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Dialogue and Universalism

Volume 28, Issue 4, 2018
Philosophical Anthropology at the Crossroads

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Displaying: 1-17 of 17 documents


philosophical anthropology at the crossroads
1. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Jagna Brudzińska “Catching Meteorytes": Philosophical Anthropology at the Crossroads
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2. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak Helmuth Plessner: Philosophical Anthropology as Social Critique
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The author goes out from Helmuth Plessner’s book Die Grenzen der Gemeinschaft to show how the basic categories of Plessner’s philosophical anthropology, especially the eccentric position conception, apply to his critique of community-oriented societies like communism and fascism. Plessner saw the alternative to a community-based society in a model where social bonds took place by association, and in which the anthropological a priori enjoyed the optimum conditions for self-expression (in such dimensions of the public sphere as ceremony, prestige, diplomacy and tact). This social model also allows the full establishment of social roles in the anthropological sense, something that is annihilated by community-type societies. The author also addresses the different ways in which the “social role” category is interpreted by Plessner (the anthropological approach) and Ralf Dahrendorf (a functionalistic approach drawing on Marxism and the concept of alienation, which Plessner felt unfamiliar with), and concludes with a few concrete and methodologically grounded objections to Plessner’s theory.
3. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak The Category of “Contingency” in Contemporary Anthropological Discourse: Odo Marquard, Richard Rorty, Jürgen Habermas
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This comparative paper analyses in detail the contexts in which the “contingency” category was used by the philosophers mentioned in its title. While Odo Marquard and Richard Rorty situated contingency within the antifundamentalist discourse, especially in the sphere of philosophical anthropology, epistemology and ethics, Jürgen Habermas drew his conception of the contingency of human birth from the “human nature”— related discourse against modern-day genetic engineering. Marquard’s and Rorty’s theories differ in their philosophical assumptions (scepticism vs. neopragmatism). Among others, the author shows that none of the mentioned thinkers accepted the radically relativistic consequences of the debate around the “contingency” conception. In his analyses, he also makes frequent use of Marquard’s distinction between “arbitrarily accidental” and “fatefully accidental.”
4. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak Max Scheler—Bernhard Waldenfels: Two Phenomenological Conceptions of Suffering
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This comparative study of Max Scheler’s and Bernhard Waldenfels’ conceptions shows how they differ in their philosophical assumptions. Whereas Scheler’s strove to define the essence of suffering, which he saw in the objective situation of being a victim (sacrificing the inferior for the superior good), Waldenfels emphasized the intentional aspect of suffering and its connections to activity (suffering was to be the necessary and passive “other side” of activity). In this context Waldenfels introduced the distinction between suffering as a) that what happens to us, and b) that what we subjectively feel as “brutally” imposed upon us, ignoring all eidetic questions related to suffering as well as the metaphysical threads which Scheler addressed. The author runs a detailed and critical analysis of Scheler’s position, to which he voices multiple objections, and concludes that it coincides conceptually with the axiological conception of tragedy he propounded in his work On the Tragic. In the section on Waldenfels the author reviews the polemical arguments against his views voiced by several contemporary German philosophers.
5. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Stanisław Czerniak The Philosophical Anthropology of Arnold Gehlen as a Critique of the Age of Technology
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The author distinguishes three main interpretations of the concept, as well as the developmental trends in philosophical anthropology, and reflects on their relationship with critical social philosophy. Consequently, he follows up with an explication of the main assumptions of Arnold Gehlen’s philosophical anthropology and seeks to find out how they influenced the categorical particularity of his critique of postmodern society, labeled as “the crisis of institutions.” The author provides more detailed reflection in references to Gehlen’s Die Seele im technischen Zeitalter (published in English as Man in the Age of Technology), and its analysis of the so-called new subjectivism. The article ends with a critical conclusion, in which the author makes note of certain ideological incongruities in Gehlen’s philosophical standpoint.
6. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Gernot Böhme Self-Cultivation according to Immanuel Kant
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The author reflects on the anthropological role of the “self-cultivation” category in the philosophical system of Immanuel Kant, for whom self-cultivation stood as the central idea of the Enlightenment. Kant believed that it was man alone who created himself to a rational being, that his rationality was not a granted good but something he had to mature to by way of multiple disciplinary (the reduction of animality in the humanum sphere), civilizing and moralizing (the latter patroned by the Kantian categorical imperative) measures. An interesting avenue in Gernot Böhme’s approach is his assumption that this conceptual perspective applied to all three Kantian Critiques, e.g., that Critique of Pure Reason propounds the disciplining of human cognition under the banner of subordinating the sphere of intuition (Anschauung) to the categories of intellect (Verstand). These categories are not inborn in the human mind, but are built by the willful disciplining of the perceptual elements of cognition anchored in the animal fundaments of the humanum. Towards the close of his essay Böhme attempts a critique of Kant’s philosophy, accusing it of reductionism and depreciating many anthropological powers.
7. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Christoph Wulf Towards a Historical Cultural Anthropology
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In today’s globalized world anthropology is a transdisciplinary and trans-cultural field of research. In the here-proposed concept it encompasses five paradigms: 1) hominization/evolution, 2) philosophical anthropology, 3) historical anthropology/mentality research, 4) cultural anthropology, 5) historical cultural anthropology. Anthropology contributes to the understanding of the human being at the beginning of the 21st century. Anthropology is characterized by a double historicity and culturality; it encompasses a great variety of research questions, methods and approaches and includes philosophical thinking and self-criticism.
8. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Paweł Dybel Man, Animal and Mirror: Origins of the Human “I” according to Helmuth Plessner and Jacques Lacan
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In the article I compare the concept of the human “I” of Helmuth Plessner that underlies his philosophical anthropology with the theory of “mirror stage” by Jacques Lacan. Both they have been inspired by the experiment of Wolfgang Köhler in which a child and chimpanzee reacted differently to their image in a mirror. Plessner and Lacan drew different conclusions from this experiment. Plessner maintained that the child who recognizes its image in the mirror as its own takes into account the possibility of its replacement by other “I” on the level of its social roles and functions. Yet, at the same time it knows very well that nobody will be able to replace its own individual “I.” While Lacan says that the ideal image of “I” has the status of the defence-symptom representing an alternative to the feeling of dismembered body that the child experiences in the early phase of its life. This image of “I” is not given forever but is always endangered by the possibility of destruction and regress on its early stage of the dismembered body. The telling testimony of this is the passage au acte by psychotics in which the ouburst of aggression is accompanied by the destruction of “I.” Or the cases in which the I assumes the pathologically exaggerated shape. This possibility of destruction of I that is inherently rooted in its structure has been misrecognized by Plessner.
9. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Volker Schürmann What Is Sceptical Anthropology?
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The article compares the philosophies of Ernst Cassirer and Helmuth Plessner concerning the modes of modernity. Plessner is one of those thinkers, who are most consistent in accepting modernity, whereas Cassirer is not. The point that generates this different level is the explicit self-reflection of Plessner in contrast to a systematic silence of Cassirer. One can see this difference by analysing the role of scepticism within these two modes of anthropology.
10. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Giorgio Derossi Beyond “Wesenschau”: The Merleau-Ponty “Ambiguity” between Sensation and Perception
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One of the basic reasons for Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s critique of Edmund Husserl’s Wesenschau is represented by what has been defined as the “ambiguity” of the perceiver-perceived relationship, which is the theme of the “phenomenology of perception” developed by the French philosopher. Such ambiguity is in effect constitutive of fundamental perceptive-cognitive relationships; and—in the mature thought of Merleau-Ponty—it also extends, from an ontological point of view, to the “chair du monde” in which being and non-being, visible and invisible, are but two sides of the same “reality.” In this contribution we try to highlight the ambiguous characteristics of corporeal intentionality which render it incompatible with visual perception. And we propose both the necessity and the possibility of eliminating this incompatibility with a new phenomenological approach, which is also consistent with scientific “visualisation.”
11. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Serena Cataruzza The Aesthetic Theory of Gernot Böhme and Gestalt Phenomenology
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Gernot Böhme’s original proposal regarding an aesthetic as a philosophic theory of perceptual knowledge could, in our opinion, be usefully compared with certain aspects, historical-theoretical and methodological, of Gestalt psychology. From an historical point of view there is the attention commonly paid to the work of the 18th-century philosopher, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, considered as an important precursor of the study of sensitive knowledge, while the subsequent basic themes of the perceptual-cognitive approach, of the expressive qualities, of the distinction “physical reality /actual reality,” of the physiognomic problem, to cite but a few, recall nuclear questions, although perhaps not traditionally included in the “major canon”—to use a terminological proposal of Rocco Ronchi’s—of philosophy and specifically of experimental phenomenology.
12. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Rafał Michalski Arnold Gehlen’s Anthropological Theory of Institution
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The article reconstructs main assumptions and the theoretical context of Arnold Gehlen’s conception of institution. I argue that this conception is mainly a theory of action. At its centre Gehlen sets not so much specific institutions but rather specific forms of human activity that bring to life the over-individual normative structures. He describes them by means of a series of categories which, in his opinion, have a universal character. We do not find any genealogical analyzes here, but only a constellation of concepts deduced a priori, referring to empirical facts.
13. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Andrzej Gniazdowski The Political Anthropology of Edmund Husserl
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The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the relation between phenomenology and philosophical anthropology by analyzing it in the selected, theoretical as well as historical contexts. The author focuses primarily on the problem of Edmund Husserl’s criticism of anthropologism and analyzes the practical meaning of the rejection by him of anthropology as a true foundation of philosophy. The thesis of the paper is that already by rejecting anthropologism in the logic and theory of knowledge, Husserl presupposed some idea of philosophical anthropology in the “foundational” sense he criticized, and that this implicit idea was pursued by him not only from pure theoretical reason. In reference to Leszek Kołakowski and the methodology of the Warsaw School of the History of Ideas, which he applies in his interpretation of the idea of phenomenology, the author of the article attempts, unlike Kołakowski, to reveal not only the “religious” (in a vague sense), but also the specific political meaning of this idea. What is argued here is that the only possible reconciliation between anti-anthropologism on the one hand and the outspoken humanism of transcendental phenomenology on the other lies in the adoption by Husserl of Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s ideal of humanity as its practical, worldview framework. The practical, if not directly political, motif of Husserl’s radical criticism of anthropologism is, in author’s interpretation, Husserl’s attempt to answer, in the reference to this ideal, to the main political question of his times as consisting in the rising racist and anti-Semitic tendencies in the German naturalistic anthropology.
14. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Alice Pugliese Play and Self-Reflection. Eugen Fink’s Phenomenological Anthropology
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The paper takes into consideration the relationship between philosophical anthropology and phenomenology from the point of view provided by Eugen Fink’s philosophical path. Starting with phenomenological researches into the structure of constitution and reduction, after the Second World War Fink puts forth an anthropological theory based on the notion of play. This paper identifies the self-reflective and practical structure of Selbstbesinnung as a constant element of Fink’s analysis of the phenomenological method, of consciousness, and of the anthropological dimension of play, thus suggesting a profound continuity in his philosophical thought.
15. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Saulius Geniušas Musical Works as Ideal Objects: Phenomenology of Music and Its Implications for Philosophical Anthropology
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In light of recent studies in the phenomenology of music, the essay engages anew in the classical phenomenological controversy over the ideal status of musical works. I argue that musical works are bound idealities. I maintain that the listener’s capacity to apperceive physical sounds as musical melodies, which can be repeatedly and intersubjectively experienced, accounts for the ideality of musical works. Conceived of as bound idealities, musical works 1) are bound to the acts that sustain them; 2) do not have retroactive validity; 3) are inseparable from their reproductions; 4) are modified by the performances. I conclude with some reflections on the importance of bound idealities for the phenomenologically-oriented philosophical anthropology.
16. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Jagna Brudzińska Lived Body and Intentional Embodiment: New Perspectives on Phenomenological Anthropology
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The body, the bodily condition of the human being, or embodiment as an essential aspect of the human situation in the lived world are important topics of phenomenological research and phenomenologically oriented anthropology. On the other hand, today also cognitive research and neurosciences are dealing with the topic of embodiment, mainly focusing on so-called embodied cognition. Modern neuroscience claims that both, thought and action can only be interpreted in the light of interactions between brain, body and environment. New trends in phenomenology stress their familiarity with this position and focus on naturalizing phenomenology. In my view, this development disregards fundamental Husserlian claims concerning the naturalization of human subjectivity. In order to avoid such naturalizing effects, I focus on the transcendental-phenomenological interpretation of the lived body, and underline the intentional-genetic potential of Husserlian analyses. On this path, instead of relying on naturalizing embodiment, I develop a genetic understanding of the intentional embodiment of subjectivity and describe a peculiar form of intentionality as trans-bodily intentionality, thereby stressing its anthropological and socio-theoretical significance.
17. Dialogue and Universalism: Volume > 28 > Issue: 4
Note To Our Contributors
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