Antropologia, ciência da natureza humana "por analogia": Série 2 / Anthropology, Science of human nature “for analogy”

Kant E-Prints 5:145-161 (2010)

Juan Adolfo Bonaccini
Universidade Federal de Pernambuco
The difficulty some interpreters find to place Kant´s writings on Anthropology within his system is well known. There are those who understand the Anthropology as a transcendental science, those who think it is a mere non-systematic and empirical “science”, and even a rapsodic chaos of information on diverse and disconnected subjects; finally, there are also those who consider the Anthropology as the applied moral philosophy Kant had promised, either in the preface of the Groundwork, or in the Metaphysics of Morals. On the one hand, Kant had already referred the question for human nature to the Anthropology in the Critique of the pure reason. Nothing appears to be more natural, therefore, than considering the Anthropology as the science of human nature. On the other hand, the problem consists in determining whether and to what extent the critical philosophy can approach the concept of “human nature”. A good deal of difficulty comes from lack of clarity and unity with regard to its subject proper. For even if we accept that it must deal with human nature, it is not that clear in which sense human nature is to be understood from the point of view of “pragmatic anthropology”, nor how human being must be focused on in such an enquiry, whether empirically or not. My aim here is to explain in which sense pragmatic anthropology can be understood as science of human nature. I defend that this is possible out of a certain principle of analogy. Thus, in the first part I briefly mention some positions of the interpreters concerning the place and the status of the Anthropology in the critical system and identify a confusion sometimes is made between the place of the Anthropology within the system and its scientifically problematic status. In the second part, based upon Kant´s Lectures on Anthropology I argue that historically and conceptually Kant´s Anthropology endeavors to conciliate two different interests, namely, to criticize and reformulate the empirical psychology of the Wolfians and to observe and describe human being individually and collectivelly in order to offer a notion of human nature which the concepts and principles of its moral theory and its theory of the metaphysical knowledge can in concrete be applied to. In the third part, I defend that Anthropology considered as a cosmological knowledge reformulates the Humean project of an empirical science of human nature as a nearly–empirical science, since it involves as much observation and experience as well as application principles. My central thesis is here that the empirical scientific character of antropological knowledge is guaranteed by the application of the principle of analogy: what a human being knows intuitively from of himself as a set of first-order predicates functions as starting point for his reflection, out of which he is able to deduce consequences by analogy between himself and other human beings, as a set of second-order predicates he applies extensively to others. Thus, the Anthropology could appeal to observation and experience without being arbitrary: my knowledge of myself would be mediated by the knowledge of the others to the extent that I think myself in analogy with other beings that are given to me intuitively; conversely, my knowledge of the others would be mediated at the same time by the knowledge I have from myself, my body, as well as my mental and moral faculties. My knowledge of human being from the cosmopolitan point of view, as citizen of the world, then, would be thought and conceived of in analogy with my faculties and habits, with the moral, psychological structure and social politics of my world, with the uses and customs of my community. If this is not scientific knowledge in the strict sense as outlined in the first Critique, however, pragmatic antropological knowledge can be understood as a sound talk about humans, to the extent that on the basis of the principle of analogy a claim at universality and necessity is made which is pragmatically verifiable in action
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