Am „Leitseil des Wortes” zum Verständnis des Menschen. Denken mit Ferdinand Ebner und Józef Tischner

Krzysztof Skorulski


The question of the human being remains as topical as ever in spite of or even because of actual developments. We try to tackle this problem with two philosophers who focus on the subject of the „human being”: Józef Tischner and Ferdinand Ebner. Without doubt, the strength of Tischner (the Polish „philosopher of Solidarity”) is his ability to identify the main questions of his time; while Ebner’s strength is his method of „holding onto the rope of the word”. So we take advantage of each one’s strengths: we apply Ebner’s method to Tischner’s themes, to better understand the dialogical concept of the human person, an intrinsic aspect in the thought of both. First we present what it means to „hold onto the rope of the word”. For Ebner, the primordial characteristic of the human is that „man has the word”, so the „holding onto the rope” of this word means to see the human always in a dialogical, existential, actual, true and loving way, and to remain open to the „transcendent” dimension. We analyse further three of Tischner’s most important themes: „the good”, „freedom” and „hope” while „holding onto the rope of the word”. This lets us see some facts with remarkable clarity: that „the good” (primal in the human being himself) appears to us only in word (in relation), so „I and Thou” can be good only in relation to one another, not in „«I»-aloneness”. Freedom and hope are likewise possible only in an interpersonal „I-Thou” context and they become real in the word. In order to speak about them in depth, we must employ the concept of the word; we must „hold on the rope of the word”.

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Copyright (c) 2012 Krzysztof Skorulski