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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 16, Issue 11/12, 2006

Universalism, Dialogue, Wisdom—For Pan-Human Civilization

Eugeniusz Górski
Pages 7-34

John Paul II’s Idea of Universalism

In the history of human thought, various writers have called their philosophies universal, universalistic or simply “universalism”. Almost every philosophical or scientific theory claims to be of universal importance, to be a generalization and universality, but relatively few have believed that the term “universalism” to be the only adequate, and therefore only viable, description of their own thought system or newly constructed theory. Efforts to construct, develop or reconstruct a theory, viewpoint, vision or universalistic attitude—or merely to reinforce universalistic postulates—have long been undertaken in many different countries. Such attempts include those that implicitly assume or imply some sort of universalism. I would like to emphasize that I am principally interested in the visions, frequently appearing in Poland, whose authors, and not merely commentators, have defined their own philosophy, more or less refined, as universalism. John Paul’s universalism is a continuation of a tradition of universalist thinking lasting two thousands years. It makes it possible to look at the reality of the individual man and of the whole of humanity in their personalistic and communitarian dimensions at one time. Christian universalism has been closely tied to the concept of universalism that was related to the Pope and imperial Rome, or even to Byzantium.