The Sense of Existing and its Political Implications: On François Flahault’s ‘General Anthropology'

Minson, Jeffrey (2008) The Sense of Existing and its Political Implications: On François Flahault’s ‘General Anthropology'. :UQ Cultural History Project. (Seminars and Public Lectures)

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Minson_edited.mp3 Stream this item to your browser MP3 recording of the seminar audio/mpeg 48.76MB 2490
UQ_CHP_Seminar_MINSON_4.8.08.pdf PDF file of the invitation flyer of the seminar application/pdf 147.40KB 112

Creator Minson, Jeffrey
Title The Sense of Existing and its Political Implications: On François Flahault’s ‘General Anthropology'
Publisher UQ Cultural History Project
Open Access Status Other
Publication date 2008-08-04
Year available 2008
Series Seminars and Public Lectures
Type Audio recording
Original Format 1 MP3 recording
Language eng
Subject 220319 Social Philosophy
Recorded/Rendered Creative Work - Audio/Visual recording
Abstract/Summary The radical Conservative Carl Schmitt suggested that ‘one could test all theories of state according to their anthropology and thereby classify these as to whether they consciously or unconsciously presuppose man to be by nature … a dangerous being or not’. But perhaps not all pessimistic images of ‘natural man’ are as readily assignable to a conservative style of thought. Such is the case I suggest with Francois Flahault’s ‘deidealized’ anthropology -- ‘realist’ yet informed by a social-solidarist ethic – which turns on an arresting depiction of human malevolence and its psychological sources. I argue that Flahault’s program might be thought of as contributing to recasting the ethical aspect of realist understandings of political questions. Though not constructed with sovereign statehood in mind, in one respect his moral anthropology echoes the de-sacralized image of the human propounded by the early modern ‘civil-prudential’ sovereignty theorist Samuel Pufendorf, an image which a modern realist ethic of state might do well to incorporate. I show how Flahault uses his moral anthropology to modify the mission of reformist social policy and put a case for seeing his program as a contribution to a civil prudential philosophy of government. Supposing man to be dangerous by nature may not after all be the hallmark of a conservative political stance.
Keyword political philosophy
intellectual history
cultural history
individual and state
François Flahault
UQ Cultural History Project
human nature
moral anthropology
French philosophy
European philosophy
Additional Notes This is an MP3 recording of a seminar of the UQ Cultural History Project. Your use of this item is governed by the Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License of the Creative Commons ( You are free to copy, distribute and transmit the work under the following conditions. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work). You may not use this work for commercial purposes. You may not alter, transform or build upon this work. For any reuse or distribution you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. The best way to do this is with a link to this web page. Any of the above conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder. Nothing in this license impairs or restricts the author's moral rights.

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Created: Tue, 02 Sep 2008, 18:04:53 EST by Dr David Pritchard on behalf of Faculty of Arts