Ghent University Academic Bibliography


Project: A Future for Philosophical Anthropology? Historical Ontology as a Critical Project

project duration
10/01/14 – 30/09/17
More than 200 years after the establishment of philosophical anthropology as a discipline of knowledge, its epistemological status is still vague and ambiguous. This project aspires a methodology and conceptual apparatus for a critical project of philosophical anthropology in terms of a ‘historical ontology’, underlying man’s historical coming into being. This project investigates the epistemological status of philosophical anthropology by reflecting on its origin in Kant. Moreover, it envisages a possible future for philosophical anthropology by reconstructing it from within the critical tradition (from Kant to Foucault and Hacking). This enterprise entails two steps: (1) A deconstruction of Kant’s Anthropology in the context of Foucault’s interpretation of it. This is done by focusing on the relation of anthropology as a philosophical discipline to both the critical-transcendental project and the emergence of philosophical anthropology in the realm of the modern human sciences. In turn, Foucault’s project is re-qualified as an actualized though still problematic historicisation and detranscendentalisation of Kant’s critical project; (2) Hacking’s ‘making up people’ project is reinterpreted as a further development of Foucault’s proposal of a historical ontology and the critical project is reformulated by taking into account the status of the man as ‘a moving target'. Specific attention is given to the concept of the (ab)normal and how it functions in historical ontology.