RVP Annual Seminar RVP Annual Seminar

About RVP Regional Network Publications Annual Seminars International Conferences Board Members Associate Membership Newsletters Support Contact







The Place of the Person in Social Life 

September 5 - November 10, 1988                                 Washington, D.C.




In retrospect, from the end of World War II there appears to have arisen a progressive and pervasive affirmation of the person in society. In third world areas this has often meant an affirmation of the independence of peoples from colonial status, In first world countries it has been a call for civil or minority rights and more generally for participation in decision-making whether in school, church or industry. More recently, in the second world this has emerged as a broad call for social reconstruction and openness.

Throughout there emerges a common, if bewildering, campaign of humanizing structures which, perhaps because too clearly conceived, has become at best insensitive and at times deadening to the persons they were intended to serve. The fact that the need is now universally recognized opens new possibilities for cooperation between `worlds' which must include a number of dimensions.


First it will be necessary to reach back into the heritage cultures for their understanding of the relation between human dignity and social cohesion.


Second, it will be necessary to work out its implications in each of the major dimensions of modern life to ask for instance,


1. Which central factors define social mediation: economics, political structures, language, religious beliefs, all or some of the above?

2. Can we work toward integration of theories that help us to define problems and suggest solutions to major issues? For example, in developmental psychology, can there be a coherent integration between the work of Vygotsky and Piaget?

3. In transforming society what are the roles of groups of persons based on common interests?

4. How are social structures mediated in their constituting actions upon individuals; and in which ways do individuals act creatively upon society to form themselves and, in the process to transform society?

5. How can we incorporate personal autonomy and social responsibility in the same theory; can two different approaches stemming from the Enlightenment, the one individualistic and the other socialistic, enter into critical dialogue to get us beyond polarization?


Third, it will be necessary to ask if from reflection upon all of these issues what new possibilities they suggest for fundamental progress in understanding the reconstruction of the social order.






 (all the materials on this website are copyrighted © by the council for research in values and philosophy)

Gibbons Hall B-12, 620 Michigan Avenue, North East,  Washington DC 20064; Telephone: 202/319-6089; Email: cua rvp@cua.edu; Website: www.crvp.org