a1 Glock University of Zürich email@example.com
This paper considers the question of whether there is a human-animal or ‘anthropological difference’. It starts with a historical introduction to the project of philosophical anthropology (sct. 1). Section 2 explains the philosophical quest for an anthropological difference. Sections 3–4 are methodological and explain how philosophical anthropology should be pursued in my view, namely as impure conceptual analysis. The following two sections discuss two fundamental objections to the very idea of such a difference, biological continuity (sct. 5) and Darwinist anti-essentialism (sct. 6). Section 7 discusses various possible responses to this second objection – potentiality, normality and typicality. It ends by abandoning the idea of an essence possessed by all and only individual human beings. Instead, anthropological differences are to be sought in the realm of capacities underlying specifically human societies (forms of communication and action). The final section argues that if there is such a thing as the anthropological difference, it is connected to language. But it favours a more modest line according to which there are several anthropological differences which jointly underlie the gap separating us from our animal cousins.
Hans-Johann Glock is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Zurich (Switzerland), and Visiting Professor at the University of Reading (UK). He is the author of A Wittgenstein Dictionary (Blackwell, 1996), Quine and Davidson on language, thought and reality (CUP, 2003), La mente de los animals (KRK, 2009), and What is Analytic Philosophy? (CUP, 2008), as well as the editor of numerous volumes including The Rise of Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell, 1997), Wittgenstein: a Critical Reader (Blackwell, 2001), and Strawson and Kant (OUP, 2003).