In this paper it is argued that philosophical anthropology is central to ethics and politics. The denial of this has facilitated the triumph of debased notions of humans developed by Hobbes which has facilitated the enslavement of people to the logic of the global market, a logic which is now destroying the ecological conditions for civilization and most life on Earth. Reviving the classical understanding of the central place of philosophical anthropology to ethics and politics, the early work (...) of Hegel and Marx is explicated, defended and further developed by interpreting this through developments in post-mechanistic science. Overcoming the opposition between the sciences and the humanities, it is suggested that the conception of humans developed in this way can orient people in their struggle for the liberty to avert a global ecological catastrophe. (shrink)
How do human beings become human? This question lies behind the so-called human sciences. But these disciplines are scattered among many different departments and hold up a cracked mirror to humankind. This is why, in the view of Paul Ricoeur, we need to develop a philosophical anthropology, one that has a much older history but still offers many untapped resources. This appeal to a specifically philosophical approach to questions regarding what it was to be human did not stop (...) Ricoeur from entering into dialogue with other disciplines and approaches, such as psychoanalysis, history, sociology, anthropology, linguistics and the philosophy of language, in order to offer an up-to-date reflection on what he saw as the fundamental issues. For there is clearly not a simple, single answer to the question what is it to be human? Ricoeur therefore takes up the complexity of this question in terms of the tensions he sees between the voluntary and the involuntary, acting and suffering, autonomy and vulnerability, capacity and fragility, and identity and otherness. The texts brought together in this volume provide an overall view of the development of Ricoeurs philosophical thinking on the question of what it is to be human, from his early 1939 lecture on Attention to his remarks on receiving the Kluge Prize in 2004, a few months before his death. (shrink)
The paper is a critical analysis of Paul Ricoeur’s philosophy of work as it is formulated in a number of essays from the 1950s and 60s. It begins with a reconstruction of the central theses advanced in ‘Travail et parole’ (1953) and related texts, where Ricoeur sought to outline a philosophical anthropology in which work is given its due. To give work its due, from an anthropological standpoint, is to see it as limited by counter-concept of language, according to (...) Ricoeur. The paper then argues that this way of understanding the anthropological significance of work is not only internally problematic, but at odds with phenomenological insights to be found elsewhere in Ricoeur’s oeuvre, particularly Le Volontaire et l’involontaire (1950). The final section of the paper makes some suggestions for how the phenomenological and anthropological poles of a philosophy of work might be better integrated, and the ‘nexus between speech and work’ better described. (shrink)
I approach the subject of human enhancement—whether by genetic, pharmacological, or technological means—from the perspective of Thomistic/Aristotelian philosophical anthropology, natural law theory, and virtue ethics. Far from advocating a restricted or monolithic conception of “human nature” from this perspective, I outline a set of broadly-construed, fundamental features of the nature of human persons that coheres with a variety of historical and contemporary philosophical viewpoints. These features include self-conscious awareness, capacity for intellective thought, volitional autonomy, desire for pleasurable experiences, (...) and the necessity of healthy biological functioning. On this basis, I contend that there may be legitimate forms of human enhancement for specific purposes related to the physical, cognitive, and emotive dimensions of human existence. However, wider philosophical considerations call into question whether societal attitudes towards enhancement and the differences that may emerge between those who are enhanced versus the unenhanced may raise insurmountable questions of justice, as well as a loss of virtues associated with what Alasdair MacIntyre refers to as our “acknowledged dependency.” This presentation will navigate towards conclusions differentiating principled from practical objections to specific forms of, and means towards achieving, enhancement of certain human capacities. While critical of some forms of human enhancement, I nevertheless argue that other forms of enhancement are, in principle, morally permissible—and for which any practical concerns may be surmountable—insofar as they positively support human flourishing according to our nature as living, sentient, social, and rational animals. (shrink)
Pragmatism, the single originally American philosophical tradition, has in recent decades once again become widely discussed in many fields of philosophy, including metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of science, philosophy of religion, and moral philosophy. This study seeks to show, both historically and systematically, that the issue of -human nature, - the main problem of philosophical anthropology, is (or at least should be) at the center of pragmatistic philosophizing. The author formulates a contemporary version of pragmatism largely based on William (...) James's (1842-1910) work, arguing that such a neo-Jamesian framework also can meet postmodernistic and irrationalistic threats.". (shrink)
What is a human being? The twentieth and twenty-first century tradition known as 'philosophical anthropology' has approached this question with unusual sophistication, experimentalism, and subtlety. Such innovations as Arnold Gehlen's description of humans as naturally 'deficient' beings in need of artificial institutions to survive; Max Scheler's concept of 'spirit' (Geist) as the physically and organically irreducible realm of persons and spiritual acts; and Helmuth Plessner's analysis of the way human embodiment transcends spatial locations and limitations ('ex-centric positionality') have inspired (...) generations of European intellectuals. This edited collection from an international network of scholars critically engages the philosophical anthropologies of Scheler, Plessner, Gehlen, Blumenberg, and others in unparalleled detail, showing their applicability to the themes of nature and naturalism, organic life, comparative primatology, cultural anthropology, paleoanthropology, the body, addiction, and death. The volume sets a new standard for Anglophone scholarship on this tradition and will be required reading for specialists in twentieth-century philosophy, history of the human sciences, history of the life sciences, and philosophies of human nature. (shrink)
This article argues against a leading cognitivist and moral interpretation of shame that is present in the philosophical literature. That standard view holds that shame is the felt-response to a loss of self-esteem, which is the result of negative self-assessment. I hold that shame is a heteronomous and primitive bodily affect that is perceptual rather than judgmental in nature. Shame results from the breakdown and thwarting of our desire for anonymous, unexceptional, and disattentive co-existence with others. I use the (...) sociological theory of Erving Goffman and the theory of shame found in philosophical anthropology to support this view. I also use the cases of shame and chronic shame that often accompany disability to show that shame is separable from negative self-assessment and, instead, emerges as an affective response to a world (of equipment, things, and people) that disallows unburdened and unreflective interpersonal equilibrium. (shrink)
The thesis of the present volume is critical and dual. (1) Present day philosophy of man and sciences of man suffer from the Greek mis taken polarization of everything human into nature and convention which is (allegedly) good and evil, which is (allegedly) truth and fal sity, which is (allegedly) rationality and irrationality, to wit, the polar ization of all fields of inquiry, the natural and social sciences, as well as ethics and all technology, whether natural or social, into the (...) totally positive and the totally negative. (2) Almost all philosophy and sci ences of man share the erroneous work ethic which is the myth of man's evil nature - the myth of the beast in man, the doctrine of original sin. To mediate or to compromise between the first view of human nature as good with the second view of it as evil, sociologists have devised a modified utilitarianism with deferred gratification so called, and the theory of the evil of artificial competition (capitalist and socialist alike) and of keeping up with the Joneses. Now, the mediation is not necessary. For, the polarization makes for abstract errors which are simplistic views of rationality, such as reductionism and positivism of all sorts, as well as for concrete errors, such as the disposition to condemn repeatedly those human weaknesses which are inevitable, namely man's inability to be perfectly rational, avoid all error, etc. , thus setting man against himself as all too wicked. (shrink)
Interconnections between philosophic anthropology, conceptions of globalization and sustainable development are investigated. Found out that biological, social, intellectual and spiritual parameters of human being determine specific directions and spheres of globalization. Discovering of these interconnectionsallows to make clear necessary measures of transition to sustainable development. Substantiated that such researches serve as a basis for working out of political, economic, social, intellectual and spiritual guidelines of ensuring of reliable international communication’s security, survival of mankind and solution of internal problems of every (...) country. Investigations of interconnections between philosophic anthropology, conceptions of globalization and sustainable development could became as a mainstream of development of philosophy in XXI century. (shrink)
According to the author, philosophical anthropology offers the key to better relations among nations, inasmuch as its objective, scientific view of men seen in their cultural contexts eliminates guesswork in the solution of problems arising among conflicting cultures. Brilliantly imaginative yet realistic, Prof. Northrop's theory takes note of the dependency of cultural institutions upon the epistemological orientation of a people towards the facts of physical science. His primary value being world peace, he advocates understanding other peoples through understanding their (...) epistemology. A rare combination of both social science and philosophy, this challenging work includes several reprinted essays.--J. E. M. (shrink)
The first part of the article discusses the conditions under which the “school” of thought known as “philosophical anthropology” arose and the relevance today of the problems it posed, concluding with a look at the recent prevalence taken by biological research. The second part examines the conceptions advanced by its leading figures, Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner and Arnold Gehlen, and shows how each of them contributed to a “sociologization of anthropological knowledge.” On the basis of this analysis, philosophical (...) anthropology proves itself capable of making a significant contribution to an interdisciplinary understanding of the conditions of human life and to reflection on the foundations of sociological research and social theory. (shrink)
Helmut Plessner was one of the founders of philosophical anthropology, and his book _The Stages of the Organic and Man_, first published in 1928, has inspired generations of philosophers, biologists, social scientists, and humanities scholars. This volume offers the first substantial introduction to Plessner’s philosophical anthropology in English, not only setting it in context with such familiar figures as Bergson, Cassirer, and Merleau-Ponty, but also showing Plessner’s relevance to contemporary discussions in a wide variety of fields in the (...) humanities and sciences. (shrink)
Religion and science dialogues that orbit around rational method, knowledge, and truth are often, though not always, contentious. In this article, I suggest a different cluster of gravitational points around which religion and science dialogues might usefully travel: philosophical anthropology, ethics, and love. I propose seeing morality as a natural outgrowth of the human desire to establish and maintain social bonds so as not to experience the condition of being alone. Humans, of all animals, need to feel loved—defined as (...) a compassionate present-with in dynamic dyadic relation such that one experiences the sense of mattering—but that need has an equally natural tendency to be met by creating biased us-and-them distinctions. A “critical” natural ethics, then, is one in which we become aware of and work to undermine our tendency to reify in-group distinctions between “us” and “them.” Religious communities that work intentionally on this can be seen, to some extent, as laboratories of love—or as sites for co-creating knowledge in perilous times. (shrink)
This chapter contains sections titled: The Status of Humans in Maimonides' Ontology Matter, Privation, and Evil Accounting for Multiplicity of Persons The Constitution of Soul and Body Immortality of the Soul: Personal or General? Conclusion further reading.
Bennett and Hacker criticize a number of neuroscientists and philosophers for attributing capacities which belong to the human being as a whole, like perceiving or deciding, to a “part” of the human being, viz. the brain. They call this type of mistake the “mereological fallacy”. Interestingly, the authors say that these capacities cannot be ascribed to the mind either. They reject not only materialistic monism but also Cartesian dualism, arguing that many predicates describing human life do not refer to physical (...) or mental properties, nor to the sum of such properties. I agree with this important principle and with the critique of the mereological fallacy which it underpins, but I have two objections to the authors’ view. Firstly, I think that the brain is not literally a part of the human being, as suggested. Secondly, Bennett and Hacker do not offer an account of body and mind which explains in a systematic way how the domain of phenomena which transcends the mental and the physical relates to the mental and the physical. I first argue that Helmuth Plessner’s philosophical anthropology provides the kind of account we need. Then, drawing on Plessner, I present an alternative view of the mereological relationships between brain and human being. My criticism does not undercut Bennett and Hacker’s diagnosis of the mereological fallacy but rather gives it a more solid philosophical–anthropological foundation. (shrink)
_Purpose._ The study aims to substantiate philosophical anthropology as a space for the development of biopolitics, which is a relatively new synthetic scientific knowledge of the political in the biological and the biological in the political, which, however, has its roots in the era of antiquity. The analysis of biopolitics in the context of contemporary global challenges, in particular the COVID-19 pandemic, is carried out, which allows to actualize a new direction of biopolitics – microbiopolitics. _Theoretical basis._ The study (...) is based on an understanding of the initial, in relation to biopolitics, the nature of philosophical anthropology. While philosophical anthropology seeks an answer to the question – who is _Homo sapiens_, given the biosocial nature of man, biopolitics specifies the question in the form – who is _homo politicus_ in modern socio-political space with a focus on the imperative of a human-centred approach in the social sciences. The study is based on scientific works by specialists in philosophical anthropology and biopolitics. _Originality._ The authors substantiate the expediency and relevance of considering philosophical anthropology as a contextual space for the evolution of biopolitical knowledge from the natural philosophy of Antiquity to modern microbiopolitics. _Conclusions._ Philosophical anthropology is seen as a specific epistemological landscape in which fields of scientific knowledge are formed and developed that are in one way or another involved in the philosophical problems of man: philosophical psychology, social anthropology, philosophy of medicine, humanology, philosophy of education, ethics, as well as biophilosophy, bioethics, and, in particular, biopolitics. (shrink)
Cultural and historical variability is completely overwhelming and within its context it is almostimpossible to decipher something “essential”, some “invariant variable” which would comprise a clueto what the human is, – this idea is presented as the main presupposition of Eugen Fink’s philosophicalanthropology. A major direction of Fink’s works is a fundamental critique of traditional ontology anda search for a worldly thinking that would be more appropriate or implicit in human “worldly” existence.While following Husserl’s transcendental philosophy, Fink opened up a (...) new philosophical domainthat is implicit in transcendental mode of awareness. His effort consisted in “revealing” what is alreadyamidst us, what we have silently guessed and lived but dared not speak. This “revelation” is at thebasis of Fink’s conception of education. Education is a movement from authority to autonomy, fromsubmission to “pregiven” and ready-made answers toward the creative, the free activity which is itsown source.Keywords: being human, temporality, freedom, productivity, creativity, political self-understanding. (shrink)
Philosophical anthropology is the philosophical study of the conditions of human existence and the issues that confront people in the conduct of their everyday lives. This book surveys, from a contemplative, philosophical point of view, a wide variety of human-interest issues, including happiness, luck, aging, the meaning of life, optimism and pessimism, morality, and faith and belief. The author's deliberations blend historical, theoretical, and personal perspectives into philosophical appreciation of the human condition. The philosophers of Greek (...) antiquity took philosophy to center around just this issue of intelligent living - of determining the nature of life under the guidance of reason. Such a perspective puts philosophical agenda - a position it contested with the philosophy of nature throughout classical antiquity. In more recent times, however, its prominence has declined - no doubt, the author suggests, because modern man's achievements have been more notable in the natural than in the human science. (shrink)
Is a conception of human nature still possible or even desirable in light of the “postmetaphysical sensibilities” of our time? Furthermore, can philosophy make any contribution towards the articulation of a tenable conception of human nature given this current intellectual climate? I will argue in this paper that affirmative answers can be given to both of these questions. Section I rehearses briefly some of the difficulties and even dangers involved in working out any conception of human nature at all, let (...) alone one that is philosophically informed. Section II sketches what I argue to be three necessary aspects of a tenable philosophical anthropology. Finally, section III argues that such a philosophical anthropology is only justifiable, given our postmetaphysical sensibilities, by its use of “transcendental arguments” in justifying its claims, ones that nonetheless must repudiate a common but damaging assumption that arguing for the conclusions of such arguments commits one necessarily to a hyper-strong conception of subjectivity. In general, my primary aim in this paper is only to make plausible, not so much to justify, let alone defend, adequately the aspects of a conception of a tenable philosophical anthropology as sketched below. (shrink)
By examining the themes man and God, man and animal, and man as a rational being, Landmann provides a perspective that must be considered in understanding man’s life in culture and society. His view is that man is social and this aspect is the precondition of his cultural life. Man, as Landmann indicates, "produces cultures" and is more "strongly determined by cultural factors" than genetic factors. Whatever a man may believe about the static features in society, it is nevertheless pervaded (...) by an evolving process that may not be easily perceptible. This process is the change that can be measured by past records. Change, far from bringing destruction, somehow fosters man’s creativity. As Landmann states, "The most favorable times are the transition periods when an old world-structure is collapsing but individualism has not yet reached its peak." Through his discussion of various philosophers, notably Nietzsche, Marx, and Scheler, Landmann establishes an interesting tension according to which he evaluates man and his relation to self, others, creatures, and God. In the final analysis, man is portrayed in Landmann’s critical account as fundamentally a creator.—G.D.D. (shrink)
This book explores aspects of William H. Poteat's philosophical anthropology, which proposes a post-critical alternative to the prevailing dualistic conception of the person and opens a path to recovery of the pre-reflective ontological ground of the person where our personhood can be recovered and re-appropriated.
Being Human is the fruit of many years teaching Philosophical Anthropology, conducting Phenomenological Workshops, and reading classic texts in the light of a reflective awareness of the field of experience. Being Human is intended to look to what is typically assumed but not examined in much of current philosophical literature.
The concept of philosophical anthropology is polysemous. These words carry the most diverse and sometimes mutually incompatible nuances of metaphysical thought. It is difficult to judge what criterion would enable us to draw the necessary demarcations. For example, the early writings of the French moralists, in which they discussed human nature, are considered to belong to philosophical anthropology. However, few would classify Arthur Schopenhauer's Aphorisms of Everyday Wisdom [Aphorismen zur Lebensweisheit] as metaphysical literature, although they contain a typology (...) of human needs. (shrink)
This book explores aspects of William H. Poteat’s philosophical anthropology, which proposes a post-critical alternative to the prevailing dualistic conception of the person and opens a path to recovery of the pre-reflective ontological ground of the person where our personhood can be recovered and re-appropriated.
Martin Heidegger often and emphatically claimed that his work, especially in his masterpiece Being and Time, was not philosophical anthropology. He conceived of his project as ‘fundamental ontology’, and argued that because it is singularly concerned with the question of the meaning of Being in general (and not ‘human being’), this precluded him from being engaged in philosophical anthropology. This is a claim we should find puzzling because at the very heart of Heidegger’s project is an analysis of (...) the structures of the existence of ‘Dasein’, an entity that human beings are an instantiation of, the entity that has a relationship of concern towards its existence and which is capable of raising the question of the meaning of Being. Heidegger argues that because he only analyses human beings insofar as they are Daseins, he cannot be doing philosophical anthropology, but only fundamental ontology. In this paper, I refute this claim. I provide a sketch of philosophical anthropology which conceives it as the other side of anthropology’s coin. Where anthropology is concerned with understanding human difference, philosophical anthropology attempts to understand what is common to all instances of human existence and elucidate its significant features and structures. Whether he likes it or not, Heidegger is engaged in exactly this kind of project because anything that applies truly to Dasein applies truly to human beings. With this in mind, I examine Heidegger’s analysis of moods to demonstrate that Heidegger’s work is best understood as involving a kind of philosophical anthropology. (shrink)
Philosophic anthropology, Pursuing philosophy's traditional search for reflective self-Knowledge seeks to crystallize the ideas of man underpinning empirical research and moral ideals. Neither the claim that pure speculation can produce factual knowledge nor the contention that a higher synthesis of empirical findings can become philosophy is acceptable. Philosophic anthropology is, Therefore, Most usefully conceived as a critique which traces the necessary presuppositions of the study of man in its various forms of the more rules we apply.
If we read Ludwig Wittgenstein's works and take his scientific formation in mathematical logic into account, it comes as a surprise that he ever developed a particular interest in anthropological questions. The following questions immediately arise: What role does anthropology play in Wittgenstein's work? How do problems concerning mankind as a whole relate to his philosophy? How does his approach relate to philosophical anthropology? How does he view classical issues about Man's affairs and actions? The aim of this book (...) is to investigate the anthropological questions that Wittgenstein raised in his works. The answers to the questions raised in this introduction may be found on the intersection between forms of life and radical translation from another culture into ours. The book presents an extensive analysis of anthropological issues with emphasis on language and social elements. (shrink)
The paper outlines the historical development of question about ambiguous and mysterious human nature, in particular considering the reasons and conditions for the founding of modern philosophical anthropology. Subsequently, it brings an overview of the conceptual beginnings and directions of anthropological research in Croatia. The focus is on the following questions: When did the investigations begin in the field of philosophical anthropology, in what kind of thinking environments were they shaped and what scientific achievements were reached? The presentation (...) brings to light the cognition that philosophical anthropology in Croatia got its first contours and valuable contributions to the very beginning of the contemporary renewal of this discipline, shortly after its phenomenological and scientific revivals in the ventures of Scheler and Plessner. The development of this research branch is, according to Hans Lankʼs model, divided into four main conceptual orientations. The anthropology from above shows the creative contributions of Stjepan Zimmermann, Vilim Keilbach, Rajmund Kupareo, Miljenko Belić, Ante Kusić, Josip Ćurić, Hrvoje Lasić and Ivan Koprek. The anthropology from below is illustrated by the reference to the research by Vera Ehrlich-Stein, Rudi Supek, the Institute of Anthropology, Pavao Rudan and Darko Polšek. For the anthropology from culture, the philosophical achievements of Pavao Vuk-Pavlović, Vladimir Filipović, Vjekoslav Mikecin, Esad Ćimić, Nikola Skledar, Branka Brujić, Milan Galović and Mihaela Girardi-Karšulin were delineated. Under the anthropology from history, the works of Predrag Vranicki, Milan Kangrga, Vanja Sutlić, Gaja Petrović, Hotimir Burger, Mislava Kukoč and Raul Raunić are outlined. The conclusion summarises four insights. 1. Philosophical anthropology is an under-researched and not enough appreciated field, which represents one of the most fertile currents of thought in the 20th century. 2. Creative contributions are presented in all four major orientations. 3. In the context of anthropological research, lively dialogue and a fruitful meeting of different worldviews were realised. 4. The beginnings of the development of the discipline should be moved earlier in history than previously considered, from the 1950s and 1960s to the early 1930s. The last insight points to the need for further exploration of the perceived, and so far largely neglected, continuity of anthropological themes and related ideas in the history of recent philosophy in Croatia. (shrink)