Philosophical Anthropology

Philosophical Anthropology


Document Type

Book Chapter


Entry in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion.

BOOK DESCRIPTION: An unprecedented multi-volume reference work on philosophy of religion, providing authoritative coverage of all significant concepts, figures, and movements Unmatched in scope and depth, The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of Religion provides readers with a well-balanced understanding of philosophical thought about the nature of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, and other religious traditions around the globe. Spanning across four comprehensive volumes, this groundbreaking resource contains hundreds of specially commissioned entries covering the key themes, thinkers, works, and ideas in the field. Organized alphabetically, the Encyclopedia addresses an unmatched range of both historical and contemporary topics which reflect a diversity of theoretical and cultural perspectives. The entries encompass an extraordinary range of topics, from Aquinas and Kierkegaard, to teleological and ontological arguments, to cognitive science and psychology of religion, and many more. Each peer-reviewed entry is written by an acknowledged expert on the topic and includes short bibliographies, suggestions for further reading, and extensive cross-references. Accessible to scholars and non-specialist readers alike, this invaluable reference work: Provides balanced coverage of Abrahamic religions as well as different traditions from Asia, Africa, and other geographic regions Presents more than 450 entries which have been carefully reviewed by an editorial advisory board of world-renowned scholars Explores topics in various historical contexts, such as Jewish and Islamic contributions to medieval philosophy Discusses recent developments and new approaches to the study of philosophy of religion Examines significant theories and concepts including free will, atonement, moral argument, natural law, process theology, evolutionary theory, and theism Offers a fully cross-referenced and searchable online edition

CHAPTER DESCRIPTION: In this entry “philosophical anthropology” is defined broadly as philosophical reflection about the nature of human beings (rather than narrowly as a particular school of thought within twentieth-century German philosophy), and the topic is treated historically. I begin by discussing several important historical roots of philosophical anthropology in ancient Greek and Renaissance thought. Special attention is then given to Enlightenment contributions – above all Kant, but also Hume, Herder, and others. Comte, Feuerbach, Marx, and Nietzsche are focal points in the section on nineteenth-century philosophical anthropology. In the section on twentieth-century contributions, primary attention is devoted to the triumvirate of German philosophical anthropology: Max Scheler, Helmuth Plessner, and Arnold Gehlen. In the concluding section, I respond to several popular arguments against philosophical anthropology and discuss its future prospects in light of current intellectual trends.



Publication Date



John Wiley and Sons

Philosophical Anthropology