The Philosophy of the Human Person by Judge Eliza B. Yu, LLM, DCL

Topics: Justice, Philosophy, Lawyer Pages: 8 (2952 words) Published: August 31, 2014

Philosophy of the Human Person’s Selected Theses

The following are the five (5) selected theses that I shall endeavour to explicate and exemplify: 1. “Philosophy is the science of knowledge. But the outcome of any philosophical inquiry is determined by its starting place.” – Michael Novak (Belief and Unbelief); 2. “The intrinsic objectivity of human cognitional activity is its intentionality.” - Bernard Lonergan, SJ (Cognitional Structure); 3. “ Reflection is one of the life’s ways of rising from one level of being to another” - Gabriel Marcel (Primary and Secondary Reflection: The Existential Fulcrum); 4. “Each symbol gives rise to comprehension by means of interpretation.” Paul Ricoeur (The Symbol : Food for Thought); and 5. “We have the existential presence which is a common spiritual bond in virtue of which each is present in the other and participates in the being of another” - Engelbert Van Croonenburg (Man and Fellow- Man).

“Philosophy is the science of knowledge. But the outcome of any philosophical inquiry is determined by its starting place” relates to the question of horizon, a limit of what can be seen from a definite perspective consisted of a subjective and objective fixed point of reference. Horizon is not a figure of speech but our framework to understand something and to make a decision. It is a framework of choices. It is our awareness of the choices among the philosophies in life. Choice connotes freedom. We are free to choose a philosophy that is best for us and apply it. If what we chose as a philosophy is inapplicable, then we choose another philosophy and change our perspective. As stated by Professor Florentino Hornedo, “Our horizon affects the choices we make about what life is. When one’s horizon is bigger, the choice is more difficult.” How do we know our horizon? It poses an inquiry, “Do we believe in anything?” And the answer depends on our choices of what to believe or not to believe. Ultimately, the question “Who am I?” will be answered in determining our horizon. William Shakespeare’s Hamlet line, “To be or not to be, that is the question” finds application in the starting point of one’s horizon. Likewise, we adopt Socrates’ statement “Know Thy Self” which is an examination of one’s life and purpose. For example, we examine if our purpose is to serve others, if it is, then our horizon is about selfless service. We are inclined to offer ourselves for humanitarian causes. We are engrossed in helping others in need and in distress. We are engaged in an active social work as a volunteer. Another example, an elementary grade pupil named Lily who dreams of becoming a lawyer like her father. The philosophical inquiry of Lily is “what is justice?” The outcome of this inquiry is determined by her horizon. Obviously, Lily’s idea of “justice” is narrow and limited. She, by reason of her tender age, can be influenced easily by his parents’ or schoolteachers’ definition of justice. When she saw a neighbour being arrested and handcuffed by the policeman, she heard that her neighbour shot another and she immediately concluded that her neighbour is a criminal who deserves to be jailed not knowing that there is a legal process for it known as a trial. She lauded the act of the swift arrest by the policemen on her neighbour who was not doing anything other than resting in his house. She says that there is justice in the country because what she heard from her teacher, “ A justice delayed , is a justice denied.” In the case of her neighbour, there was no delay of justice because of the abrupt arrest. When she became a high school student, her idea of justice changes. Her horizon broaden because she watches TV programs and reads newspapers. When she became a law...
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