Plessner developed a philosophical biology and anthropology which amounted to a hermeneutics of nature. According to Plessner, life expresses itself, and part of this expression is in terms of sentient lifeforms. In expressing itself through the human senses, it provides the material a priori constituents of perception to replace Kant 's cognitive idealism of a priori categories and intuitions produced by transcendental subjectivity as the filter through which we spontaneously order experience of the world. In other words, the formal qualities that make up our consciousness a priori — given as the conditions through which we experience things — conditions such as time, space, causality and number, and, indeed, the laws of physics, however we may then conceptualize them, are given to us both in our own physical nature, and in the physical nature of the environments we inhabit, through our growth from and interactions within these environments.

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We'd like to understand how you use our websites in order to improve them. Register your interest. This article provides an overview of the reception of Plessner in Germany and embeds his approach into current de-bates, discussing its value with regard to the sociality-materiality relationship. The focus is on three issues: the definition of the boundaries of the social, the relationship between the social and the body as well as the cultural historic-ethical situation.

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Humans, Materiality and Society: The Contemporary Sociological Relevance of Helmuth Plessner



Helmuth Plessner


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