DOI 10.12887/33-2020-1-129-17

Autonomy as Self-transcendence in Truth: On the Ethics Rooted in the Lived Experience of History and of the Eternal Truths

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The article addresses one of the most important aspects of the ethics developed by Tadeusz Styczeń, namely, that of the interdependence of freedom and truth, discussing also the related issue of identity and self-transcendence. First, the author describes seven areas of the debate initiated either by Styczeń himself or by his adversaries, at the same time showing his ethics as grounded in the lived experience of both history and the eternal truths. Next, the author presents a distinction, proposed by Styczeń, between two ways of discovering truth: by external cognition and by an act of conscience, where acknowledging truth is tantamount to the subject’s self-affirmation. Styczeń argued that truth, once it is known, must be acted upon by a person and thus acknowledged by her in particular situations of her life. Remaining faithful to the Aristotelian and Thomistic tradition, Styczeń explored ‘particular’ truths found in current existential contexts and attested to in an actual persons’ lives. He described the human being as an individual who exists but in a relation to society and not merely as a thinking and knowing subject, separated from others. In Styczeń’s view, the experience of personhood is the starting point for the search for truth and goodness. The concluding part of the text focuses on the influence of Styczeń’s ideas on Polish and international intellectual milieus and on an analysis of his diagnosis of the crisis of the European thought.

Keywords: truth, freedom, identity, transcendence, polemics, influence/impact

The article is a modified version of the paper delivered during the seminar “On Personal Identity and Transcendence: Insights into the Ideas put forward by Tadeusz Styczeń in his ‘Być sobą to przekraczać siebie,’” held by the John Paul II Institute at the Catholic University of Lublin on 13 December 2019.

Contact: Katedra Antropologii Filozoficznej i Etyki, Instytut Filozofii Chrześcijańskiej, Papieski Wydział Teologiczny w Warszawie,
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  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. e-ISSN 2720-5355
  3. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 100.00
  4. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  5. DOI Prefix 10.12887