Human Being as Existential Paradox

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Dualistic (or 'pluralistic') theories of human being usually start with accounts of the constitutive elements and only secondarily set out to explain how they combine together. In contradistinction to that analytic approach, existentialist discussions have characterised human being most deeply by an awareness of self-estrangement or of internal schism. The primary focus shifts to the phenomenology of human being, and from that perspective the comprising elements intrinsically and paradoxically refer to their opposites. While this is a very abstract scheme, in this paper I show that it can be identified in well-known historical conceptions of human being. Human being has been identified as Homo pudens (shame), Homo ridens (laughter), Homo ironicus, and Homo ludens (play). Interpreting writings of Sartre, Bergson, Kierkegaard, and Huizinga, I expose the ways in which all those conceptions exemplify the existential paradoxicality of humanity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-32
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


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