IAAJAH - IGWEBUIKE: An African Journal of Arts and Humanities
Vol. 8 No. 2, 2022
JACQUES MARITAIN ON THE CONCEPT OF MAN AND THE STATE: IMPLICATIONS FOR DEMOCRACY IN NIGERIA
Amadi, Cornelius Chukwudi; PhD & Berebon, Charles Barivule; PhD

ABSTRACT

In his 1951 essay Man and the State, Jacques Maritain claims that the concept of man and his relationship with the state has been misconceived by the then predominant political system. To re-establish the proper equilibrium as he conceived it between these two entities, Maritain developed the doctrine of Thomas Aquinas in which the state is seen as an entity for the full development and realization of human well-being. Against the predominant conception of the state as an absolute entity with legitimate right to command all human welfare, Maritain maintains that the state is not the supreme master of the body politic or superman, but an organization bestowed with the function of power and authority and responsible for the welfare and service of man. Maritain argues that when man is put at the service of this instrument called state it leads to so many political ills. The human person as an individual according to Maritain service the interest of the body politic, while the body politic equally serve the interest of man in the society. The human person is by no means for the state to dispense with at all, rather, the state serves the interest of man in a body politic. Through the method of critical and textual analysis, this essay sets out to work out Maritain’s notion of man and state in a political community and the antecedent relationship that should exist between these entities. It went on to argue that in a political society like Nigeria, where the condition of man is dehumanized even with its practice of democracy, Maritain’s concept of democratic charter and his reconstructivist philosophy is a panacea to the Nigerian democratic quagmires.

Keywords: Man, State, Body politic, Political Society, Common Good
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