The first of the great challenges facing humanity today is that of the truth itself of the being who is man. The boundary and relation between nature, technology and morality are issues that decisively summon personal and collective responsibility with regard to the attitudes to adopt concerning what human beings are, what they are able to accomplish and what they should be. A second challenge is found in the understanding and management of pluralism and differences at every level: in ways of thinking, moral choices, culture, religious affiliation, philosophy of human and social development. The third challenge is globalization, the significance of which is much wider and more profound than simple economic globalization, since history has witnessed the opening of a new era that concerns humanity's destiny.
77. Above all, the contribution of philosophy is essential. This contribution has already been seen in the appeal to human nature as a source and to reason as the cognitive path of faith itself. By means of reason, the Church's social doctrine espouses philosophy in its own internal logic, in other words, in the argumentation that is proper to it.
Affirming that the Church's social doctrine is part of theology rather than philosophy does not imply a disowning or underestimation of the role or contribution of philosophy. In fact, philosophy is a suitable and indispensable instrument for arriving at a correct understanding of the basic concepts of the Church's social doctrine, concepts such as the person, society, freedom, conscience, ethics, law, justice, the common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, the State. This understanding is such that it inspires harmonious living in society. It is philosophy once more that shows the reasonableness and acceptability of shining the light of the Gospel on society, and that inspires in every mind and conscience openness and assent to the truth.
NOTESBACKGROUND: Engels' letters written between August and October 1884 show that he did a great deal of work in preparing Marx's Poverty of Philosophy for publication in German. (The book was written and published in French in 1847 and was not republished in full during Marx's lifetime.) Engels edited the translation made by Eduard Bernstein and Karl Kautsky and supplied a number of notes to it.
The reader will understand that in this thankless task we have often had to abandon our criticism of M. Proudhon in order to criticize German philosophy, and at the same time to give some observations on political economy.
"By constantly increasing the facility of production, we constantly diminish the value of some of the commodities before produced, though by the same means we not only add to the national riches, but also to the power of future production.... As soon as by the aid of machinery, or by the knowledge of natural philosophy, you oblige natural agents to do the work which was before done by man, the exchangeable value of such work falls accordingly. If 10 men turned a corn mill, and it be discovered that by the assistance of wind, or of water, the labor of these 10 men may be spared, the flour which is the produce partly of the work performed by the mill, would immediately fall in value, in proportion to the quantity of labor saved; and the society would be richer by the commodities which the labor of the 10 men could produce, the funds destined for their maintenance being in no degree impaired." (Ricardo [II 59])
Now metaphysics -- indeed all philosophy -- can be summed up, according to Hegel, in method. We must, therefore, try to elucidate the method of M. Proudhon, which is at least as foggy as the Economic Table. It is for this reason that we are making seven more or less important observations. If Dr. Proudhon is not pleased with our observations, well, then, he will have to become an Abbe Baydeau and give the "explanation of the economico-metaphysical method" himself.
Up to now we have expounded only the dialectics of Hegel. We shall see later how M. Proudhon has succeeded in reducing it to the meanest proportions. Thus, for Hegel, all that has happened and is still happening is only just what is happening in his own mind. Thus the philosophy of history is nothing but the history of philosophy, of his own philosophy. There is no longer a "history according to the order in time", there is only "the sequence of ideas in the understanding". He thinks he is constructing the world by the movement of thought, whereas he is merely reconstructing systematically and classifying by the absolute method of thoughts which are in the minds of all.
Certainly, things would be made much too easy if they were reduced to M. Proudhon's categories. History does not proceed so categorically. It took three whole centuries in Germany to establish the first big division of labor, the separation of the towns from the country. In proportion, as this one relation of town and country was modified, the whole of society was modified. To take only this one aspect of the division of labor, you have the old republics, and you have Christian feudalism; you have old England with its barons and you have modern England with its cotton lords. In the 14th and 15th centuries, when there were as yet no colonies, when America did not yet exist for Europe, when Asia existed only through the intermediary of Constantinople, when the Mediterranean was the centre of commercial activity, the division of labor had a very different form, a very different aspect from that of the 17th century, when t he Spanish, the Portuguese, the Dutch, the English, and the French had colonies established in all parts of the world. The extent of the market, its physiognomy, give to the division of labor at different periods a physiognomy, a character, which it would be difficult to deduce from the single word divide, from the idea, from the category.
After philosophy comes history. It is no longer either descriptive history or dialectical history, it is comparative history. M. Proudhon establishes a parallel between the present-day printing worker and the printing worker of the Middle Ages; between the man of letters of today and the man of letters of the Middle Ages, and he weighs down the balance on the side of those who belong more or less to the division of labor as the Middle Ages constituted or transmitted it. He opposes the division of labor of one historical epoch. Was that what M. Proudhon had to prove? No. He should have shown us the drawbacks of the division of labor in general, of the division of labor as a category. Besides, why stress this part of M. Proudhon's work, since a little later we shall see him formally retract all these alleged developments?
M. Proudhon is in contradiction with his own philosophy when he turns bourgeois monopoly into monopoly in the crude, primitive, contradictory, spasmodic state. M. Rossi, whom M. Proudhon quotes several times on the subject of monopoly, seems to have a better grasp of the synthetic character of bourgeois monopoly. In his Cours d'economie politique, he distinguishes between artificial monopolies and natural monopolies. Feudal monopolies, he says, are artificial, that is, arbitrary; bourgeois monopolies are natural, that is, rational. 2b1af7f3a8