Blondel's Conception of the Option between Egoism and Charity and Its Consequences for Intellectual Life and Culture

In Maurice Blondel’s work, the problem of immortality is dealt with in terms of one’s resolution of the problem of human destiny articulated in the form of a self-determinative option. Although this option can take many determinate forms, it is ultimately one between egoism and selfishness or mortification and charity. In the course of this paper, I outline this opposition and indicate in particular how it bears on intellectual life and culture. For Blondel, the theoretical and the practical could not be neatly separated; thinking and expression are forms of action, and action requires structuring for its intelligibility and fruition. One commits oneself and forms the elements of one’s ultimate judgment, not only by what one does, but also by what one says or thinks, what doctrines and institutions one commits oneself to
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