Philosophy As Rational Anthropology: A Manifesto in 240 Words.

By Robert Hanna

“Grand Central Terminal/Cascading Light,” New York City (1935–1941)

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Philosophy As Rational Anthropology: A Manifesto in 240 Words.

If there is any science humankind really needs, it is the one I teach, of how to occupy properly that place in [the world] that is assigned to humankind, and how to learn from it what one must be in order to be human. (Kant, circa 1764, Rem 20: 45)

The field of philosophy … can be brought down to the following questions:

1. What can I know?

2. What ought I to do?

3. What may I hope?

4. What is the human being?

Metaphysics answers the first question, morals the second, religion the third, and anthropology the fourth. Fundamentally, however, we could reckon all of this as anthropology, because the first three questions relate to the last one. The philosopher must be able to determine

1. the sources of human knowledge

2. the extent of the possible and profitable use of all knowledge, and finally

3. the limits of reason.

The last [question, What is the human being?] is the most necessary but also the hardest. (Kant, 1800, JL 9: 25)

What is philosophy?

For me, philosophy is the broadly and radically Kantian enterprise I’ve called rational anthropology, by which I mean authentic (i.e., wholehearted, and pursued and practiced as a full-time, lifetime calling), serious (i.e., neither careerist, nor conformist, nor dogmatic, nor esoteric, nor hyperspecialized), critical, synoptic, systematic reflection on the individual and collective rational human condition, and on the thoroughly nonideal natural and social world in which rational human animals and other conscious animals live, move, and have their being.

As such, rational anthropology fully includes the knowledge yielded by the formal and natural sciences; but, as I see it, the formal and natural sciences also all have inherent limits, and these limits are recognized by what I call creative piety: so rational anthropology also goes significantly beneath and beyond the sciences, and non-reductively incorporates aesthetic or artistic, affective or emotional, ethical or moral, sociopolitical, and, more generally, personal and practical insights that cannot be adequately captured or explained by the sciences.

Rational anthropology is all about the nature, meaning, and value of individual and collective rational human existence in the natural and social world, and how it is possible to know the philosophical limits of science, without being anti-science, and indeed while also being resolutely pro-science.

Finally, rational anthropology is neither Analytic philosophy nor so-called “Continental philosophy,” and its other elaborations are anarcho- or borderless philosophy, life-shaping philosophy, neo-organicist philosophy, and above all, the philosophy of the future.

For full details and defenses of these claims, see (Hanna, 2001: pp. 281–285, 2015, 2017, 2018a, 2018b, 2018c, 2018d, 2021, 2022a, 2022b, 2022c; Hanna and Paans, 2022).

BIBLIOGRAPHY

(Hanna, 2001). Hanna, R. Kant and the Foundations of Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Clarendon/Oxford Univ. Press. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2015). Hanna, R. Cognition, Content, and the A Priori: A Study in the Philosophy of Mind and Knowledge . THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 5. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2017). Hanna, R. “Life-Changing Metaphysics: Rational Anthropology and its Kantian Methodology.” In G. D’Oro and S. Overgaard (eds.), The Cambridge Companion to Philosophical Methodology. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press. Pp. 201–226. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2018a). Hanna, R. Preface and General Introduction, Supplementary Essays, and General Bibliography. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 1. New York: Nova Science. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2018b). Hanna, R. Deep Freedom and Real Persons: A Study in Metaphysics. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 2. New York: Nova Science. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2018c). Hanna, R. Kantian Ethics and Human Existence: A Study in Moral Philosophy. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 3. New York: Nova Science. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2018d). Hanna, R., Kant, Agnosticism, and Anarchism: A Theological-Political Treatise. THE RATIONAL HUMAN CONDITION, Vol. 4. New York: Nova Science. Available online in preview HERE.

(Hanna, 2021). Hanna, R., The Fate of Analysis: Analytic Philosophy From Frege to The Ash-Heap of History. New York: Mad Duck Coalition. Affordably available in hardcover, softcover, and Epub at URL = <https://themadduckcoalition.org/product/the-fate-of-analysis/>.

(Hanna, 2022a). Hanna, R. “Six Studies in The Decline and Fall of Professional Academic Philosophy, And a Real and Relevant Alternative.” Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Hanna, 2022b). Hanna, R. The Philosophy of the Future: Uniscience and the Modern World. Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Hanna, 2022c). Hanna, R. “Analytic Philosophy, Rational Anthropology, and The Epigenetic Model of the Mind.” Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Hanna and Paans, 2022). Hanna, R. and Paans, O. “Creative Piety and Neo-Utopianism: Cultivating Our Global Garden.” Unpublished MS. Available online HERE.

(Kant, circa 1764, ReM). Kant, I. “Remarks on the Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime.” Trans. M. Cooley and P. Frierson. Available online at URL = <http://people.whitman.edu/~frierspr/kants_bemerkungen1.htm>. [Ak 20]

(Kant, 1800, JL). Kant, I. “The Jäsche Logic.” Trans. J. M. Young. In I. Kant, Immanuel Kant: Lectures on Logic. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1992. Pp. 519–640. [Ak 9: 1–150]

Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Monday 25 April 2022

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Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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