The Idea of a New Man between Religion and Enlightenment: The Evolution of the concept from Luther to Kant
Anna Szyrwińska-Hörig (Universität Vechta)

May 19, 2023, 4:45pm - 6:45pm
Faculty of Philosophy, University of Warsaw

Room 4
Krakowskie Przedmieście 3
Warsaw 00-927

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  • Jagiellonian University in Krakow


Jagiellonian University
University of Warsaw
Jagiellonian University

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In The Conflict of the Faculties Immanuel Kant discussed the paradigmatic concept of a “new man” asking how people could become morally “not merely better human beings but other human beings”. Such idea of enhancement of human nature is standardly acknowledged as one of the most representative postulates of the Enlightenment epoch. However, the concept of a new man was initially not an Enlightenment accomplishment, since its roots go back to the biblical doctrine of spiritual renewal. The idea of regeneration (New Birth, Wiedergeburt, Restoratio, etc.) was strongly emphasized in the early modern protestant movements, i.e. Arminianism and Pietism. Thus, one can assume that protestant theology played a crucial role in developing the new man ethos in the Age of Enlightenment.

The purpose of the paper is to present the evolution of the idea of a new man during the time span from the beginning of Reformation to the end of the 18th Century. Particularly it will be explained how the originally theological concept of spiritual restoration (in both Lutheran and Reformed interpretation) was systematically adopted in the philosophic context. Furthermore, it will be shown what consequences did it have for the further development of Enlightenment philosophic anthropology.

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May 18, 2023, 12:00am CET

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