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Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert's adequate personalism

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Abstract

The paper proposes the philosophy of education based on Josef Seifert's metaphysics of the person. The following aspects of his personalist stance are taken into consideration: the mind-body relationship, the uniqueness and transcendence of the person, aitiology of the person, the criteria of adequate personalism and his debate with Thomism. The implications of Seifert's crucial propositions for the philosophy of education and are drawn, encompassing the intellectual, volitional and affective aspects of education. Here the focus is on the transcendent or trans-entelechial dimension of educational process. Finally, the relational character of education is analyzed, referring to the triad: teacher – student – subject matter, and including the horizon of God – the Supreme Personal Being.
Pedagogical implications
of Josef Seifert’s adequate personalism
Paweł Kaźmierczak
I. Introduction
e problems I am going to deal with in the present paper belong to the
eld of the philosophy of education, which is situated on the borderline of
philosophy and pedagogy. e close connection between philosophy and
pedagogy is deeply rooted in the tradition of education and may be traced
back as far as the ancient Greek ideal of paideia.
According to Stanisław Gałkowski all the issues of philosophy of educa-
tion boil down to the single question: “Who is man?”1. I would agree with
this statement to the extent that a proper grasp of the reality of man —
which is arguably provided by the adequate personalism— is the rst and
fundamental task of the philosophy of education upon which only further
considerations can be developed. erefore, the anthropological question
will be given due consideration in the rst part of the paper. In this regard
Seifert’s position can be extremely illuminating, as he puts the person in
the center of his entire metaphysics. Furthermore, the criteria for dieren-
tiating between adequate, incomplete and false personalisms formulated
by Seifert in his article Personalism and Personalisms2 are also of utmost
relevance for our subject. One of the tenets of adequate personalism he
Artículo recibido el día 13 de septiembre de 2016 y aceptado para su publicación el 8
de octubre de 2016.
1 S. G, Rozwój i odpowiedzialność. Antropologiczne podstawy koncepcji wy-
chowania moralnego, 12.
2 J. S, Personalism and Personalisms, 155-187.
Espíritu LXVI (2017)  n.º 153  145-161
Paweł Kaźmierczak
146
proposes is the proper balance and relationship between intellect, will and
human heart understood as the seat of spiritual aections. I will also pro-
pose a small contribution to the controversy between realist phenomenol-
ogy and omism.
e second question discussed in the paper, closely related to the rst,
will be: “What is education?” is question refers to the dynamic aspect of
the human person, as education presupposes process and change. e con-
sideration of human dynamism raises in its turn an issue of regarding the
person as transentelechy. e transentelechial character of the human per-
son is apparent in all her three above-mentioned dimensions: intellectual,
volitional and aective. It is therefore also reected in the corresponding
aspects of education: as transcendence in knowledge by reaching out to
“things themselves”, as transcendence and self-possession in value-response
in moral action and in aective responses.
In the third step of our investigations we will take into consideration
the relational character of education, focusing on the teacher-student re-
lationship and expanding the picture into a triad: teacher-student-subject
matter3. And, last but not least, the absolute point of reference will be dis-
cussed: e Supreme Being as identical with the Supreme Person, who is
always present in education, either in an explicit or an implicit way.
In conclusion it will be argued that Seifert’s personalist metaphysics of-
fers a sound foundation for the comprehensive philosophy of education.
II. Metaphysics of the person as the foundation of the personalist
philosophy of education
e concept of the human person lies at the heart of the philosophy
of education. erefore, particularly in the context of dehumanizing con-
temporary culture, it is crucial to search for an adequate personalism. Josef
Seifert undertakes this eort in his numerable works, so looking through
the extensive corpus of his philosophical inquiries in search for pedagogi-
cal inspiration is apromising task. However, due to the scope of this article,
which does not by any means claim to be exhaustive, only a limited number
of Seifert’s works, particularly relevant to our subject, will be analyzed.
3 J. P, e Philosophy of Teaching, 22. Cfr. N. J. S, e Need for Phil-
osophical Frameworks in Teacher Education, 26. Shudak refers to John Passmore and Kurt
Vonnegut’s protagonist George Helmholz.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
147
II.1. Mind-body relationship
His early anthropological studies concern the mind-body relationship4.
e problem of this relationship, as Seifert mentions, is closely connect-
ed with the issue of the substantial character of man. e two main con-
tending positions in this respect are dualist and monist anthropological
perspectives5. Seifert demonstrates that soul is a spiritual, simple substance
since it is a subject of spiritual realities, such as conscious life, knowledge,
freedom, free command of the body, self-reection6. Another evidence of
the substantial character of human soul is the direct givenness of the sub-
stantial subject of consciousness as a permanent foundation of experiences.
Moreover, the subject of consciousness realizes the essential features of the
substance in a more perfect way than material substances. e spiritual soul
is characterized by privacy, individuality and irreplaceability7.
According to Seifert, man can be most accurately depicted as a com-
posite, as asubstance composed of two substantially dierent parts: body
and soul. e exact nature of the relationship between the two elements,
however, remains aporetic8. e Aristotelian-omistic hylemorphic pro-
posal (soul as the form the body) contains a lot of valuable insights, though
even it is not free from ambiguities, concerning e.g. the precise meaning of
„matter” and „form9. Discussing the hylemorphic interpretation of body-
soul relationship Seifert observes that mans spiritual soul is much more
than forma corporis, as it is the seat of mans spiritual personality, and still it
is a form of the body in adeeper sense10.
4 J. S, Leib und Seele; idem, Das Leib-Seele Problem und die gegenwärtige phil-
osophische Diskussion. Eine kritisch-systematische Analyse.
5 Ibidem, 72.
6 Ibidem, 85-94.
7 Ibidem, 94-110.
8 Ibidem, 132.
9 Ibidem, 153-163.
10 Ibidem, 161-162: “Die Geistseele des Menschen ist also einerseits unendlich viel
mehr als ‘forma corporis, nämlich Grund (Sitz) der geistigen Personalität des Menschen.
Dennoch ist die Seele in einem viel tieferen Sinne ‘forma’ des Körpers als es die anderen
Bedeutungen von ‘Form’ ahnen ließen.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
148
II.2. Uniqueness and transcendence of the person
e aforementioned insights are resumed and developed in Seifert’s
magisterial study Essere epersona, arguably his most notable contribution
to personalism11. As Rocco Butiglione remarks in his introductory essay to
this book, Seifert’s metaphysics developed in Essere e persona is focused on
the person12. e central chapter 9 of the book is entitled Lessere è persona:
Being is Person and this is a revolutionary metaphysical insight, postulating
metaphysics of the person instead of metaphysics of substance. Seifert re-
sumes here the key notions of Das Leib-Seele Problem13, stressing the meta-
physical superiority of the person over non-personal entities as abeing that
is real, self-possessing, autonomous and autarchic in a more perfect way14.
Only personal spiritual substance is unique and unrepeatable in a full
sense of the word, in other words possesses haecceity, which is manifested
in liberty, capacity for knowledge and responsibility15. e human persons
quality of haecceitas has direct implications for the educational system.
First of all, it stresses the need to treat every student as a unique person. It
implies counteracting uniformity and constant competition in education.
e goal of education should be seen much more as eliciting and support-
ing the unique character of each and every person. is uniqueness also
puts into question the widespread tendency to promote technically-mind-
ed lifelong learning practices.
In the course of his further investigations Seifert focuses on the axiolog-
ical dimension of the persons self-possession. Freedom in a deepest sense
is understood not only as the power of self-determination, but as personal
transcendence, value-response and self-donation, in which other persons,
who become the object of donation, are considered from the point of view
of their dignity. Here Seifert makes references to Wojtyła and Hildebrand,
but also to Saint omas16.
is axiological dimension of personal dignity can be expressed as tran-
sentelechy. e person is a transentelechy rather than entelechy, because
11
J. S, Essere e persona.
12
R. B, “L’Essere e Persona” di Josef Seifert. Sfondo teoretico e signicato
di quest’opera, 45.
13
J. S, Essere e persona, 327-329.
14 Ibidem, 326.
15 Ibidem, 336; the idea comes from Duns Scotus and Francis Suarez.
16 Ibidem, 350; cf. K. W  , Loe and Responsibility; D. von Hildebrand, Ethics.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
149
her deepest being is transcendent and consists in conforming itself to the
truth and the good for their own sake17. is concern of our Author echoes
von Hildebrand’s criticism of entelechial omism on the ground of its
eudaemonism and a decit of transcendence18.
One might compare this view with Karol Wojtyła’s e Acting Person,
where he mentions two complementary aspects of the human act, namely
transcendence of the person (self-determination, self-possession), and inte-
gration (psycho-somatic unity). Wojtyła points out that moral integration
is the lifelong task of the person19.
II.3. Aitiology of the person
Seifert then shows that the metaphysics of the person both fullls and
goes beyond Aristotle’s doctrine of four causes (aitiology). With respect to
the ecient cause he notes that only freedom can be the rst and last ex-
planatory principle of all ecient causality. e actualization of the most
profound potentialities of the person can be accomplished only through
the free acts of the person herself20. e nal causality needs the metaphys-
ics of the person in a still more obvious manner. e end is identied with
good, and good can be a cause only through personal consciousness and
action motivated by it21.
Also formal causality can be understood most fully from the perspec-
tive of personalistic metaphysics. Form, as opposed to matter, is something
spiritual, intelligible, meaningful; it can only be understood, conceived of
and impressed upon the matter by the spirit. Only a person has the access
to the intelligible world of essences and of essential laws. Finally, lots of
forms, essences and essential structures nd their realization only in the
personal realm (moral goodness, joy, love, justice). Many of them are pure
perfections22.
As for material causality Seifert criticizes Aristotle’s view that matter
is the principle of individuation. In his view, spiritual substances are not
17
J. S, Essere e persona, 354.
18
M. W, “Dietrich von Hildebrand and St. omas Aquinas on Goodness
and Happiness, 403–464.
19 K. W, e Acting Person.
20
J. S, Essere e persona, 358-361.
21 Ibidem, 362.
22 Ibidem, 363-366.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
150
“pure forms” and the misunderstanding lies in identifying the spirit in the
sense of a particular being with the spiritual in the sense of abstract univer-
sal forms. In fact, contrary to Aristotle’s view, spiritual, non-material beings
can possess ahigher individuality and uniqueness than material beings, and
individuality is rooted in a more original way in the personal sphere23.
Seifert also contends that specically personal explanatory principles,
which presuppose consciousness, go beyond Aristotle’s naturalistic model.
To start with, the intentional connection between subject and object in in-
tentional acts of the knowledge cannot be explained within the framework
of Aristotle’s doctrine of four causes, as it is an irreducible metaphysical
relationship. e object grasped in our consciousness is not a formal cause
of the act of knowledge, nor an ecient cause: this relationship is real-in-
tentional, it is the participation in the being as such24.
Also motivation can serve as a special metaphysical explanatory prin-
ciple of the real personal being and the fundamental importance of meta-
physics of the person for ethics. e decisive cause of the act is, apart from
the motivating object, the free person herself. Reducing the relation of
motivation to the frame of Aristotelian four causes can happen either by
treating object as the ecient cause, or by ascribing the full autonomy to
the subject in the spirit of Kant25.
Another explanatory principle of reality not contained in the doctrine
of four causes is the due-relation (Gebührensbeziehung), which culminates
in the personalistic principle: Persona est armanda propter seipsam26. And
nally, Seifert analyzes the metaphysical relationship of superabundance,
which is found between moral good and happiness or between happiness
and love. Moral life is not only a quest for happiness, happiness appears
in the mode of superabundance27. is ethical insight should have direct
bearing on the understanding of the nality of education: it ought to be
focused primarily on the value-response, rather than on the student’s own
happiness, which can be expected to unfold as a by-product of striving for
the good.
23 Ibidem, 366.
24 Ibidem, 369-370.
25 Ibidem, 371.
26 Ibidem, 374-376; D.  H, Christian Ethics, chapter 18. Due rela-
tion, 225-237.
27
J. S, Essere e persona, 376-377.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
151
II.4. e criteria of the adequate personalism
e person is simultaneously a subject and an object, and this dual
character peculiar to her must be taken into account to avoid the traps of
subjectivism, relativism or transcendental idealism. As Seifert puts it, “In a
sense the person is the most objective and most real of all beings; through
the conscious self-possession and through liberty she exists in a more prop-
er sense than all other beings and is a being in the proper sense”28. ere
also exists an indissoluble bond between the person and the truth.
In the article Personalism and personalisms Seifert reiterates and devel-
ops many claims from Essere e persona, albeit in a more succint form and in
a more accessible language. He undertakes the discussion of various philo-
sophical positions that arrogate to themselves the right to the name of per-
sonalism and provides clear distinguishing features of the adequate person-
alism29. Let us consider at least some of the rather extensive list of criteria.
e rst distinguishing feature is the radical divide between persons and
impersonal beings. is proposition seems to be relatively incontrovert-
ible, at least among personalist philosophers of various persuasions. Fur-
thermore, Seifert stresses the need to acknowledge the three dimensions of
the human person: intellect, free will and aectivity, and points out —in
the spirit of von Hildebrand— that heart, as well as will, is an important
part of the rational nature. Finally, being a person is considered to be a pure
perfection and a divine attribute, thus, the fullness of personhood can only
be found in God Himself30. at is a very illuminating thesis indeed, which
counteracts dominant anthropocentric tendencies of late modernity.
II.5. A omistic interlude
I will now hint at the ongoing controversy between realist phenome-
nology and omism. Measured with the yardsticks presented in Personal-
ism and Personalisms, the concept of Saint omas Aquinas is categorized
by Josef Seifert as “imperfect personalism. What Seifert perceives as chief
28 Ibidem, 388.
29
J. S, Personalism and Personalisms,155-187. He develops there some ideas
contained already in Essere e persona, chapter 9.9 Pericolo di un falso personalismo, 399-
405.
30
J. S, Personalism and Personalisms, 173f.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
152
limitations of the omistic outlook are eudaemonism on the one hand,
and intellectualism on the other31. On that score Seifert criticises some
—or even mainstream— versions of omistic philosophy. is criticism
has not passed unnoticed. Paul Kucharski wrote an article defending Saint
omas against the charge “that [his] relational account of goodness pre-
cludes intrinsic goods (or objective values)32. I will not go here into the
details of the contradictory interpretations of Saint omas and omistic
thought. However, I will oer some insights deriving from the omist
school of Barcelona, which I owe to Enrique Martinez. He drew my atten-
tion to the thought of the founder of this school, Ramón Orlandis SJ, and
his two major followers: Francisco Canals Vidal and Jaime Boll Boll,
who seem to withstand Seifert’s criticism. Orlandis namely wrote:
A moral system that would place the good of man, his essential bliss in
the acquisition and intellectual possession of the truth, a moral system that
would only take into account inclinations and intellectual aspirations of
man —such a system would be evidently self-centered (...) And no matter
how real and genuine this greatest treasure of truth were, that is, even if it
were no other than the very uncreated and innite Truth, the system, be-
ing partial, stopping half way, would be unsustainable, because God would
only seem to be the good of man as a mere object of his intellectual satis-
faction. e system would not, therefore, cease to be self-centered. With
regard to God it would not consider the merit and the right of the divine
Goodness to be loved for herself with love of benevolence; and with re-
gard to man himself, it would not take into account the tendency innate
in his heart not to not lock in himself, but to go out of himself with in the
mysterious gi of love; nor the universal persuasion of the perfection and
nobility of man demanding of him to go out of himself.33
is formulation certainly does justice to the transcendent and ecstatic
character of the human person. Canals in his book On the essence of knowl-
31
J. S, Od “Aeterni Patris” do “Fides et ratio. Bezwarunkowe zobowiązanie kato-
lickiego lozofa wstosunku do prawdy oraz wielkość i ograniczenia “epoki tomizmu” w Koś-
ciele, 175-180.
32
P. K, omas Aquinas, Josef Seifert, and the Metaphysics of Respecting Per-
sons, 100-117.
33
R. O, “Manresa”1942-43, No. 50, 10; as cited in F. C V, Sobre
la Esencia del Conocimiento, 678-679, footnote 41, translation: P. Kazmierczak.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
153
edge introduces the concept ofentelechiology of mental word”, which
roughly means that the perfection of personal life is attained through word,
that is, through relations: through contemplation, love and dialogue34. I
should venture the thesis that this concept is akin to Seifert’s transentele-
chy”.
Boll, in his turn, devotes his La escala de los seres to the refutation of
Pierre Rousselot’s thesis of Saint omas’s intellectualism. His interpreta-
tion of omism is very clearly personalistic. He writes:
Unfortunately, Rousselot, with undue precision excludes from the con-
cepts of intelligence and contemplation that which is precisely the root
of this same vitality which he intends to defend: aectivity and love. He
thereby does not recognize that, given the intimate, radical unity of the
person, aectivity and love are not a mere result of intellectual activity,
something extrinsically juxtaposed to it, but on the contrary, they are so
intimate to it that precisely through them one can enjoy the features of a
true Ideal-end. Intellectualism is in fact a fragmentary conception of hu-
man perfection, because it breaks up the radical, ontological unity of our
psyche35.
One is tempted to insert here a theological interpolation. Hans Urs
von Balthasar demonstrates that the concept of person “receives its special
dignity in history when it is illuminated by the unique theological mean-
ing”36, but he also suggests that philosophy can somehow “appropriate for
the human person the dignity bestowed on person by trinitarian doctrine
and christology”37. Of the Persons of the Holy Trinity the deepest mystery
veils the person of the Father. According to Josef Ratzinger, “the rst per-
son does not generate in the sense that to the complete person the act of
generating a son is added, but the person is the act of generating, of oering
oneself and owing out the pure actuality.38
34
F. C V, Sobre la Esencia del Conocimiento, 643-688.
35
J. B B, La escala de los seres o el dinamismo de la perfeccion, 2, translation:
P. K.
36 H. U.  B, On the concept of person, 19.
37 Ibidem.
38
J. R, Zum Personenerständnis in der eologie, 26.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
154
III. Transentelechial education
Since philosophy of education can be conceived as a dynamic aspect
of ethics39 it must take into consideration the temporal aspect of human
esse and its changeability. Time and temporality presuppose change —a
transition from potence into act40. To quote Aristotle’s Metaphysics: „ere
being a distinction ineach class of things between the potential and the
completely real (entelechy), I callthe actuality of the potential as such,
movement.”41 e metaphysical concepts of movement or motion applied
to the eld of education refer to the development of the human person.
If, however, as has been claimed above, the dynamism of the human per-
son is best captured in the notion of transentelechy, then personalist edu-
cation should foster this transentelechial character of the human person.
All the three spiritual dimensions of the human person: intellect, will
and heart are encompassed within education understood broadly. Intel-
lectual education is essentially geared at acquiring knowledge, volitional
education at responding to moral and religious values, aective education
means sensitizing students to the values to which a proper aective re-
sponse is due. In the entirety of the education of the human person physical
education also holds its proper place.
III.1. Transcendence in knowledge: back to things themselves
in education
One of the main dimensions of education is transmitting and acquiring
knowledge. Aer all, what is more central to the idea of education than
Erkenntnis objektiver Wahrheit”42? As Josef Seifert stated: “e goal of
philosophy is to search for the ‘truth of being,’ not just to study the opin-
ions of philosophers”43. On this point one might also refer to the pedagog y
of Saint Ignatius Loyola, who insisted upon exposing the student to the
immediate experience of reality/God instead of inculcating the teacher’s
39
S. G, Rozwój i odpowiedzialność, 31.
40
Cf. J. S, Essere e persona, 416.
41 A, Metaphysics, 1065b.
42 J. S, Erkenntnis objektiver Wahrheit.
43
J. S, Discours des Methodes, e Methods of Philosophy and Realist Phenome-
nology, 11.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
155
concepts into his mind. Saint Ignatius thereby proves to be —like Saint
Augustine— a precursor of realist phenomenology. In this regard, Seifert’s
programmatic slogan „back to things themselves” seems to be at the core
of the process of education. Or at least it points out to what constitutes
the third vertex of the educational triad or triangle: the subject matter, the
reality, things themselves. e crucial tenet is the transcendence of man in
knowledge. e third element of the triad, subject matter, is neither imma-
nent to the consciousness of the student, nor is it contained in the mind of
the teacher. at corresponds to the very fundamental tenet of the realist
phenomenological pedagogy: exposing the students to the truth of being,
enabling them to enter into immediate contact with the things themselves.
Another aspect of the importance of going “back to the things themselves”
in education is the omnipresence of virtual worlds in which a large numbers
of younger people spend most of their time. Although it is the world created
by humans and originally intended as a space of interpersonal communica-
tion, the risk of falling into a solipsistic trap is much higher inside than out-
side it. Interpersonal relationships mediated by the internet oen tend to be
delusive. Adopting false identities in the Internet may be an escape from the
challenges of the real world and therefore can sometimes be addictive44.
III.2. Moral education: transcendence in value-response
According to Stanisław Gałkowski, the philosophy of moral education
is concerned with the dynamic aspect of ethics, namely moral development
of the person45. Josef Seifert’s contribution to ethics follows the line of the
phenomenological value ethics pursued by Dietrich von Hildebrand46. Sei-
fert postulates acknowledging the absolute primacy of moral and religious
values even above the realm of the intellectual values which implies assign-
ing moral and religious education the highest rank in the entire sphere of
education. In the extended published version of his habilitation speech
Seifert considers various kinds of motivation of moral action, utilitarian,
hedonistic and eudaemonistic among others. All the above-mentioned ap-
44
P. S - M. V, Wyłącz zanim będzie za późno. Uzależnienie od
komputera i internetu, 60.
45
S. G, Rozwój i odpowiedzialność. Antropologiczne podstawy koncepcji wy-
chowania, 31.
46 J. S, Was ist und was motiviert eine sittliche Handlung.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
156
proaches are rightly dismissed as antipersonalistic, because they subordi-
nate the value of the person to either utility or delight or happiness47.
However, one’s own personal development and happiness is not exclud-
ed as a motive of moral action and education48, provided it is treated as
secondary motivation, primary consisting in presenting moral values (im-
portant-in-themselves) and eliciting value-responses.
III.3. Aective dimension of education
Seifert, like Hildebrand, seeks to rehabilitate the aective dimension of
the human person. He points out to the value and dignity of human heart,
highlighting the existence of spiritual form of aective light and empha-
sizes their great importance for ethics49. is clearly implies that aectivity
must be allocated its due place in education.
IV. Relational character of the educational process
e process of education, as it has already been shown above, can be
conceived as based on a triad, composed of student, teacher and subject
matter. e closer examination of the educational triad corroborates the
transentelechial character of the person, and, consequently, of education.
IV.1. Teacher-student relationship
e educational triad draws our attention to the paramount importance
of the gure of the educator —such as a parent or a teacher— in the educa-
tional process. e relationship between teacher and student possesses an
element of ecient causality as in Aristotle’s example of human generating
human. Karol Wojtyła resorted to this analogy comparing education to
spiritual motherhood and fatherhood50. And we can draw the line further
—to Father generating the Son.
In the relation of the teacher to the student the essential tenet is the
47 Ibidem, 23-77.
48 Ibidem, 74-77.
49
J. S, Personalism and Personalisms, 163-164.
50 K. W, Loe and responsibility, 258-261.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
157
armation of the person for his own sake. A teacher’s attitude should be
marked by love and respect and the acknowledgment of the unique charac-
ter of the person. To borrow the title of a recent Josef Seifert’s book, True
Loe51 is what is most needed in education. Drawing on Hildebrand, Wo-
jtyła, and Kant, Seifert speaks of love as motivated by “value” - the intrinsic,
objective importance of the beloved being52. is value refers to the very
core of the other persons being and is inseparable from it, which does not
preclude loving less perfect persons, but still presupposes a certain good-
ness in them53
In this regard, Seifert mentions parental pride which makes parents as-
cribe to their children the qualities they do not possess54. True love, on the
other, while seeing both the actual and the potential values in the beloved
person, discerns the former from the latter.
It is certainly correct to say that love plays a tremendous role in educa-
tion and in the improvement of persons. It gives to the person who is being
loved a spiritual “home” and “shelteredness”; it extends to him a credit of
trust which inspires a positive self-condence and goodness. Above all, it
holds out to him an image of his better self, of his vocation, so to speak. In
this sense, love is indeed creative in contributing to make the beloved per-
son better, as Scheler especially noticed, not without the free cooperation
of the beloved person, however55.
Seifert develops further the idea of loving the contingent person in a
‘pilgrim status’ which means seeing in him the preciousness yet to be real-
ized. is is the creative, visionary, or prophetic dimension of (pedagogi-
cal) love, which also can be distorted by imposing arbitrary models on the
child or student56.
ese externally imposed standards are sometimes enforced by the ed-
ucational system. ere seems to be avery strong temptation to reduce the
students to their marks, grades and to favor those whose results prove more
51
J. S, True Loe.
52 Ibidem, 3.
53 Ibidem, 25-26.
54 Ibidem, 35.
55 Ibidem, 36-37.
56 Ibidem, 46-47.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
158
gratifying for the teacher. e antipersonalistic proclivity is inherent in the
entire educational system based on grading and credentials, which has been
amply discussed in the critical current of the philosophy of education. e
domination of the economic purpose of education also obscures the value
of the persons involved the process.
IV.2. Subject matter
In Back to ings emseles Josef Seifert quotes Saint Augustine saying
“For who is so stupidly curious as to send his son to school in order that
he might learn what the teacher thinks?”57. is sentence suggests the pre-
eminence of reality - “things themselves” or subject matter in terms of the
educational triangle and a strictly subordinate role of the teacher. What
follows is that teacher’s relationship to the subject matter should be charac-
terized by profound knowledge and reverence for the truth. His chief role
towards the student consists in enabling him to enter into an immediate
contact with reality through knowledge.
IV.3. e student
e concept of human freedom as self-determination means that ed-
ucation is impossible when conceived only as exerting an external inu-
ence on the person: to achieve its full meaning education requires a free
involvement of the student, his conscious and purposeful dedication to the
task, openness to reality and willingness to cooperate with the teacher. e
potentiality for learning and personal growth is the characteristics of the
person of the learner. Alfred Wierzbicki called my attention to yet another
aspect of the dialogue e Teacher. Saint Augustine points out that the pre-
eminent teacher is the internal teacher —inner truth, that is Christ, who
lives in the soul of the student58.
To round up this chapter it should be mentioned that the educational
triad does not function in the vacuum, it is always embedded in the net-
work of social relationship, as the person is related to community. e ulti-
mate horizon of education is the relationship of the human person to God.
57
A, e Teacher, 14.45.
58 Ibidem, 11.38.
Pedagogical implications of Josef Seifert’s adequate...
159
is tenet is amply supported by Josef Seifert’s numerous and monumental
writings on the philosophy of God.
V. Conclusion
I think that Josef Seifert’s profound grasp of the reality of the person
can provide a rich inspiration in pursuing the philosophy of education. I
believe that in the course of my analysis Ihave managed to point to the
great potential of his personalist philosophy for streamlining and deepen-
ing pedagogical theory and practice.
e groundbreaking character of the metaphysics of the person has been
put in sharp relief. e key goal of education has emerged more clearly as
helping the student to become a fuller person, capable of self-possession,
self-transcendence, self-gi, ultimately —of love as the fullest actualization
of the person. Personalistic education involves fostering openness to real-
ity, both personal and impersonal, both external and internal, and leading
to both the fuller intellectual grasp of and to the more adequate volitional
and aective response to it.
Finally, the transcendent horizon of education brings us to the very core
of reality which is personal, opens us up to Being, who is Person. Education
can then be seen as participation in the great „act of generating, of oering
oneself and owing out… of pure actuality”59.
ere is one more aspect in which Josef Seifert contributed to the phi-
losophy of education. Under the pen name of Melchior Seifert, he wrote
a literary collection of short stories entitled Licht im Dunkel (Light in
Darkness) featuring three martyrs of the German Nazi death camps: Ja-
nusz Korczak, Edith Stein and Maximilian Kolbe60. Janusz Korczak, a Pol-
ish-Jewish pedagogue, who voluntarily assisted the children from his or-
phanage in the Warsaw Ghetto to the gas chamber in Treblinka, is depicted
as a model of a wise and loving teacher, up to the sacrice of his life. It is the
ultimate embodiment of the ideal of pedagogical love.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
Universidad Jesuita Ignatianum de Cracoia
pawel.kazmierczak@ignatianum.edu.pl
59
J. R, Zum Personenerständnis in der eologie, 211.
60 M. S, Licht im Dunkel.
Paweł Kaźmierczak
160
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