The Relevance of Anthropology and the Evolutionary Sciences for Political Philosophy

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Two contrasting interpretations of the interrelation between politics and anthropology have co-existed in recent literature. On the one hand, the social sciences have freed themselves al-most completely from the idea that there is a basic nature common to all human beings. After the “cultural turn” within these disciplines, they took it for granted that immediate access to facts is methodologically impossible, including facts about the purported nature of human beings. On the other hand, the past century was triumphal procession of evolutionary sci-ences. These disciplines unquestionably shed light on the biological species homo sapiens. This essay defends neither of these two extreme positions, but looks for possibilities of updating the traditional synthetic view that is based upon an interrelation of natural and political sciences. To do so, it focuses on two questions. What do evolutionary sciences tell us about human be-ings and about the development of culture? What practical consequences can we draw from this for political philosophy? Answering these questions calls for a discussion of the work of Darwin, Gehlen, von Hayek, Diamond, Burkert and others.
Anthropology, evolutionary sciences, political theory, convergence, Darwin, Gehlen, Diamond, Burkert, von Hayek
Christian Illies, "The Relevance of Anthropology and the Evolutionary Sciences for Political Philosophy", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, XVI (2014) 2, pp. 632-660