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Why We Disagree About Human Nature$
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Elizabeth Hannon and Tim Lewens

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198823650

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: July 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198823650.001.0001

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Human Ontogenies as Historical Processes

Human Ontogenies as Historical Processes

An Anthropological Perspective

(p.170) 9 Human Ontogenies as Historical Processes
Why We Disagree About Human Nature

Christina Toren

Oxford University Press

Across the human sciences one finds theoretical perspectives that recognize the nature–culture distinction as untenable. At the same time, the gap between demonstrating its inadequacy and developing a viable alternative approach is wide indeed. The recognition that autopoiesis (self-creation, self-production) is through and through a historical process puts paid to ideas of culture and nature as analytical categories. In the case of humans and other social organisms, autopoiesis is necessarily grounded in relations with others. This chapter explores the idea of history as lived (that is to say, embodied), and argues for a unified model of human being that is able to provide for, and explain, how we humans come to be who we are in all our historical particularity and, in the self-same process, how we make sense of ourselves and the world.

Keywords:   autopoiesis, historical processes, embodied history, unified model, ontogeny, intersubjectivity

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