Beyond the body-soul dualism: the pneumatological unity of man in Ferdinand Ebner
Keywords:spirit, psyche, body, Ferdinand Ebner, dialogic thinking
In the moment in which the dissociation between soul and body is established, the dualism itself assumes the features of an incompatible polarity. If these two terms are thought as distinct realities opposing one another, we can no longer give some sort of definitive unification. Indeed, once given the soul-body dichotomy, any attempt of conciliation will always result as unessential. If we do not realize both body and soul as deriving from a fundamental and unitary term, their distinction remains as a stumbling block for the research of any substantial conciliation. This latter focuses on both the founding premise of the giving of soul and body, in themselves and according to their mutual relationship, and towards the ultimate end to which the existence and the activity of both the terms in question tend. The fundamental and finalistic unity alluded to can be rediscovered in the essential meaning of the spirit.
Such a conception of evident Pauline ancestry can be found within the philosophical reflection of Ferdinand Ebner in a well-structured way. He dwells on considering the dialectic between psyche and spirit, observing the foundational character of this for that and investigating the fundamental status of the πνεῦμα. In the perspective vision coming to this philosopher from the Christian tradition and from the uni-Trinitarian belonging of body, soul and spirit, it is possible to find the key to reading, thanks to which we can go back to talking about the unity of the human essence. In this way, it becomes possible to frame the man and his personalistic status, neutralizing the risks of a thought that wants to go “beyond” the human, forgetting the effectively existing men and women.