Accepted Paper:

The human nature in question: the re-naturalization of human being?  

Author:

Georgeta Marghescu (University Politechnica, Bucharest)

Paper short abstract:

This paper concerns the contemporary tendency of reconsidering the human nature and its consequences both for the understanding of the boundary between humans and animals and on the ways in which the animals are represented and used.

Paper long abstract:

Anthropology is still far from having said its last word concerning the natural nature or the cultural nature of human beings. In solving this problem anthropology is indebted to anthropocentric modern rationalist paradigm according to which man's uniqueness is assumed. Its corollary is the relegation of animal to machine; assuming their sovereignty over all others creatures, humans used them solely as means to debatable human ends. Culture was opposed to nature in order to explain the man's peculiarities.

Nature and human nature became, in the last decades, subject of reflection and research. Namely, the inviolability of the boundary between humans and non-humans beings is questioned and the extent of other animals' capacity for language, morality and, generally, for culture is debated. We are witnessing, in consequence, the changing conception concerning the relation between human and non-human beings and, thus, the reconsideration of what it means to be fully human. A tendency of re-naturalization of humans is obvious in both these processes.

Our paper concerns this tendency of human's re-naturalization in defining the human nature and its consequences both for the understanding of the boundary between humans and animals and on the ways in which animals are represented and used. In order to achieve this goal, the theoretical approach will be associated with the consideration of traditional and modern understanding of the relation between what means to be truly human and the way in which animals are viewed in the Romanian culture.

Panel W075
The fall of cultural man: some proposals for an anthropology less cultural and more natural