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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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5. The Issue of Freedom

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determinism – indeterminism – compatibilism – fundamental freedom –motivation

One of the key philosophical and anthropological issues is the question of freedom. Different possible solutions are referring to different ontological models of man. At the same time, the question expresses the existential situation of a person reflecting his or her position and possibilities within his or her being. What is freedom? Is just an eternal god-like desire of man, an illusion; or is it real? J. Sokol considers freedom “as one of the most characteristic features of a human being” and besides reason “as the highest attribute of man” (Sokol, 2004, p. 366). Perhaps the most intuitive definition associated with our daily lives is that freedom is the possibility to choose or the possibility to act according to one’s own will. However, this definition poses another problems. What does it mean to “choose”? What is the nature of the will we tend to call “one’s own”? The aim of this ← 61 | 62 → chapter is first to outline the issue systematically and introduce key notions and concepts. In the second part we will address the issue particularly – as it was addressed by E. Coreth.

If we pictured an imaginary line as a scale for visual illustration of the best known concepts of freedom, there would find radical determinism concepts on one side and the philosophical teachings of radical freedom and indeterminism on the other.

Sartre’s radical understanding of freedom as absolute is a typical example of...

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