Thesis Eleven 49 (1):99-116 (1997)

The question of man is a question of philosophical anthropology. It raises a particular problem because man is both the subject and object of any knowledge of man. This question has ontological consequences, because man is the one being that can have knowledge of himself and can change himself and the laws of his existence. Such knowledge and change, however, are not innate to man but are creations that have both psychical and social-historical presuppositions and implications. The question of de jure validity arises with the creation of politics and philosophy and can be made more precise in the question: How can the valid be effective and the effective be valid? Politics, as the lucid and reflective activity that interrogates itself about society's institutions and attempts to change them, is a creation of a new anthropological type: reflective and deliberative subjectivity. Today's `liberal oligarchies', falsely labelled `democratic', proclaim liberty and equality, but an analysis of the present heteronomous situation of a majority of the world's population and of the compromise nature of liberal oligarchic regimes shows how partial has been their realization
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DOI 10.1177/0725513697049000008
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