp - of matter and spirit. Purely biological acts in man are undoubtedly ordered to the psychic and spiritual life of personal activity; and any spiritual acts, such as cognition and love, though matter does not occur in their structure, are always marked by "materiality" in their functioning, in their facticity. This occurs to the extent that all our most sublime concepts, such as the concept of God, the concept of "cognition", virtue, etc., also bear the traces of the material mode of being(21). Negative concepts too, such as, e.g. "immateriality" are also connected with some understanding of matter.

Man's special ontological status was a source of wonder for the greatest thinkers of humanity, but only a few of them preserved a good sense of proportion in keeping with the facts, for they would often accent man's psychic or his purely biological aspect. For St. Augustine, man is situated "in the centre" of the whole of creation; he is, as it were, a synthesis of creation, which synthesis is to be manifested in human activity. When he turns towards matters of the soul and of God, man himself becomes more "spiritual"; when he turns towards matter and the senses he himself slowly becomes more like an animal. St. Thomas, as he takes up this thought, regards man as a material-spiritual being who possesses his own eternal and spiritual destiny, for he exists by the existence of the soul. The soul is the lowest spirit in the hierarchy of spirits, for it needs matter for its activity, and it organizes the matter into a human body. However, the possibilities of man's development, both from the intellectual aspect and the volitional aspect - love - are infinite. Nevertheless, in the interpretation of human nature, we may discern in the course of centuries tendencies to reduce man's nature sometimes to his psychic-spiritual aspect, not really taking into account the role of the body, sometimes to the function of an animal and "matter", in which case the function of the spirit and of man's spiritual aspect were ignored or "toned down".

There are theories of man, both ancient and modern, which would reduce man to less complicated states of matter or spirit. These theories proceeded from intuitions that, although correct, were one-sided, and were the result of far-reaching extrapolations, leading to a distorted view of man. The theory becomes a particular kind of a priori, a web of masterfully woven concepts, which is then imposed upon human reality. Of course such a web of concepts "fits" the human fact in many aspects and appears to explain, sometimes even in an interesting way, some human activities or modes of conduct. However, this still does not provide any evidence as to the truth of the theory itself, for each theory is a work of the reason and has in itself a great deal of rationality (as derived from the reason); moreover, there is no theory - however patently stupid and irrational, which does not contain many moments of truth. However, the fact that a theory fits some aspects of the facts still does not validate its truth. This is because such an approach fails to take into account and simplifies essential moments of the human fact. When one applies the principle of "economy of thought", sometimes one fails to consider all the facts that require explanation.

Let us consider the reductionistic materialistic theories according to which man is essentially only a "product of nature" which becomes more and more highly organized until it finally attains to man in the process of evolution. In order to extend the process of the evolution of matter to man, we must negate the essential, ontological difference between matter and spirit. And, in fact, the adherents of the theory of evolution, had to proceed in this way, even P. Teilhard de Chardin, who, his declarations of faith notwithstanding, was to make statements such as the following: that the spirit "is the reverse side of the state of matter, like the mathematical signs "+ and -"; that the spirit is disseminated in matter, that the spirit has degrees of spiritualization (involution), and all this is only a play of imagination, and not an analysis of the state of the spirit." It was even worse in Teilhard de Chardin's theory, since he united evolution with God himself, who in the person of the Logos grafted himself onto the human stock, thus fulfilling the destiny of evolution. Hence, we can conclude that the difference between nature and super-nature becomes obliterated. In another case, (that of S. Freud), man is essentially a reservoir of biological forces, which as the"id" slowly arrive at the "ego". The ego is self-consciousness, based on the "super ego". The super-ego is the culture as encountered and interiorized by man. Freud considered that which first appears in man as the most important, namely biology with its drives, particular sexual drives; everything originates from and is dependent upon this. We are in fact biology as well, but we are not biology alone, and biology alone does not constitute man. The developing biological being is fundamentally ordered to the matters of the spirit in man, a fact which cannot be negated or ignored. The reduction of man to a mere non-personal structure - as occurred in A. Levi-Strauss - is an explanation of order by a lack of order, and of rationalism by anti-rationalism; particularly when we take into account Levi-Strauss' concept of the primacy of accidentality in all structures reduced to one another. Something similar can be seen in Marxism, where consciousness and intellectual cognition were reduced to matter grasped dialectically.

Equally erroneous are the opposed reductions of human activities and the whole man to pure consciousness and spirit, wherein man is interpreted in a completely arbitrary manner, as was the case in Max Scheler's final stage. For Scheler the ability to ideation, as a pure non-subjective function, was to be an essential feature of the spirit. Hence, man was to be the "place" in which God himself fulfills and constitutes himself. Besides, Scheler did not move very far away in this case from Hegel's ideas. The reduction of man merely to consciousness is a reification(22) of only one aspect of being a man, in which one ignores an essentially important factor, the human body, without which human consciousness will not appear.

We see in all reductionistic theories and explanations of man an arbitrariness, and thereby a deformation of the proper understanding of man, but this may be necessary to someone so that he may be able to use man himself, which would be more difficult if he were to bear in mind the full "fact of being a man". The a priori character of anthropological interpretations is to a great extent also determined by a particular "monism of science", according to which scientific cognition should take place according to such rules of reasoning as give visible and indisputable results in the "leading sciences" - results empirically verifiable in the process of verification or of falsification. Hence, the hypothetical - deductive model of scientific cognition is extended to philosophy, although the object of philosophy extends far beyond the range of these methods. For this reason we must also apply to the analogically general object of philosophical cognition a method of cognition appropriate to philosophy, a method different from those of all the other sciences. This method of cognition consists in designating one sole "reason" or real factor, the negation of which would be at the same time a negation of the fact given to us for philosophical explanation.

Once again, to summarize what has been said to this point, let us stress the fundamental stages of the road we have covered here.

The point of departure in our reflections has been the "human fact" as this is viewed both "from without" and "from within" in the experience of human activity, in which the "I" appears as the subject emanating from itself "my" acts, in which acts the "I" is at the same time immanent and transcendent. Since the experienced and registered "I" appears to us only from the existential aspect, which means that I know that I exist but I do not know whom I am, then the only road leading to the discovery of one's own structure is the analysis of "my" acts, immediately registered as emerging from the "I" as from the subject. Since these acts are various but, as each of us experiences all of them in a living manner as "mine", as constituting one being with the "I~, we inquire about the "reason for being" of human activity, which activity exhibits plurality in unity. Such a reason, thanks to which this being acts, is the soul, conceived as the act-form-organizer of matter for being a human body, through which it acts in such a way that "I" is directly experienced as immanent in all "my" acts, even physiological ones, and simultaneously transcending these acts, and through these acts transcending itself as well. The soul capable of such activity is of necessity a being existing in itself, noncomposite, created directly by God. Existing in itself as a subject, the human soul is, however, a being capable of acting only through matter organized into a human body. That is why the ontological structure of man is something absolutely exceptional in the whole of nature and that is why it cannot be reduced to one aspect of its being(23) Man's ontological structure cannot be reduced to the purely psychic-spiritual aspect, as Descartes and some of his followers wanted, whereby man is regarded as a spirit; nor can it be reduced to the purely material aspect, the animal one, or what is even worse - to a pure structure with no subject, acting in an ultimate way (and existing) on the basis of chance. Some reductionist concepts appear as a sort of a priori in relation to the human fact, an a priori based on evolutionism conceived in a naturalistic or dialectic way. That is why we must turn to the a posteriori theories of classical philosophy, which "decontradictifies" the facts given to us for ultimate explanation, that is, it "separates them from non-being."

3. The Cognition of Man

That which fundamentally sets man apart from among all products of nature is his cognition, which is structuralized in various ways both in itself and in its consequences, manifesting themselves in human activity; it is varied and is subject to various explanations. However, the very fact of human cognition and the activity emerging from it appears to us in two dimensiona - the material and the spiritual. We see that human cognition develops together with the development of the organism and to a certain extent also becomes weaker in old age, when the human organism becomes gradually weaker. But it is not our intention to analyze in detail the link between the process of cognition and the development of the organism, since this is not a strictly philosophical problem. We are primarily concerned with the fact that the structure of cognition has two aspects - the corporeal and the spiritual. It is evident that human cognition can take place normally only when the human nervous system, particularly the central nervous system - the brain - is in working order. It is the task of the particular sciences to describe and analyze the activity of the brain under the various aspects which fall under each of the particular sciences and the characteristic object of their investigations. However, the phenomenon of cognition as cognition is open to philosophical explanations and none of the sciences may replace philosophy in this dimension, for philosophy analyzes the ontological character of cognition, which goes beyond the formal objects and methods of scientific cognition.

The fact of human cognition occurs in the sensory and intellectual order, for we cognize through our sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste, feelings, imagination, recollection, memory, as well as in the intellectual operations mentioned by logic and the metaphysics of cognition. We can make a detailed description of the cognitive organs, e.g. the eye or the ear, the structure of the nerves and the way they behave in response to a physical stimulus. A certain form of material energy evokes a physiological stimulus in the human organism. This stimulus is directly connected with the cognitive impression. All organic changes occurring in the process of cognition are undoubtedly necessary, but they are still not cognition itself, which we experience in a living way "in consciousness"(24). They are its origins, its necessary material aspect; they constitute a necessary reason of being of cognition, but not a sufficient one. Cognition is built on all the organic changes that occur when the fact of cognition comes into existence. These, as the biological aspect, are not (25)"brought to our consciousness" in the act of cognition and are cannot be brought to consciousness as necessary conditions of cognition. When we analyze them in different sciences we cognize them as it were, from the outside, since they do not allow themselves to be brought to consciousness, to be objectivized in the act of cognition itself. The reflection accompanying cognition does not concern these philosophical processes for two reasons: 1) because the physiological processes accompanying cognition determine this cognition and thereby make cognitive acts possible, without entering into the nature of these acts; 2) because material processes themselves are not capable of any reflection which embraces "the whole, as from the parts" - or conversely, "the parts as in the whole". Yet material processes run their course through the mutual contact of quantitative components - and not of wholes and their components at the same time, as occurs both in concomitant reflection and acts of deliberate reflection.

The process of sensory and intellectual cognition in man, which occur in connection with organic, nervous changes, are dependent on matter in different degrees. If processes of sensory cognition - whether of external senses such as sight, hearing, touch, or internal senses such as the imagination and sensory memory - are in their structure connected with individuated matter in time and space, then intellectual cognition in its functions is dependent on the state of the organism, but not in its structure, as we shall discuss later.

In the tradition of Classical Philosophy, sensory cognition was perhaps too strongly separated from intellectual cognition in man, as philosophers wished to emphasize the difference between them and the fact that due to its structure intellectual cognition could not be reduced to sense cognition. That is why the question of the non-identity of sensory and intellectual cognitive structures is important; but it is important also that we percieve the functional unity of cognition in man. It is man who cognizes through his various cognitive organs. And although sight is not the same as hearing, imagining or the understanding of the object, here we are constantly dealing with a single human process whereby some being is known. The human cognition of reality is different from the cognition of the same reality by animals. In animals we are dealing with a precise and, according to the measure of an animal's nature, a life-related reaction to a cognitive stimulus. In the animal there is no distance between the subject and the object, and the animal does not have any living experience of a "self", which an animal does not possess. This can be seen from the way it reacts to the world around it. Man, on the other hand, though he cognizes the same object in the material world, understands the same object (to a greater or lesser extent). At the same time he maintains a distance in relation to the object: in his initial understanding of the object he already grasps it as a being, as "something that exists determined in itself". He simultaneously becomes aware of the fact that he himself cognizes and thereby registers his own immanence (presence) in the cognitive act in the form of the fundamental experience "I-mine". That is why man, sees an certain set of colors and recognizes that it is his house, that another object is his friend, acquaintance and another is a cow or a plane. Upon hearing a particular set of sounds he says that a plane is flying, that a nightingale is singing, that a horse is neighing, etc. In a word, in our sensory cognition there is no such a thing as a merely sensory cognitive experience; in the sensory experience there is at the same time an understanding of the cognized thing; there is, therefore, a rational, that is, intellectual cognition of the thing that I see, hear, touch, feel, taste, etc. Nonetheless, we cannot identify cognitive sensory structures with intellectual ones, for between various sensory and intellectual acts of cognition there are essential differences on account of the different functions of matter in sensory and in intellectual cognition. In its structures (not in the function of cognition!) the sensory cognition of animal and man is similar.

When we speak of human cognition, we usually indicate the kind of cognitive acts which are an understanding of things. Thus, when I see a dog running beside me I say: "a dog". This expression (dog) can be treated as a linguistic explanation, that is, as some kind of sign of language as a system of conventional and superior signs. At the same time, when I say "dog" I indicate a specific object as the denoted thing to which I want to draw attention through my language. Moreover, the expression "dog" is somehow understood by myself and others; this expression is connected with a specific meaning of the expression. I can ask myself: What do I understand by the expression "dog?" I may answer that it is "a quadruped mammal that barks". I therefore have an understanding of it, a meaning, a concept, which I make myself and others aware of precisely by stating my definition of a dog. My concept of "dog" in relation to the concrete object which I cognize is also a particular sign and a sign in its essential sense. In cognizing a thing I must, in my cognitive apparatus, produce a "substitute image" of the thing itself, which I grasp only in some of its necessary features.

Thus, in the process of human cognition, the role of language appears as a system of signs in three different orders. On the surface of language and the cognition connected with it there appear conventional and at the same time instrumental signs, i.e. various languages or groups of languages. These languages, as systems of conventional signs, are involved in three interdependent kinds of relations: syntactic, semantic and pragmatic relations. The syntactic aspect of language, that is, its structure, is inseparably connected with the most primary and fundamental semantic relation, the essentially denotative one, which relation makes it possible for us to use language in a meaningful way. The semantic aspect of language is connected with another system of linguistic signs, transparent ones. These signs are the "meanings" of our spoken (written) language. These meanings, showing the essential method of our conceptual cognition, at the same time show cognitive aspects, that is, "what" we grasp of the thing itself and "how" we grasp it. In our spontaneous cognition, it is not the meanings of our linguistic expressions which constitute the object of cognition; they constitute a way of reaching the thing being cognized. The history of philosophical thought has been witness to great cognitive "lapses" in this matter. This occurred when precisely the system of transparent signs - that is, the arrangement of our concepts, judgments and acts of reasoning - was regarded as the object of our spontaneous cognition, e.g. in Plato, then in Descartes and in almost the whole philosophy of the subject, including phenomenology. However, we realize that cognition of the senses (concepts, judgments and acts of reasoning) takes place fundamentally in reflection on our spontaneous cognition. Finally, the third arrangement of linguistic signs is the thing itself, as the object of our cognition, denoted by our senses (natural signs) and thereby accessible for our cognitive apparatus. The concrete thing, in itself, in our cognition has a "meaning" only when it is accessible in the light of natural signs, in the light of concepts and judgments, i.e. the meanings of our general expressions and statements. What do I understand of a concrete dog standing in front of me? Not much in relation to what I do not understand about it. I know that it is a four-legged mammal that barks, an Alsatian... The whole "rest" of this object is unknown to me. It has become accessible only to the extent to which it has become cognitively "marked". In spite of all this it is the dog itself which I know and not my concept of the dog. And when I shout: "dog!" everyone turns round looking for the object and when he does not see it, asks: "where?" I can speak about the system of linguistic signs in the third case merely in relation to the object of my spontaneous cognition, for reality, if not marked by a system of cognitive signs, does not have any cognitive value. From the aspect of cognition it is "without significance", for it has not become accessible in cognition and cognitive linguistic communication.

In the process of human cognition, the sphere of transparent signs, that is, concepts and judgments, is particularly significant. It is precisely in the sphere of transparent signs that the "understanding" of the thing being cognized is realized. In cognizing an object we "understand" it in a concept formed by us, which is the "meaning" of the general expression. What does it mean "to understand"? It means to form in our cognition a concept of the thing, through which we precisely "understand" the thing itself in aspects grasped by us. A key moment, therefore, is precisely the forming for oneself of a concept, that is, a transparent sign, representing the thing itself. Of course, in our cognitive acts we do not grasp the thing itself very deeply and exhaustively. Its cognition is aspective, incomplete, for cognizing a thing of some kind, we grasp only some of its features; we generally grasp those which are most visible, those which are what we most need, those which help us to "use" the thing itself for some needs of ours. That is why, although in Classical Philosophy cognition was called the cognition of the "essence" of the thing, this "essence" is really an "essentialistic" cognition only in some cases (in the cognition of simple geometrical products and in the cognition of the hierarchy of natural classes). Nonetheless, however, we can still call this a cognition of the "essence", for we grasp the features which constitute for us the object in our acts of cognition, particularly the object-instrument needed for our life. This is possible only when we grasp some necessary features of the thing, together with some of its necessary relations. Hence our cognition is very selective (because we only grasp some features), and it is aspective (it is adapted to our interests and our needs). From the features which we apprehend from things we constantly form in ourselves a "vicarious image" of the thing, that is, our concept, which is a transparent sign of the thing being cognized. Thus, our forming of a concept about a thing is equiponderant to a fundamental sign-forming function. The cognitive apparatus, the intellect, under the influence of the thing acting through physiological stimuli, releases in us a physiological stimulus, in the form of nervous activation, and together with this, in the living and cognizing being there begins to take shape a cognitive "impression", which "is expressed" consciously in the form of an apprehended "substitute image" of the very thing cognized. Of course (in the act of cognition) "I", being receptive, can however, control my acts of cognition and take from the thing the kind of "stimuli" that I want to apprehend, and through them, cognize the thing itself. The formation of a vicarious image, therefore, is not merely a passive state of my cognitive apparatus in relation to the thing being cognized, but is an act-process, sometimes a long-lasting one, controlled by me. For this reason too, the "vicarious image" formed is my transparent sign, made by me, in which I have apprehended those features which are evident and those which I want to apprehend on account of my cognitive interests. The concept formed by me, as a transparent sign, does not keep cognitive attention focused on itself in our spontaneous cognition, but fundamentally directs my cognition towards the object-thing itself. It fulfills as it were a "concentrated" function of special spectacles, allowing the eyes to see the thing itself in the apprehended aspects. Nonetheless, the act of cognizing a thing in a concept, as a spiritual act is subject to a kind of "diffraction" of light and gives out a particular "cognitive aura" whenever we spontaneously cognize anything in a concept. It is precisely the reflection that accompanies our acts of spiritual cognition. In cognizing a thing spontaneously I simultaneously "know that I cognize"; thus I am constantly accompanied by a sort of initial reflection. It does not have any one particular object, since it is a cognition registering the very course of cognition. This reflection - which becomes more intense as acts of spontaneous cognition are repeated - is the basis for making a purposeful, intended act of reflection wherein I take my acts of cognition as the object of my cognition. The fact that I am able to make my spontaneous cognition into an object testifies to the fact that in acts of spontaneous, objective cognition there takes place a "registering", by my intellect, of the very method of cognition in concomitant reflection. This reflection increases with cognition; and in reflective life it increases so incomensurately as to bring our activity occasionally to a halt. Perhaps this is to a certain extent the reason why many thinkers in their analysis of human cognition fail to notice the "shift" from concomitant reflection to reflection in act, and believe that it is the "world of ideas", the "ensemble of concepts", "the world given to us in concepts", and not the thing existing in itself, the thing which is merely signaled by our acts of cognition, which acts are constituted as a "formal sign"(the formal sign is the meaning of our spoken language), which are the object of human cognition. Such a standpoint led to the imprisonment of the human reason in the world of signs-symbols, as Cassirer held. Meanwhile our concept, being a vicarious image of things, is the fundamental sign of the very thing being cognized. And as a (transparent) sign, it reveals to us the nature of the sign as a specific fusion of relations. In the concept as a "first sign" we can observe both relations to the thing itself apprehended in acts of cognition and relations to the subject as the "sign-maker"; we can observe relations to the person being addressed in linguistic communication and relations to the system of other signs, both transparent and conventional ones. Of the thing being cognized I apprehend only some of its features, which I can apprehend or which are necessary to me and from the apprehended features I construct a concept for myself; and it is I who construct and thereby incarnate, as it were, my cognitive act into the sign-concept that has been created. I order this sign to the other person (or to myself as the "other") to whom I communicate my cognitive result. This is the result: the sign-concept is not isolated from other signs-concepts, but in the process of cognition and, by the same token, of "denotation" it is also genetically linked with them; finally, I link this sign with spoken language, that is, with a system of conventional, purely linguistic signs. Hence, the fusion of relations which is the concept constitutes the "soul" of cognition and language.

But in our cognition, as it is a particular kind of "contact" with reality, two situations exist in which by cognizing we do not form any signs, for the very object of cognition is not subject to "denotation", as it is something simple and without content. These are the moments in which it is stated that something exists, that we are dealing with something real, true and not imaginary. Reality attacks me with the whole of its endowment related to content, but we know that existence itself is neither a feature of the thing nor the sum of these features. We cannot ascertain existence by making lists of sensory features, nor by any "recorded statements". The fact of existence is primordial. Only something "existing" is a real thing. It is under actual existence that different contents emerge and disappear, and not the converse - That by being arranged in a certain way contents could direct or cause existence (with the exception of works of art, where there is no subjective, substantial existence). Another situation in which it is not possible to form a sign in the act of cognition is the existence of one's own "I", the "I", which symbolized by a personal pronoun is devoid of any content, from which there followed the negation of the "I" as a being in the history of philosophy. It is unusually significant for our cognition that we have an "in-direct" and "sign-less" cognitive contact with existence, given to me on the one hand in the world of sensory empiricism and in the cognizing subject itself and on the other hand, where my own "I" is given to me only from the existential aspect (that is, I experience directly that I exist, but I do not know who I am in my nature). The fact that I ascertain the sign-less existence of things and my own "I" guarantees the cognitive realism of contents apprehended as signs in all other acts of cognition, for I have a constantly real ability to verify the reality of contents cognized by me; thereby I do not need any Cartesian proof as to the value of my cognition, since I constantly distinguish non-existing abstract contents from apprehended really existing contents, whose existence is given to me in cognition in a necessary and sign-less way.

Having distinguished in our human cognition three spheres of signs, that is, 1/ the sphere of language and conventional signs, 2/ the sphere of natural, transparent signs (meanings and concepts), and 3/ the sphere of the denoted thing constituting the object of the cognition of man in the aspects denoted by the senses - we see that the definition of human cognition as the appearance in the consciousness of the comprehended "sense", as it was generally defined after Descartes, is erroneous. Cognition takes place in all three spheres of the sign and always concerns the cognized thing itself, unless we make our meanings or senses, that is, the sphere of transparent signs, the object of cognition in the process of reflection. But then, too, our concepts-senses are really existing objects of cognition (existing in us and through us).

The construction of the concept-sense as a transparent sign through which we reach the cognized object is always an essential moment in the process of human cognition. The structure of the concept (or, as the case may be, judgment) allows us to take a closer look at human nature itself, for our concepts and judgments are completely different in their structure from all other material objects. The spatial-temporal structure of a material object belongs to the nature of that object. As a result, material objects are subject to cognition when we measure them in various ways, and we can write down the results of our measurements in the form of numbers which are broadly conceived as units of measurement of space or time. Material objects themselves are always concrete, changeable, non-necessary in their properties, at least some of them. Our concepts, on the other hand, let them represent our cognition, have a completely different ontological structure. As Plato observed, they are general, necessary and permanent in their content. Let us consider such a concept as "dog". When I say the word "dog" it is undoubtedly something material, as a sound, that is, a wave of air modulated by me, which in vibrating is a physical stimulus that can act on the organ of hearing and evoke in it a physiological stimulus, thereby evoking a corresponding cognitive process. The very concept "dog", however, (being the meaning of our general expression "dog") is not something individual and changeable, but on the contrary is the general representation of everything that I call "dog". As a general representation, it is a very selective ensemble of features, their necessary "bond", which I can use to make statements about varied objects commonly called "dog". In order to be able to make statements about such numerous and varied objects, I apprehend only a few characteristic features of objects called "dog". Of course, as the structure of the dog is cognized, these features uncountably increase in number, but in comparison with the real object "dog", extremely rich in its nature, the features apprehended even during long studies are few, and always inadequate in relation to the really existing object. Consequently, the generality of the concept derives from the weakness of our intellect, which is not capable of cognitively apprehending the whole endowment of the concrete object "dog". Apprehending only some features, the ones that most meet the eye, or those which can be needed by me in the use "dog", I build a content from them - a general image which contains all individual concretizations of the expression "dog".

I then discover that the characteristics of the object apprehended in a general way are at the same time necessary features, constituting a given concept. This does not mean that the necessary features of the concept always constitute the very nature of the object, for I shall not always in my cognition cognize the nature or essence of the object, but always, in cognizing the object, I apprehend in it those features that constitute my concept. This concept will serve to produce an instrument of some kind. Essential or necessaristic conceptual cognition principally concerns the aim and destiny of my cognition; this is most often linked with a true exploitation of cognition for man's needs. Thus, if necessary features are contained in the concept "dog", then they are necessary in a specific cognitive aspect.

Furthermore, these are permanent, that is, relatively unchangeable features. Even though the object itself is radically changeable (a living dog runs, it can move different parts of the body and undergoes constant metabolic change), the apprehended features, fused in the concept "dog" are permanent and as important today as they were one thousand years ago. The permanence of apprehended features also guarantees the temporal value of my cognition.

The notion "dog", because it is general, necessary and permanent in its structure, can become a predicate that predicates in a judgmental-sensential way: univocally, through identity, and distributively, about each real object: "dog". I say a dachshund is a dog in the same sense-meaning as I say that a wolf-dog, an Alsatian, or a poodle is a "dog", for in each concrete object are realized the same few selectively apprehended features, fused into one concept "dog". What is more, I say about each object that it "is", that my apprehended sense-meaning becomes identified with a concrete dog. The identification in being (this means that my concept takes in some aspectively necessary features - that it is a real being in the denotation of my predication) of my concept of a universal with the thing testifies to the fact that I arrive at being itself in my cognition and I apprehend it in a general, necessary and constant way in the aspect of its content. I assign such concepts in predication distributively to each concrete object of my predication. There is in the act of conceptual cognition and predication about reality something extremely significant - the fact that I apprehend the necessary structure of being related to content. Thanks to this I can, in a way, penetrate deeper into its structure; not only can I combine into one concept-sense the cognitively apprehended features of the being in the process of being cognized, but I can also "break up" these features and thereby force my way, as it were, into the nature of the thing being cognized, transform it, adapt it to my needs. And although my conceptual cognition is general, and thereby weak, nevertheless, due to the fact that it is general, it transcends the individual mode of being(26) of things. What is more, the generality of cognition, while it is a sign of weakness, makes it possible for us to draw up a "general blueprint" for duplicating things and instruments. It allows factories to be built on the basis of some general, necessary and permanent concepts about instruments. Such concepts, sometimes, when they are patented, can even be sold as "licenses" for specified methods of production and replication of that which is in itself only general, necessary and constant.

Bearing in mind the here described structure of the concept which our cognitive apparatus emanates from itself in contact with the thing being cognized, we discern that the concept has in its denotative content a non-material nature, for it cannot be measured in any way. Whether it is a concept of a material object, e.g. a dog, or of a "spiritual" object (e.g. prudence or Archimedes' law), it is not an object in space and time, and that is why it is not subject to empirical "measuring". And what is not measurable is in no way a material object. Hence, there exists in us products-beings that emanate from the human subject. These, as beings that cannot be measured are not material, as can be seen through the general, necessary and constant nature of the concept. Generality, necessity and constancy (immutability) are fundamental oppositions of matter. If, therefore, we find that in ourselves certain products exist that are non-material in their content, for they are not to be measured, then their direct source is also non-material, since the product or result cannot transcend its cause and cannot be structurally more perfect than its cause. This is one reason why the acts of our intellectual cognition, as bearers of the content constitutive of a concept, are commensurable to this content and are also non-material. The non-materiality of the reason, that is, the intellect, as a source of conceptual cognition was always regarded in philosophy as an essential indicator of the human spirit. Even Aristotle himself, who - as it seems - did not regard the human soul as a spirit, could not explain the fact of intellectual, conceptual cognition otherwise than by reference to the spirit-mind, which he called the "active intellect" - nous poion in Greek - not mixed with matter and separated from it. The nature of intellectual cognition appears as evidently non-material, for it transcends in the most varied aspects the course of matter, its changeability, individuality, imperviousness ( we can make contact with matter only through quantitative data), the inability of matter to return in reflection on itself, etc. And all this is brought in by intellectual cognition, which can easily be brought home by the example of conceptual cognition, which underlies all production of instruments in the widest sense as the components of our material culture.

The character of the non-material structure of the act of cognition appears even more clearly in judgment as an essentially human mode of cognition. In the judgement we simultaneously apprehend the parts in the whole and the whole composed of parts, together with acts of reflection in relation to things. If I state that "John is mortal", then in my view of John as a man I discern a unity of being called John; I discern the fact that he is composed of various parts, also of matter; I see the organization of matter into a body and that this organized matter will ultimately lose its organization, and this is what I call "mortality". I express this in the judgmental predicate "mortal" which is predicated by the identity of "is" about John as the subject. In this judgment we have a view of a real being, deepened through the perception of the parts composing being and the most varied relations - and I ascertain all this in the cognitive act known as a "judgment", which gives me not only a cognitive, intensified statement of being itself, but moreover apprehends my relation to the object of cognition through the act of judgment. Also when I make inferences or when I reason, many-sided thought relations appear concerning the whole and the parts of my reasoning. And all this is the manifestation of the fact that our process of cognition and its various acts have a different ontological nature, an immaterial nature. This is noncontradictory only when a reason exists, that is, a non-material intellect, as the source and efficient cause of our human cognition. Of course, the non-material intellect would be unacceptable without the independent existence of the non-material subject - the soul - as the first source of human acts.

The non-material nature of the cognitive structures which testify to man's spiritual powers - of the reason, that is, the intellect, and consequently of the will, as the power by which we strive to attain the good and the end revealed by the reason, all this does not liberate man in his human activity, also cognitive, from matter itself. As has often been mentioned, man is a composite spiritual and material being and matter is necessary for the release of human activity. The soul acts through the body. Although the soul in itself is not material and although its powers of activity, the reason and the will, are also non-material, neither process of activity will be released in separation from the body and man's corporal structures. Just as an artist needs an instrument, e.g. a piano, in order to play, so too the soul needs the body, the nervous system, the brain for releasing acts that in their ontological structure are non-material, but whose process is linked in a necessary way with matter - the body. Intellectual cognition can function only in a necessary bond with the imagination, and the imagination can function with the action of the brain. Sensory-imaginative cognition takes place on the basis of the material activity of the nerves and acts of intellectual cognition and understanding are revealed in a particular "translumination(27)" which permits us to understand imagination and the "interpretation" of relations contained in it, which are not for the imagination itself.

Man has always been interested in the course of the process of cognition. Various theories have appeared on this subject, simplifying the generally composite course of the process of cognition in various structures - biological, sensory and intellectual. From Aristotle, through his Christian and Arab commentators, through the Middle Ages, particularly the concepts of St. Albert and St. Thomas and their commentators, an interesting and consistent image of human cognition has become outlined. Here are its fundamental states:

1. The material object constantly acts on its surroundings through its physical stimuli, in the form of light waves, sound waves, chemical particles, etc.

2. The physical stimulus received by the composite human cognitive apparatus causes a physiological stimulus, activating the appropriate nerves connected with the activity of particular senses, such as sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch, etc..

3. The physiological stimulus in a living organism changes into a "cognitive impression", an activation of the cognitive faculty, together with its concrete determination to "express" in itself the object acting through its stimuli on man's cognitive apparatus. The evoked expressions of particular senses become joined by man into one impression of the object. This can be done by the faculty joining different impressions of the external senses into a whole. This was called the "common sense", which has the power to unite and join into one object that which is colourful, sonorous, has a particular smell, has a specific resistance to touch, etc. The combined impressions of all external senses become a common impression of the object being cognized.

4. The impression "expresses itself" in our imaginative apparatus as an "mental image" (phantasm)(28), which we can interpret even in the absence of the acting object. The world of mental image, their vivacity, their associational links, has a fundamental influence in the directing of man's intellectual abilities.

5. The human phantasm is not a mode of isolated sensory cognition, for it is constantly - by virtue of man's unique rational nature - illuminated by cognitive intellectual powers, which Aristotle called "the active intellect". As a result, each phantasm, just as the "seen, "heard", "touched" impression of the subject, is understood by us. In man there are no "pure" or "distilled" sensory cognitive states in isolation from "understanding", that is, a simultaneous intellectual cognition of the thing. Impressions and phantasms, as well as the understanding which occurs in the framework of sensory cognition, are always directed at the cognized object which is "signalled": such created "signs" as impressions, phantasm, understandings are only a "means", like glasses, which allow us to "see" the object.

6. The fact of intellectual understanding takes place through concepts, judgments and reasonings. The fundamental act is always "conceptualization" - the forming of a concept, which can take place only when the phantasm illuminated through and through by the intellect becomes a stimulus proportional to the soul-intellect. The phantams is, as it were, an "impressed form", and becomes a stimulus which determines intellectual cognition. This intellectual cognition is expressed in the form of a concept. The concept directs cognition towards the object. Of course, while sometimes we form a concept immediately and spontaneously, at other times we may do so only with great labour, the application of method, and we must constantly provide rational justification for each step. Nevertheless, in the spontaneous act of cognition we are constantly directed towards the object itself, although "concomitant reflection" is aroused in every spiritual act.

7. The concepts which we create, through which we view and understand the very object of cognition, can be subject to and are usually subject to further cognitive "reworking". This reworking leads to the formulation of judgments and acts of judgmental cognition and then to different forms of reasoning, the traditional symbol of which is the syllogism. In all these acts of cognition there is an increase in reflective intellectual activity, in the intellectual work which is the actualization of different forms of cognition.

The traditional schema of man's cognition shown here draws attention to the fact that the object of cognition is the thing itself, the object initially really existing: all acts of cognition, both sensory and intellectual (always linked with sensory cognition!) are acts of mediation that make it possible for us to cognize things. All these acts of mediation in spontaneous cognition reveal to us the cognized thing and are as often as not - in the case of imaginations, concepts, judgments and acts of reasonings - registered in "concomitant reflection". That is why they can themselves become the object of cognition, when in a special reflective act (meta-cognition) we take them as the object of our cognition. Then the very method of cognition becomes its object. Unfortunately, many philosophers did not make a sharp distinction between spontaneous and reflective cognition and made an epistemological error: they believed our "ideas" are the object of cognition, and that philosophy becomes "responsible" cognition when it is a "critical" philosophy which takes "ideas" as the object of cognition. Impressions and imaginations and concepts were regarded as "ideas". The reification of the mode of cognition introduced many misunderstandings and pseudo-problems into philosophy.

4. Human Cognition and Culture.

Man's natural environment is not only the world of nature, but also to a great extent the "world of culture" which man ceaselessly forms for himself. Much is said today on culture, and the term "culture" is employed in many various senses. Consequently, the very expression "culture" has become the watchword for different associations most often linked with propaganda, amusement, more rarely with the appreciation of a work of art and if so - rather with mass art. In fact, we notice the function of the expression "culture" or "civilization" in very different meanings: sociological, psychological, historical, etc. Such varied interpretations of culture attest to the fact that there is a spontaneous, conjectural, original interpretation of it. It will be a philosophical interpretation, as only philosophy is the type of cognition which sufficiently explains reality, or explains reality in an original way.

Thus, culture itself is a kind of reality created by man by way of his personal experiences and activities, both individual and social. Man's products of all kinds, as a result of his personal activity, constitute the world of culture, or what in other nations (Latin, Romance nations) is called "the world of civilization". Of course, human experiences, activities and products can be good or bad and that is why they can form good or bad culture. However, moral qualifications, positive or negative, do not exclude the very fact of culture, that ways of conduct and products are derived from the human person. We must deliberately stress personal activities, that is, conscious and free activities. To be more precise, this denotes cognitive activities, volitional activities in their most supreme act - the act of love, as well as freedom, as that which removes human activity from the plane of necessity(29).

The most fundamental human activity is cognition and it is cognition which leaves its stamp upon all personal experiences, on conduct and on creative effort. Without cognition directing activity there would be no human actions (as human!) and no products of actions. Hence, the original understanding of culture is precisely the cognitive moment in which we people in a certain way "intellectualize" nature as we find it, for in the act of cognition we assimilate and interiorize the world and nature as we find them, and we enrich ourselves with the content of apprehended reality. This is the first and most fundamental act of culture, that which determines the "culturality"(30) of culture itself. Man's intellectualization of reality as he finds it, his assimilation of it in a human way, enriches man with interiorized contents. He can then manipulate these contents and "go out of" himself in an act of volitional activity, as well as in acts of creativity. Without the first act, without cognition, no personal reaction towards the surrounding reality as we find it is possible. First, we must draw rational contents from this reality, for man comes into the world "open", but intellectually "empty", and he must fill his intellectual interior with the contents of the really existing world. It is here that the intellect intrudes, as it were, upon the world, when in its acts of cognition it apprehends certain features from the reality which it finds and connects into one "meaningful" conceptual whole, in the light of which it can come to know in a constantly more conscious and reflective manner(31) the reality which it intellectually grasps (understands). The first act of our cognition is the reception, the assimilation in the intellect "in a human way" of reality as we find it; this reality is selectively received and is expressed as a concept-meaning. This is the first act of man's activity in the realm of culture. A more and more precise apprehension of contents, that is, the understanding of these contents (their intellectualization - their reception in the intellect) enables to manipulate these contents more and more efficiently and to employ them for the needs of human cognition, conduct and various kinds of human creativity.

Human cognitive activity is rich and differentiated both in relation to its particular objects and the ways in which it is carried out. That is why we must introduce some important classifications in connection with the understanding of culture. From the times of Aristotle it has been common to distinguish three fundamental directions (complementary and not mutually exclusive) of rational activity founded upon three kinds of human cognition:

a) theoretical cognition, which develops into various forms of reasoning and into science;

b) practical cognition, which realizes the good in human conduct and is thereby constitutive of the moral order in acts of decision;

c) creative cognition, whereby man realizes the contents he has apprehended according to certain criteria chosen by the one who creates or produces.

This is one reason why the domain of science, the sphere of morality and the sphere of art or technology have been historically regarded as factors which integrate culture. It is complemented by a fourth domain, a domain which penetrates the other three and raises man in his personal activity to the transcendent; this is religion, conceived as a personal bond with God who is regarded as the source, end and exemplar of human life. Through personal activities characterized by freedom, through human knowledge and love, religion attains to the personal being, who sees his personal bonds (relations) with someone who is the ultimate (first) rational ground for the human being, the source of his contingent existence(32), the exemplar and "law-giver" who marks out the way in which man should act, and who is, at the same time the end which give meaning to all human activities, both theoretical and practical, as well as creative activities. Religion thus constitutes the keystone in the human architecture of activity.

Obviously if we think of personal activity in this way, as constitutive of culture, we see that on the exclusively private and individual field of life it is impossible. Theoretical cognition (which develops into the various sciences), practical cognition (which creates morality, which in turn is manifest in mores) and creative cognition (both artistic and scientific or technical), together with religion and rituals (which penetrate the other domains) call for a social context without which they cannot actualize human (personal) potentialities. Hence, social life (ranging from the family to the state and international institutions) is the product and at the same time the context of man's cultural activity. The fact of culture is most clearly manifested in the social life of humanity. This is because without society, organized cognition (in schools and other institutions), customs linked with morality (both individual morality and social morality which is ruled by laws), creativity (technical and artistic) and religious worship would all be impossible. What is more, without society in the form of a family and its estended forms of activity it would be impossible for man to survive even on a merely biological level. If we keep in mind the most noticeable dimension of culture, social activity and the social mode of being(33), we shall see that culture was usually linked with an understanding of society. Hence sociological approaches to culture have become predominant. Nevertheless, the sociological aspect of culture is a secondary and derivative way of understanding culture, for the sociology of culture, the psychology, history and theology of culture presuppose an original interpretation of it, normally provided by the philosophy of culture which establishes the essential factor thanks to which its is precisely culture that we are dealing with.

This is not to say that everyone who employs the expression "culture" or "civilization" has at the same time a true and source-oriented(34) interpretation of it. The expression "culture" indicates cognitive acts in which an objective content of things, eg. a really existing horse, becomes suspended from or painted, so to speak, on an ensemble of our cognitive acts, and these acts are crowned by the creation of a "meaning-sense", e.g. of the horse. As a result the content of the horse gains a new mode of existence: it exists within us, in our intellect. It is a human mode of being(35); the horse we apprehended exists aspectively in us according to our already human mode of existence, but its "horse" content which is suspended in our cognitive acts exists incompletely: it is totally ordered to the content of a really existing horse, that is, in total "intentionality" and to such a degree that there occurs a one-sided identity of the content of the horse represented in us and the content of a horse existing in itself. There is no identity - of course - between the content of a real horse with this content, which exists in us in a merely intentional way, since in us this cognitive content exists only in selected, aspective moments, totally ordered - as it were "going towards" the real content. In the normal course of events this transparent sign, the concept or meaning we have formed and suspended from our acts of cognition, is not the object of our spontaneous cognition but is fundamentally a mediator which enables us to interpret the content of things. A special act of will is necessary to evoke reflective cognition, to objectivize this concept-meaning and to become aware of the fact that such a meaning exists in us.

The process of objectivizing our concepts or meanings occurs in an especially clear manner in creative (poetic) cognition, when on the basis of a plan or pattern (a concept which we have objectivized and upon which we have reflected) we form the intention of constructing or creating a thing. This occurs most clearly in processes of technical cognition, when in order to produce a specific tool (e.g. a house, a plane, a computer) a very precisely defined "plan-idea-pattern" is needed, often safeguarded by patent law. The objectivization of our concepts in the area of artistic cognition (this is ultimately ordered to man's aesthetic contemplation) is of no less importance.

In the history of human culture it has been artistic creativity in the most varied domains of human life that has served as the model for understanding cultural creativity as such. Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, dance, theatre, literature, are classic manifestations of artistic creativity. Each of these presupposes the creative work of the intellect, which enriched in receptive cognition, through the interiorization of the contents of things as we find them, can then not only objectivize these contents in reflected cognition, but moreover can transform the objectivized contents into new ones, according to the criterion the intellect selects in order to unite the contents which it has "broken apart" and reorganized in a creative effort. The artist can, for example, wish to warn someone against an attractive but dangerous beauty lurking at the entrance to a desert or at the gates of the rich interior of the pyramids. Then by breaking an image - the content of a woman and the form of a lion, he can assemble them into a new creation - a sphinx, as a fierce lion with the attractive face of a beautiful woman, in order to warn another person and to convey to him an important content to be experienced personally.

The primacy of the activity of the reason is also at the basis of moral conduct (moral conduct is the consequence of practical cognition). Although we are here dealing with a particular concrete activity of the reason, since our deeds are always individual and unrepeatable, nonetheless all our human acts (which create man's moral conduct) are undoubtedly conscious. Consciousness and free will are at the basis of our conduct. That is why our every act of decision is at the same time an act of the "practical reason", that is, of the reason ordered to activity by an act we have chosen, in order that we might ultimately determine ourselves to a certain kind of activity by this act of the reason as a practical judgment. The act of decision, as an act that is moral in its essence, is the coupling of practical reason (which makes a concrete judgment on activity in relation to a concrete good) with the free choice of this judgment. There appears before me not only one possibility of activity but several such possibilities, not to mention the possibility of acting or not acting. In this way we transcend autonomy and heteronomy in our moral conduct. Without the act of reason (without consciousness) there is no moral action; hence, in the whole domain of moral conduct as well, at its very sources, is the act of reason. If morality forms a great branch of culture, then in this manifestation of culture as well the reason and its activity are the point of departure in the understanding of the whole domain of moral conduct. All the more this can be said of science and of philosophy which by their nature are only a work of the reason, in which the reason has become proficient in its "science-creating" and "science-cognizing" activity. Finally, the domain of religion, which joins all the strands of culture (science, art, technology, morality), is also a manifestation of the intensified activity of intellectual contemplation. This moment of intellectual contemplation which "within the soul" is stressed both by great mystics themselves and by theoreticians of mystic cognition in religion. Thus, in all domains of human life, integrating the phenomenon of culture, that is, in science, art, technology, morality and religion, the cognitive moment appears as the point of departure of the understanding of culture itself. Man's cognitive processes, however rich and varied, are in their deepest fundamental structure receptive and informative in relation to nature as we find it. Man is born as a "tabula rasa" in the sphere of cognition, inherited predispositions notwithstanding. He must therefore of necessity interiorize the cognitive contents found in the world of real beings, of nature as well as of culture. Only the cognitively interiorized content of beings conditions the further cognitive processes specific to the domains of theoretical, practical and poetical(36) cognition. Thus, the decisive moment for understanding culture itself in its original sense is precisely the initial act of cognition, which always continues in a specific way in all that is connected with cognition and rational activity. Such a cognitive act is the cognitive reception of contents, which takes place together with the creation in our cognitive apparatus of the concept-sense sign. When we cognize something we are generally aware (thanks to the reflection accompanying each cognitive act of ours) of the sign-creating process, for we are later able, in the act of reflection, to objectify the concept we have created.

The assimilation, in the act of cognition, of contents found is equiponderant to giving them an intentional mode of being(37), that is, being(38) in our cognitive acts and through our cognitive acts. Thus the initial mode of existence of culture as culture is its intentional existence in us and through us. It is man who is the creator of culture from the very moment he creates for himself the concept (transparent sign) of the content of being in the process of being cognized. This concept can always be objectified, transformed, and can become the plan-model of further scientific, moral and creative activity in the domain of art and technology. When we draw attention more strongly to the fact that through the cognitive act (through the formation of a concept-sign) the thing itself, initially a creation of nature, becomes "intellectualized" in us, that is, rationalized - then we see that culture itself in its most basic sense is precisely the intellectualization of nature as we have found it; this occurs within a scope which is possible for us. Although the contents of being (as well as being itself) are intelligible in themselves - since by assimilating them we create in ourselves a rational order drawn from being - nevertheless, these contents, when we have assimilated and expressed them in the form of a concept-sign we have constructed, gain a human mode of intellectualization due to the fact that they are apprehended by us and expressed in us (in our intellect). When, therefore, we say that culture, in its primary and original sense, is an intellectualization of nature, we thereby stress the functions of the human intellect (reason) in cultural activities.

Primarily intentional contents in our acts of reason can be and are transferred into the extra-psychic sphere. If, eg. the created idea of the sphinx first came into existence in the artist's mind and was constructed in his creative cognitive acts, then this same artist can transfer the content he has constructed (this content at first exists only in his own intellect) into the extra-psychic sphere and subjectivize it on paper, in clay or stone. But this does not mean that the artistic content, carried over onto the extra-psychic material, had first existed in the intellect in a perfect state and only later was "traced" onto paper or some other material. It does mean, however, that the reason behind the transference of (artistic) contents and technical contents onto extra-psychic material is an initial subjectivization in the human intellect, which not only organized ideas but also directed the execution of the work. It often happens that the work conceived in the mind is perfected only when we put it into practice in extra-psychic material and make it independent, as it were, in being(39). Nobody who has not painted is a painter; nobody who has not sculpted is a sculptor; nobody who does not give speeches is an orator. The external execution of a work is not only its transfer, but at the same time a perfecting and even to a great extent a constructing of the work; above all, it is gaining skill in the domain of production of some kind. All this takes place under the direction of the reason, which is the reason for the coming into existence of a specific content of the work, both in the rational subject itself and in the supra-psychic material, of which there is such a great variety.

Does this mean that all works of culture derived from the reason and existing in natural and extra-psychic material possess an intentional nature? Surely houses, towns, roads, transportation, everything that man has produced and really exists in the world are such works or products.

Basically - yes! These products are on the one hand really existing on account of the real existence of their subjects; iron, bricks, cement, stone, canvas, the vibration of air (in music and song). However, the rational contents, built onto really existing subjects, are not contents which emerge by themselves from the subjects of their existence. They are derived from the human reason which has organized them and "introduced" them as a result of its exemplaristic activity. Of course, there is a specific gradation of dependence on the intellect, for man in his creative activity, leaves his mark on his external works to a greater or lesser extent. Sometimes, eg. in magic practices, we are dealing merely with an external assignment of a name to an object not derived from the human spirit; in spite of this, even an external "work" thus named is regarded as already connected in a particular way with man and his spirit; it is sometimes already regarded as acting on man in a specific manner. A cause-effect connection appears between the spirit and the object specifically denoted as acting on man. When we take into account the specific influence of intentional contents on the work existing in extra-psychic material, we will have in this aspect a basis for recognizing the intentionality of all contents derived from the human intellect and built up in extra-psychic material or else recognized by the human spirit as connected with man's psychic creativity. All that has been built up in extra-psychic material by the human spirit (its intentional content conceived as a model) is secondarily intentional in the aspect of content. It is some kind of a sign (conceived in the wide sense, ranging from the transparent sign, through formal signs, symbols to insignia) of a cognitive meaning held from the outset by human thought. A secondary intentionality of the work is interpreted and used only on account of the human spirit, which can interpret an intentionally coded content in material objects and apply a work thus conceived to its needs. This may appear strange when we are talking about using roads, houses, clothes, prepared food - but it becomes understandable when we draw attention precisely to the fact that the contents of these things, built up on extra-psychic material, are derived from the human reason. The reason for the use and exploitation of varied objects produced by man is always the reason, especially the initial work of the reason as it intellectualizes nature in the process of creation. That is why the cognition and use of human products takes place through the interpretation of the author's idea and of his creative aims.

With such a primary and fundamental understanding of the cultural work, we can draw a conclusion about the ultimate destiny of all that forms human culture. It is ordered, on the strength of its inner intentional structure, to the human spirit - to be more precise, to the development of the human personality and the actualization of numerous human potentialities. The domain of culture has its source in the human spirit and is used on account of the human spirit, which alone can interpret the content, destiny of that which has been made for man and by man, and the manner in which this is to be used.

Since cultural products do not exist in themselves and for themselves but are derived from the human spirit and at the same time are addressed to another person, to his spirit, we can discern a permanent and a transitory mode of existence in works of culture. As subjectivized in matter - on account of the material nature of their existence - they are subject in their duration to the universal laws of matter - to movement, changes and transience. As cognized by man - now creatively, now receptively - they have the chance to endure in man and through man, insofar as he possesses eternal and immortal spiritual elements. The mind in the process of construction organizes intentional contents ordered (also!) to the development of his own person and gives them a mode of existence that is beyond time, lasting in itself. Likewise, in the constructed work, cognized by man in different ways - theoretically, practically, artistically, aesthetically - man contemplates the symbolized intentional content and once again gives it a spiritual and non-temporal existence within himself, and existence as indestructible as the human spirit itself, which even now, in the changing conditions of life, in the ceaseless flow of matter, transcends the changeability of matter in its cognition and its creativity. We can already notice some very significant moments of the human transcendence of matter in personal activity, in non-necessary cognition and love, in spite of the fact that the being(40) of man immersed in the world of matter is subject to the laws of matter and must end in death, that is, the disintegration of the matter of the body. The human spirit is restricted (as well!) by matter and the laws of matter, but in man's activity, particularly in creative activity, we can observe the beginnings of a reverse process - he subjects the world of matter, that is, material tools, blocks of marble, paints, etc. to the laws of the spirit, the laws of reason - through the fact that these things (tools, works of art) are organized to a new mode of being(41) and activity, according to the laws of the reason. Matter is forced to become ordered to laws discovered by the spirit. In the Jewish, Moslem, and Christian religions there is the belief that the "resurrection of the body" will take place, which will effect a complete subjection of the laws of matter to the laws of the spirit as a result of God's special intervention. Nevertheless, manifestations of a certain transcendence of the spirit are unusually significant - all man's cultural works are already an incipient organization of matter by the human spirit according to the laws of the spirit, that is, reason, love and freedom. This could testify to the fundamental orientation of the human spirit towards ordering the world of matter to itself - according to its laws; this is already as it were, the beginning of the process of "resurrection".

5. Human Moral Conduct

There is no doubt that the domain of human conduct belongs to culture, as its main constituent part (besides the domain of the sciences, religion and creativity). However, man's moral conduct is the privileged place in which every human being fulfills himself as a human being in the essentially human sense. Moreover, nobody is "dispensed" from the problematic of concrete human conduct, for whether we like it or not we are condemned to moral activity. This is linked with the necessity of the actualization of human ontological dynamism, the actualization of human potentialities.

Every being acts in accordance with its nature: this nature is a necessary arrangement of the constitutive elements such that the activity released in the being is already determined to the character (ontic structure) of this nature. In man we also perceive a determined nature: this nature is a gigantic material structure, a comparatively isolated arrangement having extremely varied - also comparatively isolated - subsystems such as the skeletal system, the circulatory system, the digestive system, the nervous system, etc. Human nature understood in this way, a nature which possesses its "natural history" coded in bits of genetic information, works automatically, "naturally", without crossing the "threshold of consciousness". It is not activity directed by the human reason. It is only sometimes, as a result of an alarm given by the inner sense registering man's feelings, that we perceive that one of our systems or organs is not working correctly but in fact is ill. But "human nature" is also constituted by the personal order as a non-determined, open and free source of activity. Man is the only being in which "the drama of nature and the person" is acted out: this drama consists in the fact that it is upon the basis of the normal operation of determined nature that there is formed the essentially human potency to free activity, activity which transcends the world of matter, and the world of matter has leading significance in all that is called "vegetative life" within man. In man's vegetative life and the nervous system built up on it there appear cognitive, volitive, creative activities, activities characterized by freedom. All manifestations of activity, both those that are necessary, unconscious, and those that are conscious, can be called man's activity. But only cognitive, volitive, creative activities -known as the life of the person - are specific "human activities", conscious and free activities and thereby necessarily connected with moral conduct. This would correspond to the universal feeling of the difference between "I act" and "something happens in me". What happens in me happens by virtue of my determined nature, whereas when "I act" I take activity into my own hands, as it were, I direct it with the aid of my reason and I take responsibility for it.

"Human activity" thus understood principally takes place within man, but in a certain way it makes its way to the outside, in the form of the performance or execution of my activity. The external execution of human activity always presupposes an inner determination to activity; it presupposes inner human freedom. The actual external execution of activity is already situated in the world of determined material nature, which we are able to set in motion so as to attain our intended inner ends in determined activity. This is why in analyses of moral procedure we must direct our attention first and foremost to what man does in his inner self and in what way he releases his human activity: we must draw attention both to the necessary conditions and to the structure of the act of decision.

In connection with the explanation of the fact of human decision and of the freedom of human activity connected with it, and thereby the freedom of man in general, attention is usually drawn to the two opposed tendencies of indeterminism and determinism - as theories a priori explaining the fact of decision and human freedom. Indeterminism would seem to be a necessary condition of freedom, which is supposed to be an independence from any kind of causal conditioning whatever. Unfortunately, the indeterminism which appears in the field of philosophy grew out of seemingly rational systems that in actual fact negated the fundamental rationality of being which reveals itself in the principle of non-contradiction. It was Hegel in particular who, on the basis of a negation of non-contradiction, introduced the concept of pan-cosmic evolutionism through the law of the dialectic development of the being-idea. The concept of evolutionism was reinforced by a natural and physical theory of evolutionism and relativism, which consequently led to Whitehead's processualistic concept of metaphysics. In this concept "auto-creation" becomes the most important and the ultimate principle explaining facts, events and God Himself, who is supposed to be merely a rational "conductor" of the cosmic process of evolution. Together with auto-creation, the fundamental characteristic of the cosmic process is precisely indeterminism - freedom, radical freedom. While differing in many respects from Hegel, Jean Paul Sartre was influenced by Hegel's thought. According to Sartre man is condemned to freedom, and accordingly man is an etre pour soi (a being for himself) in relation to the mass of cosmic matter. As such, man forms the whole of meaningful reality by giving meaning, "giving a subject" to everything that appears to his consciousness. Only freedom can create the "senses" of being and man is not restricted by anything in "giving a subject" to being and creating the sense of being; he is condemned to freedom, for the only ultimate sense is the being "for himself" - man.

On the other hand, determinism, reinforced by the concept of scientific cognition, based on the determinism of matter, attempts to draw attention to the fact that the feeling of human freedom is merely a determinism that has not been made conscious. This determinism may be natural or psychic, or again theological, for activity of every kind presupposes a deterministic image of the world. The sciences appear to confirm this deterministic worldview, in spite of timid attempts at an indeterministic understanding of processes in the quantum world.

However, the "fact of freedom" is given to us in inner experience. We must explain this fact - whether it is real freedom according to the measure of man, or whether it is a determinism of which we have not become conscious, a natural, psychic or theological determinism, in which all-knowing God always determines human activity, though when man acts he appears to himself to be acting freely. The fact of freedom given to us in experience can be negated if it would turn out that it is not possible in the determined structure of the human being, or it may be confirmed if it turns out that the human being is "open" in its activity. This is precisely what happens in man, for human intellectual cognition is not restricted by its nature (as in animals) to a certain slice of reality, but as it has for its object "being", that is, that which exists, it is by the same token open to wanting or loving any being. Of course, this human "openness" has its "lining" of matter, but this means that man can cognize everything "in the manner" of material being(42), but not being as restricted to the world of matter. As our vocabulary indicates, we even cognize God in a certain material fashion, as a "rich lord", a "spirit" - somehow as a "breath", and so forth. However, such a mode of apprehension does not exclude anything from the field of cognition. That is why man, cognizing everything as a being having characteristics of one kind or another, maintains a certain distance between himself and his object; he discovers in it various aspects which are suitable and unsuitable for him, he discovers ontological endowment as "rich" or "poor", as giving pleasure or displeasure, as good or bad for him. In a word, this field of analogical being, being the object of human cognition, does not restrict human cognition in any way and as a result does not restrict human volition-love. This means that man can grow to love every cognized being if he discovers in that being desired components suitable for his volition-love; at the same time he can turn away from every being-good he loves, for he can find in it or in relation to it some components-characteristics which are not to his liking. Just as the intellect is open to everything that is a being, so too the will, being a natural tendency towards the knowngood, is open to each and every good, to "infinite" good. That is why the will cannot be necessitated in its want-love by any concrete good. Even if the will were to place its love in a concrete being-good, it can turn away from it and cease to want love, since it can command the reason to discern some faults that would justify it in turning away in its love. Thus intellectual cognition is open to the whole domain of being, and the will in its appetition (want-love) is open to analogical infinite good and neither the intellect nor the will is ordered by necessity(43) to any one particular act in relation to a concrete object.

The human intellect and will are the most important faculties of man in activity, and as we have mentioned they presuppose the biological order (vegetative life) as well as the sensory order of activity with its cognitive and appetitive faculties. Sensory cognition itself has a rich structure (the various external senses which place us in contact with the external material world, and the internal senses which organize into one the scattered impressions of particular senses and express them in an individual phantasm upon which sensory memory is built, as well as the capacity for purposeful association of these imaginations). Likewise, from the aspect of sensory drives-emotions, these being the necessary result of sensory cognitive perceptions, we encounter a rich scale of sensory emotions-drives towards the "perceived" sensory good, which is to satisfy and relieve man's sensory nature, as well as "fighting" emotions, which help us to remove an impending evil in the sphere of this sensory nature. The rational cognitive faculty - the intellect, together with its varied cognitive functions and rational desires - the will, though they transcend human biology and the sensory order of activity are not, however, separated from them, but are built upon them, and grow from them, so to speak. As a result the cognitive and appetitive-volitional aspects are deeply rooted in man's determined nature: they feed on stimuli and impulses which to a great extent determine or at least influence the totality of human conduct. That is why they have often been compared to an iceberg, a considerable part of which is immersed in water, only the peak being above water and visible.

Nonetheless, we have an awareness of our human freedom when we perform an act and choose a good, for we know that we can act or not act (when we actually act), we can make a choice one way or the other. The awareness of freedom in the act of activity, as has already been mentioned, is the undisputed fact which requires explanation. Although it is true that many stimuli and ways in which we react and behave are determined by our biological-sensory nature, that is, by the same token (at least in part) material nature, we cannot, however, override the very fact of the experience of freedom as if this fact did not exist; all the more so because this experience of freedom takes place in an essentially human moment of being a human being, when the cognitive aspect and the appetitive aspect merge into one human act of decision. The act of decision is, as it were, the act which synthesizes the whole of human sensory-rational nature. On the one hand, the understanding of a being as a good, as an object of human conduct, clearly appears before the human consciousness; on the other hand, there occurs a choice for such an activity as will guarantee a real connection with this good. Of course, moments of choice can last a long time since a man can "deliberate" with himself, especially when he is faced with making an important decision. Sometimes man cannot come to a decision about what he will do (e.g. decide how he will live in the future) for months and even years. Sometimes, particularly in less important matters, in everyday affairs, we make rapid decisions, almost instantly, especially when we are already sufficiently "adept" in some area of our activity.

We can "take apart" the process of decision in our analysis of the human act. Then we see that the acts whereby we intellectually understand a given good, and order ourselves to this good, find a response in acts of the will whereby the same good is accepted (or not accepted, at which point the decision process breaks off). When we see a good for ourselves and when we theoretically recognize this good as worthy of our efforts to acquire it, there occurs a process of "deliberation" in the reason which is essential in the domain of decision, as to the manner and specific means of realistically achieving the perceived good approved by us (buying a house, clothes, going on a journey, getting married, keeping good or bad company, etc.). In this deliberation of the reason as to the means of achieving good, various possibilities appear, which we express rationally and consciously in the form of practical judgments: "do this now in such and such a way", "do not do this", "do this in another way". We make very may such practical judgements in our "deliberations", whether we make these judgements formally or instantaneously. Through my awareness there plays a kind of film of different practical judgments - whether or not I should act in this concrete situation when faced with a real or apparent good, and how. Not all judgments appear as effective methods, not all of them as the only ones or as the best ones possible; there are more of them than is necessary for determining oneself to activity. In the act of decision, I freely choose for myself one of these practical judgments and through it I determine myself to activity. As has been mentioned, this does not have to be the best judgment, nor the only necessary one. Among many practical judgments showing me a possibility of activity and through this activity the achievement of the intended good, I choose one judgment "because I like it". And although sometimes the reason, in acts of practical judgments, advises me that I can act in a different way, I nevertheless "tell the reason to be silent" through my free choice and choose the judgment that I want to choose. I may at times reject the judgment that best determines me because "I do not like" such an activity and then I tell my reason to seek other possibilities and to make further judgments, which I precisely want to choose. The moment of choosing a practical judgment and the determination of oneself by precisely this judgment to activity is the moment of decision. Here the cognitive aspect and the appetitive-volitional aspect of man merge into one act of decision. The act of decision is fully an act of the human person, an act representing the whole of human being ordered to activity. If activity is not possible without the constitution of a determined source of activity, then it is in the act of decision, through the free choice of a practical judgment, that we determine ourselves to activity and we make ourselves fully the source of human activity. Here there takes place a "self-determination" towards activity. The moment of precisely this determination (auto-determination) also surpasses indeterminism, which is merely the accidentality of activity and determinism; it surpasses both heteronomy and autonomy. It is we ourselves who autonomously, as free persons, choose for ourselves a practical judgment. This practical judgement need not be the only one or the best one; it is a practical judgment, one of many. On the other hand, there takes place here a moment of the rule of activity, that is, a moment of determination proceeding from the content of the practical judgment, through which - though freely - we determine ourselves to activity. Thus human freedom is realized in the act of decision, since as "open beings" we can, through our cognition and free will, act in the most varied ways without being determined by our nature to such and such activity. By making ourselves the determined source of activity through the free choice of the practical judgment determining us, we thereby constitute ourselves as the freely determined source in our activity. The moment of man's freedom to act takes place wholly in "the human interior" in his spirit, for it concerns the choice of one of many possible practical judgments. We do not directly choose an external good, but we choose for ourselves a practical judgment on the achievement of this good. And in this domain we are free and subject to necessity in our activity.

The realization of our decision, that is, our free activity in the external world of native and society is a "play on the natural forces" of nature and society. Just as a musician playing the piano must take into account the rules of playing it and the construction of the instrument itself, so too man "free from within", from the moment he begins to act in the external world sets in motion natural forces and dispositions. He first sets in motion his own body, and then he "plays" upon the determined forces of nature in order to attain the good intended through his decision. In the world of nature we do not encounter freedom but determinism. On the other hand, when man makes a free decision, he can "play" on the determined (social) forces of nature in realizing his intention.

External activity, as the physical execution of a decided upon course of human conduct, adds nothing new from the moral point of view to the act of decision. It is merely the execution of the decision. The human act has already been taken up in the act of decision-resolution. Of course, the external execution has results in the external world, for which the man who has carried out the activity is additionally responsible, but all the human components of the human act have already been made in the act of decision, when we, through a free choice of a practical judgment, set ourselves up as the conscious and free executors of our acts. The fact that a given decision made will not be externally carried out on account of obstacles external to the act of decision, in no way diminishes the human act - the moral action, fulfilled in this act. It is clear that the external execution makes a deeper mark in the disposition of the human psyche, that it sometimes changes the state of relations found in nature or society. These matter, however, belong to the physical-psychological order, not to the moral order, the essentially conscious and free order.

Why "ultimately" do these facts belong to the order of freedom? The theoretical (ultimate) justification of our inner freedom is the very structure of the will as precisely a rational volition-love-desire. If, as mentioned above, our reason is "open" to the whole field of being, it can cognize everything in the aspect of being. Our will, following our reason, is open to being as to a good. And only infinite good, which for the present appears to us as an analogical good, totally fills the capacity of the will. No concrete good is an infinite good, but a good that has definite limits of time, space, quality, quantity, dignity, etc. In view of this, no concrete good can necessitate the will to the choice of this good. The will can tell the reason to find a "deficiency" in each concrete good - either in the good itself or in comparison with something else and this will immediately justify the non-necessity of our volition-love of the concrete being. No concrete being (apart from God as "seen" intuitively) is an infinite good, and that is why no concrete good can make the will choose it by necessity. It leaves the will freedom to want or not want, freedom to choose this good or another one. Thus, man's freedom is the freedom of his will, his volition. The will has the strength to control those of its acts which do not concern infinite good. This is why it is free in its activity and its choice. This ultimately confirms the fact that human freedom is experienced in a living manner as something real and true. All instances of determinism exist in the world of matter and nature. The objection of divine determinism is merely an error and the transfer of human categories of activity to God, who is above necessity and freedom as these are conceived after the manner of contingent being, in this case - man.

We have described the act of decision as an essentially human act that is conscious and free. As such it is a moral being. But what is morality? Why is the decision of its nature a moral being? The moral order (the order of moral activity) is human conduct that is characterized by a necessary relation to the norm of moral conduct. The norms of moral conduct may be legal precepts or prohibitions, precepts-commandments - as e.g. the 10 Commandments of God - evangelical precepts, some precepts and religious patterns of behavior etc. All such rules and norms of activity, formulated in the form of normative statements, presuppose the existence of the objective order, presuppose the existence of ontological natures that are suitably structured and act correspondingly to their structure; in a word, they presuppose an objective order of nature, an order of beings, particularly of man, a personal being, who in his conduct is bound by morality just as I am.

The existing order of things and people in the real world is necessarily connected with God as the absolute Being, the source, end and exemplar of being(44) (activity). The world of things and people is ultimately derived from God and exists "through participation" because it is created on the path of intellectual derivation and is ultimately ordered in its activity to God himself. Consequently, the world of things and people in its ontological structure realizes divine "ideas". Hence, the structure of things and people themselves is attributed to God - the Intellect as to their first norm. In his theoretical cognition man can cognize the structure of things and people to the extent that he is aware of what the ontological nature of man and things is like, of what the aim of his activity is like. Every human being, according to his intellectual capacities, understands the world of things and people in his own way. This understanding is contained in his theoretical view of the world. With his view of the world of things and people he must somehow take up an attitude in his activity towards other people, towards the things surrounding him. This attitude is concretely assumed in activity in the content of the practical judgment as a component of the act of decision.

The practical judgment of a decision may be either in accord or in discord with a man's theoretical judgment (or judgments) about the world of things and people. If the practical judgment of a decision is in accord with man's theoretical judgment - we are dealing with the positive morality of the act of decision.

If, on the other hand, the practical judgment of decision is not in accordance with the theoretical judgment, then moral evil or sin occurs. An inner distortion takes place, an inner fissure, as it were, between what man knows and how he acts. A fundamental lack of concordance occurs between practical judgment of decision, and thereby activity, and the arrangement of my theoretical truth about the thing. Then in my activity I do not really take into account the objective order of things, which is necessarily connected with the Absolute itself. That is why evil or sin is a particular kind of revolt shown in practice against the Absolute. It is a result of my failure to bring myself in my activity (the practical judgment of decision determining my activity) in line with my knowledge about the structure of things and people. Moral good and moral evil are contained in the act of decision respectively as a human act without any deficiencies or a human act with deficiencies in the relation of concordance with a norm of conduct. My theoretical cognition, in so far as it constitutes or can constitute the norm for concrete practical cognition, and thereby decision, is called conscience. My conscience always binds me in my activity, that is, my conscience (the set of practical judgments about the structure of things and people) in conjunction with the practical judgment of decision, is always the ultimate instance for the practical judgments of decision determining my activity. My practical judgments of decision must be in a relation of agreement with theoretical judgments about the structure of being. If there is a lack of concordance the result is moral evil and sin. Then the unity of knowledge and activity in man undergoes a fundamental and personal disintegration. Beyond the conscience there is no further court of appeal. Conscience is the deciding norm of conduct.

However, man can and should be educated and helped in understanding the world of things and persons. Society performs a fundamental educative and didactic function in the family, the religious community, and the state, through the school system and objective learning. Always, however, the decisive instance is the human conscience. The conscience consists in the set of theoretical judgments with their relation of accord (or disaccord) with practical judgments of decision. To be more precise, human conscience is the act of decision (in the aspect of the practical judgment) in so far as this is in an actual relation of concordance with theoretical judgments, that is, with the understanding of the world of personal and non-personal beings. The act of conscience, therefore, always contains a necessary relation of the practical judgment of decision to the theoretical judgment (its content) about things and people. There is no problem of how to proceed from an "is" to an "ought", for theoretical judgments about being "interpret" the general structure of being, its ontological dynamism, that is, its inner ordering of potency to act. The interpretation of this ordering in being itself binds me in activity and appears in the form of relations of concordance of the practical judgment to the theoretical judgment and is expressed in the term "should". If I am capable of understanding (interpreting) the ontological dynamism expressed precisely in the necessary ordering of potency to act, then in my practical judgment of decision determining me to activity there must be both a dynamic, potential-actualizing content of the thing itself, and my personal dynamic nature, inducing me to activity (the actualization of my potencies) in such and such a way. The pseudo-problematic of many contemporary moralists who fail to perceive the rational grounds for proceeding from the categorical statements which affirm a state of affairs to the normative statements which constitute a rule of activity, follows from their abridged and often a priori concept of being and their minimalistic concept of cognition, according to which only a certain mode of cognition is valid, usually that which provides empirically verifiable results with technical applications in human behavior.


In Christian culture the concept of the "person" is associated with the understanding of the ontological structure of Jesus Christ. He is both God and man, but according to the decrees of the first Councils, he is only one being, for he is the Divine Person of the LOGOS who has assumed humanity and has given existence to human nature. The person in this tradition is the most supreme mode of being(45) of spiritual intellectual (rational) nature.

As far as the etymological aspect of the expression is concerned, according to A. Brückner's etymological dictionary of the Polish language, the Slavic expression for person, "osoba", was formed from the expression "about oneself" - "o sobie (samym)". This already testifies to the fact that this expression is connected with the experience of "oneself", which is evident to everyone when he says "I" and when he experiences his "I" in everything which he does rationally. As we have already mentioned, the "I" is given to us from the existential aspect, which means that I know, I experience that I exist, but I do not know thereby who I am. I experience the immanence of the "I" in all "my" acts and at the same time I experience the transcendence of the "I" in relation to all these acts which I register as having emerged from the "I" as a subject. This basic human experience of "being a human being" is precisely the experience of one's own "person". The personal being appears as the "I", a subject existing "in itself". Although I do not discover the whole ontological area of "I", nevertheless, my onticity(46), the fact that I exist "in myself" is given to me directly (without any intermediary sign). In the experience of my own self I possess "self-awareness", and not only the awareness of the object being cognized. In cognizing the object - in concomitant reflection - I simultaneously cognize both my act of cognition (the way in which it takes place) and its source, that is, the subject itself, which of "itself" creates various acts; to this subject I give the name "I" in the act of subjectivization. Man's self-awareness, that is, when one arrives in cognition directly at the being-subject, capable of coming into contact with the whole world, together with the cognitive experience of "oneself", - of one's own "I" as opposed to the object of cognition - sets man apart from all other cognizing, animal beings. As we have already mentioned, the animal has an awareness of its object of cognition, for it is able to adapt to the structure and activity of this object. This adaptation, sometimes very specialized, is innate to the animal, in the sense that the animal reacts to stimuli coming from the outside, in accordance with its determined nature. The same material object, e.g. a tree causes varied cognitive reactions in different animals - the squirrel, bird, butterfly, dog.... These reactions depend on the particular nature of each animal, which chooses in the object only that which is somehow necessary to its individual nature and the nature of its species. All the other real characteristics of the object do not arouse any interest. In the cognitive reaction, too, the animal is totally "absorbed" by its object; it does not show (for it cannot show) any cognitive distance to its object, which totally masters it. In its cognitive reaction to stimuli, the animal is, according to the measure of its nature, is totally "by" its object, without any distance, without manifesting any "I" transcendent with respect to the object and "itself". The animal is merely an effective non-reflected source and centre of activity, according to the possibilities of its nature. As a rule, the simpler and less rich the nature of an animal, the more its functions, as reactions to cognitive stimuli, are determined, specialized, infallible and inflexible. Man, who has as the object of his cognition being, i.e. reality, in its analogical generality, and reflects upon his cognitive activity which shows him the very method and source of this activity, transcends both the object and himself when he grasps objective-subjective relations, which gives rise to the special cognitive "distance" and transcendence of his self over the object and the mode of cognition itself and any activity deriving from this. This distance sometimes passes over into a "protest" of the subject when faced with objective stimuli, as when men protest through a hunger strike ending in freely chosen death in order to show the transcendence of the "I" over all external determinations.

The opposition between the human "I", as a self-conscious subject of activity, and the not-self-conscious subject (that we encounter in animals) fundamentally concerns the metaphysical "I", in which the "I" is given to me from the existential aspect: the aspect of being. This means that whatever we rationally do, we experience our own "I" from the aspect of existence - I know that I am an acting subject, but I do not know who I am as a subject. In order to know about this we need new organized interpretational cognitive operations of everything that the "I" fulfills.

However, the experience of the "I" in the wider sense is given to me, no longer the "I" as the existing subject of "my" acts, that is, "I" without content, but "I" as the specific centre of activity, where the cognitive emphasis falls on the modes and the nature of activity emerging from this "centre". I then perceive whether I am acting freely or under compulsion; whether I am acting for myself or for others; that in every activity various moments are concealed - the moment of the mystery of lability, of fragility, instability, in a word, moments of contingency of my mode of activity, which does not reveal my nature to me and does not make it transparent. As I observe "myself" in precisely this perspective (I as the centre, of which I do not have any more specific knowledge, the "I" as not transparent in its nature, but "unveiling itself" through the primarily viewed mode of my activity) I can speak of "I" given to me phenomenologically as of the centre of primary modes of my activity, defined as to content. There we already have to deal with what in psychology occurs as the "self"(47), as the "moi coloré". Here, for the first time, the "I" takes on my tints and is subject to the linguistic description, as a system of specific signs. The "I" in the first, metaphysical sense is an "I" without content - I as existing, experience the subject of "my" acts, about which I know nothing apart from the fact that it exists as a subject. Here, on the other hand, when the emphasis falls on "my" acts and their mode of "emerging" from a mysterious center - then in describing the fundamental mode of this activity I already "light up" this center through "my" acts, emanated in a way that is eg. contingent, free, purposeful, determined by circumstances, such as health, illness, youth, maturity, old age, etc. The human "I" thus understood as precisely a "self"(48), - "individuality" - "singularity"(49), no longer the same as "I" - "the Person", that is, self-consciously existing being, but - of necessity presupposing the existence of such a being - is the I-self, the bearer of such fundamental characteristics of my activity.

Even broader is the concept of the I-self as the dispositional centre in relation to oneself in the aspect of the body and to the world. We notice the specific lines of development of the thus conceived self-centre of action (of greater or less strength in relation to itself, to people and to the world of external things), for a development occurs both of the dynamism and the field of action of man, who is the centre of action directed to the world of people and things. This dynamism falls and weakens as time goes on. The lines of the development of action or influence are not always proportional to or coordinated with the line of man's personal development.

Finally, we can speak of man's "personality", that is, about the self as a psychic structure-form of human activities. As Max Scheler remarked, every human being has a specific "pyramid of values", which also concerns human activities. In moments of choice as to which activity should be realized and which should be given up, man in the normal course of events more easily gives up the kind of activities that he regards as less valuable for himself; and there are such activities which he will not give up. There grows up in man, then, a particular structure - a profile, as it were, of activities according to their value. The human psychic profile, ordered to activity, could be called the "self-personality" of man. The maturing and mature human being usually has a conviction, strengthened by his proficiency or habits in activity, about the scale of values of human activity. In my practical conduct - even without very much thought - I realize precisely this scale of values of activity. This is an outline of the characteristic human personality, which we can expect to behave in certain ways in specific circumstances. We may expect a certain person e.g. to give up his fortune for the sake of love, or the opposite: to give up love for the sake of his fortune. We can, therefore, sketch a separate "pyramid of values" for every human being, one that marks out human behavior and mode of activity. Personality conceived in this way is, as it were, a specific human "visage" by which we can recognize and assess a human being. This "personality" usually takes a whole lifetime to construct, but sometimes, as a result of important life experiences, a restructuring occurs, eg. when someone is converted, on the occasion of a "great love", or in getting married, according to the saying: "Johnny, if you marry, you will change".

These forms of the human "I", sometimes known as the "self", clarify the metaphysical understanding of the "I" as a human person. It is the "I-subject" of "my" activities, given to me from the existential aspect, from the aspect of existence, so that it "exists" in my acts and transcends these acts. We cannot say anything more about the "I" at this stage of experience. However, in describing the various modes of the emanated activities we can begin a phenomenological description of the I-self. All these phenomenological descriptions always concern merely the mode of being(50) and not the structure of the being-person. In order to take a closer look at the structure of the personal being we must take another route - that of metaphysical explanation, showing the fundamental acts of personal being and their mutual necessary relations, as relations manifesting personal being and its characteristic "spiritual-open" structure.

In the tradition of Classical Philosophy the specifically personal nature of cognition, love and freedom were seen as factors that mutually condition one another and integrate human activity or decision. Such activity transcends nature and is fulfilled in the context of social being(51), in which the person as an open being is the subject of law, not merely its object; where the personal being precisely in his personal activity transcends society and is conceived as a "whole" in relation to society, and not a "part" ordered to society; where the personal being is the aim and not the means of activity and thus is in himself worthy of love and all the activities consequent upon love. The dignity of personal being as the aim of human activities thereby comes into the area of the religious mode of conduct. All six signs of human personal being (that is, cognition, love, freedom, the subjectivity of law, integrity and dignity) occur in a social context, that is, one that is a necessarily built up set of interpersonal relations in a world of which the persons, existing independently in themselves, nevertheless in their activity situate the human person as acting "for the other", that is, for another personal being. Only such a mode of activity permits a full "personal" development of man.

The two fundamental manifestations of human activity are cognition and love. Cognition and love show the structure of human being, as he is capable in acts of cognition when he interiorizes the ontological contents of the world, and through will and love he is capable of "going out of himself". But each human activity is the result of an act of decision, in which cognition and love freely intertwine in the auto-determination of activity. The human intellect, as it is open to the full field of being, and the will following cognition, as it is open to the infinite good (good as a real being), are of their nature free of necessity(52) in a concrete act of activity. This is why they can act or not act, and act in precisely such a way and not in another in relation to this good, which is freely chosen in an act of decision. As we look the activity itself in the act of cognition, that is, of the will - we perceive freedom in these acts, that is, the fact that they are free of necessity(53) whether by a compulsion from without or by a determination of matter "from within". The most important moment of freedom of man-person is the act of decision, lying at the basis of all real human activity. That is why the act of decision, as a typically personal act, integrates cognition, love and freedom.

As previous considerations on this subject have shown, the act of decision, being an auto-determination to activity, fulfills the function of a particular rule-norm of activity. The act of decision, therefore, is also a particular, personal legal rule. A legal rule is, as we know, a judgment of the practical reason (a normative order) made by authority for the common good and promulgated. Legal norms promulgated in public documents bind a given society in the legal area. However, the binding of a particular person takes place not "from without", but when the person, knowing the legal norm, determines himself, in an act of decision, to activity which is in accordance with the legal norm. Thus, every legal norm, in its concrete realization, goes through the process of human concrete decision, which alone is the necessary and sufficient reason of human activity. Hence, every law by the nature of things must have its subject in man, the person, as a "freely" acting being. Of course, a specific person can reject a legal norm forced on him determining him "from without" to activity. He has a responsibility to reject such a norm if it is, in its essence, contrary to natural law, expressed in the judgment: "one should do good". If the norm is manifestly moral evil, then the human person cannot accept this norm and subjectify it in himself in the form of an act of decision, but he must, irrespective of the legal consequences, reject such a norm.

The next matter to be considered in the relation of the person to natural social groups, from the family to the state and international organizations inclusively. Two perspectives are revealed here: either man is fundamentally ordered to the social collective, or man is recognized as a person, as a totality in himself superior to any social group, whether natural or artificial. The solution to this problem has its basis in the understanding of being in general and man in particular, for since the times of Plato there have have been tendencies to regard "the whole" as a primary and higher state of reality than concretely existing beings. One would look for the justification of individual states of being in general and necessary "ideas" and "species". Likewise, centuries later, Hegel saw in the generality of the being-idea reasons that were realized in detail in the process of the dialectic of concrete beings, including individual man. Yet generality is merely a creation of the mind as it selectively grasps merely some of the features of being in the process of cognition and joins the apprehended features of things into one concept. That is why we cannot agree that all "generalities", and herein the social collective, are primary, that they justify individuality and the concrete being, particularly man, who is a being existing through the existence of his soul, directly created by God. It is man who through his cognition creates "generalities" and has the power, precisely through his general thinking-cognition, to embrace himself, the whole of the human kind, the world, the whole of reality.... Through acts of love he can go beyond himself and can even give up his life for the other man in the individual or the collective sense.

Moreover, the real being, existing in himself as in the subject, is man. His substantial being(54), though dependent on the natural and social context, is however an independent existence, for man is both born and dies as an independently existing subject. Society is a group of persons, connected by inter-human relations. It is true that these relations are in fact by their existence necessary for man. Man cannot develop as a person without the help of another person, or without the help of society in the form of the family and extended families. Nevertheless, these relations, built up on the human person, are relations that are non-necessary in their content. They exist "between" persons linked by different forms of these relations. Moreover, these relations are always changing, even in the very "essence" of the most important society - the state, and they range from "monarchy" to "polity"(55) in the narrow sense or the broad sense, as Aristotle already mentioned.

If, therefore, man as a person exists(56) "more strongly", since he exists in himself as a substantial, individually existing subject, and society is built upon this as a system of inter-personal relations, then it is clear that the human person is a "more important" being than society. Society is a set of inter-personal relations that presupposes the existence of independent subjects - people. If in his cognition and love the human person embraces society, then it is not society which is a superior "whole" but the person who embraces the whole world and lasts "for ever". That is why society is ordered to man's personal development, to his cognition, his love, and to works deriving from cognition and love, his creativity. Society is necessary for man's personal development, for man will not develop his personal activity (cognition, love, creativity) without the help of society, without social institutions, which ultimately always aim at man's personal development. Thus the family, the extended family, the state, the Church and their varied institutions serve man and his development. But at the same time man living in society and benefiting, from the work of "the other" will not develop if he does not form his life through activity for the other person. Activity "for the other" is the basic and fundamental form of the development of personal being and of fulfilling oneself as a person, that is, as an "I" of a rational nature.

In this sense too, we can see that only man as a personal being is in himself the aim of all activity. Only man is a "worthy good", that is, the kind of good that can be conceived as the fundamental motive of personal activity: decision. If we can reduce goods liberating our activities to three groups - to the useful good (bonum utile), the means by which we obtain the pleasurable good (bonum delectabile), which is realized in unhampered natural activity the realization of which is already an end, and finally the worthy good (bonum honestum), which as it is a being in itself and for itself endures in itself beyond the passage of time, then the person is himself such a worthy good, the principal aim of activity. The person as the aim of activity shows man's real dignity, for "it is worth" taking up decisions of activity "for" man as a good and a being in himself. In this sense only personal being can "justify" man's attitude to life, his personal decisions of activity wherein there is the broadest realization of cognition and love, as well as creative acts. It is this moment of "the rational grounding" of personal attitudes and decisions manifested in human activity which forms interpersonal relations ultimately "justifying" man's life. This is the essential moment of religion. Man's life is justified in the highest degree by the Person of God. But other persons when known and loved "rationally ground" in their "participative" way the mode of life of the other and thereby enter the context of religion and religious life. It is no exaggeration to say that for the loving person the beloved one is a "deity" justifying his decisions and attitudes to life.

Consequently, the context of personal life introduces us in a natural way into the immense and extensive problematic of man's social life, for society is a natural form of the life and development of the human person. Society as such cannot be regarded as merely a higher form of the life of the herd that we observe in the world of animals, where the survival of particular individuals also takes place in the context of a collective (as a termite nest, an ant hill, a wolf pack, a herd of deer, etc.). In the case of human beings the fundamental reason for the coming together of the social group is the need for personal development, where the conjunction of cognition and love in the act of decision mediates and explains the fact that human persons come together in social groups.

Consequently, the first and fundamental matter in explaining social being is the basic motive behind the coming together of human societies - the "common good". The understanding of the common good as the reason of being of society in its varied forms (the family, the state, the Church) changes depending on which of the constitutive terms "common" and "good" we lay emphasis. In stressing the "commonality" or "the common" as the most important sense, we must of necessity accept those features that constitute the "commonality", that is one or another understanding of the generality. This leads to the primacy of the generality, the collective over the individual. Moreover, "commonality" understood in this way introduces divisions and splits, for how can we make everything common if this is practically impossible? There remains therefore the second way of understanding the "common good" by placing the emphasis upon the meaning of the good.

Here St. Thomas Aquinas' position is unusually to the point and at the same time important. He wrote: "operations always concern particulars, but these particulars may be referred to the common good, not by way of the community of a genus or species, but by way of the community of a final cause, and in this sense the common end may be called the common good"(57). The fact of human decisional activity can be explained only by the good, both for objective and subjective reasons. Objective good is to be identified with being, constituted as being by the act of existence, which is the most perfect ontological moment, constituting reality itself. It is apprehended as the most perfect ontological moment, for no perfection would be a realistic, real perfection if it did not exist. Nothing more perfect can be added to the act of existence. And that is why in the purely objective order the ultimate aim-good can be only the kind of being whose essence is existence, that is, ABSOLUTE BEING.

A subjective, personal gift for man is the gradually fuller actualization of the potentialities of his rational nature, and this actualization varies somewhat from individual to individual. Man, however, always aims at "strengthening" his mode of existence, his "increase" as it were, that is a gradually fuller realization of "himself" through acts essentially connected with "oneself-the person". The gradually fuller realization (to the extent of individual potentialities) of an individual's ontological, personal "aspirations" in the area of different kinds of cognition, love, creativity, through various decisions of activity is the attracting force, the good which is the "ontological reason" of the activity of the human person, and in this sense, in the sense of the analogical identity of aim -is in fact a "common good". The human being is contingent and is thereby restricted. As he is potentialized he does not have in himself at present those perfections which are necessary for his internal and external development. Thus, when he experiences his contingency he is concretely experiencing of his own ontological incompleteness, which causes a hunger for the good he desires but does not have, and elicits activity in the act of decision, activity towards the attainment of the good, which has already become the aim of the initial activity of the person.

Only such a good can become the "common good" of everyone. It is the human person as a rational being in potency, a being ordered to activity as a person and to a development built upon the rational nature of man which determines the character of this good. The fundamental good, which can become the "common good" of everyone, lies only along the path of the actualization of the intellect and will. It is the only non-antagonistic good and the only one that does not cause social divisions and splits, for it is in every human being's interest that another human being be good. The increase of good - the actualization of its personal potentialities - is at the same time the increase of the common good of the whole society and does not occur at anyone's expense, but only by the effort of the person, who actualized his human potentialities.

The actualization of the good of the person, which is at the same time the common good, requires material means (food, housing, schools, hospitals, roads), which make possible the realization of this good. In human society these means should be spread in such a way as to give proportionally everyone a change of realizing good according to his possibilities. In this respect the ancient principle holds true: "nemo potest superabundare, nisi alter deficiat" - "nobody can superabound in material goods without thereby causing the indigence of other people". The proportionally unequal division of material goods - which are only a necessary means of realizing common good - causes social inequality and the conflict which follows from it. That is why it is up to the authorities as representatives of the society to remedy social inequality and to provide each person with the proportional means necessary for man's personal development. This is a very difficult matter and concerns social politics.

What is society itself? We can define it in the most general way as a set of organized inter-human relations. From the philosophical (metaphysical) point of view society is a specific kind of reality - a being. However, it is not a subsistently existing being, as is a particular human being. It exists through people, as a set of people connected by defined relations already built up on independently existing beings - persons. That is why society is not a being constituted through the kind of relations that exist between a part and the whole, but between "wholes", and the accidental relations built up on them presuppose subsistently existing beings-persons. Thus, society, as a "relational ontological unity" is a specific mode of man's being(58) and activity. That is why in our understanding of society we must differentiate the following moments:

1. The foundation of relational unity, that is, the necessary, transcendental ordering of the person to the common good, as a dynamic and potentialized person who cannot attain his development without the cooperation of another person. This ordering concerns everyone.

2. The fact of the coming into existence of the accidental relation constitutive of society: this is necessary for the actualization of personal potentiality (that is, the actual realization of the relations necessary for common good). This accidental relation must be come into existence, since without it transcendental relations to common good could not be realized. In a word, without the existence of society, man could not live as a man with dignity developing his ontological dynamism.

3. The relations constitutive of society have various modes of existence, just as do social constructs: the family, the tribe, the class, the state, the Church. From the metaphysical point of view, these relations are not of a necessary character. In extreme cases they are only comparatively necessary, and in fact, when it is a question of the form of state being, it is merely a "historical category". It may be a form of rule by one or rule by many, in different shapes. Only such constructs as the family are, in their relational structure, comparatively necessary, since they are determined by the structure of man's nature.

From the philosophical point of view it is important that the social being is a necessary product in its bases (the necessary relations of the person to common good). At the same time it is necessary that the accidental relations constituting society come into existence: on the other hand, the mode of existence of society is relatively necessary. Nevertheless, the relatively necessary relations constitutive of society can be an object of necessaristic(59) cognition - social philosophy. Society therefore, is a "bond" of categorial (accidental) interpersonal relations, binding human persons in such a way that they can develop their potentialized personality in the most universal way, with the aim of realizing common good for each person. Full personal development in man cannot occur solely along purely individual lines, without the participation of other people. Nor can personal development occur merely along the lines of the "I-thou" relationship. In the "I-thou" relationship we overcome "factual" thinking (where the other person is conceived of as a "thing" or as a set of particular features) and we conceive "you" as another "I", that is, as a subject subjectivizing personal acts. Even along the line "I-you" the richness of personal life cannot be exhausted, for we can neither produce nor "consume" the good necessary for man's development. In the merely cognitive area the society called "we" is needed in order to organize science, libraries, publishing houses, artistic and religious life. Other human areas based on love and decision are equally rich; without society it is impossible to organize a life worthy of man - housing, roads, transport, hospitals, the health service, etc. Since the dynamism of human activity is based on the potentialization of the totality of human life, the nature of interpersonal bonds which constitute society is manifold. In each of these bonds constituting some kind of society (a family, a state, a Church), what is essential is that men are interdependent in the succesive arrival of each human person at his greatest possible development. If this cannot be in fact the way things are, then at least this should be the intended state of affairs. The person, though he is a complete world unto himself, cannot develop his potentialities and skills without acting in concert with other persons, with a group of other persons. They share in a "common good" and in this way consistute a kind of "we", which is characterized by people living and acting "for the other person". This alone allows one to be "oneself".

7. Man in the Perspective of Death

Death is not a "question" or a "problem" given to man to solve, but is a fact to which the whole of human life is ordered. Man lives "in the perspective of death,- whether he thinks about it or not. This perspective of death enters a very fundamental, essential understanding of man, whose life has been called today a "being(60) towards death".

There is an unusual abundance of writings on the subject of death, both "belles-lettres" and scientific literature, but it does not really clarify the very content of the fact of death, which always remains clothed in mystery. Can philosophy explain, this mystery, and to what extent can it do so? It seems that in fact by applying the method of classical philosophy, drawing on explanations that decontradictify the facts given to us - we can to a certain extent "decontradictify" the fact of human death. The avoidance of the absurd here is already in itself something immeasurably significant.

The fact of death can be viewed from the outside as a natural phenomenon occurring in the world of material life. It is completely understandable in the light of the biological sciences. The disintegration of matter is linked with the organization of matter into a living body. The body, being constantly organized, is, at the same time, constantly disorganized in the process of metabolism, and death is the last necessary stage of the disorganization of living matter. The perspective of death is rather different for a person who loses someone close, to whom they are linked by many experience of a personal nature, and thus by acts of practical cognition (acts of decision), acts of love etc. Then, the fact of death "is not accepted". We usually refer to a person close to us as still somehow present, but in a different way than normally. Although we experience grief that he is no longer bodily present, in time and space, we construct for ourselves a different manner, a spiritual one, in which the dead person is present among us.

The question of the fact of death presents itself in yet another way in my personal experience where I myself and my death are concerned. We may think about this frequently or infrequently, although in fact we cannot think about death as about our own non-being. I constantly conceive of death as something specific that I build on my own thought. My own thought is an existing basis for the content of "death". That is why we apprehend death in the same way as we apprehend being, for we cannot think about non-being if that being which is "I" is the object of my thinking. A moment of reflection makes us aware that we imagine our own death on the model of impressions of the death of other people. We cannot think about our own non-being, for every kind of thinking presupposes the existence of thought, and thereby the existence of the person who thinks. Nonetheless, I know that I must die, although this "dying" is constantly conceived as a change of the mode of existence, and not the "non-existence" of the thinking subject, since precisely this is "not-to-be-thought-of".

The fact of our personal death can and should be conceived in the light of an analysis of our personal acts, which we carry out in the course of our life. Such personal acts are acts of our intellectual cognition, acts of love and their synthesis, that is, our acts of decision - made freely. A closer look at their structure and their scope, will enable us to decontradictify the fact of their occurrence in human life. This decontradictification is based, in metaphysics, on indicating the one factor thanks to which a given fact is rather than is not. These factors, known as causes in contingent being, can be reduced to the efficient cause, the end, the form and the exemplar, as well as the subject-matter. These are the "four causes" which explain the actual existence of contingent being. The absence of one of these factors would make being itself absurd, that is, contradictory; it would negate the very fact of being. And now let us take a closer look at our personal acts as manifestations of personal being.

Undoubtedly, the most fundamental act for man, that which sets him apart from among all other products of nature, is his cognition: it is expressed externally in language and forms, in the initial phase, pre-scientific, common sense cognitive convictions; it subsequently develops into different types of organized cognition - purposeful, methodical, be it scientific, philosophical, or religious-theological. In human cognition, the highest form of human cognition is judgmental cognition, for only in the act of judgment can one check one's thought with the existing state of affairs. That is why the judgment is the bearer of truth as of the ultimate criterium of the value of the aim of human cognition. Philosophers usually draw attention to the fact that the most important element of the act of judgment is constituted by "is" as a sentence-connector - the cohesive "is" (John is a man); as a sign of assertion, that is, the concordance of the sentence structure with an actual state of affairs (John is a man); and as a sign of affirmation of the existence of the subject (John is a man); in this latter case, the existential function "is" is implicit, since we originally affirm the act of existence in an explicit existential judgment: "John exists (is)". "Is" then constitutes the "soul" of the judgment, and thereby the essential expression of our cognition. Of course, the "is" of Indo-European languages is replaced in other languages by an appropriate sentence structure "meaning" the same functions as the "is" of some Indo-European languages, or else the "prefixes" or "suffixes" denoting appropriate real, existential states. This "is" of the judgement as the highest act of cognition (or equivalent structures in other language groups) refers to reality, to being, as the object of human cognition. The affirmation of being takes place in different ways in various sciences and in pre-scientific cognition. Ultimately, however, the whole of our cognition is objective, that is, it concerns the examined state of things, in various aspects and in the application of various methods; it also realistic, that is, it ultimately presupposes the existing world of things which appears to us as precisely the object. The actual state of things given to us as the object of cognition exists in itself - it is a really existing being. We ascertain this - as has been mentioned - in simple and direct existential judgments of the type: "John exists", "this table (on which I am writing) exists", "my thought about this table exists", etc. This type of cognition expressed in existential judgments is a cognitive interpretation of being primordially and spontaneously "flagrante delicto". Before I even cognize what a thing is, I perceive and understand that it "is", that it "exists". This act of cognition is so natural and spontaneous that we usually do not pay attention to it. Rather, we concentrate on the cognitive interpretation of the very content of the existing thing. In "normal" predicative judgements (S is P), where the "is" in its various functions joins our cognition with being, the cognitive contents of things are fuller. Independently of various (linguistic and philosophical) interpretations, the judgmental "is" itself is ultimately conditioned by a cognitive interpretation of really existing being, without which human cognition would not be possible at all. The intellectual cognition of really existing being is always a cognition of contingent, changeable being, a being that cannot be understood through itself; it is, therefore, the cognition of the kind of being which does not have a reason for existence in itself, but only beyond itself - ultimately in the kind of real being whose essence is existence: in the Absolute-God. In other words, the Absolute ultimately justifies the fact that contingent being exists, that it is intelligible in itself, that it is, in its activity, motivated by an aim. In short, the understanding of contingent being as contingent is contradictory unless it is connected to the Absolute, who alone is a being existing "through himself", which is lacking in all other beings; that is why these beings, if they exist, if they exist in themselves, not "through themselves", but through the Absolute.

If, therefore, all human cognition, most fully expressing itself in judgment, attests to the fact that we have an intellectual cognition of a being that is not understandable by itself, and all philosophical interpretations, though even correctly made, appear very rarely and are made by few people, with the admixture of errors (as St. Thomas wrote: "nonnisi a paucis, et post longum tempus et cum admixtione erroris"), a natural need arises in every human being ultimately to cognize the real foundations of reality - without an addition and risk of error. There arises a need for a concrete and indubitable cognition of the reason of being, the ultimate reason decontradictifying the existence of the world and ourselves - the Absolute, God. Without the real, indubitable, in a sense intuitive, immediate cognition of God as of the reason of the existence of the world - the Absolute, the whole of our cognition remains suspended in the void of contingent being (or groups of contingent beings). Without a knowledge of God, the Being existing through himself, our knowledge of the world, of ourselves and all that man cognizes "as if in an enigma" - in which we ask questions but no answers are given - the whole of our intellectual life, necessarily linked with being as an object of human cognition, would be unfinished at the fundamental and most important point. We would know contingent being which "poses the problem" of be-ing but we would not know the "intuitive answer" - the Absolute, the Being existing through itself and ultimately understandable through itself. If he had no concrete answer, man would no longer be "someone", a person open to being, but merely "something" - a thing locked within the bounds of a determined reistic(61) arrangements of contingent beings, which would ultimately turn out to finite and "closed", wherein any possibility of providing a concrete intuitive answer would be excluded. Yet the cognition of contingent being under any form is more a question than a concrete ultimate answer intelligible through itself. If our cognition concerns being, then every act of cognition which does not end in an intuition of Absolute Being is unfinished, is still "problematic" and does not ultimately satisfy our hunger for knowledge. Man would appear as an unnatural and "meaningless" construct because he would constantly be disturbed, by virtue of his nature, by existential questions concerning the meaning of his own existence and the existence of the whole world; either in the great majority of cases man would not arrive at an answer to these questions, or else the answers attained by the few would be won only through an elitist higher education, yet these answers are not satisfactory since they are now abstract, now analogical.... Above all, if it were impossible to obtain an ultimate, concrete response, the "absurd" would emerge in the form of the negation of the very nature of cognition. If intellectual cognition leads to truth, if it leads to the conformity of cognition with being, and this cognitive conformation occurs in human life only in defined aspects and only with contingent beings, that is, with beings not understandable per se, but which "appeal" to the Absolute Being who is intelligible through himself, who exists through himself - then human cognition also as a particular being would be devoid of an end, and thereby would not have its deepest meaning; in consequence, man himself, as he expresses himself fundamentally and essentially in acts of cognition, would be meaningless since he would not realize the deepest sense of cognition itself: the attainment of truth understandable through itself.

The only possible way out of such "nonsense" in being a man in the aspect of cognition is the prospect that man shall see, at the moment in which his life is consummated, the absolute being: God. One cannot object that the intuitive seeing of God at the moment of "transition", at the moment of the "threshold" of new life is an ultimate "settlement" of the matter; for God then appears to the intellect not as God in his inner life, but as God the creator of nature, of which man himself is a part. In cognizing nature inaccurately, aspectively, partially, man is, of his nature, ordered to the cognition of natural being at its source.

If then at the moment in which man's changing mode of being is brought to an end (at the moment of death - of transition) he did not draw a conclusion, that is, a concrete solution, to his existential questions which are entangled in the whole of human cognition, then man would be an "unnatural" being. The whole course of human nature as human, which in terms of cognition is the aspiration to discover the meaning of existence, an aspiration objectively involved in each act of intellectual cognition, would be an aimless aspiration never to reach fulfilment. Man would never, in fact, have a real opportunity to arrive at an inerrant and indubitable solution to his existential questions. Since in the course of his changing life he does not have the proper conditions for resolving his existential questions, for this state merely occasions this whole problematic without ultimately resolving it, in the face of this only at the moment in which this inconstant sojourn finishes, at the moment of "death" can this aspiration find fulfilment, when God as the ultimate reason of being (not God as Divinity!) stands concretely before the act of intuitive, intellectual cognition in its consummate, final and full cognitive act, to which the whole of the life of the psyche has be ordered - just as those beings which are contingent, variable and unintelligible on their own are by necessity order to the Absolute as the reason which decontradictifies their existence. The ultimate act of cognition must be a concrete and consummate reading off of precisely the connection which makes up the sense of being(62); it must be a deep and unrepeatable glimpse into it.

Let us now proceed to an analysis of volitive psychic experiences, which have been considered by scholars from early times, but not in the perspective of death. We are concerned with the acts of volition-love which are coupled with human decision.

A description of the structure of human volition, of the human will, is a convenient point of departure. St. Thomas Aquinas, as later Blondel was to do, drew attention to a specific division in this area. The latter stressed that human will is always directed towards something more than concrete volition. No concrete volition-love can equal the ever live capacity of the will, which is directed towards infinity. In St. Thomas Aquinas the divisions of the will were called the "appetitus naturalis" - the natural appetition of the will - and the "appetitus elicitus" - the concretely emanated appetition in relation to "this particular" good. He noted that no concrete good of the type which constitutes an object of acts of the will, of volition-love, fulfills and satisfies "the hunger for love(63)", which by virtue of natural appetition, that is, by virtue of the very structure of the will, is directed towards infinite good. Of course, this directivity towards the general (infinite) good is the natural desire for happiness. It is never extinguished by the concrete goods which appear before man in human life. The desire for happiness, the motive-force of all concrete desires and at the same time accompanying each elicited appetitive act, is a natural and never extinguished desire for the Infinite Good - God. Man does not always concretely become aware of this; and even if, in becoming aware of his insatiable desire and he were an atheist and he wanted to renounce this "desire for more", the desire for infinity, he would find it impossible to do so. This is because man who is every more rich in knowledge, ever richer in material means, richer in the love of others - constantly has the conviction that he has not attained happiness, that something which can satisfy him still lies ahead of him and beyond him.

This division of the will into the desire-volition for ultimate happiness and the desire-volition for concrete goods can in philosophy be explained by drawing attention to the fact that the will's infinite appetite is derived from the intellect's apprehension of analogical being (in which God as the source of being is also vaguely apprehended) - yet as a natural desire for "something more", it attests to the fact that the human subject is in his nature disposed toward infinite good - and the real good is always concrete, since it ceaselessly surfaces in every act of appetition-volition. If this desire belongs to nature, then it may be fulfilled as a work of nature, for nature is nothing other than the stable ontological order of things which fulfills itself in purposeful activity. The two divisions, the desire for the infinity of ultimate happiness, and the desire for something concrete (this particular object-good), will be consummated when infinity and concreteness stand before the human spirit, no longer as something built up in the mind but as an existing concrete being and consequently real Good-Being, drawing the human psyche closer to itself. The road of analogical and infinite appetition-volition, and that of concrete real appetition-volition may come together at the moment of life's "consummation", when God (not yet in the supernatural and beatific vision, but as the concrete -GOOD) stands before the human spirit to manifest himself as the real good, which the human spirit as it wandered though human life appeared only in ciphers and in the veil of the world. In the case of man every thing of any value at all pointed precisely to the good which is exists in itself and which acted upon us through the changing world of those good which could not satisfy man's infinite desire. That is why human appetition is divided up to the moment of death, the moment of transition. However, at the supreme moment of the consummation of human life, God - the concrete Good - will stand before the human spirit, so that the infinite desire for happiness can merge with the completed concrete free choice of "this particular" good. God, who realizes the desire for both the infinite and the concrete, can really appear before the human spirit only at the moment when this changing human life is irreversibly consummated, that is, at the moment of "transition-death", when the human course of matter ceases in man's organism, but were God not to appear - we must stress this - human nature could not be a rational ontological arrangement, since the fundamental tendency of nature would be vain, never able to attain fulfilment. Yet an object-less tendency is not a tendency of nature. If we treat human rational nature in a rational way, then we cannot disregard its fundamental rational inclinations, which some would suppose to be without a real object. If indeed the object exists, then we have to admit that when man's time on earth ends, a moment which is called death, God will stand before us so as to draw us towards himself like a magnet (drawing forth our "good will"), no longer through the mediation of the world of changeable things-goods, but "through Himself". The world of things and people - as the ensemble of contingent beings - can prepare us, train us and dispose us to choose Him, and to adhere more intensely to Him, when He, as the Creator of Nature shall manifest himself to us. Thus, death-transition is the moment at which the necessary natural appetition of the human will shall find ultimate fulfillment. Only at this one moment - if it occurs at all - can a total confrontation of human desires with concrete and infinite good take place, for it is not possible at any other moment of human life in the face of the real changeable objects of human volition-love.

In his volition-love, man would be an unnatural creature if he were never to have the opportunity of confronting the concrete good with the infinite good; man's natural rational appetition would be irrational, for it would be futile, without actualization. This does not mean that man at the moment he sees the Good-God is deprived of ultimate free will. The moment of death is precisely this moment of ultimate choice - like the moment of trial for the angels - but it is different in that the choice is made in the context of one's whole life, which is "crowned" by a decision.

Various works of human genius sing of how in the culminating moments of the experience which man lives through the two states of love and death will appear together as man will sense them as two sides of the same reality. Gabriel Marcel in "Présence et Immortalité" (Paris, 1959) wrote that the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice stands at the very hear of his existence, since only the profound experience of love enables the spiritual powers of our self, which powers are normally scattered and dispersed, to join into one. This union of the powers of the person in love makes it possible to most clearly explain the "I". Only when I set myself apart in the aspect of "I" not only to mere objects or things, but to the correlate "I", the other "THOU", do I come to a strong awareness of "I". That is why for man to be a man, that is, a self-conscious and loving "I", is to be the correlate of "you". Man was born as the product of love, and he exists in love and for love. At the very core of our personal being, at the roots of "I", there is a magic inclination to the "you". Thanks to this inclination and its realization through acts of love each one of us can emphasize and develop his personal "I". Without love, our respective "I"s are weak, without support, and cannot take form as the "I" of our persons. The person, man's visage, develops in real interpersonal contacts (which are always a form of love). Thus real bonds of love, the visage of the personal "I", underlie our understanding of human activity. The essential manifestation of love is the giving of oneself. In the act of love we bring ourselves into conformity with the "thou" as the object of our love, we give ourselves to the beloved "thou" and through this act of spiritually giving of ourselves we do not lose anything, but on the contrary we fulfill ourselves, we experience, if even for a short time, the fulfilment of human existence.

If man constructs himself in his human, personal existence by love towards another "thou", then our body is a factor which restricts us and determines us. As the element determine and delimiting man's ontological activity with respect to his bodily self-giving is the factor which on the one hand makes possible the development of the spirit and, as it were, serves as the spark which sets in motion the fact of human activity, and on the other hand, it joins this activity with the individual and "atomic" forms of activity. Thus at the moment of death in which this form of limiting activity comes to an end, the soul, as the very core of our self, finds itself in a position to give itself without limit in love to the Transcendent Thou. It finds itself in the condition of a perfect psychic personality, which responds without limit in its cognitive activity to love and communion with the "Thou" of the Absolute. If, therefore, all acts of love are acts of "giving oneself", then only death as experienced actively by the person (that is, not passive, biological death coming "from the outside" as a disintegration of matter) creates the conditions for a burst of personal love, which will ultimately constitute the personal visage of the "I" in relation to the Thou of the Absolute. Thus, death and love are two aspects of the ultimate constitution of human personality. Unless at the moment in which the changes of matter cease there come into existence in human life the full conditions for love, all the stirrings of great and true love would be unintelligible; they would be pathological if not for the prospect that man shall be able fully and ultimately to make a gift of himself, but no longer weighed down by the determinations of space and time imposed by matter. The poets of genius had a presentiment of the nature of this love which liberates man from atomistic forms of activity and they gave this expression in prophetic poetry. They linked this great love with death, since a biologically-changeable existence without love is not a life worthy of man. On the other hand love by virtue of its dynamic nature tends towards growth, the ultimate form of which is an "ultimate giving of oneself". Love, therefore, as the essential aspect of human existence (love revealing itself in activity!) overcomes biological death, since only at the moment when the biological course of matter ceases does it gain the conditions express itself in full without the restrictions which matter and its laws necessarily impose. In the personal experience of death, the self in its deepest root, the soul, is linked in the act of love with the "Transcendent Thou" which it now intuitively knows, He who ultimately brings contingent being to fulfilment. Every real human love towards the completion of the "thou" of the other person, even though in a manner limited by matter, leads to the "THOU" of the Transcendent.

If there were no prospect that personal-human acts (chiefly the acts of cognition and love) were to reach fullness, if there were no concrete opportunity for man to fulfill and thereby make permanent forever that which, as an essential expression of man, had only been begun but been never brought to fullness as a result of the limitations of matter, then man would not be a rational, natural being, since he would be lacking in the personal end essential for the understanding of nature, the attainment of fullness (in the immediate manifestation of the Object - the BEING-GOOD) in the ultimate acts of cognition and love in the life of the person. If this end were unattainable in full, then nature would have no end and thereby man's existence would be meaningless.

The third, the most important moment in human life always concerns the act of decision, in which man, uniting cognition and want-love constitutes himself as a real source of activity. As we have previously mentioned, the act of decision is essentially a moral being since in engaging all the aspects of the human person (the cognitive and appetitive order) it makes man a really acting being, although the carrying out of the activity taken up in the act of decision can drag on or even sometimes become impossible. Decision is also proper to every human being: it cannot be evaded.

Free choice (the act of free will) is an essential factor in the act of decision - the kind of practical judgment through which we ourselves freely determine ourselves to activity. As we have also mentioned, our freedom takes place "within" man, precisely in the choice of one of man's practical judgments; this judgment need not be (and usually is not) the best or only possible one, but is the judgment which I myself want to choose "because I so wish". But this does not mean that my fancy, my free will is without a motive; it means that I choose for myself the motives that I want. The chosen practical judgment about the concrete good is always either in agreement or in disagreement with my theoretical judgments about the nature of the world, of people and things. Hence, the practical judgment of decision, having a necessary relation to the theoretical judgment is an act of my conscience.

Man's acts of decision (wherein free volition-love and concrete cognition are fused in order that man may elicit from himself activity or non-activity in relation to a concrete real or apparent good) sculpt man's personal "visage". Depending on our conduct, the source of which are acts of decision, man ultimately becomes "good" or "bad" himself. Our decisions, sometimes immediate and spontaneous, sometimes made only with protracted reflection and deliberation - are not usually perfect acts, for in them there are imperfections stemming both from our cognition and our freedom. We usually have to make our decisions "in the course" of our matter, like a driver overtaking other cars. The process of matter in ourselves and around us almost makes perfect acts of decision impossible. We have to make them, as such are the demands of life, and we often postpone a deeper consideration of the problem and a more perfect choice. Thus, in practice, there are never any fully perfect, indubitable and totally correct decisions in our lives, for the object of such decisions is also burdened with all that is called contingency. Our ontological state ultimately depends on the act of decision. Thus, there appears the necessity of making an ultimate single, perfect act of decision, which will ultimately determine man's personal nature, his "visage", and also his destiny. How can man's irrevocable destiny after death be necessarily linked with decisions made sometimes casually, in a hurry, rapidly? The conditions for a perfect ultimate decision must arise: these condition cannot exist in the course of "life in the body", because precisely the process of matter both in us and around us - though it liberates our activity - restricts it, both in the aspect of cognition and in the aspect of the freedom of volition. If not for a full, perfect, ultimate decision, man would be dependent on mere chance in his activity. He would be a "thing" among the other things of this world rather than a person transcending the world and himself and taking responsibility for himself.

All this is not possible "during life" on earth: thus our acts of decision, being temporary, somewhat fortuitous, and very much determined in character nevertheless provide us with a basic preparation and training to that decision which is possible only at the moment of "transition" when the matter shall have run its course and a new stage of life shall begin. Otherwise, the new life would be more a work of fortuitousness (in the face of the frequency of sudden deaths and nervous disorders) than a work of free will, made in conditions proportional to the capacity of the intellect and of our will directed at infinity. Hence the necessity of an ultimate decision when Being-Good, God-the Creator of nature appears before the human spirit in an immediate though still not beatific vision. The beatific vision can take place only after the act of decision, when the ultimate choice and personal "giving of oneself" occurs in this act. If one should negate the possibility of such a decision, then from the rational point of view he is saying that human existence is meaningless and is surrendering to the fortuitous, relinquishing the end-oriented activity of a rational nature. The whole meaning of "human life on earth" only gains value when everything that man does now is merely a beginning of "fullness" and the fulfilling of the human person in his personal acts.

Thus, we must regard human death also from the point of view of personal experience, when man, as a personal being ultimately "takes into his hands" his destiny and with the intuitive vision of the absolute (the necessary proportional condition) he makes the ultimate decision "from within". He leads to fullness his cognition which up until that moment had been a rather awkward posing of questions; he also fulfills himself in the act of supreme love, of "giving himself" to the Absolute Good, who created the world of things and persons in an act of love. The person - though human, liberated by matter towards personal activity - gains the natural conditions necessary for the fulfilment worthy of the person, through his acts of cognition and love which fuse in the ultimate decision of choice as the beginning, the threshold and source of another life....

The considerations made here reveal a model of death rather different from the "separation of the soul from the body". Such a separation (not very well understood) is merely one of the aspects of death, that is, death passively conceived, as the disintegration of matter occurring in man, over which we have no power or strength; we are subject to this disintegration, just like every other "thing". In the passive experience of death we are more a "thing" than a "person". As personal beings we fulfill ourselves in personal acts. That is why the fact of the existence of death must take place in our personal acts elicited "from within", not merely "imposed from without". Thus, we must necessarily accept the model of ultimate "maturation" in conditions proportional to the importance of the act and personal being itself. Such a model better corresponds to man's nature and activity.

Just as man in an embryonic state, in his mother's womb, develops the organs necessary for life beyond the womb, for life in the open world, independent life - so too our life "in the womb of the world" begins to reveal certain psychic, personal activities which do not fit the nature of this world, which constantly transcend the world of nature, to such an extent that man must create a suitable "cultural niche" for himself in order to exist and develop his mind. If we were to imagine a child in his mother's womb having a psychic, conscious life - then the moment of its birth would have to be recognized as the moment of death. At the moment of birth the foetus loses everything at once: food, air, all the conditions of its existence up to that moment. And the cutting of the umbilical cord would be precisely this ultimate moment of death.

We can also apply the same model of birth to our biological death. Death enables us for the first time to use those personal acts which we constantly began but never brought to a perfect finish in the face of the broader world of things and person, and especially in the face of the Transcendent "THOU" as the BEING PER SE. Just as the formation of the embryo's organs suggests their full use in life beyond the womb, so personal acts of cognition, love and decision suggest their full realization and consummation, which now is only begun, which is, as it were, in the embryonic state of our personal life.

In such a perspective, it is difficult to call death merely a separation of the soul from the body. We have put forth some reasons above. The Christian tradition of St. Augustine, John of Damascene and St. Thomas Aquinas, holds that the human soul, as a spirit necessarily ordered to matter, cannot get rid of this relation without at the same time losing its being(64). If there is a separation of the soul from the body, then it is a separation from matter quantified as the body "here and now"; in fact, we constantly do this by getting rid of cells that have previously made up our bodies in the process of metabolism. If, then, at the moment of biological death a greater amount of matter quantified in the form of the body departs at one time, then we do not lose the relation to matter, for we cannot lose it. At the moment of death, Rahner suggests, after St. Thomas, there would occur a much deeper connection of the soul with pancosmic matter from the aspect of its fundamental bonds which are the basis of the rational organization of matter - the kind of organization which reveals itself to the human mind in the form of physical and biological laws. This would explain well the special psycho-physical status of man, for the soul, existing in itself as in the subject, forms a body for itself from matter, with the cooperation of the parents in the mother's womb; in human life "in the womb of the earth", man reaches an objective cognition of the laws of matter (in an early state) and even attempts to organize matter in creative processes, when the human being orders matter to the spirit in architecture, painting, sculpture, music; and this same spirit, ultimately reaching full self-consciousness and love at the moment of death - through its ultimate act of decision towards the Transcendent one - will join with the very heart of matter, rationally arranging itself and constituting itself in order to give matter ultimately - it is not a question of time here - a personal spiritual visage, now that of the resurrected man.

Christian Revelation explains this by the activity of the Incarnate Word - Jesus Christ - who ultimately overcame death, and by our encounter with tim. Expressing the Christian view of the fact of death C.K. Norwid wrote:

"And yet she (death), wherever she touched,

The background - not the essence,

which she had torn apart on the background,

Took nothing - apart from the moment

at which she took it:

Man - older than she!"


2. "necessaristic" = "koniecznościowy"; the more common form "konieczny" is rendered simply as necessary. Necessaristic cognition would seem to be such whereby one sees the necessary connections between things.

3. "existence" = "bytowanie"

4. "has a living experience of" = "przeżywa", from "prez" - "through" and "zyć" - "to live".

5. "being a man" = "bycie człowiekiem"

6. "subjectivization" = "podmiotowanie"

7. "decontradictify" = "uniesprzecznienie". The sentence as whole could serve as a definition of this term. To put it in other words, to "decontradictify" a state of affairs is to demonstrate the factor without which that state of affairs would imply a contradiction.

8. "decontradictify" = "uniesprzecznienie".

9. "to be experienced in a living manner" = "przeżywa"

10. "inner experience" = "wewnetrzny doświadczenie": "Doświadczenie" is the more comment term for experience. Etymologically it could be "attestation" ("do" = "ad"; "świadczyc" = "testificare")

11. "decontradictifies" = "uniesprzecznia"

12. "being a man" = "bycie człowiekiem"

13. "onticity" = "bytowość": this word could accurately, if not awkwardly, be rendered as "beingness".

14. "possession of being" = "bytowanie": "bytowanie" is the verbal noun formed from "bytować", a verb made by way of back-formation from "byt" (being, ens), which is associate with the more common Polish verb "być" (to be, esse).

15. "being" = "bytowanie"

16. "being" = "byt" (ens)

17. "being" = "bycie": this is the verbal noun directly formed from "być" (to be, esse)

18. "being" = "bycie"

19. "humanity" = "człowieczenstwo", which is humanity not in the collective sense, but in the sense of human nature.

20. "existence" = "bytowanie"

21. "being" = "bytowanie"

22. "reification" = "reizacja"

23. "being" = "bytowanie"

24. "in consciousness" = "świadomośćowo"

25. "brought to our consciousness" = "uświadomiony"

26. "being" = "bytowanie"

27. "translumination" = "prześwietlenie"

28. "mental image" and "phantasm" = "wyobrażenie"

29. "freedom, as that which removes human activity from the plane of necessity" = "wolność będącym nieukoniecznieniem ludzkiego działania": this would be more literally "freedom, being the denecessitation of human activity".

30. "culturality" = "kulturowość'"

31. "in a reflective manner" = "zreflektownie": the text actually reads "zreflektowanie", the verbal noun "reflection", but since the sentence would thereby be ungrammatical, the editor is assuming a typographical error.

32. "existence" = "bytowanie"

33. "being" = "bycie"

34. "source-oriented" = żródł;owy"

35. "being" = "bytowanie"

36. "poetical" = "pojetyczny": this term refers not to poetry in the narrow sense of versified language, but to everything man creatively constructs (from the Greek "poiein" - "to make, to create").

37. "being" = "bytowanie"

38. "being" = "bytowanie"

39. "being" = "bytowanie"

40. "being" = "bytowanie"

41. "being" = "bytowanie"

42. "being" = "bytowanie"

43. "ordered by necessity" = "ukonieczniony"

44. "being" = "bytowanie"

45. "being" = "bytowanie"

46. "onticity" = "bytowość"

47. Here in the text the author uses the English expression.

48. The author here uses the English word "self".

49. "individuality" - "singularity" = "osobniczość" - "osobliwość": these Polish terms are derived from "osoba" - "person".

50. "being" = "bycie"

51. "being" = "bytowanie"

52. "free of necessity" = "nieukonieczniony"

53. "the fact that they are free of necessity" = "uniekoniecznienie": as a verbal noun this would literally be something like "deneccesitation".

54. "being" = "bytowanie"

55. "monarchy" = "jedynowładstwo" (rule by one): "polity" = "wielowładstwo" (rule by the many).

56. "exists" = "bytuje"

57. Summa Theologica, 1-2, q.90 a.2 ad 2: "dicendum quod operationes quidem sunt in particularibus: sed illa particularia referri possunt ad bonum commune, non quidem communitate generis vel speciei, sed communitate causae finalis, secundum quod bonum commune dicitur finis communis."

58. "being" = "bytowanie"

59. "necessaristic" = "koniecznościowy": the usual term "koniczieczny" is rendered as necessary.

60. "being" = "bytowanie"

61. "reistic" = "rzeczowe": "thingish"

62. "being" = "bytowanie"

63. "the voice of love" ="głosu miłości: this may be a typographical error for "głodu miłości", which would read "the hunger of love" or the "hunger for love".

64. "being" = "bytowość"

Chapter 7. Religion—The Focal Point of Culture

Religion is one of four universally recognized departments of culture. It is religion which among the four is most deeply bound up with human destiny and human activity. Together with morality, it makes up the essential character sketch of man. Thus, now that we have considered the three forms of rational cognition, namely theoretical cognition, practical cognition (which constitutes the order of human conduct) and poetic cognition which is linked with the domain of creativity, we should now devote some attention to an analysis of the fact of religion in the context of our considerations concerning the foundations of culture.

Wherever man is, there also one finds the fact of religion. As was noted already in ancient times, religion and man are inseparable; in our times, E. Fromm writes that "there seems never to have been in the past any culture, nor can there be any culture in the future, which would not have religion". Of course there are different forms of religion, but the influence of religion is so strong that even in what are called "atheistic" societies (where as a result of an ideology adopted by those in power, the religion which is confessed by the society has been deliberately repressed) certain external forms of cult usually associated with religion are observed. These forms of cult, whether directed at the dead who are acknowledged as heroes, or to the men who hold power, take on an explicitly religious character, exhibiting an elaborate sense of ritual which is scrupulously observed down to the last detail. These examples are superfluous, since they are too well known to us. Also, the introduction of forms of religious cult in rituals such as the ritual giving of names, the contract of marriage, burials, etc. is a manifestation of man's religious disposition. Saint-Exupery expressed this succinctly in his tale "The Little Prince" through the lips of Lisa, who said "man needs ceremony".

The forms of religion and the manner in which it is experienced are a very convenient "vehicle" of knowledge for man himself, for social groups and for national culture. Through an analysis of religious experiences and a close examination of various forms of cult and liturgy, we may learn very much about man's nature, about his individual and social responses. For this reason researches into various religions and the ways in which religion is cultivated have served ethnologists as a convenient and effective tool for acquiring a better knowledge of the societies they were investigating.

In our consideration of the foundations of our understanding of culture in its basic manifestations, let us take a closer look at the phenomenon of religion as the essential current of human culture. Let us turn our attention to the foundations of the fact of religion, at the fact of religion itself in its various articulations and the various ways in which it is conveyed by symbols, at how the object of religion is understood, namely God, and finally at the relation of religion to other parts of culture, to science, morality, and art. The problematics of religion as it is outlined here is unfortunately too broad to be profoundly exhausted; thus we shall intentionally limit ourselves to those moments which most greatly bear upon the essence of the fact of religion, and we shall analyse these only in the context of the understanding of culture itself.

1. The Fact of Religion

The fact itself of man's religion possesses in a normal society its own various conditions and reasons. Attention is often devoted to the psychological and sociological conditions behind religion; religion is transmitted to man from his earliest years through his surroundings, especially through his parents and family. This transmission of faith is spontaneously received by the child who is taking his first steps in life, who accepts religion as a normal phenomenon, as something which in a certain way permits him to become integrated with society and feel in place. Even when various crises arrive in life against the background of religion, this is commonly treated as a certain stage of development in a man's psychological maturation; at the very least religion is necessary for man to retain psychological equilibrium, spiritual tone and the ability to face difficult life situations.

Yet a man may live in one of those societies which are areligious and atheistic by plan, where - at least at certain times and places - the political system and the law have outlawed the teaching or passing on of religion. In such a situation it is possible to get rid of certain religious experiences in some people to a certain degree for a certain period of time, but, as proven by practice, it is impossible to get rid of man's religious disposition. This disposition may take on other forms and be transmuted, and sometimes it may degenerate into some laicized liturgy. Thus there is born a corresponding "cult of the individual", cult of the organization, solemn ceremonies which in the final analysis are lacking in content. But, just as the "good customs" and conventions of comrades, they are, despite their vacuous content, the "tribute" given to true virtue, so also all forms of lay liturgy, despite their lack of content, are a tribute to man's religious dispositions and needs. These religious needs, although they may be besieged by "anti-religion", still do not go out in man, and they come to life in the various situations of life, sometimes very strongly, and they signal their presence in the form of a turning to "something/someone" who, though unnamed, is the addressee for human sighs, oaths, the attitude of external submission or even of rebellion. Such forms of human behaviour are only the various symbolizations, the various forms of expression for the basic religious disposition of human nature. The fact of religiosity on the social scale is a constant phenomenon, even in societies which are bound by an atheistic ideology. Such religiosity also becomes an expression of the religious disposition of human nature.

Independently of psycho-sociological conditioning in the transmission of religion, one must reach to deeper levels of human nature in order to understand the fact of human religiosity. In the final analysis this fact cannot be explained through psychological and sociological factors alone, but these in turn presuppose their own "soil" - human nature - as the original mode of man's activity, which manifests itself in the use of reason and in free will, in creativity and in all cultural activity. In a word, it is man's ontological structure and our understanding of it which in the final analysis allows us to understand and explain in its essence human behaviour in the face of such facts of life as man's conception, birth, illness and death, and the real danger of the loss of life itself.

All existential experiences of this kind in man, if they are essentially human experiences, always at their beginning presuppose cognitive acts. Human acts are universally said to be conscious and freely willed acts. In a cognitive experience of man we must reach to the very cognitive roots, to basic human acts and their structure, for these are of the greatest importance for man's cognitive link with reality. From our analysis in the first part we have seen that among these cognitive acts the most important is our original, conscious, human contact with being - reality. It is known in any case that it is being which is the object of human intellectual cognition. Whatever we know, we know in the aspect of being, "that it is something". Having at the outset grasped reality as "an existing something", we can go on to build up our knowledge, adding, broadening, piling up those characteristics which we grasp in more and more exact knowledge on top of that "being" which we have originally grasped. This "being" was not only grasped as the first object of our knowledge, but, what it more, it is also the mode of this knowledge, since we understand every subsequently grasped "feature-content" as being, as "a certain something" which is more closely defined in the various acts and modes of our cognition. Thus the foundation of our intellectual knowledge is the cognitive grasp of being (here we are dealing with the objectivity of intellectual knowledge!). This grasp first takes place in the acts of basic intuition, which was called by the Greeks "nous", and later by the Latins "intellectus", or "intellectus primorum principiorum".

This cognitive grasp of being (as was already mentioned) has two dimensions: vertical and horizontal. In our understanding of the same thing, the accent may fall in two different places: we may understand something from the existential point of view, the fact that something "is", that something really exists, or from the point of view of content, that this existing "something" is a certain thing determined in itself, identical to itself. It is obvious that being, all that is determined in itself as an existing something, makes its appearance in our cognition primarily from the point of view of the act of existence - that it "is-exists"; as is commonly said, it strikes us "with the blade of its existence. But this existence is always the existence of some real, concrete content. Thus our cognitive grasp of being as the object of intellectual cognition becomes, as it were, "opalescent" - once - when it first exerts its influence by the fact of existence; but when we perceive the fact of existence at the same, secondarily, we see the aspect of content, we see the existence of something. This is, however, the very same being as it becomes iridescent or opalescent in our cognitive grasp, at one moment through the act of existence, at the next moment (at the same time secondarily), through the act of an existing content.

The perception and cognitive intuition of being from the point of view of existence immediately manifests to us the contingency of the being which is given to us in our cognitive "empiria" (experience). We see that the being that we are dealing with is precisely a contingent being of non-necessary existence, a fragile and destructible being. This becomes particularly sharply apparent, when our experience of the contingency of being is in some way closer to us and bound up with our emotions, namely when we experience the being (from the point of view of its existence) of some person close to us, a child, parents, wide, ourselves... There is a special experience of the contingency of being at the birth of a child, the sickness of a child or of someone close, or ourselves. Then we acutely experience that the act of existence of being, the life of a child, of a beloved person, of ourselves, does not lie in our power but is in some way "given as a gift", given in various ways and under various conditions; it is our experience that existence-life is something which must be taken care of, that we must exert ourselves to set up the content proportionally joined with existence in a way that will be of benefit. In ordinary language, "one must take care of his health" in order to live-exit. The experience of the contingency of being in ourselves and persons near to us makes its appearance in the characteristic, previously noted triple time rhythm of relation: a/ the affirmation of one's own or another's being, and the identity of this being - to be, to exist as "this here" man; at the same time the perception or understanding that this identity is threatened with destruction, in the form of the loss of my second existence; b/ confidence in the other beings which are helpful in confirming me in existence, trust in or reliance upon other persons, such as parents, doctors, medicines. social institutions,etc. c/ the experience and recognition that this kind of trust or reliance is insufficient (in any case such a trust limits man's powers and spiritual capacity), which evokes an ultimate trust in or reliance upon the TRANSCENDENS, who may be unknown or unnamed; it is this TRANSCENDENS who, as what we suppose to be the source of being, is spontaneously recognized as the "reason" for life-being and the ultimate "justification" of all human (personal) experiences. This experience of the contingency of being (especially of our own contingency and that of persons near to us) is the essential "foundation" for the fact of religion as man's turning to the Font of Being and life, who is spontaneously recognized as the addressee of my person experiences.

The fact of religion, however, must find its own human expression; it must be "articulated" in a human manner as some concrete form of religion. Here there arises the very important question of the various forms of religion. The problematic, however, of diverse forms of religion is not of equal importance with, nor the same as, the problem of the very fact of religion and the foundation of this fact. This has usually been overlooked by the various investigators of the problem of religion, especially ethnologists and sociologists. This is a very important issue and if we shall bear it in mind we shall eliminate a whole series of oversimplifications and errors.

2. The Problem of the Forms of Religion

It is usually pointed out, under the influence of evolutionistic philosophical and scientific assumptions, that the phenomenon of religion is subject to its own particular laws of evolution; there is a passage from primitive forms of magic, through constantly higher and more reflective forms of religion, up to the particular monotheism of the great world religions, such as Judaism, Islam and Christianity. At its roots religion was not supposed to have been a specifically human, rational experience but some instinctual fear in the face of the enemy, nature. Nature can be "tamed" and "yoked" with the help of various magic, and subsequently more reflective cultic acts. This is basically a sort of wishful thinking based on a priori evolutionistic assumptions. Evolutionism is supposed to explain how the human soul and its spiritual acts were formed. According o this theory, these acts are slowly formed during the long millennia of man's life on earth. as it the human soul were the product of the evolution of material forces which eventually, in a shorter or longer process of evolution, can produce the soul, strike out the principle of non-contradiction and out of the soul's non-being create the soul's being. Religion itself, by its nature an experience of the soul, and thereby also of the reason, would be and expression of the instinct of fear or similar emotions.

No! The fact that there are experiences already presupposes a corresponding, commensurate ontological structure; the appearance of the religious fact, in whatever form, points to the existence in man of the faculty of reason which reads being and understands being. Of course, the understanding of being-reality admits of degrees, but the fundamental act of reading out being as that which exists and that which immediately appears in life experience as ontologically contingent, especially when it concerns our own life or that of persons near to us. Such a primal experience must be recognized as the basis and foundation for the fact of religion, i.e. for religion taken from the point of view of the very foundations of its existence.

The form of religion, its individual and social expression is, however, another matter. This may be built up in the context of human life, in the context of the state of the culture of a given man and social group. Forms of religion are a cultural phenomenon proportional to the general configuration of the culture of a given group of people. If the whole of a man's life and of his cultural milieu is at the level of satisfying man's vegetative needs, providing food and transmitting life which is under the constant threat of the enemy, nature, it would be hard to expect that religion could suddenly take on a very spiritualized form without a special revelation from God, which is not to exclude (even in such a state) the possibility of there sometimes being high religious flights of the soul among certain very sensitive people.

In the normal course of things, however, the general state of culture in a given society determines in large measure what the forms of religious cult shall be. We read in literature on this subject that these forms include magic, taboo, animism, anthropomorphic polytheism, pantheism, panentheism and monotheism. These diverse forms of religions are interpreted in different ways, more or less arbitrarily, and such interpretations are a repetition of the interesting interpretation of religion put forth by the sophists of antiquity. Their interpretation would have been uncommonly important had they made a distinction between the fact itself of religion and the various historical forms of religious experience and religious expression. The sophists, and subsequently contemporary writers, have simplified and distorted the matter. They hold that religion (even the very fact of religion!) is basically a psychological and cultural matter. Zdybicka rightly writes:"It was the sophists who in presenting a different kind of philosophy than that of the previous period, one joined with the humanities, practised the psychology and sociology of religion. They treated religious images of the divine as an integral part of human nature and tried to investigate them through an analysis of man's nature and experiences, i.e, from the subjective point of view. Then there arose theories about the nature and genesis of religion constructed on the basis of an anthropological approach. It was not a question of ontological conditioning, but rather of the psycho-social aspects of the religious attitude. In their investigation of the genesis of religion they concentrated on psychological and sociological factors". The cultural and social context, which determines what forms religion shall take, does not exclude of course all the matters involved in the problematic of revelation, which is not necessarily joined with a more developed form of culture.

Yet it should also be noted that even in the case of the simplest forms of religion such as magic, or the reception of some "taboo" in religion, there could still exist the possibility of a deeper experience of the transcendence of God as the object of religion against the background of such expression of cult. All symbols (and the various forms of religion must always receive some symbolic expression, since only through signs is interpersonal linguistic communication possible) are inadequate with respect to the objects which they represent. If this is true in the area of normal linguistic communication by means of signs, then even more does it apply to religion and to the object of religious cult - God. St. Thomas noted that it is impossible to traverse the "distance" in knowledge and being which lies between God and man in his cognitive acts. This means, as was emphasized by the First Vatican Council, that God absolutely transcends the whole of creation in the order of existence and in the order of knowledge. He can become accessible to our cognition only through an understanding of contingent being as a form of existence which results from Him. In Himself he is inaccessible to human cognition. If therefore we, when us give signs to material things in our cognition, grasp only the characteristic features of things and express them with our language of signs, then how much more inadequate must be every attempt to use symbols with respect to God who dwells "in inaccessible light". Thus every form of sign-making must become an occasion for man to have deep religious experiences. Man "forces his way" through signs -always inadequate - to the Transcendent Himself.

In turn, we may analyze the various forms of religion and look for a way to explain and rationally ground them. Each of these forms of religion, from magic to monotheism, is covered by its own rich body of descriptive and explanative literature. These explanations are very diverse and related to various schools of though, to various directions in the sciences, and to various historical periods. As a result, the explanations of the fact of religions are sometimes complementary and sometimes mutually exclusive. It is enough here to note the various conceptions presented in the literature, e.g., J.G. Fraser in "The Golden Bough", W. Durkhiem in "Les formes elementaires de la vie religieuse", L. Levy-Bruhl, or Malinski, to see how the same phenomena are subject to different interpretations. Thus Frazer puts forth the thesis that there is no discrepancy between magical art and the art of scientific thought: "The aim of magic is also scientific, although its means may be deluded and the most fantastic...Even magic argues and operates on the assumption that one event always follows another without the intervention of any spiritual or personal power...magic is a belief - immediately formed and not explicitly expressed - in the order and uniformity of nature". For Durkheim, the origin of myth is not in nature but in society. All the motifs of myth are projections of man's social life. Malinowski emphasized the identity of the mentality of the primitive and of the educated man; for this reason in the manifestations of the so-called simplest forms of religion there is no confusion between the supernatural and the earthly sphere. "...It would be an error to suppose that in his early stage of development man lived in a confused world, where the real was mingled with the unreal, where mysticism and reason were just as intermixed as real and counterfeit money in a distended country. For us the most important matter is that magic and religious ritual enter into life only when knowledge proves to be a disappointment. A ritual rooted in the supernatural sphere becomes larger than life, but never does it frustrate man's practical activity. Man strives to work miracles through his magic or religious ritual not because he is unaware of the limitations of his intellectual powers, but on the contrary, because he is fully aware of them. To go one step further, the recognition of this seems to me necessary, if we desire once and for all to establish the truth that religion has its own tactics, its own sanctioned sphere of development".

The link between various forms of religion and their cultural milieu can be illustrated not only through the psychological, sociological or ethnological theories of contemporary investigators of religions, but we may also refer to the history and historical forms of religiosity among the ancient peoples, the Greeks, Romans, Persians, Jews. Studies of this sort are very instructive and they are showing more and more clearly how various forms of religion are connected with the cultural states of society of their times. All this seems to indicate more and more strongly that the very fact of religion along with its foundations is anchored in human rational nature and is connected with all that we call "to be a man", through the basic "reading" of reality and the experience of human contingency; this at once inclines man to recognize "the reason for being", to recognize that contingent existence and life is derived from something else and is linked with a non-contingent being, with the unnamed TRANSCENDENS who is transcends all forms of contingency. The recognition of this TRANSCENDENS is ipso facto expressed in s symbolized form, in a human language of signs. These signs, although infinitely removed from the TRANSCENDENS who is expressed in symbols, must present him in a manner accessible to the human mentality as it is found in a given state of culture. But one cannot equate the symbolized forms of religious cult and the manifold forms of religion with the very fact of religion, with the internal religious experience of the man who is lifted to the unnamed or named TRANSCENDENS. The existential aspect of religion is based on the human experience of contingency, which experience "opens a window" to the TRANSCENDENS and which is not identical with the aspect of the various forms and expressions of religion. The fact of religion can be construed, and in fact has, on to every form of religion. If course this is not to say that all forms of religions are equally perfect, but it does mean that various forms of religion are dependent of man's cultural milieu, on all the factors which constitute culture - on theoretical cognition, on moral experiences, on human creativity and the heritage of religion. This also means that, just as in being itself the existential aspect of being, its existence, as the act of being is higher than the aspect of the being's content, so also the existential aspect of religion, the very fact of man's religiosity, transcends the various forms and expression of religion.

These considerations must, of course, halt before revealed religion, where there come into play other factors which must necessarily be considered if we are within the bounds of possibility to be "objective", if we are to consider a new "object" and the conditions for its occurrence.

3.The God of Religion - the God of Philosophy

Upon considering the way the fact of religion is rendered into symbols, and after a philosophical reflection upon this phenomenon, we face the very important issue of the convergence and divergence of the philosophical and religious conceptions of God. May we regard the God of religion (the object of religious reference) and the God of philosophy who is the final result of philosophical explanation, as the same object? This problematic arose among philosophers of religions who pointed out that there is a difference in the way the God of philosophy (as the "principle" which ultimately explains reality in its various aspects and contexts) and the God of religion are ultimately referred to as God.

The problematics of how God is understood in certain important systems of philosophy was presented from the philosophical point of view by E. Gilson in his essay "God and Philosophy" and by W., Jaeger in his penetrating study "Die Theologie der Frühen Greichischen Denker". When we compare the two, we see that the religious concept of God is prior to the philosophical one. Religion always precedes philosophy. The very appearance of philosophy was a special attempt to demythologize the type of cognition which deals with ultimate realities. Jaeger noted that philosophy can even be conceived as a passage from "thesei theoi" to "physei theos" - from the gods recognized by religion to the God of nature. But the very concept of God is of religious origin and E. Gilson rightly writes:"The first striking fact about the Greek meaning of this word is that its origin is not philosophical. When the early Greek philosophers began to think philosophically the gods already existed; the philosophers merely inherited them from those people whom all of antiquity up to Augustine called theological poets. If we limit ourselves only to Homer's Iliad, we see that the word "god" seems to apply to incredibly different objects. A Greek god can be conceived as something which we usually call a person, as in the case of Zeus, Hera, Apollo, Pallas Athena, namely all the so-called Olympian deities. But a god may just as well be some physical reality, as for example, the great god Ocean, Earth or Heaven. WHen at the beginning of the twentieth book of the Iliad Zeus commands Themis to call the gods to council "there go the many gods of the rivers, besides Ocean, there go the Nymphs which have inherited the forests, the pure springs, the glades, and there are the flowering meadows". And that is not yet all. Even the great natural Fates who exert their influence on the life of mortals make an appearance as gods in Homer's Iliad. Among the gods there are Fear, Rout and Battle, also Death and Sleep, the lord of gods and men, the brother of Death."

What can all these various objects, which are called and recognized as gods in greek beliefs according to the testimony of the Iliad, have in common? We are dealing with the personification of the powers of nature, with the personification of various things of this world or of the cosmos, and even with the personification of human emotions, mental states or abstractions; there is one feature which joins all these objects which are personifies and called gods - all these objects are conceived as living persons who exert a real influence upon human life in such a way that man is dependent upon the gods in his experiences as a person. Gilson rightly notes:"The Greek felt himself to be a tool in the hands of the countless divine powers to whom not only his deeds were subject, but even his thoughts". The gods, as the believing Greek understood them, were living substances, person -knowing, loving and hating, powerful, immortal and possessing a fundamental influence on human conduct. It is these moments - life, knowledge, freely willed love and hate, influence upon the destiny and conduct of man - which can be found in all forms of religion in which gods or God appear to the believer. Even when the object of religious acts might seem to be some inanimate object, some stone or piece of wood, still for the believer it is not a stone as a stone, but a stone as a symbol - a sign which directs the religious act in the direction of Transcendence, in the direction of SOMEONE who by his will and knowledge plays a deciding role in man's life and is in reality the one addressed in the act of religion.

God (the gods), besides playing a role in human life, take on yet another aspect of divinity in the great monotheistic religions: they are the guardians and judges of man as he realizes moral good or evil. Cassirer noted that from the very beginning the religion of Zarathustra was the extreme opposite of the mythical neutrality, or the aesthetic neutrality, which characterized Greek polytheism. The religion of Zarathustra is not the product of a mythical or aesthetic imagination, but the expression of a great person moral will. Even nature takes on a new form, because it is seen exclusively through the prism of the ethical life. No religion could ever thing of severing or even of loosening the bond between man and nature. But in the great ethical religions this bond takes on an entirely new meaning... one does not now approach nature from the side of the emotions. If nature contains within itself some divine element, this element does not appear in exuberance and wealth of life, but in the simplicity of the order which reigns in it. Nature is no longer as in polytheistic religion a great and benevolent mother, a divine bosom from which all life takes its origin. It is now conceived as a sphere of law and order... The whole of human life becomes an incessant struggle in the name of what is right. The trinity of good thoughts, good words and good actions plays the chief role in this struggle. The road to the deity is no longer magic but that which is right".

With moral good and evil there are joined systems of commands and prohibitions. These have existed in every form of religion in the form of the "taboo" which proved to be a fundamentally efficacious system of social limitations joined with individual and social life. The taboo system has been regarded as the corner stone of the social order, but it had its binding power with respect to some reference to the TRANSCENDENS, although it may not have been experienced in precisely this way by all and everywhere. Cassirer notes: "It was impossible for religion to overthrow this complicated system of prohibitions. Their destruction would entail total anarchy. Mankind's great religious teachers, however, found another incentive which gave man's whole life a new direction. They discovered in themselves a positive power which gave inspiration and determined man's desires, but it was not the power of prohibition. They change passive obedience into an active religious feeling. The taboo system threatened to change human life into a burden which finally would become unbearable. Under the legalistic emphasis of this system, man's entire physical and moral existence becomes suffocated. It is here that religion comes in. All the higher ethical religions, the religion of the prophets of Israel, the religion of Zarathustra, Christianity, posed certain tasks which were common to them all. They free man from the intolerable burden of the taboo system; at the same time, however, they discover a deeper feeling of religious obligation which is no longer limitation or coercion, but the expression of the new positive ideal of man's freedom".

We obtain another dimension in the understanding of God in the revealed Mosaic and Christian religion. All that which in the fact of religion is constant and relevant and which in the various forms of religion constitutes the fundamental expression of religion is confirmed in revealed religion, and furthermore we gain an unusually sublimated and rational system for the theological understand of God as the source of all existence, of God as the prototype of the intelligibility of being, God as the aim of all the aims of activity. This God, although radically separate from all the creation which has Him as its origin, is nevertheless present (immanent) precisely as the efficient, exemplar and final cause. Furthermore, in Christian Revelation God appears as Love which calls man to participate through grace in His internal, Trinitarian, Divine Life. The conception of God as it is drawn out in Mosaic-Christian revelation sheds light upon the ultimate meaning of human life, it endows it with the most sublime character that was ever expressed in the entire history of human culture.

Of course, it is impossible here in a few formulations to present the concept of God that was given to us in the Revelation of the Old and New Testament. Yet we should turn our attention to two matters here: (a) the link between the revealed doctrine on God and man and morality, which finds its principal expression in the real love of God and man, and (b) the external, experiential bond with God as the Person who gives Himself without limits in loving communion: "he loved them to the end". In the revealed religion of Christianity God as appears as the personal partner of man, who was created "in the image and likeness" of God himself. Thus religion appears as an interpersonal relation between man and God, who as man's personal partner is the ultimate reason which gives a rational ground to man's acts as a person. Human activity, ultimately joined to God through its religious reference, is always moral activity. Morality is the fundamental characteristic of being a religious man.

When we compare the concept of the God of religion and the God of the philosophers, it is chiefly the God of religion who, in our cultural context, appears as the God revealed in the Old and New testament, as the God who is the beloved partner in the most profound human personal experiences of the mystics and saints, as the God who is presented in the system of Christian theology which has been developing for nearly two millennia. In our Christian cultural milieu, God is principally the God of religion, the living Person who is joined with man in his life as a person. Is such a God also presented to us by philosophy? Which philosophy? There have been and are many systems of philosophy and so it may seem strange to ask about the God of religion and the God of the philosophers. The answer would seem to be almost immediately negative. Still, the matter is not as simple as it is usually presented to be by various theologians and philosophers of religion.

If there were not, in any principal point, any point of contact between the God of religion and the God of reason,i.e., the God of philosophy, the consequence for the reason would be that religion is irrational, and for theology and even for faith, the consequence would have to be fideism, since the religious conception of God would have no point of contact with the philosophical conception, or even with the prephilosophical conception. It could be that, in the face of so many diverse and often eccentric philosophical conceptions, the conceptions of God which have been constructed in such eccentric systems shall carry all the characteristics of the system in question. It is again possible to create for oneself an understanding of God in prephilosophical, common-sense cognition. In the normal course of things, common sense cognition is the base for both scientific cognition and for philosophical cognition. Then a common sense conception can and normally does replace the philosophical conception of God. In any case, the religious understanding of God can not be so separated from normal human (common sense and philosophical) cognition that one couldn't adhere to it at the "starting point". By "starting point" we understand here the more or less efficient functioning of the human reason as the autonomic faculty of cognition.

The philosophical understanding of God is bound up with the philosophical direction and system in which it is formulated. In order to establish some fundamental framework for the conception of God in some philosophical system, one must first take into account what kind of system one is dealing with. It is laborious to unravel a system and one needs to take into account the three basic factors which integrate a philosophical system: (a) the presupposed image of the world which was functioning in the epoch when the system in question appeared or was constructed; (b) the conception of scientific (valid) cognition which appears against the background of the wider fundamental epistemological problematics; (c) the way in which the object of philosophical explanation is understood. When a system's object is being, it is understood in one way, and another way when its object is thought (an idea), and still another way when its philosophical analyses take as their object language as a sign or a system of signs which are more or less conventional. When the object of philosophical explanation is being, then the matter demands further explanation: we must see how being is understood, for the history of philosophy knows may conceptions of being.

If in our analysis we pass over the implicit image of the world, since the matter is in a certain way generally known, we still cannot fail to note the various kinds of formulations, especially concerning the way in which God is understood in some philosophical system, to the extent that these formulations are derivative or in some manner associated with the presupposed or implicit image of the world. It may happen that a series of great thinkers, e.g. Thomas or Bonaventure, made use of formulations which were then intelligible, or which they understood as obvious, based on the then universal image of the world, e.g., the qualitative physics of Aristotle, Babylonian-Greek astronomy etc.. In our understanding and interpretation of a system (and of God in the system) we must analyse the necessary connection between such propositions and the image of the world professed by the system in question.

Of particular moment in our understanding of a philosophical system, and thus also of the cognitive value of the solutions proposed in it, is the conception of scientific knowledge which is implicitly or explicitly accepted in it. Until the time of Kant there reigned generally one conception of scientific knowledge, the conception which arose form Plato's Academy and which is guided by the scientific question: "dia ti" -"on what account"?, thanks to what does something exist and is such as it is? When new conceptions of science appeared with Kant, and later with A. Comte, they bore a significant influence on the way philosophy itself was cultivated.

It may happen that philosophical systems adopt some conception of science, e.g. the positivistic conception, and they formulate and rationally ground their theses in the language os this conception of science. Of course, if the problematics of the cognoscibility of God are formulated in such a language of science it must be an "empty" problematics, for it concerns issues which cannot be expressed in the language of quantitative material functions. All attempts to present this problematics in the language of this version of science must by the nature of things be unsuccessful. The only way out may be what H. Bergson did when he resorted to the language of metaphor. The language of metaphor, however, is proper in literary compositions but not in a rational analysis of the problematics of God and in general metaphysical investigations. The language which is adequate for metaphysical investigations and especially for the philosophical problematics of God may be the language of the analogy of transcendental proportionality, but never univocal language, and in no case the quantitative language which is commonly used by the natural sciences which can be mathematicized. Analogical language is basically in place in the Platonic and Aristotelian concept of science with its scientific question "dia ti". The Kantian conception of science which asks about the a priori, subjective conditions for valid cognition ipso facto subjectivizes cognition or, in the case of the physical sciences, joins it with the understanding of the structure of the very tool of cognition which of necessity "a priori" participates in the process of cognizing and understanding the results of cognition. We must understand the structure of the instrument itself (e.g. the microscope, telescope, or synchrophasotron) if the results of the cognitive process performed on the basis of the instrument is to be understood. In the Kantian conception of science the range of sense experience cannot be rationally transcended; it can only be rationally dismembered, ordered, and thanks to the a priori "categories" rationally understood.

Comte's conception of science is directed by the scientific question "how"; through this question one can order the facts which are empirically given to as, classify them, connect them into functional dependencies, but one cannot explain "on what account" things exist rather than not exist, and why they exist precisely thus and not otherwise. In Comte's vision matters involving the theological or the metaphysical (in their pejorative sense) are beyond the range of scientific knowledge. All attempts to modify the positivistic conception of scientific cognition have never gone beyond the problematics of the question "to know how". This kind of question has nothing in common with the problematics of God. It is strange that the philosophical problematics of God "evaporated" from "scientific" knowledge when science and scientific enquiry was restricted to only certain conceptions of scientific knowledge and to the scientific question posed in Kant's or Comte's theory of science.

The conception of science that is guided by the scientific question "dia ti" is, however, still insufficient if we wish to pose the problematics of God sensibly in philosophy. It is necessarily joined with the problematics of being as the object of philosophy. Being may be understood in various ways, as was stated by Aristotle. On the various ways of understanding beings are built various philosophical understandings of God; even in the stream of so-called "Christian philosophy" the philosophical understanding of God is not uniform. There is one understanding to be found in St. Thomas, and a somewhat different one in Duns Scotus, and yet another one in Descartes. Although Christian thinkers, as can be sharply seen in the philosophical theory of John Duns Scotus, presuppose certain religious, revealed propositions about God, yet the explanation of how these revealed propositions are to be understood is carried out in a definite system of philosophical though which is principally determined by a perceived or constructed conception of being.

Let us take as an example Aristotle's conception of God. It is clearly involved in the then prevalent image of the world, together with the spherical construction of the cosmos, the "first heaven" of the middle spheres and the sublunary sphere, in which there is found the earth. The earth is subject to the influence of various cosmic powers and the powers of the natural terrestrial elements, which can bring about radical changes. The very conception of Aristotle's God presupposed a conception of science through a knowledge of cause, which would explain the various facts and events connected with motion. Furthermore, the very conception of being as that which is a substance determined by its (substantial) form was imposed upon a very specific understanding of God in Aristotle. According to him, God is the highest and most perfect substance and crowns the whole edifice of the cosmos. The Aristotelian God, as the most perfect substance, was the only being who is a "pure substantial form"; he was a perfect, pure act, life itself in its highest form; He is pure reason who is always thinking the most perfect object, namely himself. He is for himself the always actual and never changing object of contemplation; He cannot think anything other than himself, for He would then ipso facto cease to be act, for he would be potentialized in the aspect of the object of His thought, which object would be subject to change. Thus God, as the highest form of life, is a pure thought who always thinks himself and do not go out beyond himself. Hence this thought does not know the world and the world is unnecessary to it. This thought did not create the world and it does not direct the world. The God of Aristotle as the most perfect being is necessary to the world, since He is the necessary condition for the world's eternal motion. Yet he does not cause motion as its efficient cause, but only as its final cause, as the highest good in itself, which is the object of contemplation for the highest sphere of the "heavens" and is known and loved by this sphere-intelligence. In loving this cosmic god, the sphere-intelligence of the pure heavens puts itself into a circular motion and thus becomes the motive power, like the wheel of a mill, for the entire machine of the world and all the various motions of this gigantic structure. In the Aristotelian cosmos, it is only through real motion that all the being-substances are able to become joined together in one cosmic order and one world. Hence the Aristotelian god is necessary to the world as the object of the love of the first sphere of the "heavens", for it is only love toward such a god which can release cosmic motion and thus ultimately life on earth. The whole world is fastened into a unity by motion; thus only an analysis of motion can lead to the recognition of the Aristotelian god. In our analysis of motion we should investigate its various forms, so that we may in the end arrive at the "first unmoved mover". at a god conceived as the object of the love and contemplation of the first heavens.

The image of God presented by Aristotle is completely contained in Aristotle's philosophical system. But a "god" thus conceived as almost completely cut off from the world, knowing nothing of the world, not responsible for the world, who is not any "providence", is, after all, unnecessary for man in his personal experiences.

Let us consider another philosophical conception of God, that of Duns Scotus. In his philosophical analysis he begins from the concept of being as being, i.e. of being as the object of metaphysics. For Scotus, being as being is so "abstract" and undetermined in itself that it may refer in a neutral manner, but always in the same sense, to everything that is. For him "metaphysics cannot be tempted to grasp the acts of existence (ipsum esse), which according to St. Thomas is the core of each being. Existing beings are in the final analysis irreducibly distinct from one another; they cannot provide metaphysics with an object which would be one object. In the aim of securing the unity of its object, and subsequently the possibility of metaphysics itself, metaphysics must consider the concept of being in its highest degree of abstraction, when it becomes a concept which can be applied in the same sense to all that is".

For Duns Scotus, the key to understanding being is the concept of nature which is drawn from Avicenna. Being is that which first falls under the intellect; it is intellectually cognoscible reality, the nature of being as being. Avicenna teaches that of themselves natures are neither general nor universal. If the nature of a horse were general, then no individual horse could exist, and if it were individual only one horse would exist. Natures are only that which they are. The nature of being is all that being is. Being as the object of metaphysics is rich in possibilities and is the same as reality. Being itself, in itself modified in various ways, is expressed in the modes of being. The two first modes of being are finitude and infinity. God is the being of an infinite mode of being. To prove that God exists is the same as to prove that there is, or exists, an infinite being. The power of the proof for the existence of God completely resides in the understanding of being as being, as being is proposed by Duns Scotus. Here the chief role is played by two properties of being: causality and creatability. They point to an uncaused and first being which as such is not positively limited by anything. If we posit an intellect and will to infinity (which appears to us as completely knowable as being) this coheres well with the conception of the infinity of the divine being.

Now, this conception of God, although according to Duns Scotus the introductory concept of God is drawn from Catholic theology, still does not appear to be consistent with this theology. On the one hand, if being as being is a nature which is univocally realized in everything, then we encounter the germ of ontic monism. Although Duns Scotus distinguishes between univocity in logical predication and metaphysical univocity, where this "nature of being" is not full (it is filled basically through the major and primary modes of existence which become more and more modified), still in the "nature of being" which is still not full, we encounter univocity, the radical identity of being. Here lies the heart of the matter. This is already the germ of monism. Through being as being (the nature of being) there comes the identity of all beings, of God and creatures, and this is an identity in the very "nature of being". It is true that such a nature of being is in itself "not full" and that, in the best circumstance, it is made full through external modifications; in such a perspective there arises two possibilities: either a/ the "nature of being as being" is really with respect to nature identical in God and in the creature, in which case there is identity in the deepest "heart" of being, and thus real monism, or b/ the first modification modify being to such an extent that there is no longer anything in common between the "nature of being" in God and the "nature of being" in creatures, in which case we are dealing with agnosticism and there remains only the "flatus vocis" of "being" as something common to all.

Of course, in Duns Scotus we are fundamentally dealing with a religious, revealed conception of God, a conception which was to be explained as rational in the language of philosophy. But after such a philosophical explanation is hard to find at the very foundations any coherence between the God of religion and the God of philosophy. The appeal to the concept of "infinity" is secondary in relation to the fundamental conception of the "nature of being", and furthermore, it is basically a flight to a fundamentally indefinite concept, for it is a negative concept, a concept which man makes for himself against the background of a limited reality which he somehow understands in a positive manner.

The thought of Descartes is an example of yet another philosophical conception of God. He built a splendid system of metaphysics and of physics based precisely on the "corner stone" of the idea of God. His thought lent itself well to a purely scientific interpretation of the world. The foundation of Descartes's proof for the existence of God is the"clear and distinct idea" of a thinking, uncreated, independent substance, an idea which is innate in the human intellect. Why does such a concept exist in us? It is because we have an innate concept of an infinite, self-existing, omnipotent being who is one and unique. God cannot be conceived as non-existent. If our innate concept of God is the concept of the most perfect substance, then it is contradictory for him not to exist, for then there would be no concept of a most perfect being. Existence is inseparable from God and thus he exists by necessity. Here we see a repetition of the old error of Anselm. Existence belongs to God as it is identical to Him, but does existence belong to the idea of God which we possess? If our idea of God were God, then such thinking would be faultless, but since we operate with our ideas, which exist only by our existence, the idea of God exists only by our existence. Thus the idea of God which exists in us by our existence cannot "create God Himself, for He is EXISTENCE. This is a fundamental error. After Anselm, Duns Scotus, Descartes and Kant would fall into the same error. These philosophers' ignorance of the history of philosophy took its toll at the very start when they were forming the principles of their systems. Descartes borrowed the idea of God as necessarily existing from Christian thought; he himself did not reflect upon the fact that he had borrowed it, for he intended to work with only clear and distinct ideas, regardless of what their historical context might have been. E. Gilson was correct when he wrote that the Cartesian God "was from the beginning the Christian God. Not only was he an entirely subsistent being, like the God of St. Thomas Aquinas, but Descartes wanted to make him even more so, if that were at all possible. His God was not only a pure act of existence, who did not have any cause for his existence; he was, as it were, the infinite power of the self-existence and, if one may say so, he was for himself the cause of his own existence... If we...could pose both concepts of cause and effect that they would not overlap, then, at least in this one case, the infinitely powerful, self-causing Being would perhaps have been the least inadequate of all approximate human expressions about God". Yet Descartes's natural theology was not and could not be limited only to the consideration of God and his attributes, but "it conceived in the way that they must be conceived if they are to correspond to the existence of the Cartesian world". This is an exclusively mechanistic world "where everything can be explained by the geometric properties of space and the physical laws of motion". The Cartesian God must be absolutely coherent with the universe thus conceived. Hence God must be looked not under the aspect of what He is in himself, but in relation to such a world as appears in Descartes vision. Here God is the infinite source of existence for the world, he is its cause. As the cause of the Cartesian world, he must possess the attributes which are in keeping with such a vision of the world. The world is spatially infinite, and so its Creator is also infinite: "Descartes' mechanical world was based on the assumption that in the universe there was always the same amount of motion; hence Descartes' God must be immobile and unchanging, and the laws established by his will could not be changed unless the world were to be destroyed first." In a word, God became the guarantee and the chief principle of the Cartesian system.

Although Descartes began from the conception of the Christian God such as religion had presented it to him, nevertheless he gave it a working over and "created" a new idea of God. He wished to acknowledge this idea as God,, but it was a lost cause. His concept of God was only the conception of the first principle in the edifice of his philosophical system. Such a God could not be the God of religion. Pascal protested immediately against such a God: "The Christian God is not exclusively the creator of geometrical laws and the order of the elements; that is the belief of the pagans and the Epicureans;...but the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob. The God of Christians is the God of mercy and consolation; He is the God who fills the souls and hearts of those whom he possesses". The Cartesian conception of God as the creator of nature consequently made "nature" itself into the God of the learned, for whom "nature" would be the ultimate source of intelligibility. It is thus not strange that Spinoza said: "Deus sive natura" -"God is the absolute essence whose internal necessity makes necessary the coming into being of everything which is, just as everything which is "contains necessarily in itself the eternal and infinite essence of God". Thus the "God" of the philosophers annihilated the God of religion.

In the whole drama of how the God of religion and the God of philosophy were variously conceived in the history of human thought, there was one interesting case in which both of these concepts were treated as one and the same: this happened in St. Thomas Aquinas, who identified them on the canvas of his understanding of reality. This was not a case of theology or religion exerting some a priori influence. After all, such a priori influences as arose in many philosophical systems, as in Duns Scotus, or even Descartes, ended at times in a deep split between these two concepts. Thomas, although he was a theologian, in order to guarantee the rationality of theology had to work with two fundamental philosophical issues, namely the conception of reality or being and the conception of man. Without an understanding of reality or being one cannot sensibly speak of God as a real being, and without a grounded understanding of man, one cannot create a theology addressed to man who is at the same time the one addressed in Revelation.

The religious conception of God was known from the Book of Exodus (3:13-14) as revealed to Moses in the burning bush: "I AM WHO AM". The reception of the Bible in the Hellenic world brought into relief the name of God "YAHWEH-I AM, when the Septuagint translated this name as "ho on - "He who is" and not as "being" "to on" - "that which is". The author of the speech against the Greeks (in the writing of St. Justin) noted that what Plato said is the same as what the Christians are saying when they call God BEING, with this exception: "HE WHO IS" is without doubt THAT WHICH IS, but not every "that, which is" can be called "HE WHO IS". Thus only He could be the one addressed in the prayer of Israel "Hear o Israel, YAHWEH is our God - YAHWEH ALONE" (Deut. 6:4).

The biblical transmission of the conception of God and of the conception of the creation of the world also fertilized Arab thought, especially Avicenna, in a corrected understanding of the reality of being. Namely, the role of the fact of existence was perceived, existence specially joined with God, who is conceived as "necesse esse". Also, for the first time existence was perceived as the non-necessary feature-accident of being. In the understanding of St. Thomas and St. Albert, existence was recognized as the act of being, as the factor which constitutes the facticity of being. From that time on, being-reality appears to human philosophical cognition as in agreement with common sense understanding - as "that which exists", "that which possesses existence". Therefore being is not some more or less abstractly conceived necessary nature, a nature which is simple in its structure and absolutely identical, but being is an individual, concrete, even changing - but existing nature. Existence realizes and actualizes this nature, and it is the factor on account of which being is truly being. Each being is a real being only when it exists. Although the existence of each being, just as its nature, is unique and unrepeatable, nevertheless it is common to all reality that this existence, which is proportional to each nature, realizes and actualizes nature to be a real being. Existence itself, as the act of an individual essence, a simple act which cannot be grasped in a concept, is not separate from essence, although it is really non-identical with its own essence. If in being act is conceived as existence, really different from its essence, neither originating from or reducible to essence, then it points of necessity to such a BEING whose "essence is existence". This is God, the same God who is the object of religion - "HE WHO IS". Every being which exists is necessarily joined to him through the act of existence. The God whose essence is existence, the God of religion, is at the same time the God of philosophy, since in such a concept of God are actualized all the definitions of God to which philosophy attained through the minds of its best thinkers. Only if God is conceived in this manner can he not be used as a more or less univocally conceived "principle" for some system. God, understood in this way, is the Absolute Transcendens both in existence and in our cognition. In cognition He is also unattainable as the object of this cognition, but in a mediate manner, through an understanding of the contingency of being, He who, as PURE EXISTENCE, is a mystery frees the mind from the absurdity of contradiction; He makes the whole of reality intelligible as a result of which man can feel rationally "at home", since being is radically divided from nonbeing, just as reality itself is different from its negation in thought.

The religious and the philosophical conception of God as the ultimate reason of being (and the "corner stone" for man to build his personal life through acts of knowledge, love and creativity), is without a doubt a very essential, perhaps the deepest, factor of human culture. The relation between God and man in the bosom of human culture was best expressed in St. Paul's speech in the Areopagus in Athens: " God who, having made the world and all things that are in it, is the Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made by human hands, nor, as he is not lacking in anything, needs the service of human hands, as it is he who gives life and breath and all things to all; from one man he made the human race dwell over the entire face of the earth, and he established the proper times and limits of their habitation so that they might seek God, so that they might grope their way to Him and find him, FOR IN HIM WE LIVE, MOVE AND HAVE OUR BEING"(Acts 17, 24-28). This religious text of Christian revelation is at the same time the highest expression of what metaphysics has to say about the world's relation to God. At the same time it shows the religious aspect of creation's bond with God. We see the essentially religious bond with God, who is the ultimate reason of being; through His gift of the act of existence (contingent existence) He is closer to the creature, especially man, than the creature is to itself. It is the act of existence which is the core of being, its act; God, in giving the act of being through existence, "contains in himself" everything that is created and really exists. Saint Paul's words, which refer to Greek thought, mythology and philosophy, add a new religious perspective to them the philosophical content of which was brought out by St. Thomas. If the religious beliefs of the Greeks had acknowledged the existence of tribal "gods" as the reason of human life, since life and death come from the gods, then the God revealed in Christianity is the "reason of life" in a deeper manner, for "in him we live", we know, love, create... In saying this, St. Paul is saying the same thing as John the Evangelist in the prologue of his Gospel: "en auto zoe en" - in Him was life". Furthermore, Paul makes reference to the conception of motion and the widespread doctrine of the "First Mover". But the God revealed in Christianity is not the "Mover from outside", but "from inside", since in HIM we move... Hence the Greek conception of motion has been immensely widened to include all motion, even the spiritual manifestations of motion, since "we move in HIM" who is a spirit. Paul adds a third element hitherto unknown to Greek thought, namely, that "in HIM we are-exist".

For the first time God has been defined as He in Whom we exist - einai. In his speech at the areopagus in Athens, Paul is probably consciously referring to the conception of God which is already present in Hellenic thought, which comes from the Book of Exodus as YAHWEH, translated in the Septuagint as "ho on", "HE WHO IS". Although there was in Hebrew culture no philosophical tradition or any abstract idea of God, and although in Greek thought, which was very abstract, there was no understanding of existence and its role in being, in both the Old and the New Testament there appear unexpected accents when God is called by the name EXISTENCE. Of course exegetes of the Sacred Scriptures, as they must in keeping with the exegetical method accepted nowadays after positivism, exclude any understanding of the texts which does not cohere with the language which is used in the bible, and they must interpret the language used in the bible in the spirit of the culture of those times in which that language was used, still the Christian tradition of the Fathers of the Church and of the great doctors of the Church understood these texts and so interpreted them up to the fourteenth century, to the times of Duns Scotus, William Ockham and Meister Eckhard, precisely as the revelation of THE NAME OF GOD: "HE WHO IS". If one were to consistently accept the tendencies of the naturalistic interpretation of the Bible, then properly speaking one would have negate Revelation itself, and perhaps even the very possibility of God's revelation.

Whatever the case may be, the name of God as the self-existing, personal BEING-EXISTENCE was translated into the Greek language still before Christianity appeared; it entered cultural consciousness and was confirmed by the Gospel, especially the Gospel of John, in which Jesus calls himself "I AM". In the high point of the transmission of revelation in St. Paul (Acts of the Apostles, 17) during his speech at the Areopagus to cultural Greeks who knew philosophy and philosophical terms, there was presented an understanding of God as Him, in whom we live, move, exist; it was said that God is in Himself Life (as Aristotle stated), that He is the First Mover (which is also in the Aristotelian tradition), and reference was made to the name of God "HE WHO IS" for in Him we are - esmen. It was such an understanding of God which functioned in the Christian tradition. It was particularly supported by Arab thought, the though of Avicenna, in which the problematics of real existence also appeared as the problematics of contingent being. Although existence was conceived by Avicenna as a specific accident, Thomas Aquinas taught that it is the act of being, that it was the factor which constitutes the beingness of being. The concept of contingent being worked out by St. Thomas was joined ultimately with the already traditional understanding of God., whose name is "HE WHO IS". Thus all of reality, everything which is a really existing being, is by reason of its contingent existence joined by necessity with God, whose essence is existence. This was the one place in the history of human thought where the God of religion and the God of philosophy came into contact. It seemed that this would be henceforth the stable heritage of philosophy. Unfortunately, however, a different understanding and interpretation of "the Name of God" in Duns Scotus and William Ockham was already directing philosophical thought on abstractive or content-based concrete tracks of the mental understanding of being as basically the concept of being.

4.Religion in the face of other areas of culture

As we now turn our attention not so much to the object of religion, as to its subject, i.e. man himself, we see that religion is inseparable not only from the particular human person, but also inseparable from entire societies. The ultimate reason is the structure of the person-being, who develops his potentialities as a person i.e. his reason and will, only in relation to other people, together with whom he forges a special social bond. Without other people, man cannot develop his own cognition or love, he cannot release his acts of decision and creativity. Thus the phenomenon of religion , which is closely associated with the personal aspect of the human being, is be the same token a social phenomenon. This is corroborated by facts, since in all religion we notice a social dimension in the form of the social experience of religion, both in the family and in broader societies. It is enough to turn our attention to community religious services, to common gatherings of people, that they may better pray, offer sacrifices, deepen their religious experience on pilgrimages, processions, celebrations, building temples together. There are also religions which are by nature political, as, for example, certain branches of Islam, where there is no division between religion and politics, between the religious society and the political society. Although we may recognize this as an excess, still we cannot go the other extreme and say that the religion of a man, of the other person, is a private, nonsocial matter, since the very concept of the human person is by necessity involved in society, and man's experience as a person possesses by its very nature a social character. Hence also, religion must permeate the other social forms of human life. And this is in fact the way it is. Never in the history of humanity has there been a "private religion" , one not confessed socially and which did not exert its influence on society, on a human group not accidentally united.

Is this to say that between religion and the other streams of human cultural life there are necessary relations built exclusively and simply on cultural facts? Is this to say that there exist any immediate relations built upon science, which is objectively conceived as a collection of justified, systematized, intersubjectively verifiable theses, and religion? Are there necessary any relations between acts of morality and acts of religion? The matter is somewhat complicated and to simplify it would lead to unacceptable consequences for man.

The most generally formulated answer to all these question would be that such relations exist between all streams of culture, between cognition, morality, art and religion; the subject and aim of all the manifestations of culture always run through man. This means that one cannot treat human activities as if they were an autonomous reality, and in particular one cannot treat religion as a self existing thing and separate it from the human person. All the threads of culture come together through man and in man, coming together into relations which are specific to them, relations which bear the stamp of the individual person's character. If, for example, we were to consider the much discussed relations of science and religion, we would see that these two domains of human rational life are very stormy indeed. Science basically is concerned with the "reistic"(1) relations of being which join by different modes of relation (deduction, reduction, various functions) with other reistic relations. If we intend to explain some fact, we must first present it or describe it. By the nature of things we approach the fact which are given to us to explain in a selective and aspective manner. I do not know everything in the thing. Thus I know that which I can know, which I wish to know, that which is necessary to me in my knowledge of the thing (fact). In a word, I comprehend only certain of the thing's features, and in my cognition I leave uncomprehended other features which enrich the content of the thing. From those features which I have grasped from the known thing I must construct some one object given to me in cognition. Thus I join the features which are grasped in to one "bundle" of relations which are drawn from the thing itself. Thus there are "bundles" of reistic relations which comprehend in a thing that same aspect of the thing which must be explained in cognition. I explain this bundle of reistic relations (these relation constitute from he the "fact" which is given for explanation) by matching them up with other cognitively comprehended reistic relations which let me understand and in my own way justify the fact given for explanation, whether this be by way of deduction, or some kind of reduction, or by some matching operation expressed in mathematical functions. Thus the scientific interpretation of reality is its purely "reistic" explanation through the maximally objective system of the thing which appears as some bond of relations.

Be that as it may, religion expresses the personal bond of man with the Transcendens (God) conceived as the real relation which provides a rational ground for my personal acts of cognition, love, decision, creativity. It is man who basically in his personal acts of decision is joined with God as the author(2), end-telos, or ultimate exemplar. If we are to give the rational grounds for the acts of a person, this must be done in terms of the person, not in terms of mere things. The ultimate rational grounding (through a real reference to God) of the acts of persons is the domain of religion. The field of religion and the field of science are different in man, just as the field of personal experiences in relation to the person, and the field of cognitive reistic experiences in reference to things. Rational justifications of the religious type are closer to the way in which one person experiences another than are rational justifications of the "reistic" type, i.e. in terms of mere things. If a man says that he loves someone, then when we try to understand this fact we reach for something along the lines of a religious type of rational justification, rather than one in terms of mere things. We do not seek to explain this fact by associating it with purely reistic relations; we do not explain the fact of love by associating it with the temperature of the organism, the circulations of blood, the secretion of hormones, but we associate this fact with the other person whose personal characteristics are the reason for this love. Of course we may look for reistic reasons, for example, in the form of a bigger bank account, but such an explanation would rather be an object of irony. The other person - above all the person of the Transcendens - is conceived as the ultimate reason which really gives a rational justification for man's acts as a person (He is the one addressed in these acts). This is the domain of religion.

Of course, religion possesses in its general structure also a cognitively informative field; this is expressed in the form of a system of propositions which concern what it means to be a man, a person. These "religious judgements" are sometimes associated with the judgements of science and sometimes they are in opposition to them. If they are in opposition to them, what then? Above all we state that the character of scientific explanation and the character of religious explanation are different. Religious explanation is completely bound up with the personal aspect of man, with an aspect which is by the nature of things inaccessible to science. If in certain aspects the objects of scientific explanation and of religious explanation are joined, then - from the point of view of the object - we must consider the cognitive methods of religion and science. If it is a question of judgements in the domain of religion, then it is important to remember what St. Augustine said long ago: "Deus non revelavit nobis quomodo coelum itur, sed quomodo ad coelum pervenitur" - God did not reveal to us "how the heavens go" but how to go to heaven. Religious propositions concerns the affairs of man, who, through his personal acts (knowledge, love, creativity) which are focussed in decision, acts (he want or does not want this) in the perspective of the Transcendens, God, who "leads" man to his ultimate destiny, to liberation from evil and to the fulfilment of the human person by the good of participation in God's life. This terrain of religious judgements lies completely beyond the range of science in the sense presented above. Thus there can be no opposition between propositions which belong strictly to the domain of religion and proposition which belong to the field of science.

Since the one addressed in revelation and in religious judgements is man living in the real world, scientific and religious propositions concerning how the world-being and man are understood can to a certain degree intersect. These are proposition which in the domain of religious faith create what are called "praeambula fidei" - "preambles of faith". In the Christian religion, among such propositions are the truth about the creation of the world by God, and about the immortality and eternal permanence of the soul. Each, however, who understands the range of the propositions of science at once knows that in this domain science has nothing to say. Science has no cognitive tools (in the sphere of its cognitive, verifiable and intersubjectively sensible activities) whereby it can state that the world was either created or not created. Neither is it in any way "entitled", according to the principles of scientific knowledge, to make any meaningful pronouncement on the mortality or immortality of the human soul. These matters do not enter into the range of scientific investigations, unless we take "science" in a broader sense and include in it the rational cognition which is in force in the domain of philosophy. Philosophy is really qualified to discuss and explain the issues raised here. But the course philosophical reasoning shall take is dependent upon the object and the method which is adapted to the object of its explanation. In the objective point of view (not an a priori or arbitrary point of view) matter touching religion were explained by philosophy complementarily in relation to religion. Thus also in the order of knowledge, religion has its own important tasks, to show man the ultimate sense of what it is to be a man, to ennoble by inspiration human activities, which in the perspective of merely scientific explanation do not acquire an ultimately human expression.

Attention is often turned to the strict association of religion and morality. There really have appeared in the history of human culture various commands and prohibitions in a religious context. This is particularly sharp in "taboo" systems, but all other forms of religion are to a greater or lesser extent associated with moral commands and prohibitions. It may even be noted that it is precisely the great monotheistic religions which were particularly associated with morality, and which provided various rational justifications for the positive practice of morality. In Christian culture there constantly arose tendencies to join morality with religion to such a degree that a moral life is supposed to become the criterion for a religious life. This was very sharply formulated by Jesus Christ in the command to love one's neighbour, and through love of one's neighbour one's own religious life is verified: "whatever you do to the least of these you do to me". Among theologian-moralists there constantly appear attempts to construct ethics as a theory of morality on an exclusively biblical canvas, sometimes with a downgrading of the natural human dispositions which appear in the "voice of conscience" as it expresses itself in the chief practical judgement "do good".

As we consider these various purely philosophical issues, we must turn our attention to the difference between the object of religion and the object of morality, as religion and morality are taken in the strict sense, which does not exclude their interconnection. When we distinguish between the domain of religion and morality, we should not separate and divide them from each other, since they are very strictly joined in human activity and often come in the form of one human act of decision which is at the same time a religious and a moral act; thus the act acquires a twofold specificity. It is sometimes the case in human and other activities that there is a twofold "specification" of one human act, when, for example, we wish to help a child in order to gain the kindness of its parents. Although the object of religion, God, as the ultimate reason for my activities as a person, is not the formal object of morality, since the object of morality is being as the good, nevertheless in one and the same conscious, freely willed human act I can and do perform some moral deed and, at the same time, through this act I express my religious bond with God. What is more, I can conceive of God as the highest good, as that which constitutes the ultimate end of my every deed and thus I can join my moral conduct still more strongly with my religion. Furthermore, religion can provide living models of conduct, in the form of the life of Jesus Christ who said of himself "I am the way, the truth and the life", which in the final analysis means that He - conceived as God incarnate - is the source of life, the model in life and the final end as the ultimate fulfillment of this human life.

When we consider that man releases human, i.e. conscious and freely willed activity from himself only by way of an act of decision and that by its nature this act of decision is an moral act (being), that morality is inseparable from human conduct-activity, we see that this human activity is connected not only with religious acts, but with all human acts, i.e., conscious and freely willed acts. Thus morality is the act of decision of activity and it penetrates not only religious acts, but also cognitive acts and acts of creativity, not in the sense that the content of science or art would be of itself in its content morally good or evil, but it means that this release of activity from oneself is no longer morally neutral. It is no longer morally neutral whether or not I act, or whether I act badly or well in the domain of science or art. Thus not only the act of morality and religion gains a twofold specification, a specification which originates from the various proper objects of these activities, but also freely elicited acts of creativity or of theoretical cognition (including scientific cognition) obtain such a twofold specification.

Notice is often taken of the special connection between religion and art, that the theme of