Only Human - Studies in the History of Conception of Man, edited by Arne Jarrick

£19.99
Only Human - Studies in the History of Conception of Man, edited by Arne Jarrick
Only Human - Studies in the History of Conception of Man, edited by Arne Jarrick

Published by Almqvist and Wiskell International in 2000, 383 pages. Hardback (S8295HWSO)

From the introduction: "I am only human", we often say, bidding people to forgive us when we fear that our misdeeds have been less than humane. What strange an excuse isn't this: Man, acting like a beast, apologises for not being God. This is like saying that we are both able and obliged to obse~e celestial conduct, although - hanging between heaven and hell - we most often fall through. 

This common phrase of excuse testifies to human properties appearing to be singularly human. One such property may be our seemingly irresistible propensity to make ourselves - mind as well as manner - an object of reflection and scrutiny. And good or bad excuses for being but humans are just one particular instance of this, also implying that we are pre-occupied by linking ourselves to other living species down the ladder of living creatures. Likewise, already the need to find (or make up) excuses could be considered uniquely human. Humankind is necessarily and exclusively a moralising species, even if the constant violation of ethics also seems to be an intrinsic part of the human condition. 

Going into details, one could add innumerable "items" to the list of exclusively human phenomena, such as for instance judicial and parliamentary institutions, religion, tradition, agriculture, making fire, committing suicide, etcetera. 

Whatever the truth of this or that claim of human uniqueness, from time immemorial (perhaps as far back as the period of the Cro Magnon) humankind has troubled itself with the very question of what is and what is not human. And, certainly, no other species has done anything similar. This seems to be a never ending endeavour, like all endeavours in want of a solution. 


The condition of the book is generally very good. The cover boards have one or two very minor scuffs, but the spine is tight and intact and all pages are clean, intact, unblemished and tightly bound.