Personalism and Metaphysics
Is Personalism a First Philosophy?
by Juan Manuel Burgos (Universidad Villanueva, Spain)
Juan Manuel Burgos presents his own version of personalism, which is nevertheless well rooted in the personalist tradition. He has been developing his project for years and is among a group of world-renowned personalists who study the complexity and mystery of the human person. His new book deals with the relationship between personalism and metaphysics. He poses the question of whether personalism can be considered a first philosophy. The answer is positive: it is indeed a sectorial first philosophy, which may or may not be supported by traditional metaphysical projects, especially Thomistic ones. Not every personalist has to agree with its final thesis, although its position is well-founded and deserves much scholarly attention. It provokes further questions and opens up new areas of personalist discussion. This book confirms that personalism is a dynamic and growing school of thought that goes beyond describing the mere phenomena of the person and seeks deeper reasons for his being. I highly recommend this book as a new step to help us better understand the reality of the human person.
Dr. Grzegorz Holub
The Pontifical University of John Paul II
Cracow - Poland
The work “Personalism and Metaphysics” by Professor Juan Manuel Burgos offers an original confrontation between personalist thought and the metaphysical tradition, which can be summed up in one question: does personalism need a metaphysical foundation? To answer this question, Prof. Burgos analyzes the fundamental contents of what has historically been called the “metaphysics of being,” that of the Aristotelian-Thomist school. Three fundamental intuitions emerge from this presentation: the first, that the Aristotelian categorization is not acceptable due to its universality and its difficulty in representing what is specifically human; the second, the possible use of the Thomistic distinction between being and essence, at least intending to consider human life as a creation that bears multiple potentialities; and third, a new understanding of the relationship between the sciences that is more faithful to the experience of the human person. In short, the conclusion of Prof. Burgos is clear: personalism, at least in the version that he proposes (his “integral personalism”) does not need to rely on a specific metaphysics because it is already by itself, a metaphysics, or, said otherwise, a first philosophy capable of providing a coherent sense of reality.
Dr. Eduardo Pérez Pueyo
Centro Regional de Estudios Teológicos de Aragón, Zaragoza, Spain
Personalism seeks to understand the person in its richness, complexity, and unity, and, to achieve this goal, it has developed a rich and solid anthropology as well as an ethic of the person that is having repercussions in the philosophical and sociopolitical sphere. But what is the value of this philosophy? Does it offer a mere description of the reality of a phenomenological type, or does it penetrate to the bottom of what exists, offering its intelligible essence? Does it offer an ultimate explanation of the person, or is her vision subordinated to a deeper and more decisive one that would correspond to metaphysics?
To answer these questions, the author, an international expert in personalist philosophy, first defines the various meanings in which the term metaphysics can be understood and, secondly, does a comparison between personalism, in particular, integral Personalism, and the metaphysics of being. The analysis concludes that personalism can be considered a first sectoral philosophy, that is, a philosophy that does not need other philosophical referents to establish itself as a philosophy thanks to its direct access to experience, where the person is found.
This conclusion is based on the epistemology of integral experience and imposes a review of the traditional role of metaphysics and its connection with anthropology in general and Personalism in particular.
1 What should we understand as metaphysics?
1.1 Metaphysics as Overall Knowledge about Reality, or Worldview
1.2 Metaphysics as First Philosophy or a Radical Area of Knowledge
1.3 Metaphysics as Guardian of Meaning or a Philosophy Capable of Proportioning Stable Truths
1.4 Metaphysics as Metaphysics of Being
2 Essential Features of the Metaphysics of Being
2.1 The Object of Metaphysics
2.2 “Being is spoken of in many ways”: the contents of metaphysics
2.3 The Unity of Metaphysics
2.4 Essence and Act of Being
2.5 Structural Features of the Metaphysics of Being
3 From Universalistic Metaphysics to Personalism as a First Philosophy in Anthropology
3.1 The Anthropological Deficiencies of the Aristotelian Categories
3.2 Personalist Categories
3.3 Do universal categories exist?
4 On What Is There: Being and/or Person
4.1 The Essence/Act of Being Structure as Foundation of Reality: Anthropological Implications
4.2 Is Being Impersonal? On the Possibility of a Personalist Metaphysics
4.3 Does Being Exist? Toward a Metaphysics of the Ens or of the Real
5 Integral Experience as First Epistemology
5.1 Essential Features of Integral Experience
5.2 A Radical Epistemology
Conclusion: Personalism as a First Philosophy
Juan Manuel Burgos is a personalist philosopher that has developed the theory of Integral Personalism. He is the founder and president of the Spanish Association of Personalism (www.personalismo.org), the Iberoamerican Association of Personalism and the Journal “Quién”. He is also the Director of the Online Master’s Degree in Philosophical Anthropology (UDIMA – Anáhuac) and Professor at Universidad Villanueva (Madrid).
He has published numerous scientific articles and books, including 'An Introduction to personalism' (CUA Press 2018), 'Personalist Anthropology: a philosophical guide to life' (Vernon Press 2022), 'Repensar la naturaleza humana' (2017) and 'La Fuente originaria. Una teoría del conocimiento' (2023). His works have been translated into English, German, Polish and Portuguese.
personalism / anthropology / metaphysics / Aristotle / Thomas Aquinas / Marion / Zubiri / integral experience