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Being Human: Philosophical Anthropology through Phenomenology
by Robert E. Wood
Catholic University of America Press, 2022
eISBN: 978-0-8132-3619-3 | Paper: 978-0-8132-3618-6

Being Human is the fruit of many years teaching Philosophical Anthropology, conducting Phenomenological Workshops, and reading classic texts in the light of a reflective awareness of the field of experience. Being Human is intended to look to what is typically assumed but not examined in much of current philosophical literature.

Today what typically appear as philosophical are textual studies that draw upon wide-ranging scholarship to learn how past thinkers used to think; or works that tend either to be “high-flying,” operating at levels of abstraction far removed from experience and written in arcane style, and thus, for both reasons, difficult to assess (much of Continental thought); or minutely focused upon particular claims and the arguments that can be advanced for and against them (Analytical thought); or deconstructing texts to show how they do not fully work (the followers of Jacques Derrida). Scholarly study, abstract constructions, refined arguments, and deconstructive strategies are each important in their own way; but all take place within the structure of the field of experience which is typically assumed without paying explicit attention to it. Especially in philosophy of mind, the overall field of experience has too often been ignored, usually in favor of some conjecture as to how our ordinary categories would have to be changed when neuro-physiology will be far enough advanced to explain all our behavior.

Robert E. Wood claims that it is best to understand what it is that is supposed to be explained before conjecturing about possible explanations. But when you do that, you will have to come to terms with what it means to seek explanation, what a Who is that seeks it, and why it is sought.

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