Stasys Salkauskis (1886-1941) is a systematic philosopher. His books, articles, courses of lectures and even his speeches are based on a rigid logical framework made more distinct by a detailed articulation of parts, chapters and sections ó it suffices to look at the contents of any of his works or the programme of his course of lectures to understand that, first of all, Salkauskis used to draw up a detailed plan of the work and then set about implementing it. Unfortunately, some of those plans were left unrealized. The rigid framework was often left unfilled. Neither was this systematic thinker fated to create a system of philosophy.

One can try to reconstruct the whole complex of Salkauskisís philosophical views. For the reconstruction of some parts of the whole complex more material is available, whereas for other parts there are only fragments. It is more possible to sketch an imaginary overview, which was not presented by Salkauskis in any of his texts but is witnessed by all his texts, than to produce a real system of his philosophy. Such a sketch should bring to light the fundamental principles organizing Salkauskisís whole philosophical work and bring out the seeds of philosophy from which his philosophy germinated. This should help one understand the real value and meaning of his philosophical investigations. It is appropriate to start with the evolution of his philosophy.




Stasys Salkauskis became interested in philosophy while studying at Moscow University. The greatest authorities for him in his youth were Ernest Hello and Vladimir Soloviov who remained important for him in the years to come. The philosophy of the French Catholic polemicist impressed Salkauskis by its authorís conceptual rigor and determination in the complicated world of modern thought. However, the basis for his own philosophical thinking was laid by the systematic ideas of the famous Russian idealist.

A series of articles under the common title of "Baznycia ir kultura" ("The Church and Culture") was published in the journal Draugija ("The Society") in 1913-1914. In that study, as well as in his letters to the editor of the journal, Adomas Jakstas-Dambrauskas, while closely following Soloviovís philosophy, Stasys Salkauskis tried consistently to present for the first time his philosophical views.

Salkauskis stressed the unity of knowledge, above all of theology and philosophy. This unity is based on the statement that "one and the same truth forms the contents of both theology and philosophy" (12, 18) though these theoretical subjects strive it in different ways. Their objects differ too: "The knowledge of the supernatural order, as such, forms the object of theology, whereas the knowledge of the natural order forms the object of science, and synthesizing these two orders is the specific objective of philosophy" (12, 19). Thus, young Salkauskis attributes a special place to philosophy in the system of knowledge and assigns it a particular task: "Philosophy synthesizes the supernatural order with the natural one" (12, 18).

Salkauskis unfolds the problem of his first philosophical study in the contexts of the task of philosophy as he understood it. Following Soloviov, Salkauskis treats both layers of existence dynamically ó the supernatural and natural orders ó as independent origins of an integrating vision. In this way he gives a meaning to the contour of his philosophy of history. "As progress in the supernatural order announces itself in a religious form and progress in the natural order declares itself to be in culture, then the synthesis of religion (the contents of which, according to Salkauskis, lie in the Church) and culture forms the proximate task of philosophy" (12, 19). The universal nature of the philosophical study is especially obvious in the variant of a more complete manuscript published in 1993 in Volume 3 of the Selected Works of Salkauskis (13, 62-145), rather than in the study published in Draugija ("The Society").

An important feature of Salkauskisís philosophy then becomes manifest ó a parallel between the structure of existence seen in the context of the philosophy of history and its "subjective" equivalent, the structure of so-called "life". The place of philosophy is different in these two planes. Reasoning from the point of view of life, Salkauskis states the following: "A full satisfaction of the instinct of an intellectual man can be completed only in the sphere of philosophy, because only the synthesis of the first two kinds of knowledge (theology and science ó A. S.) which is achieved in philosophy comprises the whole life of man" (12, 18). At that time his conception of life is not yet formulated but fluctuates. On the one hand, there is the sense of personal existence in everyday use when one speaks, for example, about the meaning of philosophy in life. On the other hand, there is a theoretical sense of the term philosophy when life is understood as the equivalent of the structure of existence in a second ontology deployed on the plane of practical philosophy and in its own terms. These two meanings of "life" are closely related and even merge, but they can be separated analytically.

Using the term of life in the sense of personal existence, Salkauskis underlined more than once that philosophy is a biographic act, a part of his biography. He wrote to A. Jakstas-Dambrauskas: "My love of philosophy developed parallel with the way philosophy responded to my spiritual doubts" (12, 19). While a high school student, he doubted the existence of God and made a positive decision only upon graduating from the University where Soloviovís philosophical studies were of great help to him. Later he had doubts about the place of evil in the world, i.e., the main issue of theodicy appeared. These doubts were also dispelled, which he again relates to philosophical activity:


Then I foresaw a great spiritual elevation which helped me think of the synthesis of the Church and culture. The answer was as follows: if God can really have mercy on our world, the Church and culture forms not only a theoretical but also a practical synthesis (i.e. the problem of their relationship is settled not only by means of philosophical considerations, but also by means of a practical choice. ó A. S.): genius and holiness is the norm of our active life (12, 21).


Salkauskis continued later to be concerned about the question of practical self-determination. In his letter of April 16, 1918 to writer Juozas Tumas-Vaizgantas, Salkauskis calls his point of view a "pessimistic optimism". This point of view bases itself on the fact that manifestations of life are evaluated in the "light of Apocalypses", namely the conclusion is drawn that "evil wins in the natural order, therefore, in the supernatural order good does; however, the order of eternity wins over our natural world through the catastrophic wreck of the world. This apocalyptic point of view forms the foundation of Salkauskisís philosophy of history.


What happened in the body of Christ in an individual way, must happen in the history of mankind in a universal way through His Church; only then will the supernatural order be able to overcome the natural order, only then will the sacrifice of atonement find its universal implementation.


Considerations of the philosophy of history, in turn, determine and frame personal choice. Salkauskis calls the apocalyptic necessity of "our world" "the horrible truth". Much courage is required to agree to it; however, it is an "obligation of a Christian" and "the cross of his life".

In his letter to Juozas Tumas-Vaizgantas Salkauskis develops also the second, theoretical concept of the meaning of life in essence, marking already the contours of the philosophy of his life or practical philosophy. He writes about a triple structure of life which corresponds to the structure of existence:


The life of man, being uniform in its essence, can be seen from three viewpoints, i.e. from the point of view of a soul, body and the relation between the two. The first viewpoint embraces the sphere of religion, the second encompasses the sphere of economics (i.e. national economy ó A. S.) and the third, broadly speaking, includes the sphere of culture because culture is the cultivation of material life according to the requirements of the soul (8, 536).




In his written work "The Church and Culture" Salkauskis sought to present "in advance ó the programme" part of the work which, he said, he wanted "to realize all his life" (12, 21). In 1914 he thought of choosing this subject matter for his doctoral thesis. Most probably he did not reject this project for some time because there has survived an unfinished extended plan of the work, "The Church and Culture,"ritten simultaneously in Russian and French and dated 1916-1917, which develops ideas published in Draugija (Society) (14, 146-153).

However, later Salkauskis evaluated critically his early philosophical efforts calling "The Church and Culture" "a creature of amateurish philosophizing" (10, 36) and stating that the "unconscious philosophizing" in that work "rationalizes theological matters and mystifies philosophical matters" (9, 176). In his letter to A. Jakstas-Dambrauskas Salkauskis wrote that he had "made a severe revision of his world outlook" (12, 40) and in "The Word of Autocracy" published in the journal Logos, he rejected the metaphysical foundations of his early study. Salkauskis declared: "Characterizing my metaphysical views, . . . one cannot base oneself on my written work "The Church and Culture" (10, 36-37). The appearance of this critical distance was determined by the main turning point in the biography of Salkauskis as a philosopher and related to his studies at Freiburg University in 1916-1920.

This turning point was not reached at once. In the report "Faith and Scholastic Philosophy" made at the seminar in 1917, Salkauskis wrote: "When taking the course in scholastic philosophy I formed an impression . . . that scholasticism does not provide a synthesis of religion and reason. Sometimes it seems to me that in fear of mystic subjectivism, scholasticism becomes too vulnerable to abstract intellectualism. At the same time, its union with faith without a broad geosiological basis renders faith too dogmatic" (15, 161). Such a synthesis, in Salkauskisís opinion of that time, was provided by Soloviovís idea of the harmony of rational, empirical and mystic knowledge. In his report Salkauskis described his spiritual state as one of "hesitation" between "the old firm conviction" which had formed on the basis of Soloviovís lectures and "new impressions" experienced at Friebourg University which "did not manage to crystallize themselves and merge with the old . . . conviction (15, 162).

These hesitations were dispelled, though not at once. Writing his doctoral thesis about the conception of the soul of the world in Soloviovís philosophy, Salkauskis thought that he "would succeed in showing something new to the scholastics of Fribourg in defending Solovioví conception" (12, 40). "The author, almost to the very end (of his work ó A. S.), namely, only without reaching its critical part, cherished the hope of defending Soloviovís conception" (9, 175). However, nearing the end "I had to experience a bitter disappointment at seeing that my mansion did not sustain itself within". Finally, having reached the critical chapter, as Salkauskis himself puts it, "Turning to Saint Thomas for help, I tried to make the whole matter clear, and only then did I understand that infinite power of Thomas Aquinasís logic: since then I am inclined to consider Thomas Aquinasís philosophy as the greatest miracle of reason" (12, 40).

The fatal turning point had been reached ó the doctoral thesis became:


the expression of both gratitude and emancipation with respect to the philosopher who was the first to inspire the authorís love of philosophy and direct him towards the course of his thought. Captivated by Soloviovís broad synthetic scope, the author tried to make clear and justify the central conception of his intuitive synthetism . . . . However, when it came to putting everything together, it finally became clear to the author that Soloviovís conception of the soul of the world could not be justified in the light of critical thought (9, 175).


The criticism, presented as it was in a laconic way in Salkauskisís doctorís thesis, in essence, related not only to the conception of the soul of the world, but also to the mode of Soloviovís philosophizing as well as to the fundamentals of his metaphysics.

What is the critical thought to which Salkauskis is appealing? In Freiburg Salkauskis studied at the International Catholic University which followed a curriculum reviving scholastic philosophy. The fragments of the notes of Salkauskis lectures and bibliography that have survived show that Salkauskis based his studies of philosophy on systematic neo-scholastic textbooks and lectures on gnoseology, ontological ethics, aesthetics, logic, cosmology, philosophy of history by D. J. Mercier, A. G. Sertillanges, D. Nys, M. de Wulf and others, as well as on special educational dictionaries of philosophy. According to his friend from the university years, geographer Kazys Pakstas, Salkauskis valued Professor M. de Munnynsk most of all (5, 194). It was neo-scholasticism, a real school of philosophy for Salkauskis, that formed the principles of his philosophizing and the fundamentals which, one can say, later remained unchanged and were only adapted to considering those problematic spheres which Salkauskis encountered. Salkauskis no longer considered those principles critically, but where needed, postulated them in his works as valid conclusions of the current stage of the development of the philosophia perennis. He based himself on these principles when systematically developing certain branches of philosophy: mostly the philosophy of culture and aesthetics, as well as the theory of pedagogy. They provided Salkauskisís work with a solid, though topically rather narrow, Aristotelianism. With a Thomistic base he constantly made use of the hypomorphic principle, the so-called four Aristotelian causes, and other things. Basing himself on these fundamentals Salkauskis moved towards those parts of the system of philosophy which were not given in neo-scholasticism. On the other hand, he did not continue the established work on neo-scholastic subjects as did his colleague Pranas Kurelis in the Department of Theology and Philosophy. Salkauskis did not write a single work either on ontology, gnoseology or ethics; he only presented in a sporadic way one or two fragments of some parts of that philosophical system.

Salkauskis drew up the program of his philosophical work quite early. A page entitled "The Work to Be Done", dated May 6, 1919 (16, 438-439), includes the system of philosophy, an anthology of general philosophy, a Lithuanian terminology for philosophy, some specific issues of philosophy and social life, as well as measures for their practical implementation, etc. To comprehend Salkauskisís way of thinking it is important to note that in essence this is a programme both for developing an entire Lithuanian philosophical culture and also for Stasys Salkauskisís personal activity and even that of his philosophical life. From both points of view it is especially capacious ó the Lithuanian philosophical culture is far from having implemented it, and the subsequent theoretical and practical activity of Salkauskis himself can be accommodated almost completely in the framework outlined by that program. Thus, one can say that Salkauskis drew up his life program as early as 1919 and it remained only to carry it out as far as his efforts allowed. An existing fragment of his letter, written to his sister Antonina Salkauskaite in 1926, contains in essence, the same philosophical programme (17, 440-441).




In 1921 Salkauskis began to work as a lecturer at Kaunas Higher Courses and in 1922 he began teaching "Introduction to Philosophy" at the newly established Department of Theology and Philosophy of the University of Lithuania. At that time he wrote several texts in which he explained what philosophy is. Salkauskis spread an already mature conception of philosophy when speaking about the relations between philosophy and science, as well as when speaking about the relation between philosophy and life. The first issue deals mostly with the specificity of philosophical thinking, whereas the second is concerned with the importance of philosophy from the point of view of its world outlook.

Discussing the subject matter of philosophy, Salkauskis pays attention to the fact that it is undetermined from the point of view of its contents: "All that exists, that is known, is acted upon or being created ó all that can be studied by philosophy in the light of reflective reason" (31). The specificity of philosophy depends on its peculiar attitude towards objects rather than on the objects it studies.

What is that attitude? The most important feature of philosophy consists in that it "strives for the latter (objects ó A. S.) through the knowledge of the remotest, primary or universal causes" (18, 31). Salkauskis follows closely the definitions of Aristotelian philosophy formulated by the scholastics of the Middle Ages: philosophy is scientia omnium rerum per ultimas causas or "knowledge of all the things through their ultimate causes" (19, 76). Its specificity is brought out by opposing philosophy to the specialized sciences. This question has a long history ó its beginning can be seen in the opposition of Aristotelian or to be more exact, in post-Aristotelian physics and metaphysics. The sciences investigate the proximate causes, whereas philosophy studies the most remote or ultimate ones; sciences are specialized, whereas philosophy is universal. "Specialized sciences have as their material object a certain part of reality . . .; general, as well as universal science has as its material object the whole complex of reality which they investigate from general viewpoints" (20, 66). The fact that this traditional differentiation is still relevant in our times is witnessed by historical experience. Salkauskis does not consider branches of science and philosophy as unchangeable ó their competence is constantly redistributed; what earlier belonged to philosophy falls into the province of science. The philosopher underlines that philosophy must harmonize or synthesize the data of the specialized sciences, and unite them into a system.

Nevertheless, one can state that the contrast of proximate and ultimate causes does not express exactly enough what Salkauskis considers to be the specificity of philosophy. His fundamental idea is soon obscured by the statements that science is gradually "ascending" from the proximate to the more remote causes, and that philosophy provides science with its conclusions and is thus "descending" towards it. Thus in principle, science and philosophy, instead of opposing one another, complement each other. This statement obscures, though it does not completely deaden the fact that the ultimate causes, in one way or another, are speculative causes, which is exactly how the traditional metaphysical language expresses the specificity of philosophical investigations.

This is obvious when Salkauskis presents the definition of philosophizing tracing back the history of the Western thought from its very "beginning" in the time of the pre-Socratic philosophers: "The viewpoint whereby philosophy studies its material object or all things cognitively in the light of reason, is the cognition of things from their origin or fundamentals . . . . The fundamentals, or origins, in question, in fact are nothing other than the primary and most remote causes of things" (19, 80). In the range of this fundamental definition Salkauskis renders concrete what these "primary" (because they coincide with the origins of existence) and at the same time ultimate or most remote causes are. They are the results of the way of thinking making use of the conceptual measures presented by his school of philosophy. To study some object philosophically means to open out its "primary" and at the same time its most remote causes. According to Aristotle, these are four causes: efficient (causa efficiens), material (causa materialis), formal (causa formalis) and final (causa finalis). Therefore:


When the question is raised what the world is, the material and formal cause is sought, i.e., what the world consists of. . . . When the question is raised where the world came from, its chief efficient cause is sought; and when the question is raised where the world moves toward, its final cause is sought (20, 61).


Salkauskis was especially concerned with the relation between philosophy and life or the importance of philosophy from the point of view of the world outlook. Against the principle of sound reason "first one must live and then philosophize" he brings forward the opposite statement "If we speak about . . . life which man is obliged to know, . . . rather than about life as a whole (i.e., bare existence, life of a living being ó A. S.), we shall need primum philosophari in order to deinde vivere" (18, 29). Thus, the perspective of a specifically human existence forms the basis of the question about the importance of philosophy. This perspective is determined by postulating the dimension of obligation in life which is common to a human being and other living creatures as well.

Considering the importance of philosophy to a particular human life in some detail, Salkauskis first of all differentiates the world outlook based on tradition, opinion or, as he himself puts it, conviction, and the world outlook based on a rational, reflective consideration or, speaking in his own words, assurance. Generally speaking, reason motivates the two world outlooks in its own way because "philosophy raises the obligations of human reason to the highest degree of consciousness". It effects the self-determination of man in an active way ó "manís determination in life" depends on philosophy. In the end this determines the importance of philosophy from the point of view of the world outlook: "philosophy which serves truth from obligation liberates man, and this is one of its greatest merits in the life of man" (18, 36).

The question of the specificity of philosophy is organically related to the question of the system of philosophy. There is no point in presenting a broader account of Salkauskisís concept of the system of philosophy ó it is more convenient to look at the chart presented at the end of "The Introduction to Philosophy" and its explanations (19, 104). This is a traditional chart which can be traced to Leibniz and Wolff, which was inherited also by Kant (see 3, 576-577). Besides ontology, or general metaphysics, Salkauskis includes in the system of philosophy three more parts of theoretical philosophy or "special" metaphysics: psychology studying the psychic origin of man, cosmology investigating the physical world, and theodicy (which, following the French tradition, he calls "natural theology") concerned with "the primary cause of the world" (19, 104). The division of theoretical philosophy directly repeats Ch. Wolff. It is sufficient to take into consideration the fundamental ó theoretical and practical ó division of philosophy; the most important part of the former is ontology, whereas the second part is explained through the German word, Lebensanschauung.




Salkauskis did not present ontology in detail. Therefore, it is important to focus our attention on the fragments scattered in different written works. The section of "General Aesthetics" at the beginning of which Salkauskis says that "the truth, good and beauty are only different viewpoints of one and the same being" is of great importance (21, 511). In the "Terminology of General Philosophy" Salkauskis explains the word `beingí by the following equivalents: etre in French, Sein and Seiende in German. Salkauskis defines the relation between these as follows:


Being . . . means the deepest basis of existence; in a way being is contrasted with essence, which means the deepest contents of being. In being are distinguished essence, i.e., that due to which a thing is really what it is, from existence, i.e., that due to which the essence manifests itself in existence. Being is all that exists in any sense; from this should be distinguished living being which means a certain being, namely, a living being" (11, 61-62).


We can either agree or disagree with these considerations, but, somehow or other, they make Salkauskisís idea clear enough. Ontology is the science of philosophical being and the subject matter of ontology or general metaphysics is "being as such" (19, 104).

This is nothing other than Heideggerís so-called whole of existence. It is not by chance that we recall Heidegger here for ontology in the history of European metaphysics; Salkauskisís conception of ontology corresponds to Heideggerís conception. This is obvious from "The Origin of the Work of Art" in which Heidegger, besides other things, describes how European metaphysics contemplates the thing. It is important that Salkauskis speaks about the being and the thing as synonyms, for his philosophy is determined by the fact that there is no so-called "ontological difference" there, that is, that being there is identified with existence or with the whole of existence.

Further citing the fragment quoted, Salkauskis discusses the expression of being (or existence): " Being, as corresponding to its ideal type, is called real. Being, as desired, is called wealth. Being, as enjoyed, is called beauty. The reality of being is perceptible, the wealth of being is praised, the beauty of being is admired. Reality is positive, wealth is sought for, beauty is enjoyed" (21, 511-512). Here he bases himself on reasoning corresponding to the method of natural theology which attests that the object under investigation is perfect in all respects. Being is defined by describing its specific properties ó so-called "perfections": "one and the same being distinguishes itself as real in one respect, as kind in another respect and as beautiful in a third respect . . . . These are three different perfections which can be found in one being and one thing if this being or thing is perfect in all respects". Such subjective wording ("if we want") expresses Salkauskisís ideas in an inaccurate way, which should be understood as expressing the way of theological reasoning to be discussed later: ". . . The reality of being is nothing but its correspondence to its ideal type. The kindness of being is its concurrence with its natural law. The beauty of being is the bright and harmonious manifestation of its perfection" (21, 514). Salkauskisís aesthetics is on this plane. Ontology, investigating "the most general properties of things or beings", among all other things, must study "to what degree beauty is objective in things" or "what beauty is in the objective sense of this word" (22, 450-451). It brings out "the most general fundamentals of beauty in things themselves" (22, 451).

Discussing the problem of beauty on the ontological plane, Salkauskis first of all raises the question of "the objective" foundation of beauty. Here the Aristotelian conception is repeated: a particular order forms the objective foundation of beauty ó "the co-ordination of many and different things according to a certain origin of unity" (22, 454) and the specificity of the aesthetic order is discussed presenting the formal and speculative characteristics of beauty. "Objectively the form needs the following: a) a complete organic whole (integritas, sive perfectio), b) unity in diversity (ordo aestheticus), c) proper proportion (harmonia), and d) clear dominance in the assimilated material (splendor formae)" (23, 591). Salkauskis interprets these formal characteristics of beauty realistically, like the whole Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition. According to him, the origin of the aesthetic order, studied by ontology, is nothing other than the form of a thing which "takes hold of the matter and at the same time forms one material thing with it" (22, 455). Thus, beauty enters into the fundamental structure of the world.

Ontology is not the only plane within which Salkauskis investigated the problems of beauty. According to Salkauskis, the task of philosophical aesthetics is "to investigate the general fundamental issues of beauty and art" (22, 450). But this task is to be carried out by as many as three branches of philosophy: ontology, psychology and the philosophy of art, or aesthetics in the narrow sense of the word. However, in trying to make clear what beauty is in the "subjective" or psychological sense, one has to keep in mind a certain inconsistency in Salkauskisís concept of psychology. On the one hand, he leaves psychology in the place it occupied in the Aristotelian-Thomistic tradition (so-called rational psychology or one of the branches of special metaphysics). On the other hand, Salkauskis has in mind and applies the conclusions and methods of psychological science. Let us say that the description of the artistsí creative psychology described in the "General Aesthetics" is of a psychological rather than philosophical nature. At the same time, basing himself on the realistic Thomistic principle, Salkauskis states that "beauty, in a subjective way, is nothing other than the aesthetic impression whose objective cause is a thing capable of exciting it. . . . The aesthetic emotion corresponds to the objective basis of beauty in things themselves" (22, 459). Thus, beauty or the "flowering of the perfection of a thing through its outer form" is perceived by means of a particular aesthetic emotion ó "direct perception or intuition" (22, 459).

Finally, aesthetics in the narrowest sense is the philosophy of art ó it has to investigate "in what way the synthesis of the objective and subjective beauty must be realized by means of art" (22, 451). These three branches of philosophy which deal with the problem of beauty in different ways were not developed by Salkauskis uniformly: he discussed the first two briefly in his lecture "Beauty in the Light of Philosophy", whereas the third one he presented in a systematic way in the course of lectures on "General Aesthetics". Only the first part of the latter with some omissions has survived. Finally, all three aspects of the problem of beauty were presented systematically, though in the form of a thesis, in the project "Aesthetic Ideology of Ateitininkai" prepared by Salkauskis.

Salkauskis took the principle of realistic gnoseology from neo-scholasticism. He directly related cognitive problems with those of being, besides, subjecting the former to the latter: "The correlation between the form of a thing and the corresponding idea of ours has a very deep basis in that correlation, which, on the whole, exists between the order of being and cognition". The form which is "the basis of all real perfections" in "the order of being" is at the same time "the basis of cognition" too. It is "the basis on account of which the thing can be perceived, and which is the basis for our corresponding idea to be formed" ( 22, 456). Salkauskis even strengthens this realistic orientation of neo-scholasticism by accentuating its Augustinian elements. For example, he states that the form of a thing is nothing but the materialized idea, and the idea, in its turn, is the form dematerialized.

Accentuating the Augustinian basis in this way, it turns out that even beauty is only the embodiment of an insubstantial idea or a visible expression of the ideal basis: "Beauty is the flowering of the perfection of a thing through its outer form" (22, 458).

For Salkauskis the ontological truth, however, is not only the highest guarantee of the cognition of the world: this is also the norm of the "rightness" of the world. "In the deepest sense the truth is the correspondence of a thing to its ideal type, or its first image. The thing is real when it is what it must be". The thing that is especially typical of Salkauskisís way of thinking is the fact that the example (as well as the original view) of such an "obligatory thing" or an obligatory being is man. He goes on: "Every man is a human being, however, not every man is a real human being; as not every man corresponds to his ideal original image; it would be more correct to say that not all people distance themselves equally from their ideal types. Meanwhile, the inadequacy of the thing to its ideal type forms its uncertainty or the lie of its mode of life" ( 24, 282). Thus, in the end truth corresponds with rightness ó original images hidden in the absolute reason are not only ontological truths but also ontological norms, not only Ďthe remotest causes" of the existing world but also its Ďfinal goals" to be achieved.

The fact that norms and obligations are based in the very fundamental structure of the world shows that Salkauskis was directly concerned with neither ontology nor gnoseology. In fact, no discussion of the principle problems of scholastic ontology are found in his philosophy ó relations between the essence and existence, substance and accidence, potency and act. These categories do not even exist in his philosophy, excluding potency and act; however, the latter are not discussed either, but are applied in the philosophy of culture and aesthetics. Salkauskis was concerned with other things.

"That which forms the facts of reality which do not depend on manís activity is the object of the purely theoretical sphere, whereas the sphere of human activity is the object of the practical sphere" (21, 464). Nevertheless, we saw that even in the outlines of the most important sphere of theoretical philosophy, presented by Salkauskis, some room for the "obligatory thing" or "obligatory being" was found. In other words, ethics is found even in his ontology, and the structure of obligation is found in his concept of being. Designing his philosophical activity, Salkauskis quite early chose the sphere of human activity as the object of his special investigation. He developed practical philosophy, as it was traditionally called, or life philosophy, as he himself most often called it, directly or indirectly following Wilhelm Dilthey. A. Maceina even makes the following statement: "He (Salkauskis. ó A. S.) perceived being and studied it in the sense of life, rather than from the point of view of either cognition, its being in itself or effect. Being lay in different shapes of life in front of him and revealed itself before him as life" (4, 8). To correctly understand that idea of Maceina, we have to take into account the fact that Maceina himself understood being in the sense of Heidegger, rather than in that of Salkauskis: according to Maceina, "The object of every philosopher is the same, namely, being" (4, 7).

There is some inconsistency or tension between theoretical and practical philosophy in Salkauskis. We saw that practical (life) philosophy had a defined place in the system of philosophy. In essence, however, practical philosophy is the system of philosophy ó it includes the whole area of philosophical problems, changes or "absorbs" the spheres of theoretical philosophy and makes them its parts.

The inner tension of Salkauskis theoretical and practical philosophy is clearly seen in his aesthetics. Apart from the above discussed attribution of problems of beauty to ontology, psychology and aesthetics in a narrow sense, which could correspond to the conception of the system of philosophy, another distribution is presented in the course of "General Aesthetics". In defining the object of general aesthetics (which, by the way, corresponds to what in the article "Beauty in the Light of Philosophy" is called aesthetics in a specialized sense), Salkauskis isolates himself from general metaphysics or ontology which investigates "the concept of beauty and the fundamentals of beauty in things" ( 21, 463). Instead, he renders this concrete: "beauty manifesting itself in nature" (21, 464), the beauty of nature. General aesthetics, having left the issue of the concept of beauty and its "objective foundations in the world" to be considered by ontology, considers "beauty as far as it manifests itself in arts" (21, 464) as the object of aesthetics. This then is the science of "beauty which manifests itself in art" (21, 470), the philosophy of art as a part of practical philosophy.




Salkauskis moves from theoretical to practical philosophy on the whole in exactly the same way. He had an idea of systematically developing life philosophy ó he put its three volumes on the list made in 1926 of works being created or planned to be created: the first volume on nature, the second on culture, the third on the philosophy of religion. However, Salkauskis left almost no texts dealing with the problems of the first two volumes. These problems are touched upon in passing in the philosophy of culture. Some elements of the philosophy of nature and especially those of the philosophy of religion can be reconstructed from the theory of pedagogy which, in essence, is an applied equivalent of life philosophy, as well as from sporadic statements found in other written works.




Life, as the most comprehensively understood object of practical philosophy, is the most real horizon of Salkauskisís philosophy. In the sphere of neo-scholasticism, Salkauskis postulated mostly the principles of neo-scholastic ontology and gnoseology, sometimes accentuating Augustinian features and interpreting them in his own way. However, in the sphere of practical philosophy he worked somewhat more independently. Making use of Aristotelian-Thomistic conceptual measures, Salkauskis still tried to create a conception whose essence could be understood by comparing it not only with neo-scholasticism, but also with the German life philosophy. It is difficult to agree to Maceinaís statement that life philosophy in the Salkauskis sense is "something quite different from what the Germans call "Lebensphilosphie" which . . . was nothing but the philosophy of life". It is true that life, as Salkauskis understood it "involves both life and the soul and they both unite in a human being and act through them". It is also true that for Salkauskis "life reaches the transcendental reality too, including God as one of the characters of life" (4, 8). However, only with great reservation can German life philosophy be called the philosophy of life ó if we speak exclusively about its biological trend represented by Ludwig Klages and others. This definition does not apply to W. Dilthey himself and his school, nor does it apply to Friedrich Nietzsche who opened the perspective of the way of thinking characteristic of the whole school. Dilthey and Nietzsche understood life as a human reality in a wide sense including the spiritual world and transcendence. Diltheyís and Salkauskisís conceptions of life differ in principle, but the difference does not lie in the understanding of the scope of this fundamental conception.

The "life" of practical philosophy is a peculiar equivalent of being, or "existence" in theoretical philosophy. Salkauskis goes on to develop the above idea of the perfection of being, discussing corresponding perfections of life:


Similarly to a separate being or a separate thing which cannot be perfect without possessing truthfulness, kindness or beauty, the life of a human being is not perfect if it lacks truth, goodness or beauty. . . . The greatest inexpediency of life would be implanted into its very basis of cognition; morals and art could contradict themselves in principle (21, 514).


Let us turn our attention not to the things with which Salkauskis is directly concerned: the harmony between the highest values ó truth, goodness and beauty ó and the spheres of life corresponding to them, but to the way Salkauskis substantiates that harmony. He states that if these highest values were contradictory, "the greatest inexpediency" would be hidden in the basis of life. In other words, the purposefulness of life is the precondition of this consideration. Purposefulness here is appealed to in the same way as a specialist in logic appeals to consistency, and a specialist of natural sciences appeals to causality. Salkauskisís philosophy is permeated through out by the teleological consideration, taken directly from natural theology. On its basis, Salkauskis presented the idea of a hierarchical structure of life in many a case:


The life of a human being consequently ascends by means of three steps from the material plane to the highest spiritual sphere. Nature moves in the direction of culture so that it could find its natural end or improvement in the latter. Then culture moves in the direction of religion so that it could find its supernatural end in the latter. . . . Each higher sphere of life bases itself on the lower one, as its natural material basis, and on the other hand, completes that lower sphere by complementing and improving it (25, 434).


Finally, "Ascending from one sphere of life into another higher one, a consequent gradation of objectives and means is observed" (25, 426).


Philosophy of Nature


The lowest and fundamental stage of life is nature and human nature which belongs to it, or the inner nature. A. Maceina notes: " To write the philosophy of nature was Salkauskisís lifelong dream. During the years before the war he wanted to present at least its outline because he did not expect to develop it in full. Unfortunately, his death prevented him from fulfilling that task as well" (4, 8). As no manuscripts or plans from that sphere have survived, excluding the headings in the two aforementioned plans of the intended work, this conception of nature can be reconstructed only fragmentally.

Similar to other stages, Salkauskis studied nature on the basis of Aristotelian causes: "The efficient cause of nature is the laws of nature which function with unavoidable necessity . . . . Matter or the material is the material cause, and the form is the formal cause of nature and, therefore, also its natural cause . . . and its substantial form. . . . Material, formal and natural causes of nature form the substantial foundation of the material world which is subject to stable causal regularity" (25, 426-427). It is namely the substantial form that is the essence of a thing ó this is the origin which makes the "thing to be what it is". At the same time this origin is nothing but the "efficient origin of the natural regularity" (25, 427) ó here the Aristotelian efficient cause manifests itself as the regularity of nature. Besides, directly translating the essential theistic element of the world outlook into philosophical reasoning ó the conception of the world as a piece of art ó Salkauskis states that the substantial forms of the material world are nothing but the creatures of "creative reason".

Finally Salkauskis speaks about the purposefulness of nature in a more specialized sense than that discussed earlier ó he speaks about the fourth final cause of nature, or about the purpose of nature. According to Salkauskis, that purpose of nature is "the creation of a free and conscientious individual" (25, 428). He confesses that he cannot prove it. In principle, he bases himself on Soloviovís conceptions of the formation of all unity in the essay on the philosophy of history stating that the whole world "turns" in the anthropogenic direction. The source of this idea is the anthropocentric Christian orientation ordering creation in a hierarchic order and placing the human being at the top of this hierarchy. Augustinius and Thomas Aquinas envisage a hierarchy of creation. This orientation has constantly manifested itself in the philosophy of the modern age since the Renaissance ó Shakespeare puts the following words into Hamletís mouth: man is "the crown of creation". In his "The Critique of the Power of Decision" Kant formulated the idea in the same way as did Salkauskis ó the purpose of nature is an intelligent and free living being.


Philosophy of Culture


The second stage of the pyramid of life is culture. The philosophy of culture is the most widely developed subject of Salkauskisís philosophy.

K. Pakstas wrote in his reminiscences the following: "His (S. Salkauskis. ó A. S.) greatest dream was to write an extensive work "Philosophy of Culture" in five volumes. He collected material for that work, thought a lot about it, drew up its plan and read it to me once when he had already written something" (5, 196).

In 1926, at the Department of Theology and Philosophy, Salkauskis published a summary of his lectures "Outlines of Philosophy of Culture," which was destined to become the most important of his philosophy work published while he was still alive. More extensive typewritten lectures on the philosophy of culture, though not completely prepared for publication by the author, have survived also, as well as an additional typewritten course called "Problems of the Special Philosophy of Culture," both published in his "Collected Works" in 1990.


The relation between culture and nature is determined first of all by the fact that nature is the object of manís cultural activity. Besides the regularity which governs nature and the nature of man, . . . the cultural effect realizes a new series of causative actions, within which a certain ideological causality manifests itself. . . . If a simple original material (Aristotelian materia prima. ó A. S.) serves as a material cause for nature and the nature of man, the whole of nature and the whole of material human nature serve as a material cause for culture."


Looking at culture from the point of view of his integral life philosophy, Salkauskis states that "in the cultural action of man truth, goodness and beauty (which are both the origins of the same essence and life itself and also their deepest foundation, which is not further studied ó A. S.) are already taken as that which must design the life of a human being and even the whole world with new forms which are realized by means of knowledge, morals and art" (that is, culture. ó A. S.) (25, 428). The purposefulness of life manifests itself in culture in a peculiar way as the objectives chosen by an intelligent and free living being: "The objectives of culture are placed in relation with those ideals which man creates himself according to his spiritual essence" (25, 428). These ideals are nothing but truth, goodness and beauty.

To define the essence of culture, according to Salkauskis, the most important thing is the concept of human action. "Culture is a conscious activity of a human being with the aim of designing some natural object with the form corresponding to a higher idea" (24, 177). The conception of a cultural action is rendered concrete by applying it to the investigation of different objects of cultivation. Economy, cognition, morals and art are investigated in such a way. These analyses make up the contents of Salkauskis philosophy of culture.

"Internal nature or human nature can become the object of cultural activity. A human being can act upon it in the same way he acts on external nature. This is the sphere of ethics. Acting in an ethical way a human being doubles himself in a peculiar way: "He (a human being. ó A. S.) traces out the external purposefulness of the human being, understanding its cause, objectives and tasks, and so-to-say consciously assuming ideal motives and determining to allow his life and activity to be governed by them." (24, 249). Man is born and brought up like a creature of nature, and he depends on the vegetative properties of the soul like all other living beings. However, as Salkauskis puts it, "it (the soul. ó A. S.) understands and determines to act, and when governed by the ideas, its activity becomes cultural" (24, 249). Consciously "coming to reason" a human being becomes human. Salkauskis defines moral behaviour as the coordination of the will and the reason, as the subjugation of instincts or vital impulses to rational motives. "Reason determines things as being this or that, and the will chooses from them the one through which it can render the meaning of higher goodness by his choice, and then resolves to implement it by action" ( 18, 35).

Salkauskisís so-called general aesthetics is, in essence, the development of the part of the philosophy of culture investigating art as the form of a certain culture on the whole. The most important thing for the philosophy of culture is the conception of a cultural action, whereas for aesthetics the most important thing is the conception of an aesthetic action. Two other essential aspects of a piece of art ó creative regulations and the results of creative action ó are interpreted in the light of this action. "An artful action does not altogether differ from a widely understood cultural effect which contains in its nature the ability to attribute a higher form to a certain object" (21, 480). Of course, this is only a generic definition. Aesthetics must define the forms of artistic specificity as well.

True, in the scheme of the system of philosophy, aesthetics is discussed as a normative rather than descriptive subject, like the philosophy of culture. However, it should be said that the opposition of the cognitive sphere and the sphere of value accentuated by the neo-Kantians remained foreign to Salkauskis. The relation of the normative and cognition in aesthetics is not problematic, nor is it in Salkauskisís philosophy on the whole. In solving cognitive tasks, aesthetics simultaneously fulfills a normative function. "Aesthetics tries to trace that causative regularity which governs the appearance of aesthetic values, their evaluation and their enjoyment. At the same time aesthetics explains what aesthetic enjoyment and evaluation are based upon, on which normal correlation between the object and subject the aesthetic experience rests, what conditions are necessary for aesthetic manifestation to appear, etc. Provided one knows the answers to these questions, he knows also the principle norms which the fine arts cannot violate lest they lose their aesthetic value" (21, 471-472). Aesthetics "teaches the truths of the aesthetic life and establishes what is normal for aesthetic life. And to establish what is normal is, in fact, to establish what must be" (21, 472).

Salkauskis analyses what cultural activity is on the whole, basing himself on the Aristotelian causes. "The executive cause of culture is a free and conscious human person who is capable of creatively completing the purposefulness hidden in nature by means of consciously sought tasks" (25, 426-427). "Culture in the true sense of the word can be found within intelligent and free human beings . . ." (24, 194). Strictly speaking, only the person is the creator of culture.

However, the person as the creator of culture in Salkauskisís philosophy is rather a certain principle than a real, concretely defined being. Salkauskis tries to model the real human being by studying the interplay of two dialectic couples ó the individual and the person, the mass and the society:


At the same time man is both an individual and a person. As an individual he forms a part of the mass belonging to the whole complex. As a person he is a free and intelligent member of the society. Thus, each human being belongs to the mass and reveals himself freely in the society, just like a certain aggregate of people is simultaneously an inert mass and a conscious society.


The free and intelligent person and his specific activity of cultural creation are not given things, but remain always in statu nascendi. "An animal is only an individual; a human being becomes a person from an individual, that is, the individuality turns into the personality within a human being", and "depending on the degree to which inert individuals become determined persons, the mass itself turns into a conscious society" (24, 213).

The role of ideas in life is considered in a dialectic way. A human being as a person, that is, as a free and intelligent creature, is self-determining on the basis of his ideological motives. However, this is also a principle and norm, rather than a fact. Salkauskis states that "it is one thing to determine the causative role of ideas in principle, . . . and another thing is to determine the causality of the ideas in a specific cultural development of history during a certain period and under certain circumstances" (24, 224). It is namely on the concrete relationship between the two above mentioned sides ó the individual and the person, as well as the mass and the society ó that the latter thing depends.

On the whole, Salkauskis is apt to speak about the progress on those two planes ó the individual and the social. His unquestionable progress of culture is "related to his (the human beingsí. ó A. S.) ideological growth and improvement by causal ties, that is, with the extent to which this ideological content occupies an ever increasing area in the life and activity of a human being" (24, 225). The increase of the individual "ideological content", in its turn, manifests itself in the life of the society. However, in any case, this dialectical formation remains infinite because "each person always remains an inert individual to a greater or lesser degree, and each society possesses more or less features of the mass". Consequently, "as long as mankind is imperfect, its ideological content is not a well-established fact, but only an ideal task to be performed in its historical life and activity" (24, 227).

Nevertheless, in spite of a clear bent for a progressive terminology of the Enlightenment in which it is not difficult to trace Kantís lexical influence, Salkauskis leaves the issue of the progress of the universal culture open. According to him, the question of the extent to which "ideological content" can be achieved "within the limits of the historical development of mankind" is an eschalogical one and it is improper to solve it within the framework of the philosophy of culture. The task of an individual person to reach the "perfect ideological content" on the plane of oneís self-determination ó and for Salkauskis this means to embody metaphysical transcendence on the life plane ó that is, by "free self-determination to realize the ideals of the truth, beauty and goodness in his life and activity . . . is never completely fulfilled in our life, though it always remains compulsory for the individual conscience of a human being" (24, 227-228). Salkauskisís viewpoint of the fundamentals of the development of history and human self-determination remained unchanged from the time he wrote a letter to Vai gantas and even from the earlier period of his first philosophical studies.

The conclusion that man is incapable of achieving "a perfect ideological content", that is, to act absolutely freely and with a conscious self-determination, is fatal for it appears that all culture is in essence insufficient. In the end cultural activity fails to reach its task: "Culture strives to take possession of nature and use it as a means to achieve its tasks, whereas a complete liberation of culture from material dependence on nature can never take place" (24, 325). Man never liberates himself from nature absolutely, he cannot change the laws of nature or transgress the bounds of causality. By comparing culture as the sphere of human creation with nature as a divine sphere of creation, Salkauskis says, man is unable to create substantial forms but only changes accidental ones. Besides, Salkauskis states, even if it were possible to achieve the aim of culture ó to take possession of nature, perfect man and society, and implement the ideals of knowledge, morals and beauty ó this would not make man completely happy. This would not make man immoral, but it turns out that the immanent aim of culture or the ideal of cultural progress is not able "to satisfy the deepest desires of the human soul which is the longing for complete perfection and absolute happiness" (24, 325). Maceina, explaining this thought of Salkauskis, brings out its religious meaning and writes that culture "cannot complete man as it is incapable of liberating him from evil which manifests itself in the world in the form of error, sin, suffering and finally death" (4, 9). The evil whose existence disturbed Salkauskis from his young days, as well as sin about which he spoke especially and which is an inner evil in man, is nothing but the limit of man as "an intelligent and free creature".

On the other hand, it should be remembered that in Salkauskisís philosophy culture is especially closely related to the essence of man. Humanness manifests itself namely by cultural activity. The philosopher, J. Girnius, even wrote that "The Outline of the Philosophy of Culture" conveys Salkauskis philosophy of man (1, XXVII). It is clear that the essential insufficiency of culture is a tragic thing. In one place Salkauskis himself mentions that culture is the philosophy of tragedy. He analyses the spirit of the tragedy of culture quite extensively when speaking about so-called Prometheanism ó that practical orientation and the corresponding philosophy which regards philosophy as the sphere of the expression of humanness and which seeks for the satisfaction of all human desires in culture only.

Yet, the philosophy of culture of Salkauskis himself does not become tragic, as I tried to prove in my book The Philosophy of Culture in Lithuania (26). The Promethean spirit of tragedy is not the spirit of tragedy of Salkauskis himself. As is known, the philosophy of culture does not exhaust the problems of life. For Salkauskis, the essential insufficiency of culture does not mean that life is tragic from its very foundation, but that "the aim of culture is not the final goal of man, . . . man must have an aspiration for another higher goal, which after it has been achieved, could fully satisfy the deepest desires of the human soul" (24, 326). Culture is not the highest sphere of life.


Philosophy of Religion


Thus philosophy too must not limit itself to the analysis of culture, but move towards another stage in the pyramid of life ó towards religion. This is how Salkauskis defines this objective of philosophy:


If one really wants to prove that the external purposefulness of culture leads to religion, one should bring to light the facts that moving from oneís nature towards culture and then from culture towards religion consecutively, develops the gradation of objectives and measures; that the highest objective of religion is the ultimate goal of human life, that the achievement of this objective abolishes the imperfection of oneís nature and culture, and that the religious ideal completely satisfies the deepest desires of the human soul for perfection and happiness.


The philosophy of religion should perform all this; should "complete the philosophy of life and at the same time crown the philosophy of culture" (24. 337).

However, Salkauskis did not develop the philosophy of religion broadly, but only presented its general scheme. By reconstructing these ideas we take into account the interpretations of his students. They, Antanas Maceina, in particular, could base themselves not only on written texts, but on their discussions and conversations with their teacher.

The union of Man and God forms the essence of religion. This should also be developed on the basis of the Aristotelian causes. The material cause of religion is "culture, which rests on the nature of man or even, in other words, the nature of man processed by means of culture" (25, 430). This determines the importance of culture in the pyramid of life. Maceina presents Salkauskis idea of the relation between culture and religion in the following way:


Religion by itself would be helpless in the world if it did not rest on forms created by culture. Religion has no forms of its own because Godís action manifests itself through man. Therefore, Salkauskis constantly states that where culture is low, a higher conception and practice of religion is impossible. A barbarous human being has a barbarous religion. High culture creates conditions for the ideas of religion to manifest themselves in their full beauty and nobility. . . . Without culture . . . religion could do nothing because it would have no real prop in life. Therefore, Salkauskis, regarding religion as life completing, considered culture as the preparation for this completion (4, 10).


The formal cause of religion or, in other words, the forms of religious life, according to Salkauskis "correspond to the forms of culture, ó that is, knowledge, morals and art, ó and endows them with a higher meaning" (25, 430). Stasys Yla explains Salkauskisís idea as follows: "Religious truth and dogmatic confession correspond to knowledge, the moral order of religion corresponds to morals, and the manifestation of liturgy and sacramental source correspond to art" (2, 327). According to Salkauskis, the equivalents of the forms of culture in religion are to be investigated in two ways: subjective, i.e., from the personal point of view as the so-called theological virtues of faith, hope and charity; and objective, i.e., from the social point of view as the objectivization of these virtues in the life of religious communities, the Church through profession of faith, confession, communion of saints and sacramental practice. The aspiring cause of religion or its aim is also of two kinds: immanent as Church and transcendent as God. "The ultimate aim of religion is God Himself as the final cause of religion. Speaking in other terms, God is sought as the absolute good by religious means" (25, 430-431).

Finally, there are two acting causes of religion ó man and God. As the activity of God is unlimited and omnipotent, religion is able to achieve everything that is unachievable to culture. Salkauskis shows this, speaking about the activity of God in the equivalent of forms of culture ó in the forms of religion. Science is based on the reason of man, whereas faith is based on reason and revelation; virtue in culture is based on reason and will power, and in religion it is based also on grace; art changes the forms of nature at random, sacrament changes them substantially. Therefore, religion satisfies the highest aspirations of the human soul. The action of God overcomes causality, space, time and death. "Religion abolishes error by proclaiming the absolute truth, testifying to God. Religion abolishes sin, atoning by the sacrifice of God himself. In the end religion overcomes suffering and death, proclaiming the promise of absolute happiness and the resurrection" (4, 9), explains Maceina.

In the book devoted to the problems of the philosophy of culture in Lithuania, in studying the relation between culture and religion, I overindulged in Feuerbachís ideas and stated that religion was needed in Salkauskisís philosophical theory "to ideally compensate" for the essential drawbacks of culture. I disregarded the total experience of the world and life from which Salkauskisís philosophy originated.

True, this experience is not philosophical by itself. Speaking in Salkauskisís own words, it should belong to the sphere of confidence, rather than to that of making sure. Salkauskisís style of philosophizing does not help to grasp it.

Nevertheless, it is essentially the positive theistic world outlook that makes the teleological reasoning possible on which Salkauskisís whole philosophy bases itself. The principle features of that philosophy, though not specifically discussed and considered by Salkauskis, emerge as preconditions of his philosophizing. They are the ideas of creation, the fall of being and life, as well as the ideas of the evil which comes into existence on this account and its supernatural atonement which overcomes evil.

Basing himself on this positive experience, Salkauskis states that culture "demands to be supplemented and completed in a higher sphere of life, which can be only religion" (25, 428). With respect to religion the objectives of culture are mere measures. "Similarly to the way the exterior purposefulness of nature is supplemented and completed by the purposefulness of the nature of man, the exterior purposefulness of culture is supplemented and completed by the purposefulness of religion" (p.429). For a theistically-orientated philosopher culture is tragic by itself alone, whereas life is dramatic but not tragic.


Lithuanian Institute of Philosophy and Sociology




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