Politics and Human Nature

in Terms of the Political

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780823242641
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780823242689 | DOI:
Politics and Human Nature

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Beginning with a reading of Heidegger's “Letter on Humanism” (1946), Chapter 8 asks how humanism can account for its own opposite, namely, the dual traumas of Hiroshima and Auschwitz, or the mass murder of fifty million people in the middle of the twentieth century. While Heidegger's letter marks a pivot with respect to classical notions of humanitas, it does not constitute an absolute break, nor does it inaugurate a new, post-humanist language. After problematizing the position of Heidegger's “Letter” with regard to the tradition of thinking humanitas, the chapter proceeds with a reading of the relationship between man and animal in Darwin, Nietzsche, and their incorporation within the language of Nazism. Humanitas should be read in the context of a bios that encompasses diversity, alterity, and hybridization–that is, a bios that is understood through an inclusive communitas rather than an exclusive immunitas.

Keywords: Humanism; Ontology; Humanitas; Animalitas; Man and animal; Bios; Zoe; Dasein; Being; Auschwitz; Hiroshima; Technology

Chapter.  4811 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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