Fines Hominis Lecture Fines Hominis Lectures

Balibar – Towards a New Foundation for Philosophical Anthropology

Relation, Difference, Transindividuality

April 18-19, 2024 University of Potsdam
Haus 11, Raum 0.09

Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam

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DESCRIPTION:Relation, Difference, Transindividuality // University of Potsdam // Haus 11, Raum 0.09 // Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam
SUMMARY:Balibar – Towards a New Foundation for Philosophical Anthropology

FINES HOMINIS LECTURE “TOWARDS A NEW FOUNDATION FOR PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY”, to be held ad University of Potsdam (April 18, 2024 16-18h – Universität Potsdam, Haus 11, Raum 0.09)

Philosophical Anthropology, sometimes confused with a theoretical humanism both by its supporters and adversaries, has been torn in the 20th century between naturalistic and historicist tendencies. It has evolved between essentialist and existentialist definitions of its object, with significant implications regarding ethical and political applications. This lecture will claim that a displacement has taken place, to which it also tries to contribute, which characterizes the “human” as a mobile and imperfect system of relations, both objective (or institutional) and subjective (or experienced), internal and external. A displacement, highlighting differences within the human, which generate conflicts in the society. A displacement, directing our attention to evolutionary relations with other species, which affect their common use of the environment. How to name, represent, conceptualize this enigmatic complexity?

LECTURE “ANTHROPOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES: HOW DO THEY COMPARE? HOW DO THEY INTERSECT? A PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY” (April 19, 2024, 10-12h – HU Berlin, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Straße 40/41, 10117 Berlin, Raum 408)

Gender, race, mental and physical health, but also age and intelligence can be called anthropological differences. This is because they are perceived as ways of being human, but contain opposing determinations of the human. They are socially, historically, and culturally constructed, permeated by relations of domination, and shaped by ideologies. Therefore, they are always subject to contestation, resistance, and transgression. Contemporary critical theories point out that these differences can never be neatly demarcated and attempt to link them in the construction of identities and collective agency. Intersectionality is perhaps the most influential model for this. Philosopher Étienne Balibar discusses this model on the basis of an examination of what makes anthropological differences at once comparable and non-reducible to one another.

FINES HOMINIS WORKSHOP “TOWARDS A NEW FOUNDATION FOR PHILOSOPHICAL ANTHROPOLOGY” (April 19, 2024, 14-17h – HU Berlin, Institut für Europäische Ethnologie, Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Straße 40/41, 10117 Berlin, Raum 408)

The discussion with Balibar will be continued at a workshop on April 19, 2024. In addition to the lectures, the textual basis for the workshop will be the following texts: “Bourgeois Universality and Anthropological Differences,” in: Citizen-Subject (New York: Fordham, 2016) and “Human Species as Biopolitical Concept,” in: Radical Philosophy 2.11/Winter 2021.


No registration for the lecture on April 18, 2024 is needed. The lecture will also be available via Zoom. To receive the zoom link please register with

Registration for the lecture and the workshop on April 19 is now closed.


The two lectures and the workshop take place as a cooperation of the Center for Post-Kantian Philosophy of the University of Potsdam with the Institute for European Ethnology, the Berlin Institute for Migration Research (BIM), and the Centre for Social Critique at Humboldt University of Berlin.


“But who, we?”
Derrida, Fines Hominis

The lecture series The Ends of Man explores the role of philosophical anthropology in contemporary thought. The situation is ambiguous: on the one hand, there is an increasing criticism of anthropocentrism in philosophy, underlying various posthumanist approaches. There is the suspicion that the way in which our thinking has revolved around the anthropos was connected to a reduction and degradation of what is non-human while at the same time hegemonically constricting our sense of the human. The emergence of the self-destructive age of the “Anthropocene” is taken to suggest that our anthropocentric thinking was connected to a disastrously misguided definition of the relation between human and human, human and animal, spirit and nature, mind and world. According to this diagnosis, the human being either unwillingly advances towards its own extinction or finally finds ways to overcome itself. On the other hand, there is an equally strong, newly awakened interest in philosophical anthropology in the philosophy of mind, which aims to reveal the embodied, finite, social and historical character of the mind in new ways. Philosophical anthropology itself, then, should allow us to overcome a reductive mentalistic, intellectualist, solipsistic and ahistorical conception of spirit and understand the relation between human and human, human and animal, spirit and nature, mind and world in a different way.

The ambiguity affects both sides – posthumanism on the one hand, and the new philosophical anthropology on the other – internally. Is posthumanism, which claims to transcend the human being, not still a form of anthropology – bound to the specificity of that very animal, that is able to transcend itself, and addressed at the We of a human community that is reaching beyond itself? Conversely, does not the new philosophical anthropology aim at overcoming a certain dominant image of the human being and going beyond an abstract and hegemonic way of questioning and addressing it?

The lecture series will gather important voices from the international debate, discussing the demise and the renaissance of philosophical anthropology. They ask, each in their own way, how we can understand ourselves by means of the posthumanist critique and the anthropological renaissance, and who this is: we.


Screenshot from Jean-Luc Godard’s “Adieu au langage” (2014)