Philosophical anthropology against objectification. Reconsidering Ricoeur’s Fallible Man

International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 75 (2):152-168 (2014)
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Abstract

In this article I reconsider Ricoeur’s early philosophical anthropology in Fallible Man by probing its force in a current discussion on anthropology in the ethics of care. This discussion shows similarities with the intentions behind Ricoeur’s project. They are both dissatisfied with existing philosophical conceptions of human beings, in particular with their objectifying and fixing character. However, the ethics of care is a practice oriented approach while Ricoeur’s is an abstract philosophical one. In this article I will examine whether Ricoeur’s philosophical approach may be of value for such a practical approach. For this purpose I analyse three aspects of Ricoeur’s approach that seem to be akin to the ethics of care: his ‘passion for the possible’ that inspires a critique of objectification; his methodological reflections that highlight the relation between philosophy and the pre-philosophical; and fragility as central anthropological category. Taking into account these aspects will give rise to the critical question of whether the anthropology in the ‘weak’ sense in which it is present in the ethics of care is able to account for the risk of objectification. Discovering the importance of this criticism reveals the relevance and topical interest of Ricoeur’s approach also for current practice-oriented philosophical reflection.

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References found in this work

The ethics of care.Virginia Held - 2000 - In Steven M. Cahn (ed.), Exploring Philosophy: An Introductory Anthology. New York, NY, United States of America: Oxford University Press USA.
Reflections on the Just.Paul Ricoeur - 2007 - University of Chicago Press.

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