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The first part of the course offers a systematic overview of the main subjects  and concepts of philosophical anthropology and its relationship to other philosophical disciplines, such as ethics and social philosophy, and the empirical human sciences, such as psychology, sociology, history, cultural anthropology and biological anthropology. Next, we will distinguish the mechanistic, organistic, and hermeneutic conception of man and, inspired by Kant’s and Dilthey’s transcendental philosophy, we will analyze the third-person, second-person, and first person ontological perspectives of these conceptions. Against the background of the ‘Historization of the World View’, both in its naturalistic and hermeneutic form, we will discuss Plessner’s philosophical anthropology as a still topical attempt to connect the two.

In the second part of the course we will focus on the ‘First person-perspective’: phenomenological / hermeneutical approaches within the quest for man. Key figures will be: Kierkegaard, Husserl, Heidegger I and II. In the light of the phenomenological and hermeneutical tradition, the human condition turns out to be enacted, embodied, embedded, and extended. Referring to recent developments in the neurosciences, biotechnology, and robotics, and to the connected extra-, trans- en post-humanist conceptions of man, in the final sessions of this course we will discuss the relevance of present day phenomenological and hermeneutical approaches in the Quest for Man.

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