Part II of The Right to the Truth

February 5, 2009 § Leave a comment

Every Wednesday, Dr. White expects us to deliver a 100-200 word comment on one sentence from the philosophy readings for that week. This was my statement for philosophy class last week:

People who fail in their exercise of veracity, on the other hand, are disordered not just in regard to one or another passion, but in regard to what makes them human.”

-From Robert Sokolowski, Phenomenology of the Human Person, page 95

One question this sentence seems to answer is the chicken-and-egg problem of whether it is a responsibility of one to tell the truth because truth is the telos of language, or because other humans qua human have the right to the truth. Apparently, the author endorses the former view that the responsibility to truth springs from the nature of language itself. In addition, earlier in the text he specifies that the act of language is a public one. The first move anticipates and offers an answer to the issue of who has the “right to the truth” and who does not (the speaker simply has a responsibility to the truth), and the second preserves the integrity of other datives of manifestation as deserving of the truth.

N.B:

Telos is a Greek word meaning the final end, goal, or state of perfection of a thing. In philosophy (particularly ancient philosophy), everything has a telos.

Qua is a Latin word meaning “as”. For example, metaphysics is the study of being qua being, or being simply as being, rather than as the cause of something else, etc.

“Datives of manifestation” is a term used often by Monsignor Sokolowski, and in his latest book he suggests using it to replace “human person” or “rational animal”. Phenomenology is the study of being as it reveals itself to us; thus, we are datives or receivers of manifestation.

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