Inquiry 17 (1-4):49 – 77 (1974)
|Abstract||Philosophical anthropology is a broad-gauged study of man drawing on the findings of empirical sciences and the humanities. The paper is intended as a tribute to one of the pioneers in this field. The first part outlines central features of Plessner's conception, focusing on man's instinctual deficiency and his 'eccentric position' in the world; man from this perspective is an 'embodied' creature in the dual sense of experiencing the world through his bodily organs and of 'having' a body and being able to reflect on his mundane situation. In social terms the perspective implies that man can find himself only through embodiment in institutional settings and role patterns - settings which, however, remain open to reinterpretation and revision. Subsequently Plessner's outlook is compared and contrasted with alternative views of the human condition. According to Gehlen, man's instinctual deficiency an openness need to be corrected through institutional stability and the standardization of role structures. Reviewing leading writings of the 'counter-culture', a final section explores contemporary anti-institutional trends which see man as a fugitive from social constraints and his search for self-fulfilment as antithetical to role patterns.|
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