Dialogue and Universalism










Catching meteors / (catching verses) / is greatly enhanced by / an empty head, / unfilled / by poetry, / lip-smacking and codes; / a vacuum which absorbs / cosmic crumbs, / the ice from the tail of a comet, / nuggets of sense, still warm, / material for a collection, / not an auction or someone’s neck, / but the white walls of the spirit.

S. Czerniak, Iskra Buntu [Spark of Rebellion], 2016


   This issue of Dialogue and Universalism is dedicated to philosophical anthropology. At the same time, it pursues another particular aim. We, the contributors of the issue, intend to celebrate the achievements and intellectual profile of Stanisław Czerniak on the occasion of his 70th anniversary. Stanisław Czerniak is a philosopher, philosophy historian, author of over a hundred scientific works, mostly dedicated to philosophical anthropology and contemporary German philosophy. A renowned scholar and, since many years, professor of philosophy at the Institute for Sociology and Philosophy of the Polish Academy of Sciences, he has been very active not only in the field of philosophical research, but also in poetry and international academic undertakings. Already in the seventies, as a research fellow of the von Humboldt Foundation, he came in touch with the newest developments of German philosophy and took part in international debates on the emancipatory task of philosophy as delineated by social theory and modern phenomenology.

   The purpose of the here-presented celebrative meditation on Czerniak’s work and intellectual path cannot be disjointed from a complex reflection on the topics of modern philosophy and philosophical anthropology. His philosophical work is inseparably interwoven with his efforts as the editor and translator of the most important authors of classical and phenomenologically oriented philosophical anthropology such as Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, Arnold Gehlen and Gernot Böhme, as well as of the representatives of Critical Theory, Max Horkheimer und Theodor Adorno, and the Frankfurt School from Jürgen Habermas to Axel Honneth. His capacity to mediate between cultures, his sharp intuition of the moments and vectors that allow not merely an exchange, but fruitful contaminations between philosophical traditions, his ability to make the complexity of the international debate accessible to the Polish cultural scene, all this makes Czerniak one of the most significant Polish intellectuals of our time. His reflection is inspired by the philosophical questions concerning the human condition as well as by urgent social issues related to the fundamental problem that is the relationship between society and individuals.

   But his in-depth confrontation with diverse tendencies of German philosophy is no less than a springboard for his own innovative position. Czerniak up-holds an original understanding of philosophical anthropology that shies away from stiff definitions or the summoning of specific characteristics of the human being. He avoids any form of essentialist and a priori anthropology. He rather engages in deep reflection on the anthropological categories through which we strive to describe the human being and gain a proper understanding of the dimensions of its effectiveness in a shared world. These are the categories of corporeality, compensation and mimesis, or of contingency, identity and the human being as such.

   The philosophical aspect of Czerniak’s intellectual path should not be separated from his poetic works. On the contrary, these are rather two fronts of the same person and of the same existential effort. As a professional philosopher, Czerniak is a sober, unadorned, disciplined, even technical-minded thinker whose texts, written with a sharp sense for argumentative precision, present very well-informed, detailed and profound historical-systematic reconstructions of crucial moments in the western philosophical tradition. In his academic-philosophical work he is guided by a deep respect for accuracy; it is work in the service of philosophy. This methodological consistency, however, sets limits to expression, hence Czerniak also seeks other dimensions of exploration and communication. His poetry not only entails speculative insights, it rather essentially is a peculiar form of philosophical reflection. It extends and strengthens philosophy by its straightforward intuition, powerful imagery and visionary language. Finally, Czerniak’s peculiar interaction between the poetical and philosophical registers does inaugurate a new kind of philosophical work and marks his work as unique in the contemporary cultural landscape.

   His poetry neither seeks a reliable order of reality which could be able to provide orientation for daily life, nor contemplates a world in which we can peacefully find our place. Much rather, it focuses on the individual who hesitantly and needily stretches his hand towards the unknown. We can only catch meteors of sense, not overview the whole of reality; we cannot even fully comprehend our own condition. A volatile substance comes to the fore; shreds and fragments of sense hunt us. This is all that is available to us. In his striking personal testimony of human experience, Czerniak shows deep respect for our drama. He gently leads us through minimal situations, which might appear as irrelevant or even banal to us and often remain unnoticed, but actually provide the space for our true choices and existential development. Here, the sense of humanity is taken under proof without reference to any overflying morality, without moral finger-pointing. The sense of humanity arising in these situations is rather entwined in fear and despair, unrest and shame. Yet, Czerniak does not exploit this condition to blame us, but to bring it to expression and convey dignity to our efforts.

   The work of Stanisław Czerniak demonstrates that the question of the conditio humana is more relevant today than ever. Not only in his philosophical work but also in his philosophical poetry Czerniak provides research instruments opening ways to express human experience in its dramatic dimensions. Irreconcilable conflicts, contrasts, paradoxes, tensions are here allowed to come to the fore and express their full meaning. Poetry helps overcome the narrow limits of discursiveness, the prevailing model of traditional philosophical treatise, and thus makes us susceptible to the unspeakable. What necessarily remains unsaid in traditional philosophical argumentation finds a way to express itself in condensed metaphors. Drawing from individual, lived experience, these metaphors become instruments to touch the other, to move him. They do not exhaust their function in simply giving linguistic shape to non-linguistic sensations.

   Thus, Czerniak in his work profoundly considers the dramatic situation of the modern human condition, investigating both the limitations of the human situation, like contingency, the lack of obvious meaning to things and the vulnerability of the lived body, and its powerful performativity, solitude and desperation. He also explores the possibility of concrete love, desire, passion, generosity, and the occasional exceptionality of the human condition. The dramatic of these descriptions is not, however, built on piety or self-compassion. Czerniak’s gaze remains staunch and uncompromising, he tirelessly scrutinizes daily life in its smallest and apparently meaningless moments and situations. These grow into concrete horizons of dramatic individual choices, subjective agency, and distinct gestures, which bear a deeper symbolic sense. Thereby, human life appears interwoven by radical contingency and fractured, but nevertheless able to rise towards a sense of humanity and dignity.

   This Dialogue and Universalism issue brings a testimony of Czerniak’s broad interest spectrum in four original texts devoted to the philosophical-anthropological theories of Helmuth Plessner, Odo Marquard, Richard Rorty, Jürgen Habermas, Max Scheler, Bernhard Waldenfels, and Arnold Gehlen.

   Faced with Czerniak’s complexity of interests and originality of thought, the authors of the present issue have not attempted a systematic response. Their contributions are rather intended as a polyphony of mirrors, in whose reflection the manifold possibilities contained in his anticipatory philosophy may even achieve greater force. In different capacities—as pupils, colleagues or intellectual companions—all the authors have worked with Stanisław Czerniak. And in this issue of Dialogue and Universalism all express their appreciation and intellectual kinship with him in their reflections on philosophical anthropology.

   Moving from Immanuel Kant, Gernot Böhme proposes the category of self-cultivation as the dynamic root of rationality, and at the same time as an anthropological characteristic of the human being. This encompassing prospect is followed by an analysis by Christoph Wulf, in which he tackles the inner plurality of modern anthropology by distinguishing five different but convergent anthropological paradigms connected by a double historicity and culturality. Paweł Dybel and Volker Schürmann explore Helmuth Plessner’s approach to philosophical anthropology. The former introduces the Lacanian discourse into the anthropological debate by referring to Jacques Lacan’s interpretation of the mirror experience as a source of individuation. Schürmann, on the other hand, reflects on Plessner’s and Ernst Cassirer’s relation to modernity taking scepticism as a guideline. The ambiguity of human perception is the core of Giorgio Derossi’s line of thought. He unfolds Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s idea of corporeal intentionality and his late notion of chair du monde. The problem of perception in its philosophical sense of sensual knowledge is also discussed by Serena Cataruzza in theoretical dialogue with Gernot Böhme’s aesthetical theory and with reference to Gestalt theory. Rafał Michalski investigates the social and institutional dimensions of human life with reference to Arnold Gehlen’s philosophy of action. Andrzej Gniazdowski’s contribution focuses on the political sense and motivation of phenomenological anthropology and on Edmund Husserl’s conflicting relationship with this discipline. Also Alice Pugliese and Saulius Geniušas draw from the phenomenological perspective to highlight two peculiar aspects of human concrete life. Pugliese brings to the fore the concept of play as developed by Eugen Fink in his phenomenological anthropology as a fundamental form of human self-understanding. The human capacity to conceive idealities, which are bound to life and experience, is illustrated by Geniušas with reference to musical works. Finally, Jagna Brudzińska unfolds the notion of intentional embodiment in the phenomenological and psychoanalytical sense, stressing the potential of genetic-transcendental phenomenology for anthropology.

   This collection aims to give an overview of contemporary research in the field and the diverse possibilities philosophical anthropology carries in the hope of turning attention to its potential for philosophy in future. Philosophical anthropology is at the crossroads. It can understand itself as a mere legacy of the past, or rise to meet the challenges of the present and the future. The work of Stanisław Czerniak has taught us not to linger in the obvious but to dare into the unknown despite its uncertainty. His work shall be a source of inspiration and orientation, and for this we are bound by deep gratitude.

Jagna Brudzińska, guest-editor






Gernot Böhme


   The author reflects on the anthropological role of the “self-cultivation” category in the philosophical system of Immanuel Kant, for whom self-cultivation stood as the central idea of the Enlightenment. Kant believed that it was man alone who created himself to a rational being, that his rationality was not a granted good but something he had to mature to by way of multiple disciplinary (the reduction of animality in the humanum sphere), civilizing and moralizing (the latter patroned by the Kantian categorical imperative) measures. An interesting avenue in Gernot Böhme’s approach is his assumption that this conceptual perspective applied to all three Kantian Critiques, e.g., that Critique of Pure Reason propounds the disciplining of human cognition under the banner of subordinating the sphere of intuition (Anschauung) to the categories of intellect (Verstand). These categories are not inborn in the human mind, but are built by the willful disciplining of the perceptual elements of cognition anchored in the animal fundaments of the humanum. Towards the close of his essay Böhme attempts a critique of Kant’s philosophy, accusing it of reductionism and depreciating many anthropological powers.

Keywords: The Enlightenment, education, self-cultivation, animal rationabile, disciplining, civilisation, moralization.

Affiliation: (professor emeritus) University of Darmstadt, since 2005 director of the Institute for PracticingPhilosophy in Darmstadt, Institut für Praxis der Philosophie e.V. (IPPh), Literaturhaus, Kasinostr. 3, D-64293 Darmstadt, Germany.

E-mail: gboehme@ipph-darmstadt.de




Jagna Brudzińska


   The body, the bodily condition of the human being, or embodiment as an essential aspect of the human situation in the lived world are important topics of phenomenological research and phenomenologically oriented anthropology. On the other hand, today also cognitive research and neurosciences are dealing with the topic of embodiment, mainly focusing on so-called embodied cognition. Modern neuroscience claims that both, thought and action can only be interpreted in the light of interactions between brain, body and environment. New trends in phenomenology stress their familiarity with this position and focus on naturalizing phenomenology. In my view, this development disregards fundamental Husserlian claims concerning the naturalization of human subjectivity. In order to avoid such naturalizing effects, I focus on the transcendental-phenomenological interpretation of the lived body, and underline the intentional-genetic potential of Husserlian analyses. On this path, instead of relying on naturalizing embodiment, I develop a genetic understanding of the intentional embodiment of subjectivity and describe a peculiar form of intentionality as trans-bodily intentionality, thereby stressing its anthropological and sociotheoretical significance.

Keywords: lived body, embodiment, genetic, intentional, kinaesthetic, movement, naturalization, transcendental, trans-bodily, phenomenology, anthropology, Edmund Husserl.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences; Husserl-Archive; University of Cologne, Albertus-Magnus-Platz, 50923 Cologne, Germany.

E-mail: jagna.brudzinska@uni-koeln.de




Serena Cattaruzza


   Gernot Böhme’s original proposal regarding an aesthetic as a philosophic theory of perceptual knowledge could, in our opinion, be usefully compared with certain aspects, historical-theoretical and methodological, of Gestalt psychology. From an historical point of view there is the attention commonly paid to the work of the 18th-century philosopher, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, considered as an important precursor of the study of sensitive knowledge, while the subsequent basic themes of the perceptual-cognitive approach, of the expressive qualities, of the distinction “physical reality /actual reality,” of the physiognomic problem, to cite but a few, recall nuclear questions, although perhaps not traditionally included in the “major canon”—to use a terminological proposal of Rocco Ronchi’s—of philosophy and specifically of experimental phenomenology.

Keywords: Gernot Böhme, Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten, sensitive knowledge, presence, atmosphere, physiognomic qualities, one’s own body.

Affiliation: “Gaetano Kanizsa” Psychology Unit, Department of Life Sciences, University of Trieste. Via Valerio, Building RA, 34100 Trieste, Italy.

E-mail: serenacattaruzza@alice.it




Stanisław Czerniak


   The author goes out from Helmuth Plessner’s book Die Grenzen der Gemeinschaft to show how the basic categories of Plessner’s philosophical anthropology, especially the eccentric position conception, apply to his critique of community-oriented societies like communism and fascism. Plessner saw the alternative to a community-based society in a model where social bonds took place by association, and in which the anthropological a priori enjoyed the optimum conditions for self-expression(in such dimensions of the public sphere as ceremony, prestige, diplomacy and tact).This social model also allows the full establishment of social roles in the anthropological sense, something that is annihilated by community-type societies. The author also addresses the different ways in which the “social role” category is interpreted by Plessner (the anthropological approach) and Ralf Dahrendorf (a functionalistic approach drawing on Marxism and the concept of alienation, which Plessner felt unfamiliar with), and concludes with a few concrete and methodologically grounded objections to Plessner’s theory.

Keywords: philosophical anthropology, community, association, the eccentric position, social role, ceremony, prestige, diplomacy, tact, social critique

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: stanislaw.l.czerniak@wp.pl




Stanisław Czerniak


   This comparative paper analyses in detail the contexts in which the “contingency” category was used by the philosophers mentioned in its title. While Odo Marquard and Richard Rorty situated contingency within the antifundamentalist discourse, especially in the sphere of philosophical anthropology, epistemology and ethics, Jürgen Habermas drew his conception of the contingency of human birth from the “human nature”—related discourse against modern-day genetic engineering. Marquard’s and Rorty’s theories differ in their philosophical assumptions (scepticism vs. neopragmatism). Among others, the author shows that none of the mentioned thinkers accepted the radically relativistic consequences of the debate around the “contingency” conception. In his analyses, he also makes frequent use of Marquard’s distinction between “arbitrarily accidental” and “fatefully accidental.”

Keywords: contingency, coincidence, randomness, freedom, human nature, skepticism, arbitrarily accidental, fateful accidental, auto-creation.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: stanislaw.l.czerniak@wp.pl




Stanisław Czerniak


   This comparative study of Max Scheler’s and Bernhard Waldenfels’ conceptions shows how they differ in their philosophical assumptions. Whereas Scheler’s strove to define the essence of suffering, which he saw in the objective situation of being a victim (sacrificing the inferior for the superior good), Waldenfels emphasized the intentional aspect of suffering and its connections to activity (suffering was to be the necessary and passive “other side” of activity). In this context Waldenfels introduced the distinction between suffering as a) that what happens to us, and b) that what we subjectively feel as “brutally” imposed upon us, ignoring all eidetic questions related to suffering as well as the metaphysical threads which Scheler addressed. The author runs a detailed and critical analysis of Scheler’s position, to which he voices multiple objections, and concludes that it coincides conceptually with the axiological conception of tragedy he propounded in his work On the Tragic. In the section on Waldenfels the author reviews the polemical arguments against his views voiced by several contemporary German philosophers.

Keywords: suffering, self-sacrifice, part and whole, pain, tragic, intentionality, experience of suffering, relief.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: stanislaw.l.czerniak@wp.pl




Stanisław Czerniak


   The author distinguishes three main interpretations of the concept, as well as the developmental trends in philosophical anthropology, and reflects on their relationship with critical social philosophy. Consequently, he follows up with an explication of the main assumptions of Arnold Gehlen’s philosophical anthropology and seeks to find out how they influenced the categorical particularity of his critique of postmodern society, labeled as “the crisis of institutions.” The author provides more detailed reflection in references to Gehlen’s Die Seele im technischen Zeitalter (published in English as Man in the Age of Technology), and its analysis of the so-called new subjectivism. The article ends with a critical conclusion, in which the author makes note of certain ideological incongruities in Gehlen’s philosophical standpoint.

Keywords: philosophy of man, philosophical anthropology, impulse flooding, drive surplus, language, social institutions, action, new subjectivism.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, Nowy Świat 72, 00-330 Warsaw, Poland.

E-mail: stanislaw.l.czerniak@wp.pl




Giorgio Derossi


   One of the basic reasons for Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s critique of Edmund Hus-serl’s Wesenschau is represented by what has been defined as the “ambiguity” of the perceiver-perceived relationship, which is the theme of the “phenomenology of perception” developed by the French philosopher. Such ambiguity is in effect constitutive of fundamental perceptive-cognitive relationships; and—in the mature thought of Merleau-Ponty—it also extends, from an ontological point of view, to the “chair du monde” in which being and non-being, visible and invisible, are but two sides of the same “reality.” In this contribution we try to highlight the ambiguous characteristics of corporeal intentionality which render it incompatible with visual perception. And we propose both the necessity and the possibility of eliminating this incompatibility with a new phenomenological approach, which is also consistent with scientific “visualisation.”

Keywords: Maurice Merleau-Ponty, ambiguity, intentionality, corporeality, perception, sensation, visualisation, existence, essence.

Affiliation: University of Trieste. Androna Campo Marzio, 10. 34100 Trieste, Italy.

E-mail: serenacattaruzza@alice.it




Paweł Dybel


   In the article I compare the concept of the human “I” of Helmuth Plessner that underlies his philosophical anthropology with the theory of “mirror stage” by Jacques Lacan. Both they have been inspired by the experiment of Wolfgang Köhler in which a child and chimpanzee reacted differently to their image in a mirror. Plessner and Lacan drew different conclusions from this experiment. Plessner maintained that the child who recognizes its image in the mirror as its own takes into account the possibility of its replacement by other “I” on the level of its social roles and functions. Yet, at the same time it knows very well that nobody will be able to replace its own individual “I.” While Lacan says that the ideal image of “I” has the status of the defence-symptom representing an alternative to the feeling of dismembered body that the child experiences in the early phase of its life. This image of “I” is not given forever but is always endangered by the possibility of destruction and regress on its early stage of the dismembered body. The telling testimony of this is the passage au acte by psychotics in which the ouburst of aggression is accompanied by the destruction of “I.” Or the cases in which the I assumes the pathologically exaggerated shape. This possibility of destruction of I that is inherently rooted in its structure has been misrecognized by Plessner.

Keywords: I, ideal I, dismembered body, mirror image, psychosis, narcissism, personality.

Affiliation: Pedagogical University, Cracow, Poland.

E-mail: pawedybel@gmail.com




Saulius Geniušas


   In light of recent studies in the phenomenology of music, the essay engages anew in the classical phenomenological controversy over the ideal status of musical works. I argue that musical works are bound idealities. I maintain that the listener’s capacity to apperceive physical sounds as musical melodies, which can be repeatedly and intersubjectively experienced, accounts for the ideality of musical works. Conceived of as bound idealities, musical works 1) are bound to the acts that sustain them; 2) do not have retro-active validity; 3) are inseparable from their reproductions; 4) are modified by the performances. I conclude with some reflections on the importance of bound idealities for the phenomenologically-oriented philosophical anthropology.

Keywords: phenomenology of music, Edmund Husserl, Roman Ingarden, purely intentional object, bound ideality, philosophical anthropology.

Affiliation: Chinese University of Hong Kong, Fung King Hey Bld, Department of Philosophy, CUHK, Shatin, New Territories, Hong Kong.

E-mail: geniusas@cuhk.edu.hk




Andrzej Gniazdowski


   The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate on the relation between phenomenology and philosophical anthropology by analyzing it in the selected, theoretical as well as historical contexts. The author focuses primarily on the problem of Edmund Husserl’s criticism of anthropologism and analyzes the practical meaning of the rejectionby him of anthropology as a true foundation of philosophy. The thesis of the paper is that already by rejecting anthropologism in the logic and theory of knowledge, Husserl presupposed some idea of philosophical anthropology in the “foundational” sense he criticized, and that this implicit idea was pursued by him not only from pure theoretical reason. In reference to Leszek Kołakowski and the methodology of the Warsaw School of the History of Ideas, which he applies in his interpretation of the idea of phenomenology, the author of the article attempts, unlike Kołakowski, to reveal not only the “religious” (in a vague sense), but also the specific political meaning of this idea. What is argued here is that the only possible reconciliation between anti-anthropologism on the one hand and the outspoken humanism of transcendental phenomenology on the other lies in the adoption by Husserl of Johann Gottlieb Fichte’s ideal of humanity as its practical, worldview framework. The practical, if not directly political, motif of Husserl’s radical criticism of anthropologism is, in author’s interpretation, Husserl’s attempt to answer, in the reference to this ideal, to the main political question of his times as consisting in the rising racist and anti-Semitic tendencies in the German naturalistic anthropology.
Keywords: Phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, practical philosophy, political religion, humanism, naturalism, race theory, history of ideas.

Affiliation: Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Nowy Świat 72, 00–330 Warszawa, Poland.

E-mail: agniazdo@ifispan.waw.pl




Rafał Michalski


   The article reconstructs main assumptions and the theoretical context of Arnold Gehlen’s conception of institution. I argue that this conception is mainly a theory of action. At its centre Gehlen sets not so much specific institutions but rather specific forms of human activity that bring to life the over-individual normative structures. He describes them by means of a series of categories which, in his opinion, have a universal character. We do not find any genealogical analyzes here, but only a constellation of concepts deduced a priori, referring to empirical facts.

Keywords: Arnold Gehlen, philosophical anthropology, institution, action, relief, habituation, typification, unspecific obligation, ideative awareness.

Affiliation: Contemporary Anthropology Chair of the Philosophy Institute of Philosophy, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Fosa Staromiejska 1, Toruń, Poland.

E-mail: metasis@umk.pl




Alice Pugliese


   The paper takes into consideration the relationship between philosophical anthropology and phenomenology from the point of view provided by Eugen Fink’s philosophical path. Starting with phenomenological researches into the structure of constitution and reduction, after the Second World War Fink puts forth an anthropological theory based on the notion of play. This paper identifies the self-reflective and practical structure of Selbstbesinnung as a constant element of Fink’s analysis of the phenomenological method, of consciousness, and of the anthropological dimension of play, thus suggesting a profound continuity in his philosophical thought.

Keywords: phenomenology, anthropology, Eugen Fink, play, self-reflection, Selbstbesinnung.

Affiliation: Università degli Studi di Palermo, FIERI Department, Post-Doc. Studies Social Justice, Epistemology, and Psychoanalysis, Italy.
E-mail: alice.pugliese@unipa.it




Volker Schürmann


   The article compares the philosophies of Ernst Cassirer and Helmuth Plessner concerning the modes of modernity. Plessner is one of those thinkers, who are most consistent in accepting modernity, whereas Cassirer is not. The point that generates this different level is the explicit self-reflection of Plessner in contrast to a systematic silence of Cassirer. One can see this difference by analysing the role of scepticism within these two modes of anthropology.

Keywords: anthropology, skepticism, modernity, Helmuth Plessner, Ernst Cassirer.

Affiliation: German Sport University Cologne, Institute of Pedagogy and Philosophy, Am Sportpark Müngersdorf 6, D-50933 Cologne, Germany.

E-mail: V.Schuermann@dshs-koeln.de




Christoph Wulf


   In today’s globalized world anthropology is a transdisciplinary and trans-cultural field of research. In the here-proposed concept it encompasses five paradigms: 1) hominization/evolution, 2) philosophical anthropology, 3) historical anthropology/mentality research, 4) cultural anthropology, 5) historical cultural anthropology. Anthropology contributes to the understanding of the human being at the beginning of the 21st century. Anthropology is characterized by a double historicity and culturality; it encompasses a great variety of research questions, methods and approaches and includes philosophical thinking and self-criticism.

Keywords: hominization, evolution, philosophical anthropology, historical anthropology, mentality, cultural anthropology, historical cultural anthropology, mimesis, ritual.

Affiliation: Interdisciplinary Centre for Historical Anthropology, the “Cultures of the Performative” Collaborative Research Center (SFB), the “Languages of Emotion” Cluster and the “InterArts Studies” Graduate School at Freie Universität Berlin, Habelschwerdter Allee 45, D-14195 Berlin, Germany.

E-mail: christoph.wulf@fu-berlin.de


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