Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 10, No 2 (2014)

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Animality and Rationality in Human Beings: Towards Enriching Contemporary Educational Studies

Koichiro Misawa


“What is the nature of the beings that we are?” is perhaps the most difficult question. The difficulty lies in our being a natural animal in a normative environment. In harmony with John McDowell’s conception of a naturalism of second nature, this paper claims that we should not rest satisfied with the predominant scientific picture in which the seeming rift between our animality and our rationality is to be resolved by detailed studies of empirically knowable facts about our animal modes of existence. Instead, appreciating the sui generis character of a distinctive mode of human engagement with the world is a necessary clearing of the ground and an essential first step toward addressing meticulously the above difficult question on human nature. The paper suggests that the human sciences in general and education studies in particular should start off not with disclosed first-natural facts but with a sensitivity to second-natural backgrounds that set the stage for the first-natural facts. 

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