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Working Group 14 Cultural-Philosophical Fundamental Concepts of Anthropology (2006–2015)

This Working Group was concerned with transforming talk of "the human being" into an activity-theoretical vocabulary of cultural practices. "Philosophical anthropology" normally presumes that the human being is a biological species. To answer the question of what "the human being" is, methods and concepts borrowed from the life sciences are developed. This approach can be considered reductionist insofar as it only explores the descriptively materially ascertainable characteristics of the human being. Before descriptive-oriented methods can devise an image of the human being, they must make assumptions that they conceptually cannot recover. To some extent, this type of approach falls short.

By contrast, the Working Group was focused on an activity-theoretical rationalization of the discourse concerning "the human being." To this end, we developed and pursued a cultural-philosophical and life-hermeneutic approach, seeking to understand the human being through its activities and works by extracting its role from the analysis and reconstruction of cultural practices. We dealt with the human being exemplarily as a working, aesthetic, historical and speaking creature – with reference to current questions of historiography, social criticism, brain research, art, and linguistics.

Former Permanent Members

  • Christian Adam.
  • Malte Dreyer.
  • Daniel Kersting.
  • Andreas Kremer.
  • Jan Müller.
  • Dirk Schröder.
  • René Thun.
  • Matthias Warkus.