Concepts of man ( Menschenbilder , assumptions about human nature). Psychological, biological, cross-cultural & religious perspectives. Psychological and interdisciplinary anthropology.
Personality & Personality Theories
Anthropology (Philosophical, Psychological & Cultural)
Full recordShow full item record
AbstractConcepts of man ( Menschenbilder , assumptions about human nature). Psychological, biological, cross-cultural & religious perspectives. Psychological and interdisciplinary anthropology. A concept of man ( Menschenbild ) is the comprehensive representation of assumptions and belief systems about human nature, about how man lives in his social and material context, and about which values and goals he should have in life. Assumptions about human nature are a matter of Philosophical Anthropology and of empirical investigation in Differential Psychology. In more recent times, the traditional concepts of man as formed by religion and philosophy have become increasingly influenced by findings of the advancing biological and social sciences. The conventional distinction between Philosophical Anthropology and Biological Anthropology should be superseded by an explicit interdisciplinary approach. Psychology can make a considerable contribution to this by virtue of its well-placed position as a field of science between those of the Humanities, Social Sciences, Biology and Medicine. The book has five main topics: (1) Concepts of man in Psychotherapy and Psychology, for example, Sigmund Freud, Erich Fromm, Viktor Frankl, Burrhus F. Skinner, and concepts from personality research and social psychology such as subject models, self theories, and attitudes. (2) Concepts of man in Biology and Neurobiology: genetics, descent of man, primatology, and brain research. (3) Concepts of man in Social and Intercultural Perspectives. (4) Concepts of man and Religion: Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Chinese Religion; social surveys on religious beliefs, religious attitudes, and spirituality. (5) Ways of Enlightenment: Concepts of human dignity and human rights, assumptions on human nature and religiously motivated conflicts of value, religious belief and reason, pluralism and tolerance, covert anthropological assumptions and their consequences. Concepts of man and their important aspects are outlined in 25 chapters. With respect to religious beliefs, findings from representative surveys in Germany are reported. A particular study by the author was conducted in 800 students to assess their attitudes toward such topics as evolution or creation of mankind, belief in forms of post-mortal existence, belief in god, theodicy, atheism, interest in religion and questions of life s purpose and meaning, supernatural (parapsychic) relationships, a dualistic or monistic conception of brain and consciousness (mind-body), and free will or determinism. The diversity of belief systems about human nature is such that a unified theory of man with which to accommodate the inherent contradictions of these systems appears impossible to achieve. This pluralism may be attributed to the continuing process of enlightenment and secularization and to freedom of religion. This development is being fostered by the growth in knowledge about inter-cultural and inter-religious diversity. The process of enlightenment is therefore a central theme with a number of key aspects: coping with pluralism, definitions of tolerance and intolerance, reason and belief, fundamentalism and superstition. Psychologically, the ability to take different perspectives and to tolerate ambiguity as well as having a low trait level of authoritarianism and ethnocentricity appear conducive to higher tolerance in thinking style. Pluralism may often lead to religiously-motivated value conflicts, but it does not necessarily result in a relativism of basic ethical norms. The religious foundation of morality is being replaced by secular and universal principles such as dignity of man, human rights, and the concept of World Ethos ( Weltethos ), especially the Golden Rule which is acknowledged as a valid principle in many cultures. The aims of this book may be summarised in two points: The differential psychology of concepts of mind ( Menschenbilder ) requires more empirical investigation and reflection on the practical implications of philosophical preconceptions about mind-body and free will on the way in which psychotherapists, psychologists, and doctors exercise their respective professions. The controversies on mind-body and free will show that idealistic and naturalistic concepts are mutually exclusive. The principle of complementarity acknowledges however that each of these two approaches constitutes in itself a frame of reference (or paradigm) which in its way is complete but captures only one aspect of the very broad notion of human spirituality and biological nature. Keywords: Anthropology, Philosophical & Psychological & Cultural; Personality & Personality Theories; Mind-Body; Free Will; Human Nature; Meaning of Life; Religion; World View