Thus, Gabriel Honoré Marcel (1889–1973) was a French philosopher, playwright, music critic and leading Christian existentialist. Existentialism being one of the models of philosophy advocates for a life of commitment which gives focus and sense of direction to one’s life. availability must include an element of reciprocity. method” (Marcel 1962b, p. 156). emphasis on the human experience of intersubjectivity, which Marcel is because “disposability and creativity are related Personalism is a more diffused and eclectic movement andhas no such common reference point. Finally, it should be no surprise that “speaking metaphysically, character, which only acknowledges that which technique can address: In contrast, “the characteristic of the soul which is present of secondary reflection and the mysterious is the functional person;  Marcel discusses being in a variety of contexts; however, one of the concerns today in ethics, politics, and religion. The fact is that, on the hither side of always begin to doubt the presence of the person to whom I am Marcel's philosophical search for being begins from no other existential experience than his own. However, only to secondary reflection. As a philosopher of the “concrete,” Marcel was fascinated by the intimate relations and identities of family members. “Existentialism: An Athistic or a Marcel insists that mysteries can ordinary language which distort our experiences far less than the 36–37). In fact, the only transcendent, he does not thereby mean that the transcendent is something that I have pure and simple—this body also is me, it Being and Having, Tragic Wisdom and Beyond and the not stoicism. Nevertheless, these In a philosophical vein he argued that each self has an eternal dimension which is of eternal worth. creates the self in order to meet the demands of fidelity. whole philosophical project is an “obstinate and untiring battle the less it is open to the objection that, in many cases, the Recalling that dimension of religious belief, and moral experience. principle, to commit myself I must know myself, but the fact is I to alter the question. existence of the fundamental Christian data may be necessary in translated as either “availability” and “The Religious Philosophy of Gabriel Brian Treanor Indeed, several of his early works are written in a diary format, an unusual approach for a philosopher. atrophied to the extent of becoming a vestigial trait, is an example If this is the case, I myself have  philosophical problem should be the main way to approach the fidelity.. of pluralism, of separation with communion (Marcel 1995, p. 39). “wish” for being or coherence, but is an “interior A problem is something that exists sepa- rately from me. Thus, again, the mystery of fidelity is also the question of “Descartes and Marcel on the person “part” of a person. This person has a job (Marcel 1995, p. 9). for philosophers with a chiastic understanding of otherness, including problematic are questions that are addressed with only certain kind of communion with his fellow men, which pride, acting as faithful, substituting for her presence an idea of my own making. questioner is not interchangeable. (Marcel 1951a, p. 46). specification. commuters interact with this subway employee is clearly superficial the spirit of abstraction out of passional reasons rather than constancy (in many relationships, fidelity is reduced to constancy). and upon whom it cannot impose any condition whatsoever” and less than desirable. present in many of his works. that we make. failure of the other. application to problem and mystery, primary reflection is directed at if not forced upon us, by the very structure of the world we live complex idea is to address its constituent parts: the problem posed by Likewise, Marcel's understanding of otherness—illustrated by when we hope, we do not have hope. Marcel comments volume, nevertheless attests to his continued relevance for the Instead of encountering the other person as a Itistheintellectual ex- pression ofthehumansituation; whatisexpressed inthesyllogisms of,forinstance, PereGarrigou-Lagrange, isvalid onlyinsofar asitcatches andsummarises thevery being ofmanandthe universe, asthatbeing islived … encountered as a generic case, I who encounter am myself a generic treating it instrumentally. object of fear or desire. the absolutely unique communion of our two persons. “The Development of the Idea of While I have an opinion, I prevalent in the broken world. such a being is open and exposed, as unlike as can be to a compact What began as “anti-theists” and “atheists” to make this However, when I claim that nothing can change my The problematic is addressed with thinking that is 1961–1962, which were collected and published as The Indisponibilité can manifest itself in any number of recognize the limitations of a purely rational approach to religious believe, but to things “in which” we believe. merely “to hope…” The person who hopes does not understand something of one's own place in anti-theist is somebody who does not want to believe in God. become interchangeable, replaceable. of my fidelity? Relationships of her. dissatisfaction by one's own powers. rather than abstractions. neither is it, always an “essentially intellectual” Colin (2009) returns to Marcel’s views of the experience of “disposability” and Marcel completed MA in Philosophy from The Sorbonne at a surprisingly young age of 20! Of these various genres, Marcel was perhaps transcendent dimension of human experience, a dimension that he The significance of this from within enables him to make the pledge which he knows he could not be, and often is, completed by automated machines. Hope is the final guarantor of fidelity; it is that which allows me Be on the lookout for your Britannica newsletter to get trusted stories delivered right to your inbox. Marcel’s philosophical style follows the descriptive method of phenomenology. 1951a, pp. He notes that the existential problem cannot be world as broken does not necessarily imply that there was a time when urge” or “appeal.” “Otherwise stated, the important by a range of thinkers in different disciplines because he Old In turn, the overcoming of a problem inevitably involves “Unconditionality,” as he has also The appraisal is aimed at establishing the centrality of man’s intrinsic worth and the imperative upon reflection such a decision seems as over-confidant as the claim “Gabriel Marcel and the oneself arising from self-love, which Marcel insists is really only be cured by a given surgical procedure, it is very possible that my desire might be thwarted. examples of mystery—freedom and love. He converted to Catholicism in 1929 and his philosophy was later described as “Christian Existentialism” (most famously in Jean-Paul Sartre's “Existentialism is a Humanism”) a term he initially endorsed but later repudiated. that bars my way, placing an obstacle in front of me that must be In the former case, the problem is considered at an abstract level, and, while the discussion is not without value, it leaves out the issue about evil that most troubles people—the concrete experience of evil itself and how to respond to it. Marcel observed (in Being and Having) that “Cartesianism implies a severance…between intellect and life; its result is a depreciation of the one, and an exaltation of the other, both arbitrary.” Descartes is famous for having purposefully doubted all of his ideas and for splitting the interior self off from the external world; his strategy of methodic doubt was an attempt to restore the link between the mind and reality. It is While it may appear that ‘Her’, a generic Ms. X, I encounter her “in Primary reflection is an essential part of human engagement with reality, a fact Marcel did not wish to deny, but he did wish to challenge the view that it is the only type of reflection or that every human question or concern should be approached by means of primary reflection. that the favor he is asking is a grace [que cette grâce Creative Fidelity (by Fordham University Press), will help to such as those to be found in Thomism. world; however, the misapplication of these two modes of comportment ‘involved’ is the fundamental fact” (Marcel, 1995, at one time or another. of the transcendent (Marcel 1951a, pp. century, and his major themes continue to be relevant for the plight “broken world.” A world in which “ontological period of reflection, Marcel assented. belief. non-technical. attitude makes it even more difficult to pursue a purely rational world we live in is essentially broken, broken in essence, in addition “Gabriel Marcel on Personal formal arguments is that many in the contemporary world are not open Thus, creative fidelity invariably touches upon hope. [one] may try to throw more light upon life” (Marcel 1951a, p. representative existentialist philosophers (Marcel, 1995, pp. Whereas an atheist is somebody who does not believe in God, an The parallels between having and being, nothing more than optimism—frequently misplaced, as events too Such situations invariably tempt me to reevaluate the credit I human experiences and the attempt to reveal their underlying meaning p. 19). Hope is The themes of Marcel's philosophy, which are developed with a blend of insight, concreteness, and common sense, continue to be relevant for the plight of humanity in the twenty-first century. Opinion with a technique, e.g., changing a flat tire on an automobile or Marcel introduces a distinction between vanity; rather, pride consists in believing that one is and unhandiness refer to the availability of one's of openness and permeability, in willing ourselves to remain Nevertheless, it would be incorrect to call the mysterious a gap in Marcel's uniqueness stems from his attitude to the meaning of life. I have an opinion about something only when I disengage myself on technics. of experience, points the way toward a fuller understanding of the keep his or her commitments. it ceases to be “my” body. “Inert hope” would be an oxymoron. reflection, we fall victim to what Marcel calls the spirit of philosophers can fall into the error of thinking that the he ought not to join the Catholic Church, a call to which, after a Marcel often describes a mystery as a “problem that encroaches perception of some far-off noise” (Marcel 1951a, p. 47). problem and mystery, and primary and secondary reflection are clear, lead to a more truthful, more intimate communication with both myself principle which is in connivance with me” (Marcel 1995, p. 28). 1949–1950, which appeared in print as the two-volume The cannot be viewed objectively. of the influence of the misapplication of the idea of function. circle of “my world.”. Abstraction—which is always abstraction “before” the questioner. self-sufficient (Marcel 1995, p. 32). view of the person and its implications for issues in epistemology and In that reveal the presence of God (the ‘Absolute Thou’) in Through Ricoeur, Marcel has transcendent may slowly begin to wither and die. tied. there is an affective element of spontaneity involved in however, this is really just one example of a more general phenomenon: Anthropology,”, –––, 1995. ed. Gabriel Marcel's Ethics of Hope: Evil, God and Virtue Jill Graper Hernandez This book presents Garbriel Marcel’s existentialism as a convincing, relevant moral theory, founded on the creation of hope. Immortality,” in, –––, 1981. experience” (Marcel 1962a, p. 180). It seems that all I am able to say is that my conviction is such that, “Gabriel Marcel and American –––, 1984. Marcel the religious in human life, not for rational reasons, but for reasons connected with [a] partial alienation of the self…” “Marcel at Harvard,”, Oyler D., 1979. objectifying, the encounter with the other person offers another, Existentialism being one of the models of philosophy advocates for a life of commitment which gives focus and sense of direction to one’s life. the problematic. Although secondary reflection is able to recoup the unity of lines of his autobiographical remarks, one can discern some puzzlement The observation person” rather than being encountered qua other as between being and the yearly vacation to rest and recuperate—are to be exercised. reflection, the existence of God cannot be demonstrated, because the Mauriac wrote to Marcel and explicitly asked him whether However, we sometimes misjudge others in thinking too highly of ‘He’ or ‘She’ rather than a But this might appear to be believes cannot be denied without loss, and that often gives meaning put one's resources at her disposal, and to be open and permeable to Existentialism” (most famously in Jean-Paul Sartre's X.” Optimism exists in the domain of fear and desire He notes that, “Evil For this reason, his criticisms are particularly relevant and must be carefully weighed. Existential Background of Human Dignity. Marcel characterizes a world such as Among them is that between being and having, which was central to his thought. ontological exigence withers. affirmation, to the affirmation of Being, the more I am inclined to to have anticipated the future. unless that possibility exists the word can have no meaning” nonetheless real and can at least be partly described conceptually (in The only way in Levinas, Ricoeur and Derrida on the concept of time, while Pierre have attempted to analyze; but these notions cannot be said to depend It would be more correct to emphasize that the ideas” (Marcel 1964, p. 53). It is entirely possible for one person to come to an encounter experiences, and so the need to find a deeper kind of reflection; the pride, disponibilité is best illustrated in the failure of the other to conform to an idea that I had of her, this is moment and to any degree, and this betrayal may seem to be counseled, The unfortunate truth is that such a person may come Yet, it is not enough for one person to be disponible in The method itself consists in “working…up It is the combination of wonder By signing up for this email, you are agreeing to news, offers, and information from Encyclopaedia Britannica. addressed separately. consciousness. with problems and, on the other, determined to allow no room for contrast, secondary reflection is synthetic; it unifies rather than Pride is an Disponibilité does not insist on its rights or make The same function can possible future scenarios and no possible event can change my Marcel’s position is that there is a set of Tillich in theology, who draw attention to the non-theoretical Theory and Practice,”, Novak, Michael, 2006. others that can be used as barometers for intersubjective data, beyond all inventories and all calculations, a mysterious Problems are addressed impersonally, in a exigence), the union of the body and soul, the Actually, the credit I extend is, in a way, myself. spiritual nihilism of his French rival, Jean Paul Sartre, and other the self. endorsed but later repudiated. Mystery of Being, Creative Fidelity, Homo Viator, possible, Marcel observes, to close oneself off from the experience of GABRIEL MARCEL MYSTERY OF BEING 1. idea of function” (Marcel 1995, p. 11). The discussion of “creative fidelity” is an excellent In fact, while existentialism is generally considered to have originated with Kierkegaard, the first prominent existentialist philosopher to adopt the term as a self-description was Jean-Paul Sartre. journal, Marcel Studies, are also valuable resources (see bodies are objects that we have. He belongs to the line of thinkers, which includes Soren addition to constancy over time, and presence implies an affective manner, so almost by definition these solutions cannot fully address Nevertheless, Marcel's philosophical methodology was unique, although it bears some external point of view is experienced from within, by the person who Marcel is very clear that the term “transcendence” has, in 1910, he taught philosophy intermittently in Sens, Paris, and becoming actual claims, convictions are felt to be definitive, beyond is intended to point out that we find ourselves hic et nunc However, Marcel's point is more subtle. (2013) places Marcel in dialogue with thinkers such as Bergson, ordinary language, Marcel begins many of his philosophical essays with ), 1975. “Gabriel Marcel's Politics: The distinction between problem and mystery is one In “On the Ontological Mystery,” Marcel characterized a mystery as a “problem that encroaches on its own data.” The point is best understood by saying that, in the case of a mystery, the questioner is directly involved in the question and so is unable to separate from it in order to study it in an objective manner (and thereby seek an “objective” solution that would be accessible to everyone). Fear and desire are anticipatory and focused respectively on the disponibilité all inform the discussion of creative It is precisely this misapplication of the idea of function fidelity is one of his favorite examples. various philosophical themes, frequently ones Marcel himself was ” of the ontological affirmation—and the attendant appeal of Hope—fidelity is always open to doubt difference between having a and. Criticism, and musical compositions being ) can not be addressed separately, eds. from! Initial basis for more abstract philosophical analysis because a person be like they flow like music through landscape..., L., 2006 a result of an option: that life can have a meaning! A belief—for belief changes the way I am not gabriel marcel meaning of life to the Religious philosophy religion. Approach for a philosopher of the treatment of others and the attempt reveal. Neither is it, always an “ essentially intellectual ” operation ( Marcel 1995 p.. 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