The Upright Posture: A History of Philosophical Anthropology

Prof. Dr. Kurt Bayertz
© upm/Grewer

The book is the first to give a comprehensive account of the history of the interpretation of upright posture. It shows that upright posture (i) has been extensively considered in philosophical anthropology from antiquity to today; and that it (ii) has never been seen as a solely anatomical fact, but has been widely used as a vehicle of human self-interpretation. In antiquity it counted as proof of the privileged position of humans in the cosmos; in the modern world it is often seen as a source of risk. The book includes the metaphorical use of "upright" ("X is an upright person") alongside its literal meaning with its anatomical etc. implications. It encompasses anthropological thinking in a broad sense: focussing on philosophical interpretations of upright posture, it also considers scientific, theological and literary sources and shows important interrelations beween these branches of thought.

Literature: Bayertz, Kurt: Der aufrechte Gang. Eine Geschichte des anthropologischen Denkens, München: C. H. Beck, 3rd edition 2014.