To Be or to Have? An Apology of Ownership and Property Cover Image

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To Be or to Have? An Apology of Ownership and Property

Author(s): Katarzyna Guczalska
Subject(s): Philosophy
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Ekonomicznego w Krakowie
Keywords: to have or to be?; consumer goods; poverty; wealth; selflessness; egoism; profit; self-improvement; platonism; liberalism; libertarianism; property

Summary/Abstract: In the text, I attempt to question the justifiability of Erich Fromm’s distinction: “to have or to be?”. In practice, the phrase is used in various contexts and discussions and is not associated with the ideas of its author. The catchphrase’s popularity comes from the fact that it managed to express the attainments of many centuries of religion and philosophy, which may be defined as axiology branding devotion to material things. The axiology is usually adopted as unquestionable. My thesis is that axiology is, in fact, a debatable evaluation. I present my own views and those of Bronisław Łagowski, which he presented in his paper Palę Fromma (I burn Fromm). I also cite real cases of negation and affirmation of private property. I discuss the negation of property made by Plato and its critique undertaken by Aristotle. I analyse the affirmations of private property which are the strongest in West European culture – liberal thought and libertarianism. I think that one should develop and form one’s mind so as to relieve oneself from the devotion to things. It does not, however, have to be achieved through the fight with and negation of the phenomena required for subsistence. Things are not negative in themselves. The desire and drive to possess material things may be perceived as a valuable phenomenon – both from an economic and a moral point of view. The community needs people who are responsible, resourceful and well-off, which means people who have something to lose. In this text, I am mostly interested in the “transposition” of the adopted metaphysical assumptions in the practice of social life.

  • Issue Year: 887/2012
  • Issue No: 11
  • Page Range: 37-56
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: Polish