Skip to main content

Jacques Maritain on Personality

    In the course of my research on Descartes I stumbled across the book "Three Reformers: Luther, Descartes & Rousseau" by Jacques Maritain. His remarks about personality are quite interesting. He gives a quote from Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, who says,

    "the full development of our poor personality consists in losing it in some way in that of God, Who alone possesses personality in the perfect sense of the word, for He alone is absolutely independent in His being and action. (p. 24-25)"

    He says, a little bit later, "But did the saints set out to develop their personality? They found it without seeking it, because they did not seek it, but God alone. They understood that their person, just in so far as it was person, in so far as it was free, was complete dependence on God, and that the inner mastery over our acts which we cannot resign to man or angel they must deliver into the hands of God, by Whose Spirit they must be moved in order to be His sons. (p. 25-26)"

    Earlier he noted that a person is a complete substance that is rational in nature and is the source of its actions (p. 19). Personality, then, is the spiritual side of us, the intellectual or rational side of us. As such we should not be seeking to find our personality in others, or in what we do, but in God alone.

Popular posts from this blog

How Kant’s Synthesis of Empiricism and Rationalism resulted in Agnosticism

Immanuel Kant, presented with the extreme empiricism of Hume and the extreme rationalism of Liebniz, which he discovered through the writings Wolff, sought to take a middle road between these two extreme philosophical positions. I would submit that Kant’s synthesis of these two views leads to an agnosticism about what Kant called “the thing-in-itself”, and ultimately to the philosophical positions known as Atheism, determinism, and nihilism.

Kant’s Sources
First of all, Kant was influenced by Hume’s empiricism and Newton’s physics. He saw that the physical sciences, in contrast to rationalistic metaphysics, were actually making advances. They were making discoveries, and building a system of knowledge that accurately described the world of our sense perceptions. Rationalistic metaphysics, on the other hand, was floundering amidst the combating systems that the philosophers were erecting. It did not provide new knowledge, and only led to unacceptable conclusions, such as the Absolute Mon…

A Short outline of Charles Taylor's: The Malaise of Modernity

            This is simply an outline of Taylor’s basic argument in this short work written by Charles Taylor. The idea of this outline is to help the reader understand the book by providing a simple outline of the basic argument that Taylor is presenting here. The book, which is essentially the manuscript is the fruit of a series of presentations that Taylor made at the Massey Conferences which are hosted by Massey College and Radio-Canada, is divided into 10 chapters. In the first chapter Taylor essentially proposes three causes (recognizing that there may be more) of the Malaise of Modernity: (1) Individualism or the Loss of Sense, (2) The Primacy of Instrumental Reason or the Loss of Ends, and (3) The effect on society and politics in general of the loss of sense to an inauthentic individualism and the domination of instrumental reason, or, the loss of true freedom. Taylor considers the first Malaise in chapters 2 to 8, the second in c…


Leisure: The Basis of Culture & the Philosophical Act. Josef Pieper. Translated by Alexander Dru. 1963. Reprint, Ignatius Press, 2009. 143 pp. $12.99. ISBN 978-1-58617-256-5.
            This book is composed of two articles written by the German philosopher Josef Pieper. Though the two articles are intimately connected, they form two distinct works; as such, this book review will begin by giving a brief introduction to the works in question, followed by and exposition of each of the works individually. The two articles that are included in this book, Leisure: the Basis of Culture and The Philosophical Act, were both published in 1947, and, as such, were written during the cultural crisis in Germany that followed the Second World War. Not only did Pieper have the cultural crisis in mind when he wrote these articles, but he was also writing in light of the works of the most well-known German philosopher of the time – Martin Heidegger. As such, any reader who is familiar with Heidegg…