Axel Honneth and Hans Joas claim that Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical anthropology is problematically ‘solipsistic’ insofar as it fails to appreciate the ways in which human persons or selves are brought into being and given their characteristic powers of reflection and action by social processes. Here I review the main argument of Plessner’s Die Stufen des Organischen und der Mensch: Einleitung in die philosophische Anthropologie with this criticism in mind, giving special attention to Plessner’s accounts of organic being, personhood, language, sociality, and historicity in that text. I argue that Honneth and Joas’s criticisms understate the extent to which Plessner takes sociality to be a constitutive condition of human forms of life within the structure he calls ‘ex-centric positionality’. This reading of Plessner also provides resources for answering a more common criticism of his philosophical anthropology – namely, that it is problematically ‘essentialist’, paying insufficient heed t..
Keywords Helmuth Plessner  philosophical anthropology  organisms  animality  essentialism  sociality  historicity  Axel Honneth  Hans Joas
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DOI 10.1080/09672559.2015.1093016
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Mental Events.Donald Davidson - 1970 - In L. Foster & J. W. Swanson (eds.). Clarendon Press. pp. 207-224.
Making It Explicit.Isaac Levi & Robert B. Brandom - 1996 - Journal of Philosophy 93 (3):145.

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Eccentric Investigations of (Post-)Humanity.Phillip Honenberger - 2016 - Philosophy of the Social Sciences 46 (1):56-76.

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