Personal Uniqueness in the Thought of John Paul II and Max Scheler

Apr 17, 2012 | Scholarly Articles

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Abstract: Throughout the writings of Karol Wojtyla, both before and after he became Pope John Paul II, one finds expressions of gratitude and indebtedness to the philosopher Max Scheler. I list several of these expressions in the appendix of this paper. Wojtyla’s overall attitude is one of respect for a master from whom he learned much, and this fact is not contradicted by noting that he also rejected forcefully certain errors he perceived in Scheler’s thought. A thorough cataloging of the Schelerian theses embraced by Wojtyla would be a helpful addition to scholarship on both authors. My main goal here, however, is to focus on one single theme in Scheler that Wojtyla embraced. That theme is the uniqueness of persons. My idea is not that Wojtyla wrote an explicit philosophical development of Scheler’s individual value essence. Rather, I mean to show that Scheler’s development of individual persons and love between persons so impressed itself on Wojtyla that it is expressed in striking ways in many of his writings and also when he describes his personal encounters with people in pastoral settings. In this paper, I also rely on the work of the philosopher John F. Crosby.   The paper is reposted here with permission and in exact image format for citation purposes. The entire book, Karol Wojtyla’s Philosophical Legacy, is available in full text and exact image format on Google Books here.


Peter J. Colosi, “The Uniqueness of Persons in the Life and Thought of Karol Wojtyla/Pope John Paul II, with Emphasis on His Indebtedness to Max Scheler”. Chapter 3 in Karol Wojtyla’s Philosophical Legacy, eds. Nancy Mardas Billias, Agnes B. Curry and George F. McLean, (Washington, D.C.: The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy, 2008), 61 – 100.

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