Stanisław Brzozowski on the ideal of the modern man

Studies in East European Thought 63 (4):345-354 (2011)
Stanisław Brzozowski formulated the ideal of modern man in the polemic with the contemporary man, who has ceased to believe in truth and moral values and is devoid of the will to act. For Brzozowski modernity involves the discovery of truth about the human condition: about man as an autonomous subject, a creator of values, who struggles with non-human reality. This truth was formulated in Kant’s idea of autonomy and in Marx’ idea of a collective conquest of the world of nature. For Brzozowski, ideal modern man is “the conscious labourer,” who labours because he wants to proudly impose a human law on the non-human world. At the same time Brzozowski used the term “modernity” to describe life of constant change in the modern world, understood as a set of results of man’s reign over nature. For the sake of human maturity, Brzozowski expected the truly modern man to perceive modern life as an unquestionable value. Undoubtedly, there is an evident tension in Brzozowski’s ideal of modern man between the affirmation of creativity in the world of change and the necessity of disciplined production, including unchangeable moral foundations of labour. There is also a major shift in this ideal, stemming from Brzozowski’s change of attitude towards religion
Keywords Stanisław Brzozowski  Modernity  A modern man  A contemporary man  Autonomy  Creativity  A conscious labourer  The philosophy of labour
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DOI 10.1007/s11212-011-9155-x
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