SKC Project Seminar: Paulo Henrique Lopes

(Federal University of Juiz de Fora, Brazil)

To Become Human Despite Humanism: A Kierkegaardian Contribution to the “Human-Subject” Tautology.

This seminar will argue that a Kierkegaardian anthropology contribute to the debate about the deconstruction of humanism. We will take humanism as Charles Taylor diagnoses it in modernity: the historical internalization of the metaphysical foundation of what is considered the human subject. From Taylor’s thesis, we will point out that this internalization leads us to a tautology by which one is defined as human because of her subjectivity, just as one is a subject is because of her humanity. Naturally, when the human-subject postulates herself as the ontological foundation per se, anyone who cannot be described or defined by that that postulate is no longer considered a human-subject. Facing this violent legacy of humanism, we will discuss how a Kierkegaardian anthropology can help us turn that tautology into a paradox by making absolute exteriority the metaphysical foundation. In the context of humanism, Kierkegaard releases the human subject from her ontological status by means of what he calls second ethics. Therefore, to become a self turns out to become a human task - despite humanity.