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Philosophical Anthropology: Selected Chapters

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Jana Trajtelová

This textbook discusses and systemises several selected topics of philosophical anthropology. The problem of man cannot be grasped through only one main principle or aspect (as the principle of his or her «humanity»). The chapters of this book rather outline several specific aspects which essentially characterize human beings (such as rationality, formation of culture, freedom, personality and interpersonality). The text is primarily intended for bachelor students of philosophy.
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3. A Rational Animal?

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nature – thinking – symbol – spiritual cognition – language

From the point of view of biological and evolutionary sciences, humans are an integral even though a tiny part of living nature. However, having discovered our self-consciousness, we have always rather tended to define ourselves against nature; we seem to be quite a “strange animal”, as J. Sokol writes (Sokol, 2002, p. 23).

E. Coreth outlines the specifics of human behaviour. He adopts Scheler’s notion of “man’s world-openness” and summarises specific signs of human behaviour as follows:

1)     The organs non-specialisation within and towards an environment becomes the biggest advantage and “specialisation” (Coreth, 1994, p. 66).

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