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July 04 , 2008

Anthropology and the Human Subject


The German philosopher Immanuel Kant famously defined anthropology as the study of what it means to be a human being. Following in his footsteps “Anthropology and the Human Subject” provides a critical, comprehensive and wide-ranging investigation of conceptions of the human subject within the Western intellectual tradition, focusing specifically on the secular trends of the twentieth century. Encyclopaedic in scope, lucidly and engagingly written, the book covers the man and varied currents of thought within this tradition. Each chapter deals with a specific intellectual paradigm, ranging from Marx’s historical materialism and Darwin’s evolutionary naturalism, and their various off shoots, through to those currents of though that were prominent in the late twentieth century, such as, for example, existentialism, hermeneutics, phenomenology and poststructuralism. With respect to each current of thought a focus is placed on their main exemplars, outlining their biographical context, their mode of social analysis, and the “ontology of the subject” that emerges from their key texts. The book will appeal not only to anthropologists but to students and scholars within the human sciences and philosophy, as well as to any person interested in the question: What does it mean to be human? “Ambitions in scope and encyclopaedic in execution...his style is always lucid. He makes difficult work accessible. His prose conveys the unmistakable impression of a superb and meticulous lecturer at work.” Anthony P Cohen Journal Royal Anthropological Institute “There is a very little I can add to the outstanding criticism Brian Morris levels at deep ecology...Insightful as well as incisive...I have found his writings an educational experience.” Murray Bookchin Institute of Social Ecology
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