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DOI 10.12887/29-2016-4-116-03



Ks. Robert SKRZYPCZAK – ‘Person’—‘Substance’—‘Relation.’ Antonio Rosmini: A Forerunner of European Personalism


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The great intellecutal and spiritual project undertaken by Antonio Rosmini was to build up a coherent and mature ‘truth-system’ which would embrace a synthesis of philosophical and theological thinking. According to Rosmini, the recognition of the human being as ‘person’ is feasible only within the ordo essendi (order of being). Rosmini considered the category of ‘person’ as the most significant accomplishment in the entire history of philosophy. Thus his own project focused on the precise definition of ‘person.’ He held that the person should constitute the highest principle regulating human actions. However, a fully grasp of Rosmini’s ideas involves a direct reference to the Christian conceptions relating the human person to the Three-Person God: The stronger the relation in which the person subsists, the stronger the person’s identity. Unlike Thomas Aquinas, who attributed the status of subsistent relations to the Divine Persons only, Rosmini proposed that the category of ‘subsistent relation’ should equally apply to the status of the human being as ‘person’. Rosmini’s continuous efforts to appreciate the value of the human person resulted in his laying the foundations of personalism, which was in time developed by the succeeding generation of philosophers. The personalist approach worked out by Rosmini contributed not only to the origin of a possibly fullest definition of ‘person,’ but also to the realization that—in the ontological sense—the entire universe is focused on the person. Despite the fact that Rosmini never considered himself a pioneer of personalism, his accomplishments—in particular his idea that the new approach to intellectual research must make the person its main focus—make him the father of the personalist inspiration throughout Europe.

Translated by Dorota Chabrajska

Keywords: person, intelligent subject, subsistent relation, personalism, truth-system, intellectual love, new personality in Christ

Contact: Pontifical Faculty of Theology in Warsaw, Collegium Joanneum,
ul. Dewajtis 3, 01-815 Warsaw, Poland

E-mail: Robert Skrzypczak@poczta.onet.pl
Phone: + 48 22 8699890



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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887