Sociality as the Human Condition

Anthropology in Economic, Philosophical and Theological Perspective 

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In addition to being contemplated in the classical disciplines of anthropology, human sociality has been subjected to scientific examination in the natural and social sciences. This book offers a substantial discussion of empirical research programs within current economics (experimental and neuroeconomics), with special regard to the themes of reciprocity and altruism. These themes are discussed from a philosophical perspective informed by phenomenology and hermeneutics, and linked to theories of conflict, recognition and alterity in social philosophy, which are used to show the limitations of the purely science-based naturalistic approaches in economics. Finally, the book introduces the concept of the neighbor in Christian theology and shows how this figure brings a new perspective to the examination of human sociality.

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Biographical Note
Rebekka A. Klein, Dr. theol. (2009) in Systematic Theology, University of Zurich, is Dilthey-Fellow at the Institute of Systematic Theology, University of Halle-Wittenberg. She has published on philosophy of economics, phenomenological anthropology, Christian ethics and political theology.
Table of contents

Volume Foreword ... xiii
Acknowledgements ... xv

Introduction ... 1
1 Phenomenological Criticism of Science ... 1
2 The Primacy of Philosophical Anthropology ... 3
3 Natural Foundation of Anthropology in Current Economics ... 10
4 The Relational Approach to Anthropology in Social Philosophy ... 15
5 The Double Description of Anthropology in Theology ... 20

Chapter One Anthropology as a Representation of Humanity ... 27
6 Interdisciplinary Anthropology ... 27
7 Anthropology and Sociality in the Individual Disciplines ... 29
7.1 Theological Figures of Thought on Nature and Humanity ... 30
7.1.1 The Difference between ‘Natura Lapsa’ and ‘Oeconomia Naturae’ ... 32
7.1.2 Isomorphism of Nature, Humanity and Society? ... 34
7.2 Basic Anthropological Paradigms of Experimental Economics ... 35
7.2.1 Human vs. Rational Behavior ... 36
7.2.2 Human vs. Animal Behavior ... 38
7.3 Philosophical Points of Entry in Anthropology ... 42
7.3.1 Anthropology as Human Self-Inquiry ... 42
7.3.2 Alternatives: The Dualism and Monism of Anthropology ... 48
8 Anthropological Key Differences ... 50
8.1 Heidegger: Humanity as the Truth of Being ... 52
8.2 Agamben: The Dissolution of the Animal Construct ... 56
8.3 Adorno: Dehumanization through Society ... 63
8.4 Conclusion ... 66
9 The Human Condition as a Concrete Condition of Existence ... 67
9.1 Barthes: The Human Condition as Myth ... 68
9.2 Arendt: Loss of the Social ‘Human Condition’? ... 70
10 Plessner: Humanity and Bodily Existence ... 77
10.1 The Broken Relation to the World ... 81
10.2 From the Shared World (‘Mitwelt’) to Interpersonal Relations ... 83
10.3 Conclusion ... 87
11 Concreteness, Objectivity and Phenomenal Excess ... 89

Chapter Two The Conflict between Egoism and Altruism ... 91
12 Possibilities and Limitations of an Empirical Anthropology ... 91
13 The Economic Modeling of Human Social Behavior ... 94
13.1 The Methodological Paradigm Shifts of Experimental Economics ... 97
13.2 Skepticism about the Homo Oeconomicus ... 101
13.3 Backgrounds to the Critical Assessment of the Homo Oeconomicus Model ... 104
14 The Methodology of Experimental Economics ... 109
14.1 Translatability of Laboratory and Experiential World ... 111
14.1.1 Empirical Explanation and Methodological Object Constitution in Experiments ... 111
14.1.2 The Validity of Experimental Findings Outside of the Laboratory ... 114
14.2 Construction Principles of Economic Laboratory Experiments ... 117
14.2.1 The Experiment as a Strategic Course of Action ... 118
14.2.2 The Experiment as Selective Replication of Reality ... 119
14.2.3 Game Theory and Hypothesis Formation in the Behavioral Experiment ... 123
15 The Modeling of Social Preferences ... 129
15.1 What are Preferences? ... 129
15.2 The Ultimatum Game and Inequity Aversion of Social Agents ... 132
16 Norms for Cooperative Behavior ... 136
16.1 Sanctions in Public Goods Games ... 136
16.2 Social Norms as a Second-Order Public Good? ... 140
17 From ‘Homo Reciprocans’ to ‘Homo Altruisticus’ ... 148
17.1 Negative Reciprocity: Ultimatum Game ... 150
17.2 Positive Reciprocity: Trust Game ... 150
17.3 Pure Altruism: Dictator Game ... 152
17.4 Strong Reciprocity: Altruistic Punishment and Rewarding ...154
18 The Utility Expectation of Altruistic Agents ... 157
18.1 Psychological, Biological, and Moral Altruism ... 158
18.2 Personal Satisfaction in Altruistic Punishment ... 161
19 Affective Empathy: The Significance of Social Emotions ... 167
20 The Phenomenal Excess of Social Interaction ... 171
21 Conclusion ... 173
21.1 Critique ... 173
21.2 Theses ... 178
21.3 On the Sense and Nonsense of Talking about Altruism ... 184

Chapter Three Difference in the Interpersonal Relation ... 187
22 Three Constellations of the Interpersonal Relation ... 187
23 Human Nature and its Function for the Legitimation of Political Order ... 189
23.1 The Separation of Politics and Nature in the Model of Societal Order ... 191
23.2 The Genesis of Order from Contingence ... 195
24 Antagonism: The Irreducibility of Difference ... 198
24.1 Laclau and Mouffe: Antagonism and Democracy ... 199
24.2 Critical Assessment of the Liberal, Deliberative Model of Society ... 204
25 Recognition: The Pacification of Difference ... 206
25.1 Recognition: Normative Demand or Real-Life Practice? ... 208
25.2 Post-Hegelian Perspectives on Recognition ... 210
25.2.1 Honneth: Recognition and Its Negative Forms ... 210
25.2.2 Taylor: Recognition and the Risk of Homogenizing Difference ... 214
25.2.3 García Düttmann: A Critical Assessment of Restorative Recognition ... 217
25.3 Ricoeur’s Concept of Mutual Symbolic Recognition ... 221
25.3.1 The Critique of Reciprocity ... 222
25.3.2 The Critique of Equal Recognition ... 223
25.3.3 Symbolic Recognition ... 224
25.3.4 States of Peace: Recognition and Religious Agape ... 225
26 Alterity: Difference as the Source of Responsibility ... 227
26.1 Levinas’ Ethical Reconception of Humanity ... 229
26.2 The Impossibility of Social Inhumanity ... 232
26.3 The Relationship to the Other as the Third and the Standards of Justice ... 235
26.4 Beyond the Symmetry of Egalitarian Relationships ... 237
26.5 God’s Invisibility ... 238
27 Conclusion ... 241

Chapter Four Humanity and Inhumanity in the Love of Neighbor ... 245
28 Theological Reservations against an Immanence of the Social ... 245
29 Biblical Usage and Hermeneutical Function of the Word ‘Neighbor’ ... 252
29.1 The Biblical Contexts of Caring for the Other Human Being ... 254
29.2 Who is my Neighbor – the Wrong Question? ... 256
29.3 Terminological Delineations ... 258
29.4 Hermeneutical Analysis of the Word ‘Neighbor’ ... 259
29.5 Proximity and Distance in the Love of Neighbor ... 260
30 Social Criticism Instead of Morality ... 263
31 Meisinger: Anthropological Awareness of Difference ... 267
32 Kierkegaard: Humanity as the Phenomenal Excess of God’s Love ... 271
32.1 Kierkegaard’s Method of Analysis ... 271
32.2 The Negative Definition of the Neighbor ... 273
32.3 Self-Love and the Deficiencies of Interpersonal Love ... 279
33 Beyond Kierkegaard: The Love of Neighbor and Inhumanity ... 283
33.1 Adorno: The Dead Neighbor ... 284
33.2 Žižek, Santner, Reinhard: The Neighbor as a Figure of Inhumanity ... 287
34 Humanity and Inhumanity as Reflected by Mercy ... 291
34.1 Lack of Consequences and Resources ... 291
34.2 Lack of Expectations ... 293
34.3 Unpredictability: The Phenomenal Abundance of Practicing Mercy ... 295
34.4 Inhuman Mercilessness ... 297
35 Conclusion ... 299

Final Thoughts ... 303
36 Multiperspectivity Instead of Transdisciplinarity ... 303
37 Result of this Study ... 305

Bibliography ... 309

Index of Names ... 321
Index of Subjects ... 323
Readership
All those interested in anthropology, phenomenology, philosophy of economics, ethics, and social philosophy, as well as philosophers, theologians and social scientists.
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