Periechontologia Karla Jaspersa
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The primary objective of the article is an attempt to analyze the meaning and scope of the term "periechontology" and to show how it affects the whole philosophy of Karl Jaspers. In order to do this I concentrate on determining the basic feature of the whole of Jaspers' philosophy, which will allow me to demonstrate how the term and the whole philosophy interact with each other. This analysis will show the mutual relation between part and the whole as a kind of dialectic discourse which can lead us to a conclusion that no part of the dialectic relationship exists in isolation from the other. When we apply these methodological observations to Jaspers' philosophy of existence, it appears that the fusion of the part and the whole which we find at the core of a dialectical relationship, is not only a methodological but also a substantive feature of Jaspers' concept of human being. Man is necessarily related to the world and this makes them two sides of one dialectic process. Therefore, whenever we make a distinction between the subject and the object of knowledge, we break the original unity which resides at the basis for all human-world relationships.The analysis of this original unity shows that the basis itself is not something to be known. As an origin of all objectivity or subjectivity it eludes cognition and is not to be reached directly. This unknowability causes a need for indirect knowledge which can be achieved with the help of “philosophical faith” and by exceeding the subject- -object relationship in the direction of its basis. This indirect approach (“philosophical faith” and description of the all-encompassing being) is a characteristic feature that is the first clue on the way to determine the meaning and scope of “periechontology”. The second part of the article will include the ways of understanding of the term “periechontology” itself: from Elżbiata Wolicka's interpretation included in her introduction to the Polish translation of Der philosophische Glaube angesichts der Offenbarung, to the meanings of the term stated in An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon and prepared on the basis of the seventh edition (1882) of LSJ. This part also discusses the semantic references of the term “periechontology” and its divine origins. Finally, a summary of the two previous parts will allow us to identify two main aspects of the term and its meaning. The first aspect which refers to meta-philosophical sources of Jaspers' philosophy, shows us “periechontology” as an attempt to revitalize philosophy and re-direct it to its source – the all-encompassing being. The second aspect of the term can be determined by the comparison with the other, historically grounded terms for “knowledge of being”. Names like “ontology” or “metaphysics” refer to a certain kind of knowledge of being which cannot (as knowledge) be achieved on the basis of Jaspers' philosophy. Insufficiency of historically grounded terms makes it necessary for Jaspers to create his own name and theory for knowledge of all-encompassing being. In the end, “periechontology” is Jaspers' response to this need.
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