Martin Buber's I and Thou argues that humans engage with the world in two ways. One is with the attitude of an `I' towards an `It', where the self stands apart from objects as items of experience or use. The other is with the attitude of an `I' towards a `Thou', where the self enters into real relation with other people, or nature, or God.
Addressing modern technological society, Buber claims that while the `I-It' attitude is necessary for existence, human life finds its meaning in personal relationships of the `I-Thou' sort. I and Thou is Buber's masterpiece, the basis of his religious philosophy of dialogue, and among the most influential studies of the human condition in the 20th century.
Dr Simon Ravenscroft is a Research Associate at the Von Hugel Institute for Critical Catholic Inquiry at St Edmund's College in the University of Cambridge. His research interests run across the disciplines of theology, philosophy, social theory, and literature. His doctoral dissertation at Cambridge (2015) looked at the relationship between society and economy through an analysis of the work of the Catholic radical Ivan Illich.
Ways in to the text Who was Martin Buber? What does I and Thou say? Why does I and Thou matter? Section 1: Influences Module 1: The Author and the Historical Context Module 2: Academic Context Module 3: The Problem Module 4: The Author's Contribution Section 2: Ideas Module 5: Main Ideas Module 6: Secondary Ideas Module 7: Achievement Module 8: Place in the Author's Work Section 3: Impact Module 9: The First Responses Module 10: The Evolving Debate Module 11: Impact and Influence Today Module 12: Where Next? Glossary of Terms People Mentioned in the Text Works Cited