(A2-15) Philosophical Anthropology as the Basis for a Secular Foundation of Norms

Based on Ludwig Feuerbach’s criticism of religion and idealism, a philosophical anthropology developed in the context of the left-Hegelian debate in which man as a corporal objective genus took the place of the subjectivity theories of German idealism. At the same time, the idealistic natural philosophy of Hegel and Schelling in this anthropological materialistic turn was disenchanted and transformed into a scientific worldview guided by the natural sciences (which subsequently did not even stop at the disenchantment of man and his mind).

Because of this convergence with scientific explanatory models, philosophical anthropology not only gets close to scientistic materialism, but it also has consequences as regards the justification of norms, leading to reductionism or different forms of relativism. On the one hand, this development constitutes a philosophical reaction to a normative crisis, that is, to the extrusion of philosophy and religion from the “centre of our culture” (Richard Rorty). On the other hand, this development subsequently also prompts diverse normative crises, as traditional justifications of norms and legitimising orders are questioned and their capability weakened.

This project will investigate whether and in what manner philosophical anthropology, as a successor paradigm of idealistic subjective philosophy, can be the foundation of a plausible conception of the justification of norms in ethics, law and politics, if its conditions of formation (criticism of religion and idealism) are reflected. The aim here is to show to what extent the historical legacy implies limits of pluralism and of the secularisability of normative justifications.