Personalist Anthropology: A philosophical guide to life

by Juan Manuel Burgos (Universidad Villanueva, Spain)

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Juan Manuel Burgos has provided the first fully systematic articulation of personalism in English since E.S. Brightman's unfinished masterpiece “Person and Reality” appeared in 1958. Much has happened during those six decades, including personalists such as Martin Luther King, Jr., and John Paul II working successfully to bring down the world and national powers that fail to recognize the dignity of persons as the highest value. Having gone through six editions in Spanish, it is a matter of great importance finally to have this full, updated articulation of the philosophy of personalism in English for our current teaching and recording of the progress of personalist philosophy. Burgos's view is both traditional and progressive, synthesizing many strands of personalist thought for a new and complete picture of the personalist movement. The movement is growing, and this contribution to the systematization of personalism is of supreme importance to that continued growth.

Randall E. Auxier
Professor of Philosophy and Communication Studies
Southern Illinois University Carbondale

Philosophical personalism has generated a very powerful field of study in the twentieth and twenty first centuries but has not produced a systematic exposition. This book fills this big gap by offering for the first time a full systematic personalistic vision of the human person.

This ambitious volume offers a pedagogical and integrated exposition of philosophical personalism, answering vital questions about human identity and existence in a way that the reader (or student) can achieve an integrated view of the person. The book points to the real life of each person so that, by partially unraveling the mystery of the personal being, it becomes a philosophical guide for life. For these reasons, the book can be used both for academic purposes, as a manual of philosophy of man or for personal enlightenment.

Divided in five parts, the first part of the book works as an introduction, offering an overview of the human person and of the notion of person. The second part describes the internal structure of the human being addressing topics as corporeity as a personal fact; sensibility and the senses; affectivity; intelligence; freedom understood as choice and self-determination and, finally, the personal self. The third part analyses the person in action and some special types of action such as work and language. The fourth part deals with interpersonal relationships beginning with I-You relationship (friendship, love) and following with the family and the social structure. Finally, part five deals with the so-called ultimate questions, that is, those that decide the final meaning of each person’s life, namely, time, death, immortality, and religion.

Foreword to the English Edition


Part I. The Person: Man and Woman

Chapter 1 The Person: Dignity and Mystery
1.1 The Notion of Person Throughout History
1.2 What does It Mean to be a Person?
1.3 The Dignity of the Person
1.4 Human Nature

Part II. The Structure of The Person

Chapter 2 The Body
2.1 The Person: Someone Corporeal
2.2 Other Visions
2.3 What is the human body like?

Chapter 3 Sensibility and Tendencies
3.1 Sensation and Perception
3.2 Memory
3.3 Imagination
3.4 Tendencies

Chapter 4 Affectivity
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Corporeal Affectivity
4.3 Psychological Affectivity
4.4 The Heart and Spiritual Affectivity

Chapter 5 Intelligence
5.1 What Does Knowing Consist of?
5.2 How We Know: Integral Experience
5.3 Truth

Chapter 6 Freedom
6.1 What does it Mean to be Free?
6.2 “I want something”: The Essential Structure of Freedom
6.3 The Self-Fulfillment of the Person through Freedom
6.4 The Social Conditions of Freedom

Chapter 7 The Personal Self
7.1 Consciousness and the Unconscious
7.2 The Self as the Ultimate Nucleus of the Person

Part III. Spheres of Human Acting

Chapter 8 Action
8.1 The Structure of Action
8.2 Realms of Activity

Chapter 9 Language
9.1 Animal Language and Human Language
9.2 Thought and Language
9.3 Language as Action

Chapter 10 Work
10.1 Historical Outlook on the Idea of Work
10.2 Work as Action

Part IV. Others

Chapter 11 Interpersonal Relationships
11.1 Person and persons
11.2 Friendship
11.3 Love
11.4 Falling in Love

Chapter 12 The Family
12.1 The Founding of the Family: Engagement and Marriage
12.2 The Essential Human Community
12.3 The Formation of the Subject
12.4 The Place of Existence

Chapter 13 The Person in Society
13.1 Models of Social Relations
13.2 The Process of Socialization
13.3 Social Structures
13.4 Tradition

Part V. The Destiny of the Person

Chapter 14 Time, Death and Immortality
14.1 Time
14.2 What is Dying?
14.3 The Mystery of Immortality

Chapter 15 The Ultimate Questions and Religion
15.1 The Ultimate Questions
15.2 What is Religion?
15.3 Dimensions of the Phenomenon of Religion
15.4 Religion and religions



Juan Manuel Burgos is a well-known personalist philosopher, developer of the theory of Integral Personalism. He is the founder and president of the Spanish Association of Personalism, the Iberoamerican Association of Personalism and the Journal “Quién. Journal of Personalistic Philosophy”. He is also the Director of the Online Master’s Degree in Personal Anthropology at UDIMA (Online University of Madrid) and Professor at the San Pablo CEU University (Madrid).
Burgos has been a visiting professor, giving courses and conferences at universities in the United States, Europe and Latin America. He is a member of the Scientific Committee of journals in several countries and has published numerous scientific articles and books, including “An Introduction to Personalism” (Washington 2018), “Repensar la naturaleza humana” (Madrid, México 2017), “Karol Wojtyla verstehen. Eine Einführung in seine Philosophie” (Berlin, 2020), “La experiencia integral” (Madrid 2015) or “Personalismo y metafísica” (Madrid, 2021), some of which have been translated into English, German, Polish and Portuguese. He has been honored with the Medal of the Anahuac University in Humanities (Mexico), and the Humanities Research Award Ángel Herrera in 2015.

personalism, phenomenology, existentialism wojtyla, Mounier, von Hildebrand, Burgos, Marías, integral personalism, human nature, human dignity, affectivity, intelligence, person, human action, freedom, death, Self, family, interpersonal relationship, meaning of life

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Bibliographic Information

Book Title

Personalist Anthropology: A philosophical guide to life





Number of pages


Physical size

236mm x 160mm


4 B&W

Publication date

August 2022