HomeFEU Colloquiumvol. 3 no. 1 (2009)

From ‘I’ to ‘We’: Wojtyła’s Phenomenology of Love

Peter Simpson

Discipline: Philosophy

 

Abstract:

Wojtyła’s phenomenological personalism turns on the idea that human beings determine themselves through a possession and governing of themselves. In the case of love this self-determination presupposes certain feelings in the human psyche, but these feelings, especially those of sexuality, need to be integrated into acts of self-determination. A key element in this analysis is the Personalistic Norm, that people should treat each other as self-determining agents having distinct personal ends who are able thereby to form themselves, in their sexual love in marriage, from “I”s into a “We”. Wojtyła’s phenomenology is a compelling personalistic defense of what are too often dismissed as merely traditional mores (chastity, modesty, a right sense of shame). His philosophical thinking on love and sex is a thoroughly up to date demonstration of the wisdom of the ages.