Persons 4-7

4.) The rise in Personalist philosophy coincided with the linguistic turn because the two reinforce each other. The study of language makes it clear that the first and second person perspective is not a mode of a fundamentally objective third person view, but that the reverse is true: the third person perspective is the generic “outside” or negation of a first-second linguistic reality. Community relations are the basis of language, and these are concretely I-thou relations.

5.) Speech is not a dyadic subject-predicate relation but a triadic subject-predicate-speaker relation. The subject is conditioned by a being identical, the same-in-type or other than a speaker, with the third person essentially other-than-speaker and so derivative from the second and first person modality. The speaker relates to the predicate in the same way, giving rise to time (sometimes called tense) in the verb.

6.) Genesis gives two creation stories: in the first the person is the crown of the universe, in the second he is a unity between the lowest thing of in the universe (the slime of the earth) and something utterly outside the universe (the breath of God). Each and both stories drive at the same point, that the person is both crown of nature and other than nature. It is degrading and non-theological to see the person even (but only) as the crown of nature. Dekoninick is not entirely free from criticism on this point.

7.) The definition of person as individualis substantia rationis naturae is ambiguous on the intentional term “individual”, which means both an enumerable reality and a unique one. These two are opposed since nothing is enumerable qua unique. In the first sense, an individual is fourth, seventieth or first in some actual or possible series. In this sense, the cause of individuation is matter. But in the second sense, the cause of individuation is esse. 


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