A Forgotten Philosopher Juozapas Čepėnas: Ethic Insights
Keywords: Dostoevsky, Nietzsche, existential problems, worldview, genealogy of morals
AbstractThe article deals with ethic insights of the priest Juozapas Čepėnas (1880–1976), who published a study cycle on Nietzsche. This cycle is significant in the context of an early reception of Nietzsche’s ideas in Lithuania; however, the author himself appears to remain an undeservedly forgotten thinker of the national school of thought. The article attempts to bring back Čepėnas’ philosophical outlooks and analyse the factors that shaped his philosophical position such as his academic upbringing in German classical universities and Čepėnas’ subsequent activities overstepping the boundaries of a clerical work. The article offers a new interdisciplinary approach in reviewing Čepėnas’ dissertation thesis that earned him a Degree of Doctor of Philosophy of Freiburg University. The thesis is analysed in comparison to other Čepėnas’ philosophical writings on Dostoevsky produced at the period of university studies and later during his clerical service in Lithuania. Ethical aspects of Čepėnas’ thesis continue to hold relevance until the recent period of philosophical development. Čepėnas’ writings are viewed in parallel analysis with a spectrum of the Lithuanian existential thought. Critical contemplations on ethical principles in the cycle of articles on Nietzsche’s philosophy are emphasised. The article attempts to clarify Čepėnas’ understanding of the egotism of the superhuman, the reasons and the content of supplements of Christian ethics, and the concept of the secular purpose of life.