What is Human Philosophy?July 2, 2021
It is possible to answer the question of what is human philosophy as follows: Human philosophy is a philosophy discipline that deals with the problem of man and humanity. Human philosophy is the philosophy that reflects on the data obtained from the experiment by anthropology and investigates the human being’s structure and place in the whole of existence.
The first scientific experiments, especially the experimental studies of W. Köhler and Pavlov on animals, revealed that there was only a degree of difference between humans and animals. These studies were based on Darwin’s theory. Metaphysical philosophy, with the German thinker Max Scheler, tried to turn this into a difference of quality. Scheler called this quality, found in man but absent in animals, as geist, and described it as pure activity:
Thought-spirit started with man, it did not exist before man so that it could create man. Matter existed before man, it is not something peculiar to man so that it can create man. Geist is the only thing that is unique to man and does not exist in any other being, and therefore creates man.
Scheler gives a fuzzy definition peculiar to metaphysical philosophy to explain what geist is: Geist is a principle that encompasses reason, consciousness of the idea, a perception directed towards spontaneity, and activities of excitement. The geist that enables humanization did not come about as a result of an evolutionary development. Because evolutionary development proceeds in a direction suitable for nature, whereas geist is an anti-nature structure. But this opposition does not mean a fight. Between nature and geist there is an affinity that geist masterfully orchestrates, which works to his benefit.
Geist beats nature without conflict with nature. Geist is not a power of intelligence either, intelligence is a small part of the vast field covered by geist. The animal brain cannot give birth to geist, even though it grows indefinitely and surpasses human intelligence. Because geist is not an animal development (i.e., a material development), but an order weft that emerges as a result of the very special effects of material developments on each other, and its appearance depends on very special conditions. Geist is not a substance, nor is he a soul. Because we can make objects and examine all spiritual events. But we cannot objectify and examine our geist (since we have no other geist).
The German thinker Arnold Gehlen transferred this metaphysics of Max Scheler to the field of life science. By developing the Dutch scholar Louis Bolk’s theory of lag, Gehlen argued that man is the last developing creature among all animals and has many deficiencies, and as a result, he becomes human by creating the ability to complete these deficiencies.
For Gehlen, too, there is a qualitative difference, not a degree difference, between man and animal. There is an animality in man, but the being called human begins after he exceeds the limit of this animality. Every organ of the animal is the result of adapting to the environment; on the other hand, none of the organs of man fit the environment. For example, the ostrich was made for the steppe, and the chimpanzee monkey for the forest; Humans can live anywhere. All ice age animals are furry, ice age humans are not. Man also lived in the ice age, by being able to swim the fur of the ice age animal and put it on his back.
Man’s life is not realized by adapting to his environment, like animal life, but by adapting his environment to himself. The brain and hand have made man free in all situations. Man can change the conditions of his environment, fight nature, defeat nature. While animals can live without tools, humans cannot live without tools. This means that man is not connected with nature, but with culture.
Culture is a nature that can be changed by intelligence, a nature that is remade and made for man. The German philosopher Nicolai Hartmann also based his anthropology on ontological foundations. Hartmann directly studies human achievements. According to Harmann, these achievements (human phenomena, as he puts it) are technical, art, morality, religion, etc. takes place with It is these achievements that make people human. These achievements prove the existence of a difference of quality, not of degree, between man and animal. To see this, man must be considered as a holistic being. In man, on the whole, there is no animality; just as in the animal there is no humanity as a whole.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım