Philosophy of Man

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PHILOSOPHY OF MAN PROF. M. SAEED SHEIKH “Man” seems to have been quite a neglected subject in the history of Western philosophy; more attention has been paid to God and universe than to man. Though there are many reputable histories of the specific branches of philosophy; and even of some of its special subjects such as logic ethics, aesthetics, politics, law and history, a “history of the philosophy of man” has yet to be written and even vet to be conceived. True “man” has sometimes been discussed as a part of this or that theory or system in ethics, politics or education, but such subsidiary discussions by their very nature remain controlled by the requirements and presuppositions of a particular theory or system. All this…show more content…
Aristotle’s- definition could give us only a fragmented man as if a featherless biped. Aristotle’s definition of man in terms of genus and differentia, Plato’s in terms of the tripartite division of the soul, and the great scholastic philosophers’ in terms of the indivisible soul-substance which does nothing to us nor we do anything to it; all of them seem to be some of the blind alleys in the history of philosophy. These definitions, however, are not altogether meaningless; in any case they are better than Cartesians’ definition of man as an assembled organic machine ready to run, or behaviourists’ definition of him as a toy in the Watsonian box mercilessly caught between the stimulii and the responses. Classical philosophers’ definitions or conceptions of man are to be construed not through the detailed analyses of their philosophical terms but through a close and deep understanding of their whole philosophical perspective. In case their definitions continue to remain unacceptable to us, even then we are to change not the definitions but the philosophical perspective from which these definitions have emerged. This is much like moving from the geocentric perspective to the heliocentric perspective in astronomy. But the change of a perspective in philosophy, as in other domains of human knowledge, usually entails a change in the methods of its study, like, for
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