London Branch Seminar
In my talk I will explore the relation between human life and education by focusing on a recent debate about the old Aristotelian idea that the difference between rational life and non-rational life is one in “form”. According to Second-Nature-Positions this idea suggests that the distinctive rational character of human life is largely a result of education, and hence a matter of second nature. According to First-Nature-Positions, it suggests that human life has a distinctive first nature that already entails rationality. I will argue that both positions are dissatisfying. They are unable to fully embrace the idea that the difference between human and animal life is a difference in “form”. To endorse this idea, we must think of the human as a form of life whose very concept contains the concept of education and therefore does not only entail the distinction between first and second nature, but gives it a distinctive meaning that cannot be applied to any other form of life.
Andrea Kern is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Leipzig and Co-director of the Forschungskolleg Analytic German Idealism (FAGI). Her research interests are epistemology, skepticism, philosophy of mind, philosophical anthropology and aesthetics. The philosophers who most interest her are Aristotle, Kant, Hegel and Wittgenstein. Her publications include Schöne Lust. Eine Theorie der ästhetischen Erfahrung nach Kant (2000) and Sources of Knowledge. On the Concept of a Rational Capacity for Knowledge (2017).