The Status of the Human Being in the Age of Science
Marcelo Sánchez Sorondo
Extra Series 32
Vatican City, 2008
At the end of his laborious journey in the labyrinth of the transcendental ‘I’, his Critique of Pure Reason, Kant confessed, with the frankness of an ancient Stoic, to a deep feeling of expectation: ‘The whole interest of reason (both speculative and practical) is centred in the three following questions: 1. What can I know? 2. What should I do? 3. What may I hope?’.1 And taking up these questions again in his later Logik, he added as a fourth question: ‘what is man?’ In ultimate terms, he added, and his clarification was new and of an essential value, ‘all of these answers could be attributed to anthropology because the first three questions are related to the last, namely: what is man?’.2
1 Kant, Immanuel, Kritik der reinen Vernunft, A 805. B 832 (ed. Reclam, Leipzig 1956, p. 818).
2 Kant, Immanuel, Werke, hrsg. von E. Cassirer et al., XI Bände, Berlin 1912-22, Bd. VIII, p. 343 f. In the preface of the Anthropologie in Pragmatiker Hinsicht of the same year (1800) he declared: ‘the most important object (der wichtiger Gegenstand) of all the research in the field of culture is man’ (Cassirer, VIII, p. 3).