Article ID: CBB332228071

The Metaphysical Standing of the Human: A Future for the History of the Human Sciences (2019)


I reconstruct my own journey into the history of the human sciences, which I show to have been a process of discovering the metaphysical standing of the human. I begin with Alexandre Koyré’s encounter with Edmund Husserl in the 1930s, which I use to throw light on the legacy of Kant’s ‘anthropological’ understanding of the human, which dominated and limited 19th-century science. As I show, those who broke from Kant’s strictures and set the stage for the 20th-century revolutions in science - from Hegel, to John McTaggart, to Max Weber - typically were pursuing crypto-theological questions about how a finite being can comprehend an infinite universe. This journey is about the ‘common measure’ of being human, which is what links Plato to Kuhn, but has been most consistently taken up by law. I suggest that in seeking this ‘measure of man’, we may discover that to be human is not necessarily to be Homo sapiens, which would suggest a radical reorientation of the history of the human sciences.

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Authors & Contributors
Høyrup, Jens
Fuller, Steven
Rodriguez, Julia Emilia
Smith, Roger C.
Lin, Martin Thomas
Garber, Daniel
History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences
History of the Human Sciences
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Isis: International Review Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Science in Context
Acta Philosophica
State University of New York Press
Sage Publications
University of Chicago
Purdue University (Lafayette, Indiana)
New School for Social Research
Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Human sciences
Definition of human; human nature
History of science, as a discipline
Human beings
Heidegger, Martin
Spinoza, Baruch
Descartes, René
Smith, Adam
Horkheimer, Max
Adorno, Theodor W.
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
21st century
20th century, late
17th century
Latin America
Institut für Sozialforschung, Frankfurt am Main

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