Intersubjective Existence, as the author notes, aims, first, to develop a wisdom about human life that takes the form of a theory of selfhood and, second, to reflect on what is called for in the ethical practice of human existence. Secondly, the ethical implications of this theory of selfhood are
explored, specifically looking at conscience, prudential reasoning, justice, friendship, the law, temperance, courage, and concluding with a brief treatment of religion.
Olivia Blanchette charts the path of his inquiry through an analysis of reflective self-consciousness in selves communing with one another. They are constituted in their substance as a union of body and soul, with intelligence and free will that give rise to cultures in communion with other selves. These cultures are over and above what is given to each self in sense consciousness and in sense appetites and which each one contends with in the exercise of selfhood and the rights that go with that in keeping with justice. Concern for right reasoning and justice leads to an analysis of temperance and courage.
The chief arguments take the form of phenomenological reflections on the building blocks of the perennial philosophy. Blanchette recasts Aristotelian-Thomistic metaphysics from the perspective of a phenomenology of the mutual recognition of agents and the historical consciousness to which it gives rise.
"In the line of the great systematic thinkers, Aristotle, Aquinas, and Hegel, Oliva Blanchette has produced a rich and comprehensive account of the mystery of the human self. Blanchette’s phenomenological analysis of human intersubjective existence remains open-ended, both in its account of authentic human relations and, as he says in his concluding remarks, in its openness to the divine."~Montague Brown, Saint Anselm College
"I learned a great deal from this book and it surely merits a wide readership. Blanchette presents us with a personal voice that sets out a distinct perspective."~James Hanink, President, American Maritain Association
"In this book, Oliva Blanchette offers a sustained meditation on the mystery of selfhood, and on the meaning of each of our lives in the context of our relations with one another. The first, theoretical part of the book makes original use of classic categories such as consciousness, substance, matter and form, spirit, history, and culture. The second, ethical part revisits with fresh eyes the four cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, courage, and temperance. Intersubjective Existence is a helpful guide to careful thinking about the selves of others and one’s own self."~Kevin White, The Catholic University of America