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MARGOLIS ON HISTORY AND NATURE
Vol. 36, No. 5 (October 2005), pp. 568-577
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/24439528
Page Count: 10
You can always find the topics here!Topics: Human nature, Humans, Ontological essence, Caterpillars, Cultural history, Metaphilosophy, Intentionality, Metaphysics, Legal entities, Natural kinds
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In his philosophy of culture, Joseph Margolis maintains that, although human beings and human societies have a history, there is no human nature in the sense of a fixed essence. I consider objections to Margolis's thesis, beginning with the possibility that nonhuman intelligent species might be in a position to study human behavior from its origins to its demise with the proper distance from our own situation in order to arrive at an understanding of what is essential to human nature, perhaps as a Kantian regulative rather than constitutive principle, and involving abstractions from particular cases and idealizations, as in other branches of science. Finally, I examine the historical-past orientation of Margolis's concept of humanity's self-understanding and its dependence on the intentionality of human thought, and I conclude that it provides an inadequate reason for denying that there can be such a thing as human nature.
Metaphilosophy © 2005 Wiley