The first part of the article (§§ 1-3) illustrates the critical relation the authors establish with the leading figures of philosophical anthropology in terms of their engagement with “world-openness” (Weltoffenheit). This notion cannot be reduced to the objectivity that confronts man as a spiritual being, as in Max Scheler, but rather makes it possible to grasp the limits of distancing objectification; in Arnold Gehlen, the coercion to action derived from the indeterminacy of man’s relation with the world is not sufficient to comprehend the role of culture for the constitution of the human animal itself; and with the biological means utilized by Helmuth Plessner it is not possible to account entirely for the human capacity to establish relations by means of society. Historical anthropology, as the second part (§§ 4-5) of the article shows, aims to respond to such deficiencies by bringing to light the numerous historical and cultural forms of openness to a plurality of worlds. Freeing itself of any abstract and binding anthropological norm that claims to define the essence of man, historical anthropology investigates human structures and phenomena through a series of transdisciplinary studies centering on themes such as the body, ritual, mimesis and the performative dimension in its entirety, performance and performativity
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