Reasoning in Life: Values and Normativity in Georges Canguilhem

International Journal for the Semiotics of Law - Revue Internationale de Sémiotique Juridique 33 (4):1019-1031 (2020)
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Abstract

This paper aims at giving an account of the philosophy of norms of Georges Canguilhem in the framework of his philosophical vitalism. According to Canguilhem, vitalism is not a metaphysical or ontological theory, but rather a general attitude or a perspective about life and living beings, both understood employing the axiological concept of ‘normativity’. This notion allows Canguilhem to enlarge the concept of life beyond the field of biological phenomena, encompassing also phenomena of the social world, included technique and scientific knowledge and rationality. Canguilhem’s perspective relocates human activities within a vitalistic conception of life, which redefines the meaning of human reason by putting it in relation to values and norms.

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