Philosophical Anthropology

Internal Evaluation (2018-19)

  1. Four short Essays (600 words) or Summary Presentation: 30 marks
  2. Book Review: 10 marks
  3. You as Being human: 10 marks
  4. Interview with someone on Death: 10 marks
  5. Group work: 20

June 27, 2018


  • "Theology (Philosophy) is Anthropology." Comment.
  • "Every understanding is self-understanding." Reflect.

Written Answer (600 words)

  • Answer vs Response
  • "The most practical thing is a good theory."
  • Love (relationality) as abandonment
  • appropriation vs abandonment
  • logic of love: 0+0 = infinity
  • problem vs mystery (Ever approachable,....)
  • "Life is not a problem to be solved, but a mystery to be lived."
  • "Prayer is what you do, when....."

June 28

  • Understanding of human person according to
  • Plato (dualism, body-world-sex as inferior, imagery of cave). view also of Osho
  • Aristotle (prime matter, informed by soul)
  • Hegel (history, society as primary); Absolute Spirit, dialectics
  • Marx (dialectics: human person as worker)
  • Kant (categorical imperatives, noumenon vs phenomenon; transcendental self)
  • Teilhard (Omega point, matter as "solidified spirit")
  • Karl Rahner: Hearers.... Spirit...
  • Marechal: Transcendental analysis

1. Starting point: DJ (which is a metaphysical fact)

2. DJ (and knowledge) is a process

[How to write a meaningful essay]

June 29

  1. Marechal's Transcendental Analysis
  2. The different steps, beginning with DJ
  3. Essence, Existence
  4. Essence as necessarily limited
  5. Humans as Openness to the Unlimited Existence
  6. Three demonstrations to show that UnEx really exists.
  7. We assume (meaningfully) that this world is real.

July 1, 2018

  1. Revise transcendental analysis of Marechal?
  2. Why is it called transcendental analysis?
  3. What is the contribution of Frankl to understanding human person?
  4. Give the essential features of logotherapy?
  5. What is the contribution of existentialist thinkers to the understanding of human being?

Are we really free?

intellect and will: Their functions


Internal Evaluation (2015-16)

15 marks: Home work of 5-10 qns every day

20 marks: 625-word essays two)

15 marks: Interview with 2 people on death

Home work questions

Monday, January 4, 2015


  1. How do you “define” or describe freedom?
  2. Intellect and will are theoretical concepts. Comment.
  3. How does intellect and will help us to understand the freedom of choice?
  4. How does praise/blame come into the discussion on human freedom?
  5. What is determinism? Briefly refer to psychological, sociological and theological determinism.
  6. Differentiate between “being determined” and “being conditioned” with regards to human freedom.
  7. How can we relate freedom to determinism? Name some thinkers who hold deterministic positions.
  8. What is volitional dynamism (compare it to intellectual dynamism)?
  9. What is Skinner’s challenge to human freedom?
  10. What is the “last and greatest freedom” according to Victor Frankl?
  11. What is Paul Ricoeur’s contribution to freedom? (The grandeur of human freedom)
  12. Differentiate between “freedom” and “liberty”.
  13. Are we really free?
  14. Briefly explain the (historical) significance of the speech of the Chief of Seattle.
  15. "The water’s murmur is the voice of my father’s father. The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst." Comment.
  16. "All things are connected. You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of our grandfathers." Reflect.
  17. "The white man too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste." Comment
  18. "The end of living and the beginning of survival." How do you understand it?
  19. What is the ultimate object of the will?
  20. Confronted with Absolute Goodness, has the will a choice?


  1. What are peak experiences?
  2. Describe the pyramid of human needs?
  3. What are the main characteristics of a realized person.
  4. Explain love as abandonment.
  5. How does one fulfil one's inner emptiness (abandonment or appropriation).
  6. When does 0 + 0 = Infinite?
  7. Compare the Taker's and Leaver's Stories?
  8. What does TAMAS stand for?
  9. Is there something fundamentally wrong with me?
  10. Is there something fundamentally wrong with humanity?
  11. Life as struggle for survival. Critique?
  12. Life is a celebration.
  13. What is human uniqueness, according to the Leavers.
  14. Who are the leavers today?
  15. How old is humanity? How old is the Takers story?
  16. What is self-actualisation?
  17. Roughly elaborate the 15 characteristics of self-actualised people, according to Abraham Maslow.
  18. What are the basic principles of Maslow, on which he based his humanistic psychology?
  19. What are some of the characteristics of self-actualised people?
  20. What is psychopathology and how does it result?

Death and Life after

  1. “There is life before death.” Comment
  2. What is “intrinsic dependence.”
  3. What is an activity involving “extrinsic dependence? Give an example.
  4. Why does Aquinas say that humans have a soul that is immortal?
  5. Does Aquinas believe that animals have soul?
  6. Why is the human soul extrinsically dependent on the body?
  7. According to Aquinas, is the human soul pre-existing? If not, at what moment is human soul created, according to Aquinas?
  8. “Animal soul is extrinsically dependent on matter.” Comment.
  9. Give a philosophical basis for the theory of reincarnation (answer: the seasons, the day-night change)
  10. What are some of the philosophical problems/difficulties we associate with the theory of rebirth (reincarnation)?
  11. Give an example of an Indian thinker who does not believe in life after death and still opt for “the courageous despair.”
  12. "As the action, so the agent." Elaborate.

Key Terms

Phenomenology, culture, anthropology, Teilhard de Chardin, Karl Rahner, Joseph Marechal, Direct Judgement, Transcendental Method, UE, intellectual (and volitional) dynamism, “will to pleasure,” logotherary, noumenon, dialectic, Weltoffenheit, Dasein, Lebenswelt, Being-in-the-world, freedom, liberation, Freud, Skinner, intellect & Will, self-actualisation, emotional intelligence, peak experience, hierarchy of needs, Maslow, categorical imperative, Takers, TAMAS

(All the terms in the GLOSSARY Section of the Units of IGNOU Notes, you are expected to read)


Class Notes: 10 Marks

Review of Novel: 10

Group Activities: 30 (including Group Quizz)

External Written Exam: Part A, B & C: 50 Marks

(Be-ing Human: 20 Marks: 600 words.)

The final exam consists of 3 sections

  1. Part A: 10 questions (similar to the discussion questions we had). To be answered in 3-4 sentences.
  2. Part B: 2/3 long-answer questions (answer both the questions together in one page)
  3. Part C: 1/2 Reflective question to be answered in one page. OR use 600 word reflections.

A model test will be conducted towards the end of February.

The 600 word reflection on “Being Human.” To save paper, you can submit your reflections by email to If you have no access to computer, please submit your reflections to the office. Deadline Mar 22, 2015.

The class-notes: After you write the exams, please submit your class-notes to the office (On the day of exam).

The groups are requested to hand over the answers of the discussion-questions to the class representative, who will submit them to me. Deadline: Mar 22, 2015.

  1. How do you differentiate answer from response?
  2. Every understanding is self-understanding.
  3. The most practical thing is a good theory
  4. Theology is anthropology: comment on this statement positively and negatively.
  5. What is the difference between General anthropology and philosophical anthropology?

January 5

  1. What is culture?
  2. What are the features in human beings that make us unique from the rest of existing things?
  3. What is creative art?
  4. How is transcendental religion unique to human beings?
  5. Is language unique to human beings?

January 6

How do you understand the relationship between body and soul in:

  1. Plato
  2. Aristotle
  3. Karl Marx
  4. Karl Rahner
  5. Teilhard de Chardin

January 7-8

  1. What is the the starting point of Joseph Marechal's intellectual dynamism?
  2. Who is Joseph Marechal?
  3. What are the two necessary components of Direct Judgement?
  4. How do you differentiate Existence and Essence in DJ?
  5. Is it possible to have unlimited essence? Why?
  6. We are open to Unlimited Existence. Demonstrate it?
  7. Briefly mention three "proofs" to show that Unlimited Existence is real?
  8. Elaborately discuss each of the three proofs separately. (write in points form)
  9. "This world is real." Can we prove it?
  10. Human being is openness to the Unlimited Existence. Do you agree?
  11. What is the direct goal of DJ?
  12. Direct Judgement is not a conceptual fact. Do you agree?
  13. What is an existential fact? How do you show that God is not an existential possibility in the future?
  14. What is logotherapy?
  15. According to Frankl, how can we make suffering bearable?
  16. "He who has a WHY..... HOW." Explain
  17. What are the main insights of "Man's Search for Meaning"?
  18. “To live is to suffer and to survive is to find meaning in suffering.” Give your critical assessment.
  19. Can human beings live without meaning for long time?
  20. Describe briefly the experience of emptiness or powerlessness that gradually overpowers human beings.


  1. What do you understand by the term "freedom." (Give different 'definitions' of freedom)
  2. Can we understand freedom as "doing what one wants"?
  3. How do you relate freedom of choice to intellect and will?
  4. What is the will? Give its functions.
  5. What is volitional dynamism?
  6. Confronted with unlimited (absolute) goodness, has the will a choice?
  7. How does the intellect help the will to make a choice?
  8. What is the relation between "Freedom" and "Liberty."
  9. Explain "freedom from" and "freedom for."
  10. Are we really free?
  11. What is the stand of Freud with regards to freedom?
  12. What is the stand of Skinner with regards to freedom?
  13. What are some of the argument against determinism and for freedom?
  14. How is freedom connected to "praise" and "blame"?
  15. What is the argument for freedom based on behaving "as if" we are free?
  16. What is the "last and greatest freedom" according to Frankl?
  17. How does Sarte and Ricoeur differ in their understanding of involuntary freedom?

Love & Relationality

  1. Describe the animal nature of love?
  2. Elaborate on the angelic nature of love?
  3. Describe our inner emptiness or insecurity?
  4. How do we normally deal with our inner emptiness?
  5. What is appropriation in relation to our insecurity?
  6. What is abandonment in relation to our insecurity?
  7. How does 0+0=Infinity in genuine love?
  8. How does kenosis relate to abandonment?

Old Questions (2014). These questions BELOW are for reference only

Introductory Issues

  1. “Philosophy is anthropology”
  2. “Every understanding is self-understanding.”
  3. How do you understand the Soul?
  4. Am I really free?
  5. Do I really – unconditionally – love someone?
  6. What is basically my human nature?
  7. What is freedom?
  8. "Useless, but not meaningless"
  9. What are some other names for “philosophical anthropology”? Give also their significance.
  10. “Nothing is more practical than a good theory.” Try to prove the above statement.

Human Nature

  1. “The sun rises in the East.” This is a direct judgement. Is it a metaphysical fact?
  2. Why can’t essence be unlimited?
  3. How do we show, using transcendental analysis, that human beings are openness to the Unlimited Existence?
  4. “We cannot prove that the world is real.” Comment.
  5. How do you formulate the first argument to show that UEx is real?
  6. How do you formulate the second argument (UEx is collectively sought) to show that UEx is real?
  7. How do you formulate the third argument to (DJ being an existential fact) show that UEx is real?
  8. What is transcendental analysis?
  9. Intellectual dynamism implies that we are essentially open to Unlimited Existence. Explain.
  10. How does Rahner understand the human person?
  11. What is Teilhard’s understanding of matter?
  12. Who promotes an integrated understanding of the human person?
  13. What is logotherapy?
  14. “He who has a “why” to live for…. “ Comment.
  15. How do the existentialists understand the human person?
  16. What is Marxian understanding of the human person?
  17. How does Victor Frankl relate life, suffering and meaning?
  18. What are the characteristics of inauthentic life according to Heidegger? or What is Omega Point?
  19. "Spirit in the World" or "Hearers of the Word." Comment.
  20. What is mystery in the Marcelian sense.
  21. Which are the three feature that make humans unique?
  22. "Life on earth is carbon based." Comment.
  23. What is culture in terms of art, religion and language?
  24. What is the "dilemma of institutionalisation" (Max Weber)

Another Set of Questions

  1. The method we employ in philosophical anthropology is phenomenological. What is it?
  2. Does philosophical anthropology give us answers? Why?
  3. “A shortage of justice, not food.” Describe how philosophical anthropology can address this issue.
  4. What are the major divisions in anthropology in general?
  5. What is the basic difference between General Anthropology and Philosophical Anthropology?
  6. What is Hegel’s view on the human person?
  7. How does existentialists see human beings different from other philosophers?
  8. Do I have a body? Reflect.
  9. How does Plato and Aristotle differ in their understanding of the human person?
  10. What are some of the Indian terms to describe the human person? Indicate their significance.
  11. How do you distinguish an oppressive understanding of the human person from a liberative one?