Abuse of Language, Abuse of Power

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One of the great Catholic philosophers of our day reflects on the way language has been abused so that, instead of being a means of communicating the truth and entering more deeply into it, and of the acquisition of wisdom, it is being used to control people and manipulate them to achieve practical ends.

Reality becomes intelligible through words. Man speaks so that through naming things, what is real may become intelligible. This mediating character of language, however, is being increasingly corrupted. Tyranny, propaganda, mass-media destroy and distort words. They offer us apparent realities whose fictive character threatens to become opaque. Josef Pieper shows with energetic zeal, but also with ascetical restraint, the path out of this dangerous situation. We are constrained to see things again as they are and from the truth thus grasped, to live and to work.

Josef Pieper

Josef Pieper, perhaps the most popular Thomist philosopher of the twentieth century, was schooled in the Greek classics and the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas. He also studied philosophy, law, and sociology, and he was a professor at the University of Munster, West Germany. His numerous books have been widely praised by both the secular and religious press.

"Who but Josef Pieper could span the distance between Plato and ourselves, the mid-fourth century B.C. and these waning years of the twentieth century, and enable us to hear the criticism of the Sophists as a contemporary rebuke? Pieper transcends the academy and enters the Academy. He is wise." 
-- Ralph McInerny, University of Notre Dame