Toward a new humanism: An approach from philosophical anthropology

Thomas Schwarz Wentzer, Cheryl Mattingly


In this introduction to the special section, we revisit the case of humanism, including some challenges to its outworn and problematic metaphysical assumptions. We suggest that a new kind of humanism is demanded despite the many calls that humanism, of any form, should be jettisoned. The new humanism we propose rests on an ethnographically based philosophical anthropology which keeps in mind its reference to humankind while acknowledging the indeterminacy or inherent transcendence of human life in its sociocultural and ecological situatedness. We believe that there are ontological, epistemological, and ethical reasons to pursue the idea of a timely humanism, without which the social sciences and the humanities are at risk of losing orientations to their own domains as well as their political bearings.


humanism, philosophical anthropology, ethnography, phenomenology

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/698361